I made this little short story as a class assignment at WVU.
It was the final test, so to speak, putting all the things we have learned into one story.
It has conflicts, more show than tell hopefully, and it is bordering on the romantic. So I'd like to share it with you.
A bachelor’s regret
By J. H. Bográn
The phone rang and startled Jake awake. The second ring came with the force of a hammer on the head. Jake sat up, rubbed his temples for a second then reached for the torture device before a third ring.
“Hello,” he groaned.
“Good morning, sweetie. Ready to tie the knot?” the female voice asked.
He sprang up, “Good morning beautiful. More ready than ever.”
He struggled to get his bearings, then he remembered the hotel, Robert and Charles, the booze and...
“How was the bachelor party? I hope you didn’t do anything to be ashamed of.”
“Nothing. Just a last night out with the boys.” Then something on the floor caught his eye. He frowned, bent to pick it up and gasped horrified.
“What is it baby?” the worry evident on her voice.
“Um, nothing,” he could not stop staring at the red panty dangling from his hand, “just a pan-” he corrected himself hastily, “a Martini too many.”
“Don’t you dare come to your wedding with a hangover!”
“Well, I called to remind you about the tux. It’ll be ready by noon.”
“Yes, thanks. Bye.” He pushed the end button and threw the cell on the bed.
He had dated Cynthia for two years before he finally proposed. He was happy, he was complete and he didn’t need, nor had looked for, other women. He racked his aching brain to see through the foggy bits of his memory. What was this panty doing there? Did he betray himself? It had been Robert’s idea to bring the stripper. He desperately needed to talk to him. Jake walked out of the bedroom and found himself in a spacious living room.
“Morning Jake! Why the long face?” said a grave voice on his left.
Jake turned and saw one of his friends walking out of what he assumed was another bedroom.
“Hey Charles. Where is Robert?”
“I think he went early to drop the girl off.”
“The stripper, yes.” Jake sighed. So there had been a striper.
“Are you okay?”
“I…I don’t remember much about last night.”
“Three quarters of a bottle of vodka would that to you.” Charles chuckled.
“What happened?” Jake gave up relying on his memory.
“After the lap dance you two went into the room.”
“And then what? We didn’t go in and see!” Charles expression was a cross between amused and disbelief. “You don’t remember?”
“Well, I found this,” he showed him the panty, “but…”
Charles’ laughter was infectious. “There you go. Can’t you fill in the blanks, Sherlock? I don’t blame you, she was gorgeous!”
“Don’t you get it? I’m getting married today!”
“Don’t worry; she didn’t seem the type to cause problems afterwards”.
Jake had been worried with his remorse he had not even thought about the girl showing up ever again. This train of thought brought him to new heights of worry. He wondered what else could go wrong that day.
The answer presented itself in his apartment around four thirty in the afternoon as Jake put on his tux jacket. More than four inches of his white linen shirt were visible on each arm. The cell phone brought him out of his swearing reverie.
“Hi Jake. Do you want a ride to the church?” Charles voice came through the line.
“Thanks pal. What I could really use is a tux that fits.”
“It shrunk! It looks like one of those jersey jackets from the eighty’s.”
“And you don’t want to go as Sonny Crockett?”
“Hell no! Where can I get a tux at this hour?” Jake sighed.
“Have you called Cynthia?”
“To have her go on and on about how we guys leave everything for the last minute? Gee, thanks but no thanks!”
There was a pause and then, “Okay, listen. We are about the same size. Let me change into a suit and you can have mine.”
“You’re a life saver!”
“Yeah, just not enough to be the Best Man.” Charles commented in a casual tone.
“Oh come on! Let’s not start that again. I’ve known Robert since Grammar school. I couldn’t do it to him.”
“And have you talked to that best man of yours yet?”
“No, he’s not answering his cell.” The anguish of his infidelity surfaced again.
“Okay. Never mind that. I’ll be there in twenty.”
Half an hour later Jake walked down the stairs from his apartment wearing Charles’ tux that turned out to be a perfect fit. Charles beeped open the doors of his Ford Focus. They boarded the car and took off riding in silence for a while.
Two potent gel caps had taken care of his headache but he had not pills for his anguish. Jake’s thoughts returned to his actions of the night before. Should he go through with the wedding? Should he tell Cynthia? She would not accept it and call the whole thing off. Jake could swear what her exact words would be. He was seeing her in his mind when he noticed the car had stopped. Could he be there already? He then spotted a red traffic light; he recognized the street and realized he was only two blocks away.
Jake heard the sound of tires screeching from behind and then he lurched forward. The seat belt stopped him scarcely an inch from the front windshield.
“Great! Just our luck!”
Both Jake and Charles got out and walked to the back. Sure enough a jeep bumper was about two inches in where the rear trunk usually ended. A tall bald guy got off from the car. He had muscular forearms covered with tattoos. He wore an unbuttoned sleeveless plaid shirt over a white basic T-shirt, black faded jeans and boots completed the outfit. He looked like a tough truckers you did not want to mess with.
“Sorry, man. Didn’t see you.” He looked at their outfits. “You guys going to a funeral or something?”
Charles sighed, “Jake. Split man.”
“Take a cab, run, whatever, just get out of here! You can’t be late. I’ll catch up after we call the insurance company.”
“Come on. This is nothing serious but you don’t want to get to the church after the bride.”
“Yes, pal. Take a hike. Me and him can talk this out,” intervened the guy from the Jeep.
Jake broke into a run. He arrived to the church sweating, panting but a quarter to six. He entered through the back and found Robert in the anteroom.
“Where have you been all day?”
“Busy. Your life might have ended but I’m still single.” Robert said with a broad smile, then added, “Ready for this?”
A soft knock on the door and a female voice said: “The bride is here. Everybody in position.”
“Moment of truth, huh?”
Robert nodded in agreement.
“Let’s do it.”
They walked out into the main hall. The church pews were decorated with white flowers interlaced with white silken scarf-wide strips. The guests had arrived. Jake and Robert stood at the end, near the altar. Jake’s heart raced, he felt a cold shiver and he knew it more than nervousness, last minute cold feet or any of those things associated with getting married. What he felt was deeper, a sense that he had let down the love of his life. Suddenly he turned to Robert.
“I can’t do this to Cynthia.”
“Can’t do what?” Robert’s eyes were open wide.
“I can’t marry her after what I did last night. I have to tell her at least. It’s not fair to her.”
“Hold on right there. You mean the girl?”
“You are such a lousy cheater. You didn’t do anything; the girl came out complaining you said no.”
“But Charles said…”
“Charles wouldn’t know crap! He had passed out on the couch!”
“You mean?” He couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing. He dared not have such hopes.
“Yes, I had to do the honors for you.”
“But what about the panty?”
“After you turned her down she left that for you as a reminder of what you were missing. I think that was really funny.”
It was as if a heavy load was literally lifted off his shoulder. Jake felt he could actually stand to his height. He had passed the test, even drunk. He had kept his bride’s honor. He also understood that it had been a closed call. He should have not been in that position to begin with. Still he could not help felt relieved. He hugged Robert.
“I love you, you miserable horny bastard!”
Robert laughed and returned the embrace. Jake let go and turned just in time to hear the bells tolling, the front doors of the church opened.
A wedding was about to start.