One day, that’s all I have. One day to let myself go, to look at Jared in the way that I please, to laugh with him, punch his arms playfully. One day before he’s not longer alone. One day before he marries my best friend.
“We should get a one-way ticket to Japan and never come back” Shannon laughs, handing me a bag of chips, I take it, sticking a whole bunch of them in my mouth.
We are both laying on the sand, letting the sun do its work on our skin. The beach was the best place to avoid all the marriage drama back at the hotel, reason why our skin was tanner than ever.
Shannon sighs, taking the bag from my hands, “Maybe not Japan” He reconsiders our imaginary trip, “What about Brazil?”
“I don’t like Brazil” I mutter, rolling to lay on my back, “The weather is too… I don’t know.”
“You are crazy” He laughs again.
“What are you two talking about?”
My head raises to the sound of Jared’s voice. He’s laying by my side, taking a few seconds to take off his shirt. Shannon notices the long silence, and my awkward staring at Jared, giving me a quick and strong kick on the leg.
“Travelling” I answer, falling from my cloud, “Planning our vacations”
“Oh, and you are going alone?”
“We are still thinking about it” Shannon says, but at the same time I decide to let all my bitterness out.
“Yeah, since someone decided to get married…”
I can see Jared eyes change from curious to hurt, all because of my comment.
Being friends with Jared was never easy. We would walk down the school hallway, noticing the lusted looks all the girls gave him, or the comments and letters he would receive daily. At college it was the same, and I learned the bad way that you must knock on a guys bedroom before you get in, it didn’t matter if he was you best friend.
I never noticed my crush on him, not until Shannon noticed and started teasing me about it. At first, It was a game, but then he really started talking about the topic, giving me advises that I never considered. Well, not until Annie came into our lives. Annie was my best friend in primary school, and we had the typical 7 year old friendship, sharing our colored pencils, our biggest possessions at the time. We were best friends until the moment we had to go to different secondary schools. Her parents chose catholic, while mine stood with public.
She came back into my life two years ago; we found each other in a cafeteria and we couldn’t be apart anymore. The best friends were back together.
I never thought that introducing her to Jared would change my life completely, that my best friend would fall in love with my other best friend, and together they would break my heart.
“He’s not in love” Shannon used to say every time I would come to his house to avoid seen them together.
“They are, I can see it in their eyes. I know you can too”
In the end, they did fall in love, and I had to watch it all in front row, all because Jared and I were roommates. Worst decision ever.
“You are the one with all the tattoos, the one who likes rock” Shannon would say to comfort me.
“I know” I would whimper, “But she is the one who likes to make cupcakes and drink tea at five, and he still likes her better than me”
“He doesn’t like her more, there’s no one like you!”
I always believed his words. But he still chose to marry her.
“We were thinking of Japan!” Shannon says to break the awkward silence, “Visit some temples, eat like is the end of the world”
“Yeah, whatever” I mutter.
I receive a whole bunch of sand on my back due to my bad attitude, and Shannon’s disapproval look.
“Anyway,” I start, “I need to get back”
Neither of the Leto’s say anything as I take my things and leave the beach. Nice way to spend your last day with a single Jared, very clever.
I spend the whole afternoon helping Annie with last minute details. I glue a smile to my face, it’s my best friend’s wedding after all. She doesn’t even notice that this is all a facade, she’s so into her perfect world that she just… Ok, I was being selfish. It was her big day. Just leave to when you’re alone in your room.
And so I did. After helping my best friend with all that she wanted I went straight to my room. The tears appear as soon as I close the door, whimpers invading the silence of the room. I lay on my bed, feeling the whole world on my shoulders, thinking again and again about the reason I was in that room, in that goddamn island. My best friend, the one I loved was getting married to someone who wasn’t me, and it all seemed like the end of the world.
The tears lead me to sleep, the sun setting as my head decides to give me a few hours of peace.
By the time I open my eyes, not sure where I was or what time it was, I can sense that I’m not alone in the room. Shannon stands from his seat, getting closer to sit on the edge of the bed.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m not even sure anymore”
His hands caresses my head, playing with my hair, trying to relax me. It kinda works, and a small smile appears only for him.
“You should try to sleep, tomorrow’s gonna be…”
“A mess” I interrupt him.
A smile appears on Shannon’s lips as they lower to leave a kiss on my forehead. I close my eyes at his touch, deciding that he’s right. I need to sleep.
And I try. Shannon stays in the room, seating by my window, guarding me. Buy I roll and roll on my bed, unable to go back to sleep. I end up standing up from the bed, walking towards the door.
“Where are you going?” Shannon asks me, getting up from his seat.
“I don’t even know, I just want to be alone”
Shannon looks at me and I can feel the pity on his eyes. He warned me so many times, he knew that this was going to happen, but I didn’t listen. As I get off from my room I take a half empty bottle of vodka from one of the tables. I can feel my head spinning due to all the thoughts invading me. I want to push everything aside, get some fresh air and forget.
The waves tickle my ankles as I walk in the shore. A quarter of the vodka is gone, and I’m sure I’ve been leaving irregular footprints on the sand. I don’t even know where I am, which is not a good sign. Since the goods are not in my favour, I decide to sit and wait for my drunkenness to fade away with time.
The idea vanishes way quicker than my drunkenness and I end up drinking the rest of the bottle. I don’t even notice it, it’s like in one second it had the bottom full with liquid and then it was gone. Boom. Magic.
My limbs feel heavy. Way too heavy. I’m too drunk to even think about how I am.
“Would it- it… Would…” I start asking myself, not being able to think of a way to finish the question, “it! Would it be too-t-oo dumb to sleep? Here, I mean. Here”
I look around, as if I could find anyone to answer my question.
“That’s what I thought” I laugh, resting my head on the sand.
It doesn’t even take me two seconds to fall asleep on the sand, probably risking everything by doing so.
The feeling of being asleep for ages takes over my body when I feel someone grabbing my arms. Still too drunk to realise that someone is touching me, I let out a faded scream/yawn.
“Can you at least open your eyes?”
The voice is too loud and I can feel my head pounding. A sudden urge to stand from the sand takes over my body. I do my best, being too quick for my weak body, and I surprise the man next to me by being on my feet in just two seconds.
“You’re going to barf?” The voice asks me.
I can’t even nod when the liquid escapes my mouth. I fall to my knees, one hand on my belly, the other trying to pull my hair aside.
“Come on, we need to head back to the hotel”
Realisation finally hits me when I see Jared by my side. He’s trying to help me with my hair as we sense a new wave coming from my mouth. I know I’m a mess right now, both physically and mentally, and it’s all my fault.
“I can take you on my arms if you…”
“Leave me alone” And those are the first words that come out of my mouth. Great.
“What?” Are you crazy?! I looked everywhere for you!”
“You didn’t have to, I’m not your responsibility anymore, remember?”
I raise my head to look him in the eyes. My words hurt him, the pain is clear on his eyes, but I don’t stop there.
“Did Shannon send you? Did he tell you everything about me?” I ask, doing my best to get on my feet.
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb with me, Jared” I growl as I get closer to the share to wash my mouth. Worst idea ever.
“I’m not playing anything!”
God no, not tears.
“What the fuck is going on with you?”
The knot on my throat grows bigger and bigger as I feel the tears taking over my already fucked up face. Jared tries to get near me, get his hands on my face and dry my tears. But I take a step aside, starting to walk away from him.
I can hear him calling my name, rushing to get by my side, and that’s when my chest cannot handle it anymore.
“How can you be so fucking blind?!” I shout.
Jared freezes by my side, not taking another step toward me.
“Why?” He asks in a whisper.
“I love you”
“I love you too” He says, and I can see how realisation starts to take over him.
“No, you don't” I whimper, a smirk appearing out of nowhere on my face, “You know you don't”
Jared seems uneasy, his hands clenching in each side of his body. He whispers my name one, two times, but it feels meaningless.
“You are the best thing that could ever happen to me,” He says mumbling, “You are the reason I am the person I am today…”
“I’m also the reason we are here” I interrupt him. “I’m the one who introduced you to Annie”
“And you changed my life that day”
“You’re my best friend” His eyes get watery, and I can feel my heart being chopped and thrown in the sea behind my back, “You are probably the best thing about my life, all my memories… There’s not a single moment in which you were not by my side”
“But?” I ask, even though I don’t what to hear an answer.
“I don’t love… like you love me”
The tears are more prominent on my face now, my vision is way more blurry and the combination of the pain in my heart, and how drunk I am, makes everything around me seem unreal.
“I’m so sorry” He whispers, and I know he’s being sincere. Because he’s my best friend and he he has always hated to see tears in my eyes. Jared was always the one cursing at all those who dared to mess with my heart. And now he was one of those he used to bash back in the day.
“I’m heading back to the hotel” I mutter, the knot on my throat almost too big to let me speak properly.
I see him nod, not even asking me if he can come with me. And I thank him for that.
I don’t know how, but I end up finding my way back to the hotel. The tears haven’t stop their curse, but at least the pain made me forget about how drunk I was. The man at the reception gives me preoccupied look, he wants to ask me what’s going on, if I’m okay, I can sense it. I rush to the stairs to get to my room and finally hit the bed. According to the clock on the nightstand it’s almost 4 in the morning, and that gives me a solid five hours of sleep before I have to be up again.
My morning is spent helping Annie, being the best maid of honor you can find in the world. I compliment her every time she feels insecure about something; calming her nerves whenever she believes she forgot something. I give my best for her, because she’s my best friend and she’s marrying my other best friend. The man I love. The I want to be happy. The one I want to have the best day of his life.
When it’s time for the ceremony we head downstairs. Shannon is waiting for me, we are supposed to make an entrance together. Best man and maid of honor.
The look on his face confirms all my suspicions. I look like shit.
“We can still get to the bus stop, there’s still time” He whispers.
Annie is busy behind us, talking with her dad about what’s coming. I turn to him, trying to find something to occupy myself with.
“Shannon” I try to shut him, my hands busy on his tie.
“I can still see the red in your eyes, you shouldn’t be here”
“It your brother’s wedding, my… Two best friends are getting married, there’s no other place I…”
“We can leave, go to Japan, forget about all this” He interrupts me.
I give him the most sincere smile I can provide. I don’t even remember how many years we spent talking about same topic. Shannon always thought that Jared had feelings for me, and it almost convince me once. We always talked about what could happen if I ever told Jared how I felt, and this particular result was alway on the list. But neither of us imagined how hurt I could end up with Jared’s negative answer.
“We can still make things better, I promise”
“I love you, you know that?” Shannon nods, taking both of my hand on his, “I’m gonna be okay, I promise”
Shannon leaves a long kiss on my forehead, letting go of only one of my hands. And that’s how we enter the small chapel, hand in hand, with the eyes of all the guests on us. The eyes from everyone but Jared’s.