Rissy, are you sure about all the flowers? I just think it might be a bit too much."
"But Feenie, don't you see! They represent how beautifully our love has blossomed!"
"Fine, fine. Whatever you want to do, Rissy." I answer. God I hate flowers.
I'm so sick of working out the wedding plans that I wouldn't care if Iris wanted to arrive at the altar dressed as a clown.
At least that would make things interesting around here.
I go outside for some fresh air. Some days I wonder if it's even worth it. The more time I spend with her, the more reluctant I am to marry her. For a girl that seems so perfect, Iris is just so…dull. We started out well, but in the last few months things just haven't been the same. I'm not even sure if I like her anymore. I don't want to hurt Iris, but I don't think I can go through with the wedding either. Maybe I just need some time to sleep on things.
"Feenie, do you want me to make you some mini-omelets?" Iris says, popping her head out of the door.
"No thank you."
"Ok, I'll go crack some- what? You don't want any omelets?"
"No, I'm, uh, not hungry."
"Feenie, what's wrong? You're not getting cold feet, are you?"
"N-no dear." I lie, avoiding her gaze.
"…Ok then." Iris says with worry in her voice as she closes the door and walks back into the kitchen.
Can she tell I'm lying? God, I feel terrible. Well, at least Maya should be coming over later. It'll be good to hang out with her again, even if it means spending money on burgers.
"Right. Uh huh, ok Mr. Smirnov, I'll be there."
Oh boy, that certainly puts a dent in my plans.
I turn around to see my best friend Maya Fey staring at me.
"M-Maya? How the heck did you get in here!? The door was locked!"
"Yeah, but your window wasn't. I wanted to surprise you! So what's up? I brought a bunch of Samurai movies, and that popcorn you like, so we can watch movies all night!"
"Um, Maya, look, a big client just showed up at the Borscht Club, and I have to work, so…"
"Oh…Well that's ok, I'll go with you!" Maya says.
"Um, are you sure? It's pretty cold there, and it's kind of boring…"
"Uh, hello! You're looking at a woman who stands under freezing waterfalls for a living! A little cold doesn't bother me. And it's probably more fun then watching all these videos by myself. Plus there's no way I can miss out on a chance to see you 'playing' the piano." Maya says, laughing.
"Hey! Fine, you can come, but I don't want you bugging me all night."
"Ok, I promise to behave. Maybe."
I give Maya a wary glance for a minute, then we head off.
Since Maya isn't allowed to go down to the poker room, she stays at the bar. I go down to face my "client", and it turns out he's the type that talks big but doesn't really have much skill. It only takes me about 15 minutes before he gives up. I head up to the main floor and sit beside Maya.
"Hmm…that was quick." Maya says, sipping on some drink I don't recognize.
"Yeah, he was really just a pushover. So how are things, Maya?" I inquire.
Maya groans. "Kurain Village is so boring. The elders are always on my back, I've got 100 scripts I've got to read, and the worst part is they don't have a burger shop for miles! Can you believe it?"
I can't help but laugh. I guess no matter how old Maya gets, some things will never change. The bartender comes and asks me what I want to drink, to which I respond "Whatever she's having."
"So when are you and Iris getting married?"
"A few more months. There's some stupid Hazakura tradition that we have to be engaged for 12 months before we can get married. Although when I think about it now, maybe there's a good reason for it. I'm not sure if I want to go through with it."
Maya nearly spits out her drink. "What do you mean?"
I sigh. "I don't know. I guess I just find life so…boring. It's always the same thing with er. 'Oh Feenie, I love you' 'Oh Feenie, I can't wait to get married', 'Oh Feenie do you want some omelets?' I'm just…sick of it."
Maya looks at me, concerned. "Yeah, I always found her kind of lame, to be honest. Er, no offense. But if you want exciting, then we can have a super exciting race over to Ben's Burger Bonanza."
"Nice try Maya."
"So then, what are you going to do?" Maya asks.
"What do you mean?"
"Are you gonna ditch her or something?"
"I don't know if I can do that."
"Well, if you don't really love her, that's probably the best thing you can do." Maya now has a serious expression on her face.
"You might be right, Maya, you might be right." I say thoughtfully.
Maya reverts to her playful self. "Might be? Whaddya mean, might be? When have I ever been wrong?"
"Uh…do you want the nice answer or the truth?"
"Hey!" Maya says, pretending to be angry. "You know you wouldn't be able to live without me, anyways."
I know that she's probably right, so instead of answering I just finish off my drink. "Well, the game's over, so what do you say we head back to the house?"
"Oh, don't be such a bore. I'm only here for one night, let's have some fun!"
"Well, I'm not sure, Iris will probably get worried…"
"Oh, Iris, Iris, Iris. Would you stop talking about her already! No more talking about her for the rest of the night, you hear? Tonight, it's just you and me, Ok?" Maya grabs my hand and we run out of the Borscht Club. Whatever I was drinking must have been pretty strong, since most of the night was a blur, I can barely remember what happened the rest of the night. I'm pretty sure we grabbed some burgers, like we always do, and for some reason Maya kissed me, saying that I had some ketchup on my cheek, and then I think we checked into a motel, and I remember lying on the bed. And then…
The next morning…
Ugh. I must have had too much last night. My head is killing me. Well, I'd better get up and, wait, what the-
I reach for my hat, which I always put on my dresser, but it's not there. In fact, my dresser isn't there. I open up my eyes to realize that I'm not in my room. My hat is located halfway across the room, along with a bunch of disposed clothes, not all of which is mine. What the hell?
I hear shuffling beside me, so I turn around, only to realize I'm not alone, and that the other person beside me in bed is Maya. Well, at least I know who the other clothes belong to.
"Oh my god." I blurt out, much louder than I had expected.
"Huh" Maya says, stirred from her sleep. "What's going-EEEEEEEK!" Maya shrieks and sits up. "Nick you're…I'm…we…Oh my god!" Maya quickly grabbed a blanket to cover herself up. "Nick…oh my god…I'm so sorry. You and Iris…"
I sit in shock as well, staring at Maya while trying to gather my thoughts. I finally come up with the words I'm looking for, coming to a realization that there's no way I can marry Iris now. "It's….it's probably for the best. I don't think Iris and I would have lasted very long anyways."
Maya stares down at the sheets. "This is all my fault. If I hadn't shown up, then we wouldn't be here, and you and Iris would be-"
"Unhappy. I told you yesterday that I was getting sick of her."
"Don't blame yourself. Iris and I are just way too different. She's just not right for me."
"Well, not everybody can be a barrel of fun like me." Maya says, looking away. She's blinking back tears.
"Maybe you're right."
Maya looks back at me. "I think I should probably go before I screw anything else up."
"No," I say without thinking. Maya stares at me, confused. "I mean, um…are you OK?"
"Am I Ok? Are you joking? I come down for a monthly visit, I end up sleeping with my best friend, who happens to be engaged, which makes him want to call off his wedding! No, I'm not Ok! I'm terrible! I don't know why you even let me hang around you, I'm bad luck!"
I grab Maya's arm as she begins to get up. "Maya, you're my best friend, and to be honest, I'm beginning to realize that you matter a lot more to me than Iris does." And then, without thinking, I kiss her. I can tell she's shocked at first, but after a few seconds she begins to kiss me back. I lie her down on the bed and stroke my fingers through her hair.
Maya blushes at how weird all of this is, and then begins to whisper to me. "I hope you know we're both going to hell."
I chuckle, and then tell her "I kind of accepted that when I became a defense attorney."
We both start laughing, despite our rather awkward situation. I know I must be a terrible guy for what I'm doing, but for some reason I can't explain, the fact that I slept with Maya doesn't seem to be bothering me as much as it should. And despite the intimate moment that we're having, I can't fully enjoy now that I know what I have to do next.
Several Hours later…
I stand outside of the door. I don't really know how I'm going to tell her, I feel guilty for betraying her like I did. But although part of me is stressed out by guilt, the other part of me is relieved now that the other burden I had been carrying around for the last few days is lifted. I take a deep breath, knowing that there's no turning back now, then I open the door and walk in.
"Uh…Iris?" I call, butterflies bouncing up and down in my stomach. I hear running, and before I know it Iris is smothering me, as always.
"Oh my god, Oh my god! Thank god you're ok! When you didn't call last night, I thought something terrible had happened, like maybe you were kidnapped! I'm so glad you're back!" she says, hugging me.
God, she's making this hard. She can't be doing this on purpose, can she?
"I-Iris, there's something I…I have to tell you."
"What is it, Feenie?" Iris asks innocently. Her gaze is killing me right now. But I have to tell her or I might not be able to live with myself.
"I…I slept with Maya!" I blurt out. Iris steps back, shocked.
"You what??" she says, blinking back tears.
"Last night…we must have drank too much and-" I start to explain, but Iris cuts me off.
"How could…how could you do that to me? Don't you love me, Feenie?" Iris stares at me in disbelief, probably hoping that this was just some sort of cruel joke.
"Iris, I was really, really drunk. I wouldn't have done what I did if I was sober." I say guiltily.
"…Ok, I forgive you. After all, you are my little sugar muffin." Iris says, her personality doing a complete 180. I'm kind of surprised, frankly.
"What!? You can't be serious."
"Everybody makes mistakes." She says. "So, are you hungry? I got some Samurai-O's since I know they're your favorite."
"You're not taking this seriously! I friggin' slept with your cousin, and all you can say is 'Are you hungry?' What the heck is wrong with you!" I yell. This was definitely not what I was expecting. How the hell can she be so forgiving! Is she some sort of robot or something?
"Feenie, what's gotten into you?" Iris says, startled by my screaming and beginning to cry.
"You're not taking this seriously! It's like you don't even care about it, I don't think you seem to care about anything!"
"I care about us! I just want to make this work!" she begs. "What's gotten into you, Feenie? I don't even know who you are anymore! You…you've changed!"
"Well sorry, but life for me hasn't exactly been peaches and cream lately!"
"But we've got each other! Why can't you just accept me for what we have?"
"What we have? We don't have anything! This…this isn't what I want. I rushed into a relationship with you that I don't think I can sustain!"
"What are you…what are you saying, Feenie..."
I snap. If I hear 'Feenie' one more time I think I'll explode. "I'm saying that I can't do this anymore!" I yell.
Iris is sobbing by now. Part of me feels terrible, but I just can't do this anymore. I think I might be crying too.
"You don't…you don't love me anymore…" Iris says, defeated. "I…I'm going back to Sister Bikini!" Iris screams, running out of the building and not turning back. Somewhere inside me I wonder if I should call her back, but there's nothing left to say. It's over.
Later that day…
I head over to the train station so that I can catch Maya before the train leaves. Ever since Maya had to return to Kurain to become a master it's become a tradition for me to always say goodbye to her at the train station, and in spite all that's happened to day that's one thing I won't allow to change. I've already lost Iris; the last person I need to lose is Maya.
"Maya! Maya wait up!" I yell as Maya walks towards the terminal. Maya turns around, surprised.
"Nick? I didn't think you'd show up!" Maya says, smiling.
"Why wouldn't I?" I ask, returning a smile.
"Well…I thought you might feel awkward after what happened, I guess…"
"Oh." I remark, and we both become pretty silent. "I told Iris about what happened." I tell Maya.
"You did? What did she say?"
"Well, let's just say I won't be getting married for a long time." I say, trying not to look too sad about it.
Unfortunately, Maya doesn't seem to be taking the news quite as well as I am. "Nick…I'm so, so sorry!" Maya begins crying, and I pull her into a hug.
"It's Ok, it's Ok." I whisper, trying to soothe her. "You remember what I said before, don't you?"
"About how I meant more to you than Iris? I thought you might have just been dazed because you were having a hangover."
"No, I meant it."
Maya pulls out of the hug and begins to smile. Before she can say something, the train's whistle blows in the distance, and she picks up her bags.
"Looks like it's time for me to go." She says quietly.
"So, when do you want me to come and visit?" I ask.
"Seriously? I figured that you might not want to visit for a while after what happened last night." Maya says as we walk towards the train.
"Not hang out with you? Then who would I buy burgers for?" I say jokingly. Maya's face lights up, and as we stop in front of the train she leans in and quickly plants a kiss on my lips.
"Surprise me, Nick." Maya whispers, and then hops on the train, waving goodbye. Partially dazed, I wave goodbye to Maya.
I think I'm going to visit her very soon.
I return home, and sure enough, Iris is gone. Not a goodbye letter, not even a sticky note on the fridge, just a few empty drawers. I take a bottle of grape juice off of the table and begin drinking. Not even Iris will be able to forgive me for this, and I don't expect her to. But I did the right thing by telling her, so maybe that's what's stopping me from having a nervous breakdown after the events of this week. Well, that and Maya.
Yeah, maybe Maya and I didn't exactly have the Friday night we had planned. And maybe it could have gone a bit better. But if it didn't happen, I'd probably still be miserable and I wouldn't know why. Plus, after this weekend I can almost guarantee that things are going to change between Maya and I. And maybe that's what I've wanted all along.
I take another sip of my grape juice, and my phone begins to vibrate. I hesitate at first, thinking it might be Iris sending me some sort of hate text, but the text message is actually from Maya. As I read it, a smile spreads across my face.
"Hey, turns out I have to go to this gala next Friday, and it would look pretty bad if I didn't bring a date. So do you wanna come? Pretty plz? U know u wanna. :P "
Same old Maya. I send her back a text telling her that I'd love to.
It looks like things might be picking up for me.