Friday, January 21, 2011

The One - (Part 1)

The Cigarettes Were To Blame

I walked out of the hall; my clutch in hand. I couldn’t take it anymore. The music was getting to me. I walked up to the terrace; and looked around. I was alone. I opened my clutch, and removed the cigarette packet I’d managed to stuff inside at the last minute.
“Thank God for small mercies”, I heard a voice behind me say. I turned around. It was Alston. He was the best man, and I’d had the traditional dance with him, given the fact I was the maid of honor; but other than that, I didn’t know him at all. I flashed him a courteous smile, and said “You couldn’t be more right.”
“Can I rob you of one?” he asked, gesturing at the packet.
“Sure”, I said, as I offered him the lighter as well. He took the lighter and lit my cigarette first.
“So, Lisa, what do you do?” he asked, as he flicked his cigarette. “Well, I am in between jobs right now”, I replied, hoping to end this small talk as soon as possible. I’d come up to the terrace because I wanted to be alone. Plus, I wanted to finish the cigarette before any more audience joined us. I also knew that Andrea would want me back soon. I was her maid of honor, and it was my duty to be with her at all times. Thankfully Andrea knew that without a smoke break I wouldn’t have been able to function; and so she’d let me slip away when she was busy with Joshua.
“Well, and what were you doing before this?” he asked.
“I was copy editing for a company that is into educational books”, I replied, hardly interested in the conversation.
“That’s nice” he replied, an earnest smile on his face.
That was when I realized that I was being a complete bitch. Here was this cute guy being nice to me, and he was Joshua’s best friend; and Andrea was mine. The least I could do was have a real conversation with him.
“So Joshua, I hear you’re in Nottingham now!” I said.
“Oh yeah, which I wasn’t here to witness the whole Andy-Josh affair unfold” he said, while looking at me.
“Oh no no no!” I said, shooting him a worried look. “Don’t ever let her catch you calling her that. She hates being called ‘Andy’”
“Oh, is it?”
“Yeah, Andu is better; and even ‘Andre’ works, but definitely no Andy. She hates it” I said, with a serious tone.
“Noted, madame” he said, playfully. His smile was sort of cute.
“Shall we?” he said, as he gestured for me to take his hand.
“Alright”, I replied, while stubbing out the cigarette with my expensive pair of heels.
“That’s a lovely toe ring you have on” he replied.
He sure is observant’ I thought to myself, as I looked down at my orange toe ring and smiled. “Thanks” I said.
As we walked down the flight of stairs, he held onto my hand. I didn’t mind it though, because he didn’t have the grip that screamed ‘pervert’. It was a nice, firm grip; and it was helping, given the fact that I didn’t expect to be climbing up and down stairs in these new heels.
We entered the hall; and I shot a look at Andrea, and she smiled back. I excused myself and walked towards her. She looked resplendent.
“Congratulations, you!” I said, as I hugged her.
“Thank you, my love. By the way, I am going to throw the bouquet in your direction”, she winked at me.
“Puhleez!!! Spare me the trouble. Give it to someone else. Weddings are a headache” I joked.
“So, I see you and the best man have been bonding” she said, as she leaned in to smell me “Over a smoke, I suppose!”
“You know me all too well” I responded. “Yes, we’ve been talking and the talking was accompanied by the smoking; but no, no serious bonding or anything. You know me, don’t you, woman?”
“There you are” he said, as he walked up to me.
“The groom” I said, as I mockingly bowed down to him.
“You look stunning” he said, as he bent over and planted a kiss on my cheek”.
“You don’t look half as bad yourself, Josh” I replied, as I lightly punched him in the stomach. ‘He’s perfect for Andrea’ I thought to myself.
“You’ll get yourself one soon enough” Andrea whispered, almost like she’d heard my thoughts out loud. How did she always know what it was that I was thinking?
“May I have the pleasure of this dance with you?” I heard a voice behind me. It was Alston; he was back.
“Sure” I said, placing my hand in his. “Here, can you hold this for me, Priya” I motioned for one of the bridesmaids who took the clutch from my hand. I walked to the dance floor with Alston.
I may have not paid heed the first time I danced with him, but he sure could dance pretty well. The song playing was ‘Karma Chameleon’. The pace was good. He began doing the ‘East Coast Swing’ (or as the laymen called it ‘Jive’). I burst into an ear to ear smile. I loved dancing, it always made me smile.
Alston was cute, and he could dance. He was making me smile; but I still wasn’t attracted to him.
‘What’s wrong with you, Lisa?’ I thought to myself.
He, however, seemed to be doling out all his attention on me. He’d not asked any other girl to dance with him. ‘Enjoy the attention for now’ I said to myself, as we danced on.
I looked at Andrea; while I continued dancing. “In your direction” she said, as she gestured towards the bouquet, and she winked at me.