The third day of your honeymoon finds us sitting at your kitchen table, using the knives my parents gave you as a wedding gift to whittle wooden stakes from broken chair legs. I spent my whole life in love with you, and even allowed myself a brief moment of hope that you might return my affection one drunk morning when we crossed over the line between friendship and something more.
Then you went and got married. To a vampire.
When you called me for help killing her, how could I say no?
When my cell rang a little after ten on that Tuesday night, your number was the last one I expected to see. We’ve been best buds since I tackled Johnny Markson on the playground in the fifth grade for calling you bug-eyed, but I won’t lie -- things had become strained between us lately. Maybe it was just me. Or maybe it was that crazy, hazy morning we spent in bed together at Myrtle Beach during spring break, both of us still drunk off our asses and neither exactly sure what it was we were doing to the other. All I knew was it felt good, it felt right, but since we got back from the trip, you couldn’t seem to look me in the eye and you rarely called.
So you’d understand my heart was in my throat when I answered. “Hey.”
“Yo, yo, man! Whassup?”
I could tell immediately that you were drunk. Your words slurred together so thickly, I almost couldn’t make out what you said. “Are you okay?”
In my mind, I saw you wave away the question dismissively. “Fine, fine. Never better. Guess what?”
Cautious, I asked, “What?”
You lowered your voice and, in a harsh stage whisper, told me, “I’m in love.”
My heart beat faster. This was it, then, the moment I’d been waiting for since we returned from Myrtle Beach. This was where you had a few drinks and thought over what happened between us at the timeshare, and you decided it wasn’t all that bad after all. No, more than that -- you decided it was great. You’d waited your whole life to find someone to rock your world and you were surprised to learn it was me all along. Me, the burly kid who used to keep the bullies away from your nerdy ass in high school. You thought I protected you because you let me cheat off your tests but no, it was always something more than that.
And now you realized it. Now you saw me, me, as I really was. One man desperately in love with another. With you.
Before I could answer, you were rambling about something and I had to concentrate to make out what you said. “I don’t know, man, it’s just like wow, you know? Finally, after all this time. I didn’t even see it until the other night, when she -- ”
That woke me up. “She?” I choked out. “Who’s this?”
“Annaleigh.” You sighed, exasperated, as if you already told me and was a little peeved I hadn’t listened, but I never heard her name before in my life. “The girl from the night club? We’re getting married.”
The words hit me like a blow to the head, and I had to sit down. “What? When?”