A/N: Dirkenschnooooff! This is Annie Sparklecakes, aNdreaa, and angelforshow: three girls who seriously need to not give aNdreaa-the-stickler the profound privilege of posting and writing the author's note for the first chapter of our first collaborative fic because she was shaking with enough nervousness to floor a building. Together we make La Trizzle and we're going to Taco Bell. We'll buy you something if you review. And if you can guess who writes who.
Disclaimer: No way. We just like to run off and get almost-married.
The General Principles of Ditching at the Altar
By: La Trizzle
(Annie Sparklecakes, aNdreaa and angelforshow)
The Hog's Head
When I was five and-a-half years old, I placed my first bet.
It was actually pretty stupid. I bet that I could eat more grass than Kin, the really creepy girl next door. Kin, of course, accepted, and we sat in my backyard, chomping away, while all the neighborhood kids cheered us on. I ended up winning that bet, and walked away with three dollars, a shiny purple barrette, and a major stomachache. I spend the next two days sick in bed. Not really the best experience of my life.
But it was the turning point. I never forgot that rush that came with thinking I was going to lose to Kin – and knowing I couldn't let that happen. Stuffing a fistful of grass down my throat was painful, but it won me that bet.
I love the risk. I love that terrifying moment when you think you might lose. And best of all, I love that thrill that comes with winning.
That thrill, by the way, is about seventeen times better with alcohol.
"Easy there, Ino," Sakura says.
I blink at her, setting down my glass with a thunk. I can feel myself moving past pleasantly buzzed, and I know I'll be hurting tomorrow. That doesn't stop me from ordering another Gin and Tonic, though.
Across from me, Tenten doesn't bother to stop and be a mother-hen. Actually, Tenten doesn't seem to even stop to breathe. Always moving, that one. Which is a good thing, in our line of work.
"I snuck in to steal the wedding cake toppers, by the way," she says in a rush.
Sakura snorts into her beer. Classy. "Really?" she asks, wiping her mouth. "Let me see!"
Sakura likes souvenirs. She once made me steal pinecones from a hotel lobby. I swear, she is such a loser.
Tenten fishes out a couple of plastic figurines from her white clutch. I don't know if it's because I'm growing so drunk I can barely see straight, but those dolls look pretty much hideous to me. "Tenten" is taller and skinnier and has, like, an ass. Her husband, some rich, polished banker type, is shiny and wearing a top hat and seems to be missing the overgrowth of acne he's had on his left cheek for the better part of his life.
I am so sure.
"It looks just like you, Ten," I say. Tenten seems to believe me.
"Aw, shucks." She smiles brightly at me, then turns to wave over a waitress, and winds up getting the attention of the whole bar. Which isn't all that hard to do in a bar, at eleven, dolled up in a wedding dress.
"Don't get these dirty," Sakura warns, gesturing to her own strapless satin number. "Tools of the trade."
I don't know exactly how this "business" of ours started. Well, no, I know how it started. What I don't quite know is how it continued. I just did it for the gambling rush. There's nothing quite like betting on your own future, after all. I don't know why mature, responsible Sakura does it with me, why she finds a nice guy and gets him to propose, just so she can break his heart. I don't know why quirky, lovable Tenten leaves guys at the altar, waiting for the girl they've fallen for.
I don't know why we get engaged, just to run away from the wedding.
All I can say is it's a lot of fun.
That, and I love the frills.
Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club
Nightlife. Alcohol. Lights bright enough to blind. Home to gambling addicts and, even better, the place to go for spontaneous marriages. Or not-marriages, if you're us.
Tenten loves the Vegas stints. No fuss, no frou-frou, no wasting time. Tenten's practical. Not Sakura and me, though. We love the lace and flowers and pretty white dresses. We love the wedding-planning—especially since someone else pays for it. I like the flirty buildup to a proposal. Sakura likes the diamond rings. She likes the outdoor weddings, I like the international ones. So what we do is, we trade off. Our last triple-wedding was in London, my choice, so this time it's Tenten's.
I scratch at the side of my neck, where my latest Prince Charming decided to throw a lei around. Moron. It's yellow and plastic and tacky and smells like alcohol. The only reason I'm still here is the pair of shoes he's paying for right now. No ring this time, but apparently my not-husband-to-be has a foot fetish.
They're hot, though. Manolo Blahniks, silver and turquoise, and absolutely amazing. I kind of regret meeting him here. If he'll buy me Manolos after knowing me for half an hour, imagine what he'd buy me if we knew each other for half a year? He's clearly loaded if he's staying at the Wynn. I would happily live here, just by the shops. I wouldn't even need a room, just a tent. And this guy's money. Then again, maybe he's just being so free with his credit card because he's drunk. Like, drunker-than-drunk. I asked him for his name, and he said, "Snurkle."
I told him my name was "Appalachia," because he can't pronounce it, he's so smashed.
"Palatch," he slurs at me, and I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing.
"Yeah?" I slur right back, even though I am so not drunk. I never drink on the job—just after.
"Wear those tonight," he says, trying for a wink, but ending up blinking at me.
That's just gross, but I just smile, eyes lidded. "You got it, handsome."
The cashier hands me the bag with my shoes, not looking too interested in our conversation, though she does raise an eyebrow at my latest fiancé, who is sooooo not handsome. Which is, you know, why I have to pretend I'm drunk—because he's like forty, pudgy, and balding. He's not really my type.
But he's rich, so maybe he is.
I put a hand to my stomach suddenly and stop, doubling over. Snurkle takes a moment to realize I'm not with him, and I can't help but be offended.
"Appush? What's wrong?"
This is so not the time to laugh. Hold it in, Ino. Straightfacestraightfacestraightface—
"I think I'm going to hurl," I manage weakly, keeping my head bowed so he doesn't see how badly I want to laugh. "I need to go to the bathroom," I add when he doesn't say anything.
"Oh!" He scratches the shiny bald spot in the back of his head. "Of course."
I smile apologetically (except, you know, not), and turn on my heel, keeping my shoes close to my chest and hoping he doesn't notice I'm taking them with me.
Then again, what do I care? I can outrun him. I've had a lot of practice doing it.
The Love Shack Marriage Chapel
There's nothing as invigorating as being married by an Elvis impersonator at midnight while you're flat out smashed to oblivion.
But the best part of that sort of wedding is when you sudden snap out of your drunken stupor enough to realize, Hell no, I'm not marrying this guy! and then high-tailing your ass out of that sleazy wedding chapel and somehow managing to stumble back to your hotel room while still in your clubbing heels.
True story, no lie.
When I was a little girl, I used to dream about my perfect wedding. I had it all planned out too: my dress would be puffy with a 10 foot train, like a Cinderella gown, and there would be cherry blossom petals thrown around instead of rose petals (hello, pun on the name), and my cake would be five magnificent tiers of vanilla-y heaven with snow white buttercream icing and dark chocolate curls.
But as much as I loved my dream wedding, I realized, at 18 years old, when I got proposed to for the first time, that I loved engagement rings a wee bit more.
I was eighteen and I thought I was in love, so I said yes to the dude. My parents were disapproving, but they gave in once I said that I was "in love". Everything was planned out perfectly, from the dress to the cake to the flower petals to the chapel—everything. But then, when I was in front of the priest, holding hands with my fiancé, and I was expected to say "I do," something snapped. I was eighteen. I hadn't even gone to college yet. I wasn't ready to be married, so…
I ran. I ditched the guy at the altar and I ran.
Eventually, we got refunded on everything, even the cake. But I didn't give back the engagement ring. It was cheap, from like Wal-Mart or something, I mean, c'mon it was bought by an eighteen-year-old, but it was pretty, and it held some good memories, so I kept it, stuffing it back into the polyester box (like I said, Wal-Mart) and shoving the box into the deepest, darkest depths of the third drawer down on the right side of my vanity table.
"Are there any objections to the union of this happy couple?"
The priest's voice snaps me back to reality, and I blink through the heavy mascara that's drenching my eyelashes.
The priest is old, reeeeally old, and he turns his head slowly, blinking, looking for objectors.
No one. Damn.
"Um," the noise comes out of my throat, strangled sounding. "I'd like to object…" I mumble, taking my hands back from my fiancé's. "I'm not ready for marriage. SORRY SWEETIE, BYE!" I add on while I hoist up my dress (it's a slinky little white thing that barely qualifies as a wedding gown), and run. I slow down a bit to grab my purse, and flash a hasty peace sign before leaping through the door. "SEE YA!"
The cab's already waiting at the sidewalk.
The MGM Grand Hotel
It's only 1:00 AM, so I'm the first one back in our hotel room. Ino and Tenten are probably still busy scamming their men for all their money, but our usual "curfew" is around 3:00, so they'll be home eventually.
I decide to use my time wisely, and I find a way out of this skanky dress and throw it in the corner of the room (it smells like cigarettes and vodka, eww.) before stomping into the bathroom. It's huge, with marble floors and a gigantic Jacuzzi and three actual sinks. Tenten actually picked a good hotel for it being located in shifty Las Vegas.
After a nice twenty-minute shower, I step out and try to work at the makeup smearing around my eyes. It's waterproof, so it doesn't really work, and I look like a raccoon, but I don't really care, because smoky eyes are supposed to be sexy, right? Besides, I'm eager to get to my prize—
I dress quickly in some loose pajama pants and a t-shirt (a nice "AHAHA, SUCKER!" to the man I would've married. He would've expected me to be wearing lingerie tonight.) before digging into the depths of my suitcase to withdraw a small drawstring bag. It doesn't look like much, but I (and Ino and Tenten) know the value of it.
I pour the contents out of the bag just as Ino walks in.
"Nice haaaaul," she slurs, eyeing my bed.
She's so drunk.
But she's right.
"I got a Tiffany tonight," I told her with a lopsided grin. "Got any alcohol on you?"
"Lemme see the...the Tiff'ny," Ino says to me, making grabby hands. "Then I'll give you some of the booze I jacked." She pulls her bag—a giant Louis tote—into view and smiles crookedly. "I got it aaaall in here."
"Fine, fine," I mutter, crawling over to my purse on the floor and digging through it. I grab what I need and toss the box gently onto my bed.
The tiny Tiffany Blue box bounces softly before settling itself in a space between a cheap polyester cube and a posh little black box.
"You should put on a fashion show with those things," Ino mumbles out, blinking slowly. She reaches out to the Tiffany box. "Let me see this, bitch!"
I smile. Drunk Ino is the best. Tenten gets violent when she gets smashed, but Ino just get really dumb and starts acting the way she did when we were 17 and getting high for the first time. "Alrighttttt," I say, opening the box. I flash the contents of the box at her, and the sudden shine makes her recoil.
"Damn, that's a nice one," she says. Even drunk, Ino has a great eye for style.
But I shrug. "It's a normal Tiffany setting diamond. White gold band. I have another one in here somewhere—" I wave at the pile of little velvet ring boxes—"but it's the thought that counts."
"How many rings do you have now?" Ino asks. She eyes the pile of rings on my bed with interest. "We've been scammin' guys for a while now, yeah?" She flips onto her bed and lies face-up, smiling at the ceiling. So. Drunk.
I count the boxes.
"Twelve," I answer Ino with a grin. "Ranging from cheap shit to the third biggest diamond in the world." It's true—I vaguely remember dating-slash-almost-marrying the son of the fourth richest family in… France, was it? I'm not too sure, but it's the ring that counts, duh.
I stroke the box containing the third biggest diamond in the world—it's purple!—and then I shove all twelve ring boxes back into the drawstring bag and bury the bag in between many (many many many many) layers of clothes. The boxes are, after all, my freakin' legacy. I didn't go to business school to not learn value and shit.
Ino throws a bottle of alcohol at me, and I catch it right before it pelts me in the stomach. Mmm. "Get drunk, bitch," Ino tells me. She's on her bed and very close to throwing up. "C'mon, I didn't steal all of this for nothing. And I had to go through this terrible shopping expedition with a sicknasty 40 year old virgin to get it." She turns her head at me. Her cheeks are pink from alcohol (not just Stila blush) and her makeup smeared eyes glare at me. "DRINK!"
"Gladly." I don't even bother getting up off the floor to get a glass. I use a pair of tweezers to uncork the wine bottle (that's pure skill right there, and you know it) and bring the wine bottle to my lips.
"Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!" Ino chants from her bed.
Merlot (2003 Duckhorn Napa Valley, relatively cheap but fucking delicious) drips out of the corner of my mouth, ruining my shirt. But I really don't care. This is the anti-wedding after party, after all.
My phone rings really suddenly, and I get up from my suitcase (Louis Vuitton luggage set, bitches!) to dig through my Prada for my iPhone. (I'm not materialistic, I swear.)
I answer the phone. It's Tenten, she's a blabbering mess, and you can practically smell the alcohol on her breath through the phone line (and that's saying something, seriously). "Hey babe, where are you?" I ask, getting back up onto my bed and sinking into a blissful mountain of pillows and soft goodness. Merlot stays on the floor, because the hotel will probably make us pay for ruining their sheets.
Apparently, Tenten is lost in our hotel.
"We're in room two…" I run (um, stumble) out to the hallway and check the plaque on our door. "ninety-two. Hurry up."
"She comin'?" Ino asks me, getting up on shaky legs to get to her bag. She pulls out another bottle of alkie and grins, stroking the expensive bottle with manicured nails.
I smile and roll off the bed back down to Merlot. "Hell yeah she's coming."
I freakin' love life.
Wee Kirk Cupid Wedding Chapel
I hate dress shopping.
I always have, always will. What kind of sick person wants to go into a dress shop for three hours to pick out certain laces and fabrics and hems? It's so gross. I was the type of kid who used the thick racks of skirts and suits to play hide-and-seek; what better purpose could those stores serve one at age seven? At dinner rehearsals for the weddings I went to when I was younger, I pretended the silver spoons and china plates were drum sets. I didn't consider myself a proper attendee for any kind of frilly occasion, really, because the tantrums I threw were strategic and timed. I suppose, once upon a time, I must have admired the Way of the Wedding but that was before the divorce and before custody issues and before a lot of things. But I won't get into that.
I swear though, when I get married, I want to have the most unorthodox wedding ever. No dresses. That'll be on the invitation: NO BLACK TIE. If you come in wearing a dress, the ushers will be forced to bitch-slap you.
Then when the wedding hymn comes on (actually, I would probably request some kind of epic orchestrated theme song) and it's time for me to do my little procession down the aisle, I'm going to skip. Or run. Or do cartwheels. But not walk. Tch. Walking is for losers. No, no, I've got it: I'll go by cannon. I am going to board a cannon like they do in circuses and shoot across the aisle to my husband. Yeah, I've got style.
And I won't be wearing a dress. I'm going to pick out the perfect pair of soft, comfortable, beautiful jeans. No frills and ruffles to worry about; just the perfect pants.
And you know what? I won't even wear heels. I'll just go over to Payless and get a pair of size 7 flats. $19.95. No sweat. No freakin' Jimmy Choos.
So, despite this huge homily I've just given myself, it really doesn't make sense that, right now, I'm standing next to a wasted guy, holding his hand, with my boobs about to pop out of the disgusting stripper dress Ino and Sakura bought for me for this special occasion. And I am so not wearing Payless right now.
"And do you," the fake-looking priest says, "Tenten...erm..."
"Actually," I break in rather stupidly, "No."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Bon Voyage!" I belch (can't blame me—we'd just left an all-meat buffet) at my about-to-be-but-not-anymore groom. I shove him aside (still with the $1,200 gold ring he bought me not an hour before this little charade) and stumble quickly down the aisle, grabbing my purse and totally getting out of there. Since this was a total shotgun wedding, there was no cake, no witnesses bearing gifts. But hey—it's Las Vegas. And I had the freakin' ring.
And, since the poor guy is still standing there dazed and confused (really), I yell out a sympathetic, "SORRY!" THEN I bolt.
You ain't kissin' this bride.
The MGM Grand Hotel
"Open up the damn door, fatheads!" I bark, banging my fist rudely. I have the key in my purse, actually, but I'm so lazy and just want to demand a door-opening service.
I stumble around a bit. Why do these hotel halls all look the same? It is so stupid. They should at least color-code the walls so stupid people, like me, don't get drunk at two in the morning and try to find their way back to their rooms. Well, I'm not really drunk. I usually can hold my alcohol pretty well and it's always me who ends up with the driving shift on the way back from barhopping and clubs. And tonight's no exception. Admittedly, I did have quite a few drinks prior to my almost-hitch affair.
The door opens just a smidgen and the ugliest guy I have ever seen pokes his head through.
"What the hell do you want?" he croaks.
My eyes pop out and as fast as my panicked voice will let me, I say, "Sorry. Wrong room."
The door immediately slams shut.
Well, that's great. I'm stranded on one of the hundred floors in this stupid hotel and I'm dead tired from running away from the chapel.
I open the clasp of my little white purse (to match with the stripper wedding dress of course) and fish out the card key and my phone. I click the first speed dial (Sakura because Ino is, sadly, more sluttish and less reliable) and wait for her to pick up.
"Speaaak," groans a voice on the other line. Sakura sounds like she is going to throw up and, if I know her, she already has and is about to again.
"Where are you?!" I hiss. "I'm so out of it, Sakura. What the hell is our room number?"
There's some interference, the sound of a door opening, and a pause.
I look at the plaque that's on the door I'd just knocked on. Eight-forty-seven.
Wow. I was way more off than I thought.
"Okay," I say, and hang up the phone. I stumble back to the elevators, my heels clacking on the marble floor. With a groan, I flick them both off and stuff them under my arm. Barefoot comfort is better than Jimmy Choo hell. I can't believe I let Ino and Sakura pick out my outfit. I can't walk five paces without the dress riding up. Ick.
I stab the second floor button and wait thirty seconds before I'm let off at my proper floor…but by the time I reach the correct hotel room, I feel the drinks kicking in and the brain waves slinking out.
"Open up the damn door, fatheads!" I scream at two-ninety-two. It creaks open almost immediately and I stare at the floor. Sakura's sort of hanging off the doorknob with one hand and in the other is a wastebasket, probably full of vomit, but the girl looks happy. Why wouldn't she be? We're in paradise.
"Oh, sweetie," I groan, stepping over her carefully and into the room, shutting the door behind me. I love our hotel room. I made a nice choice in selecting the MGM as our crash point during our stay in Vegas. This suite is HUGE. There's three freakin' beds (one for me, Ino, and Sakura of course!) each complete with a thick comforter and half a dozen pillows. The bathroom is as big as a house and the closet—which has those full-length mirror doors that I personally love—takes up a whole wall. Plus the mini-fridge isn't so mini and there are three TVs with their respective couches and coffee tables. It's like three girl's rooms all smashed smoothly into one. Heaaaaaven in room space.
I fling the Choos somewhere in the corner of the room and flop onto a bed. Ino's on her own bed, looking drunk as hell with mascara running down her face, but still very happy as she's digging through the presents and candies and gifts she got from the wedding. My eyes travel down to her feet. Of course she would convince her potential groom for the night to buy her Manolos.
"Dude," I burp, rolling over on my stomach and undoing my hair from its bun, "Nice."
"Dude," she echoes back, "Right?! Oh, when I was running back, I totally just jacked two bottles, so knock yourself out!" She sort of sways back and forth on the bed, brandishing a green and silver champagne bottle. My eyes widen. I'm not an alcoholic but I know my stuff. I've been around a vineyard here and there.
"Dude!" I repeat, "Ino, that's a freakin' Krug Clos du Mesnil!"
"Dude!" Sakura chimes in faintly, just for kicks.
"Kreuger Closet Mile?" Ino says.
"These bottles are worth, like, eight-hundred dollars. Geez, how rich was your groom tonight?" I laugh. Then I remember the Manolos on her feet. Ah.
I turn back to Sakura's bed and notice a sizable ring (and classic Tiffany box) on the covers. That thing was probably more than seven grand.
Daaang. Why did I get landed with the cheapskate? Well, not really. The ring was twelve-hundred dollars. But I wanted truffles. And a cake. And refreshments. I mean, I didn't mind being Tiffany-ring-less as I cared more about the food and wine choice rather than the wedding bands but…still. CAKE. Hellooo. All I got was a forty-dollar meat buffet (albeit a good one).
I put on a mocking sad face as Ino takes another swig of the Krug.
"I want some," I pipe up, grabbing an empty glass tumbler from the mini-bar.
Yeah, I'm not totally drunk now, but I will be promptly.
I feel like eating chocolate strawberries. Right this second. That would go so well with the Krug.
Room service time.