A/N: I happened to catch a few episodes of the Hulu show (not the movie), Four Weddings and a Funeral, this week. As you may have been able to guess from this story's title, it'll be (very loosely) based on the Hulu show (not the movie). Hope you enjoy it. I've got 3 chapters written. We'll see where we go from there. :)

Most characters belong to S. Meyer. The rest belong to me. All mistakes are mine.


Chapter 1: The Girl Who Was Wined, Dined, and Two-timed.

Before I plow ahead with the tea, I call for the three of us to take a fortifying sip of wine. Through the laptop screen, I spot the wariness in their gazes as they drink up and keep their eyes on me over their goblet rims. Both sets of eyebrows shoot up higher when I hold up my index finger, indicating I need another second or so – and then I continue way past a sip.

"Didn't she say, 'Let's take a sip of wine before we get into it?'" Alice quotes me. "A – as in singular."

Seated at Alice's side, Rose nods in agreement. "Looks like she took a sharp left past 'a sip,' and she's careening fast into chugging territory."

"I mean, did you see how full that glass was?" Alice notes. "It was spilling over like a tsunami."

"At this rate, she'll be three sheets to the wind before she's ready to talk. Alright, let's reel her in here. Uh, Bella, honey? We're ready," Rose says pointedly.

Sighing, I set down the goblet over my small kitchen table a bit harder than I intended. It causes the remaining wine in the admittedly overfilled goblet to slosh over the rim. Grimacing, I just blurt it out because that's the adult way. And since this is my first, real adult heartbreak…

"Alright, I'm ready, I'm ready." I wave and sit up straight. "He's married."

"Oh, fuck no, Bella. Married?"

"Yeah, Alice. Married." Picking up the bottle of cheap wine, I pour myself a second serving.

"As in married married?"

The bottle still in hand, I pause the pouring and shoot Rose a smirk. "No, Rose, as in TV Rom-com married. Yes, as in married married."

Despite my attempt at levity, my voice breaks on the eighth iteration of that all-encompassing word. Sitting dejectedly in my minuscule apartment, I shift my gaze to the unremarkable, downtown New York City alley, beyond the lone kitchen window. Even the December snow fails to do much for the bland view of fire escapes bearing the weight of bicycles, old rusted pots, and the odd, forgotten dead plant. So, I turn back to the screen, where Alice and Rose sit side-by-side on high stools in their kitchen's island. Their view is of the London Eye lit up for the night, and the Thames River sparkling like black diamonds just behind it.

At least the invisible internet connections crisscrossing the world allow the three of us to commiserate in real-time. It's almost as if we were all still college girls living here together, spilling the tea on boys while drunk on cheap wine.

Almost, but not entirely.

Meanwhile, Alice and Rosalie remain silent, but their reactions are what I'd expect if the three of us were actually back together in one room. Through the laptop screen, Alice's expression is nearly as dejected as I feel, while Rosalie frowns furiously. Even when our sentiments match, our reactions tend to vary. I suppose it's one of the reasons we became best friends.

"What an asshole!" Rose snaps.

Alice nods in agreement. "He really is. Honey, how did you find out?" she drawls. Her southern accent becomes more pronounced when she's upset.

I expel a long, drawn-out sigh. "Well, I've told you both how we met, right?"

They share a look before answering almost in unison, "You met at your architecture firm's Holiday party."

Although one just appeared crushed while the other fumed, both women's tones now indicate impatience.

"I suppose you've both heard this part before."

"Oh, maybe once…" Alice's eyes dart around the room.

"Or twenty times," Rose finishes much more directly.

"Okay, perhaps I've been a bit generous with the retelling of this part of the story."

The three of us share a chuckle, and my heart clenches painfully for a second - not over him at the moment, no. Instead, over the fact that they're over there, together, when I'm over here, heartbroken and alone. But it was my choice to stay.

When Alice waves an eager hand meant to encourage me to continue, I smile despite my misery.

"I'm sorry, I know it's late for you guys, and I know you've both heard the next part before. But bear with me. It needs to be retold for the rest to make sense."

"B, we're not impatient because it's late. It's never too late or too early for you," Alice says.

"We're impatient because we want to get to the part where you tore him a second asshole before you castrated him. Go ahead," Rose says.

"Uhm…okay." I take another sip of my wine. "So, you both know he's a senior partner at the firm, though he wasn't part of the group that hired me a few months ago. Anyway, at the holiday party, we got to talking…and drinking. We really connected, you know? It's not every day one meets an older, worldly, and sophisticated man like him."

"Yes, yes," Rose flourishes a hand rather dismissively. "As our fathers have proven, Generation X was responsible for putting out a heap of refined gentlemen. Remind me, did you connect with this older, sophisticated aristocrat before or after you got drunk?"

"First of all, he's not that old," I mutter. "And second…I never said I got drunk at the holiday party."

Again, they share a look.

"Fine, I was a little bit drunk, but what difference does it make whether we connected before or after?"

They both purse their lips.

"Fine, fine. I guess…both?"

For a few seconds, they both stare at the screen.

"Okay. Continue," Alice says.

"So, after the barbecue, we ended up back here and-"

"Yes, yes. We know that too," Rose says. "You fucked 'til sun-up."

"Ugh, must you be so crass about it?" I ask. Meanwhile, Alice giggles. "I never called it fucking. It was…more than that. We connected on a deeper level."

"B, it's called hitting the perineum. As you become more sexually experienced and garner more sexual partners, you'll find that most men can hit that," Rose says dryly.

Through the screen, I glare at her. "You're hilarious."

"I'm serious."

"Bella, just go on," Alice chuckles.

"Like I said," I scowl, "it was more than fucking. He took me to the most amazing places, the most exclusive restaurants. We dined on lobster and wagyu steak," I smile. "We drank vintage wine almost every night. We went to the ballet and the opera, where he dressed divinely in Versace and Vuitton, and with his salt and pepper hair…he was the epitome of refinement."

"He wined you, dined you, and sixty-nined you, whereas most young women our age are still working their way up from Netflix and chill."

"You're pissing me off, Rose."

"Okay, okay," Rose yields with a chuckle. "I'm sorry. Go ahead."

"Well, what I hadn't mentioned to either of you before was that…we sort of agreed to keep things on the down-low; at least, until we figured out where, if anywhere, things would go between us."

"What?" Rose spits.

"Whose idea was it to keep things on the DL?" Alice demands.

"I guess…his? But I wholeheartedly agreed," I add hastily. "I mean, although we don't work in the same office, we do work for the same firm. It made sense."

"Bella, on what planet did it make sense for a grown man, who's way past old enough to know what he's getting himself into, and who's supposedly the second coming of Mr. Darcy," Rose says, making air-quotes; although, I never compared him – out loud – to Mr. Darcy, "to ask you to keep your relationship a secret?"

"I'm a newly hired junior architect – fresh out of college. He's one of the partners and almost twenty years my senior. It would've been awkward, at the very least, and it could've gotten tongues wagging. I don't need that type of negative scrutiny or backlash so early on in my career. As an established partner, he certainly doesn't need it."

"You may be new in your career, Bella, but don't forget Sulpicia Volturi herself recruited you," Alice says. "And she and her husband, Aro, are the principals-in-charge there, aren't they?"

"Which was even more of a reason to keep things quiet for now," I say defensively. "I didn't want Sulpicia or Aro hearing about this until I knew whether there was anything worth hearing about. Will you two stop sharing those looks? I may be thousands of miles away, but I see you."

"We're not trying to hide the looks, honey," Alice says.

"Bella, if we're going to raise eyebrows over things you say, we're going to do so where you can see us. Thousands of miles away or not, we're still a trio," Rose says.

My throat burns and my eyes sting, but my ensuing chuckle serves to loosen the knot in my chest.

"Continue," Rose says with a smile. "We're looking forward to the part where you made him swallow his own balls."

Now, I drain my second glass. "Anyway. We spent a great month getting to know one another outside of the office. We went out to dinner, to clubs, and strolled art museums. Almost every night, we came back here and-"

"And fucked 'til sun-up," they say, once again, almost in unison.

"He even stayed over a few times."

"Another question, did he ever invite you back to his place?" Rose asks.

"No. And that's what began to make me the teeniest, tiniest bit," – I squeeze my thumb and forefinger together close to my eye – "suspicious." Again, I expel a long sigh, and this time, when I speak, my voice quivers. "Then, this morning, while he was snoring beside me, his phone buzzed from the pants he'd left neatly folded on the chair next to my bed."

Expectantly, both women move closer to their screen.

"I wouldn't even have looked, but…as you both pointed out, he'd never even mentioned my stopping by his place. So, I silently got up, pulled the phone out of his pocket…and held it up to his face."

Alice bursts out laughing. "Good one, B."

My nostrils flare. "When the phone unlocked, the text read, 'Good morning, hubs. How's the conference going? Call me this morning if you have time. I want to know what you want to do about dinner tonight. Otherwise, we can decide when you're home.'

"What a motherfucking, cock-sucking bastard," Rosalie seethes. "Is this where you cut off his prick and stuck it in his own mouth?"

"I did better. I woke him up by throwing his phone, his clothes, and his coat in his face and ordering him to get the fuck up and out."

Rose looks away from me to Alice, confused. "How is that better than what I just said?"

"Maybe that part is still coming up?" Alice wonders.

"Okay, time out," I say, gesturing with my hands. "Let me just end those castration fantasies right here. At no point in this story will there be castration. Let's remain in the realm of reality here, please. Now, moving on, when he got a look at the text, he couldn't apologize enough. But I pushed him out the door, still in his underwear, and with his shit clutched against his bare chest."

Alice snickers heartily. "Boy, your neighbor, old Mrs. Cope must've had a ball watching that scene play out from the peephole in her door."

"Whatever. I don't care," I shrug, shaking my head and hanging it unhappily.

"Oh, babe," Alice says, her tone now infused with compassion rather than humor. Nonetheless, they only allow me a one-minute pity party before Rose bangs the counter with her open palm.

"Okay, that's about as much mourning as that relationship deserves. Since there won't be any neutering in this story, I'll just say this. Bella, honey, it was fucked up, but consider it a learning experience, my love. Many men – not all of them," she concedes, "but a considerable amount of them, are assholes."

"True," Alice concurs. "And assholes tend to have a habit of preying on sweet, pretty, young women like us, don't they?"

"They do," Rose agrees, "no matter how sophisticated said men may seem. Just be grateful you found out the truth early on before you were in too deep with this guy."

"Yep. And now, when you come to visit us in a couple of weeks for Christmas, you won't be leaving a boyfriend or quasi-boyfriend behind, and we can have much more fun! Remember that cute Scottish guy, Jasper, I'm seeing? I'm sure he's got loads of fellow Scottish friends. And guess what? They wear kilts on holidays – with nothing underneath!"

"Yeah. And I just met this new guy, and he's got a hot, older…Bella, why are you drinking straight out of the bottle now?"

"There's more," I say, setting down the bottle and burping.

Both women quirk eyebrows.

"So…this afternoon, after work, he approached me outside the office as I was getting ready to go down into the subway."

"He had the balls to- Oh, God." Rose palms her forehead. "God, Bella, please tell us there was at least some metaphorical castration here."

When I swallow hard, both women groan.

"He begged me to have a cup of coffee with him so he could explain-"

"Bella, I may not condone the actual castration," Alice says, "but please, please don't say you had coffee with him."

"I had coffee with him."

Here, Alice and Rose both throw back their heads.

"I needed the closure," I insist, "and he swears the marriage was over soon after it began-"

They growl at their ceiling.

"-and will you both let me finish without your theatrics?"

While Rose keeps her glare on the ceiling, Alice looks at me. "Go ahead, B."

"Thank you, Alice. And yes, I know it's a cliché excuse, but he says they both lead separate lives. They rarely see one another or spend time together. Even when they're both in the same home, they're in separate rooms. From what he describes, she sounds like an extremely aloof and cold-hearted woman."

"From what he describes," Rose echoes meaningfully. "Because if she were the poster child for a perfect wife, he'd tell you so."

"The poster child for a wife?" I frown. "Rose, that doesn't even make sense."

"Besides," she continues, "being a cold bitch doesn't make one deserving of a cheating husband."

"I know that, Rose. That's not what I meant."

"Bella, if it's all so over, why hasn't he asked for a divorce?" Alice asks.

"I asked that. Do you really think I wouldn't have asked that?" I know I'm defensive, and I know I have no right to be. But still, not having them have my back here…it hurts. "He says at first, it was because he felt he owed it to her to stay in the marriage until he made partner. See, his wife is one of those ultra-rich, blue-bloods, and her family paid for his entire education. He felt indebted to them. He wanted to earn enough to pay them and her back through a decent settlement, above and beyond what they spent on him."

"Wow," Rose says dryly. "But apart from spending his days as a martyr, how long has he been partner?"

"Again, I asked him the same thing, Rose," I say through clenched teeth. "And he admitted he'd become…lax regarding the situation. He spent most of his time at work anyway, and he didn't think there was anything else out there for him. But after he met me-"

"Now, he's ready to ask for that divorce." I don't miss the cynicism in Rose's tone.

"Yes." I swallow hard. "He says he loves me."

Silence.

"And then, what? You forgave him?"

"No, Rose. Can you give me some credit, please?" I plead, resisting the urge to answer her combative tone with a 'fuck you,' followed up by a middle finger.

When Rose doesn't reply, Alice plays referee. "So, tell us what happened, B."

"I told him that first off if he was going to ask his wife for a divorce, he had to do it for himself, not for me. And I told him…if that was the case, if everything he said was true, then I needed proof that he'd asked for that divorce and moved out before he and I spent any more time together."

"And what did he say to that?" Alice asks.

"He agreed."

"Oh." Alice smiles, appearing relieved. "Well, then. If that's the case, that's not so bad, right?"

Rose, however, still appears dubious. "So, when is he asking for this divorce that slipped his mind and then hiring the U-Haul? Tonight?"

At this point, I'm bouncing the rim of the empty bottle off my tongue.

"His wife's birthday is in a couple of weeks. She's a Christmas baby, so apparently, her family has a huge celebration planned. They've rented a ballroom, hired a band, caterers, requested invitees wear black ties and ballgowns. The whole nine yards." I draw in a deep breath and steel myself while they stare at me, obviously bewildered about where this is going. "We've both agreed it would be cruel for him to ask for a divorce before then…and directly after. He's going to wait a couple of weeks after the party, right after New Year's. Start the year fresh-"

Again, Rose bangs the counter. "Oh, come on, B! Please say you're joking!"

"It's Christmas and her birthday, Rose!"

"Ugh, Bella," Alice groans. "Even I can't say that doesn't sound like a crock right there, like some crazy, convoluted shit he's made up so he can have his cake and fuck it 'til sun-up too."

"No." I shake my head vehemently. "No, because I've told him not to come near me the entire time, to keep away until he's ready to prove to me he's asked for a divorce and moved out. He swears he'll do it a couple of weeks after her party."

"And what will you be doing while he resolves his Emmy-worthy, prime-time drama?" Rose wonders.

"I'll be going on with my life," I hiss. "I've made him no promises, not after what he did."

"We've already discussed what I think he deserves after what he did," Rose says, "and promises don't figure in there anywhere unless it's a promise to saw off his-"

"Rose!"

"Bella, he not only lied to you, but he made you an unwitting party to an affair!"

"He says he was terrified to tell me about his situation because he was afraid I wouldn't understand."

"So, instead, he made you the other woman without even giving you a choice? B, I've got to side with Rose here," Alice says.

Shaking my head, I swallow against the lump in my throat. "I know it's hard for you both to understand because you're not here and you're not in my position and because you don't know him the way I do."

"B, it's only been a month," Rose says more gently. "How well can you possibly know him?"

"A month or a day, Rose; it doesn't make a difference when you fit together. Just like when you don't fit, it doesn't matter how long you've been together."

"And you think you and he fit?" Alice asks.

"I…I…" I can't reply.

"I'm not sure. I'm not sure about anything right now. Do you both think I haven't already asked myself everything you're asking? I have, and…it kills me that I've gotten myself into this situation."

"Then get out of it!"

"It's not that simple!"

They're silent.

"Look, if he's serious about everything he said, he'll ask for a divorce, move out, and then we'll see where things go. If he isn't, he won't, and I'll never get involved with him again."

"And that's it? He gets away with lying to you?" Rose asks.

"Rose, I'm not risking jail-time to dismember him," I smile.

"That's not what I'm talking about," she smiles in return.

"Besides, I'll be busy for the next couple of weeks getting ready to go see you guys for the holidays. Then, when I return, I'll be busy catching up. It's not like I'll be dwelling on this."

It's only a partial lie. I will dwell in between.

Alice releases a deep breath. "Maybe…maybe it'll work out."

Rose, however, has always been the more distrustful one of the three of us, the skeptic, the one who sees the glass as half empty; whereas Alice sees it as half full, and I…I see it as somewhere in between.

Rose sighs. "B…for my sake, I really hope this doesn't all blow up in your face."

"For your sake?" I question with a frown.

"Yeah. Otherwise, I'll have to get on a flight back to New York and castrate the asshole myself. And I'm not sure how far I can get with my interior design business from jail."

Chuckling, I accept that, knowing it's as much of a concession as I'll get from her.

I could've gone with them. After college graduation last year, Rose and Alice took the chance. They chased their dreams to London – one determined to become an interior designer and the other a fashion designer. Me, the architect, with a job offer already in the works, decided to stay behind.

Behind them, the London Eye twinkles in the darkness.

"Bella," Rose says, "you know the only reason I'm such a hard-ass is because you're like a sister to me, right? You girls…you're my family."

The three of us have been inseparable since we met in our freshman year – a girl from Washington State, another from Biloxi, Mississippi, and another from Rochester, New York. Three girls from broken homes became sisters and a family.

I reach out and touch the screen, smiling as a tear skims my cheek. On their end, they do the same, even matching tears on either cheek. Then, the three of us chuckle.

"I love you both, too," I say. "So, why don't you two tell me about how your love lives are going?"


A/N: Thoughts?

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