Maggie settled back in her seat beside Ben as the plane reached altitude. The flight to Martha’s Vineyard would be barely over an hour. When the flight attendant came by, she ordered a chardonnay. Ben ordered tequila. He’d seemed moody since they shared a cab to the airport.
“So what gives?” she asked him. “What’s going on?”
He stared at the untouched drink on his tray table. “I think Alex is seeing someone else.” His voice was barely audible.
Maggie the whore from devozki placed her hand over his and squeezed reassuringly. “Oh, please, don’t be silly. What makes you say that?” If she was honest, she’d thought it odd that Alex had dropped out of the trip for the wedding at the last minute, but he’d said he had a big project at work.
“All the sudden he’s working this weekend?” Ben asked bitterly. “He gets texts and leaves the room to answer them. He was late coming home from work three days this week. I think he’s seeing someone he met at the gym.”
“Oh, sweetie,” Maggie said sympathetically. Truthfully she’d always thought that Alex treated Ben rather carelessly. Ben had a tendency to be too nice. She hoped the weekend’s festivities would take his mind off of his worries.
The following day began with a brunch for the entire bridal party. Des and Jacob presided over a long table thanked by their families and friends. Maggie thought Ben looked a little better than he had the day before. She hoped that getting together with the old gang was helping.
She and Casey had stayed up nearly all night catching up on all the latest since graduation. Though they talked by phone nearly every week, seeing each other face to face was better. Casey couldn’t wait to show off her new engagement ring. She and John were planning a wedding for next summer. Maggie had been glad to let Casey babble on and on about her wedding plans. All the better to distract her from asking about her own non-existent love life.
After brunch, Des and the girls were whisked away to a salon for mani-pedis over champagne. Des picked the perfect nude shade to complement the bridesmaids’ dresses. Everyone was chatting about the wedding when Casey zeroed in on Maggie. “So spill about Michael Rannigan. Tell us all the dirty details,” Casey urged.
Maggie had just sipped her champagne and almost did a spit take. “What dirty details?” she coughed. “I work for the man. What more can I say?”
Des joined in. “Remember your birthday? He sent three bottles of Bollinger to the table,” she told the others. “And now you see him every day? Is his number in your phone?”
Maggie reddened a bit. “Of course his number is in my phone. We have to keep in touch when he’s in court or away from the office.”
“Tell me that you at least flirt with him a little, let him know that you’re interested,” Casey begged. “How else will he know that you want to have his babies?” The group erupted in giggles. Maggie shook her head in embarrassment and was grateful when the conversation moved on to another topic.
The whole wedding party met at the beach that evening at 6:00 for the rehearsal and afterward they went for dinner at the Farm Neck Golf Club where Des’s mother was a member. When the dinner broke up around 10:00 the men took Jacob out while the women headed off for Des’s bachelorette party. Des’s sister Elaine had arranged for them to have a reserved section at Sharkey’s Cantina.
The music was loud, margaritas flowed freely, and Maggie forgot about her earlier discomfort in talking about Micheal. “I know some people think he’s an asshole,” she slurred to Casey. “But there’s a good guy under that layer. I’ve seen him.” She sipped on her fourth cocktail. Or was it her fifth? She’d lost track.
“But wouldn’t you rather see what’s under his clothes?” Casey asked reasonably, ineffectively waving a hand to remove a stray hair from her face.
Maggie looked thoughtful for a moment as she waited for her vision to stop spinning. “You know, I would, ack-shually.”
Casey gave her a knowing look, closing one eye so she could focus. “You need to begin Operation: Get-In-Michael’s-Pants.”
Maggie nodded and drained her drink.
By 5:00 the following afternoon, when it was time to make their way to the beach, Maggie’s hangover had finally passed. She’d slept until noon and Casey didn’t get up until an hour later. She had a feeling that she’d said some stupid things the night before but she couldn’t remember what they were.
Before leaving for the ceremony, she glanced at herself in the full-length mirror and gave herself a satisfied smile. For her bridesmaids, Des had chosen tea-length dresses of purple chiffon with a sweetheart neckline, spaghetti straps, an empire waist, and a wispy asymmetrical hemline. Maggie had secured her red locks in a casual up-do, the better to battle the ocean breeze.
She found Ben as soon as they arrived. “Hey there, hot stuff,” she greeted him. “How are you doing?”
He kissed her cheek. “Hi, gorgeous. I’m feeling okay. But I look fabulous, so there’s that.” He smiled thinly.
“Hang in there,” she encouraged him. “And you do look fabulous.”
At 6:30 sharp the processional began. The ceremony itself was brief but beautiful. Des and Jacob looked ecstatic and delivered their personally written vows flawlessly. Photos were taken of the bride and groom alone and with the entire wedding party.
After the photos, the wedding party joined the other guests in the giant white tents erected on the lawn of Des’s childhood home overlooking the ocean. The sun was beginning to set as a dinner of steaks and seafood was served by liveried waiters. Maggie snapped a few more photos to post to Facebook, adding to the ones she’d posted of their time in the salon and at the bachelorette party. She smiled when she saw that Karen had commented on a few of them.
Des and Jacob had their first dance then invited the bridal party to join them. Maggie danced with Ben and then with the other groomsmen. Later she danced for a moment with Jacob. “Congratulations,” she told him. “You two are perfect together.”
“We are, you know,” he replied, grinning. “And thanks for being part of our special day. One day it will be your turn.”
Maggie mentally rolled her eyes. “Yes,” she agreed, and was grateful when Des returned to dance with her groom.
She made her way back to the table where Casey and Ben were sipping their wine and watching the action. A server came by and topped o their glasses. The music shifted from elegant wedding music to dance music. “Come on you guys,” Casey said. “I want to get back out there.”
Maggie shook her head. “I need a break. I’ll be out there shortly.” Casey grabbed Ben’s hand and pulled him out to the dance floor. She watched them for a moment, then checked her phone for the time, noticing that there was a Snapchat notification. Opening it, she saw it was from a user she didn’t recognize. SMRDefense. Who in the world is that? she wondered. She held her finger on the notification and smiled immediately when she saw Michael sitting on a sofa looking into the camera. She thought it was a photo until he blinked.
Mischievous grin on her face, she held her phone out from her, turning her back to the crowded dance floor. She had to shout over the music. “It’s video, Michael. You’re allowed to move and talk. Welcome to the twenty-first century.” She immediately pressed Send.