Here it is! I'm sorry it's not done, but I appreciate your feedback and encouragement SO MUCH. Again, given that this was written over five years ago and in just a few sittings, I do know it's rough and a bit clunky at times. Nevertheless, it was fun to write and fun to share.
Billy, Amy, and I are standing just outside the bridal suite. It seems eerily quiet. Amy smiles and looks at me briefly before putting her key in the electronic key slot.
“You ready?” she asks.
“As ever,” I say.
The lock clicks, the light turns green, and Amy opens the door.
Billy inadvertently takes a step backwards as we’re hit with a rush of sound and fury. The enormous suite is buzzing with activity, and it’s a lot to take in. Like landing in Oz.
“I have no idea, no idea where she went. How could she do it? How could she do this to her mother?” A woman in a lilac pantsuit is standing in the center of the room, uttering nonstop to the bridesmaid next to her. “Poof! Just like that. Gone. What is she thinking? This is not a joke. We are having a crisis. A CRISIS. Those are lovely shoes, are those yours?” she points to a pair of fancy strappy sandals sitting atop a shoe box across from where she’s standing. “She’d better get back here in the next 5 minutes or I’m going to send the men out looking for her. Did you say they were yours?” she asks again. “Were they off the shelf or did you have them dyed?”
Two small children are go rushing past us, screeching. The girl is in curlers and a bathing suit, and the boy chasing her is wearing nothing but underwear and a black cape.
A girl of about 12 is sitting in front of a television playing a video game that’s emitting awful techno music and lots of loud grunting noises. An old lady in fancy clothes with flowers in her hair is sitting next to her, yelling at the screen. “Get him! GET HIM!”
Three women are standing in front of a tall mirror, each with their bridesmaid’s dresses still in plastic and on hangers stuck over their heads. They are pulling their hair into various styles and looking worried.
In another corner, two young women are arguing with each other while another older woman looks on. The young women start bouncing and shaking their shoulders in synch, but then step off in different directions and start arguing again.
“Girls, it’s really not that important,” says the woman.
“But you said you wanted to learn the Electric Slide, it’s tradition!”
Throughout the room there are bags and shoes and clothes and makeup and dresses on every available surface. It looks like the entire company of a Vegas show will be using the room to get ready. I had no idea so many people would be involved. No wonder Amy was wandering in the lobby.
“Hey! The weather report’s coming on!” someone cries from the bedroom, where there’s obviously more people and another TV.
Doors are opening and shutting everywhere, and the room phone keeps ringing.
A woman in her underwear covered only by a loosely tied robe is pacing around the room on a cell phone. Every few steps she shouts, “What? You’re breaking up again! What? What?”
A tiny woman in an expensive suit and humorless face suddenly scampers over to us. “Oh thank God you’re back. Your mother’s doing okay, but I had to give her half a Xanax. Part of the job, you know, come prepared,” she says, patting the official looking briefcase-folder thing under her arm. “Now, I’ve double-checked with the bus company and it’s leaving here at precisely 1:30 which is what we said originally but I heard guests saying 1:45 and I don’t know how that rumor got started. My assistant’s working on damage control. Gotta get everyone out of here on time. Did you eat? You have to eat. I don’t care what you think about your weight, you have to eat something because you don’t want to pass out and that happens all the time. The breakfast pastries were delivered and I’m going to watch you eat at least half a bagel.” The woman takes a breath and looks at me and frowns and goes back to speaking directly to Amy. “Your dress is airing out over there, I don’t think we’ll need to bring a steamer in but I can do that if we need to. Oh, and speaking of damage control, what’s the decision on the makeup thing? These ladies need to get started pronto.”
“I’ve got it covered,” Amy says.
The woman looks at Billy, “Amy, do you need Billy’s help for anything else?”
“Uh, I think we’re all set,” she replies.
“Okay, you can go now,” she says to Billy, who’s finished unloading the cart. I feel for him. Really, this is no place for a man.
“Alright, so the makeup thing—we need to form a plan of attack and communicate it to the troops ASAP, and I’m gonna need to check on the florist downstairs in a few—Oops, that’s me, hold on just a second,” she says, reaching for her cell phone that has “Here Comes the Bride” as its ring.
Amy looks at me and sighs. “Adele is the hotel drill sergeant. Also known as the wedding coordinator.”
“Yeah, I kinda figured.”
“So uh, what now? Any suggestions?” Amy asks, looking almost bemused.
“I dunno,” I say, sort of smirking back. “Maybe it’s time to communicate the battle plan to the troops,”
“Roger that,” Amy says, rolling her eyes before turning and heading into the thick of battle.
I remain standing in the doorway with all my bags. A very pretty blond woman with a tight ponytail approaches me with her arms crossed.
“Who are you?” she asks, as though my presence has greatly offended her. She is dressed in a very chic, all-black outfit, and looks like she stepped out of a Ralph Lauren catalog.
“I’m a friend of Amy’s, I came here to help her,” I say.
“You’re not a bridesmaid.”
“No,” I reply, though it wasn’t really a question.
“There are plenty of people here who are helping her already. I don’t know what you can do,” she says, seeming now both offended and annoyed.
“She told me about the trouble with the salon, so I offered to bring some stuff over.”
“She asked you to come?” she asks, looking me over slowly and deliberately and disapprovingly. “You don’t look very…” she pauses, looking for some way to finish the sentence without sounding like a complete bitch, but obviously can’t think of one. Then she makes a disgusted face and wrinkles her nose up.
“What’s that smell?” she asks.
I instinctively pull my shirt up to my nose. Oh eww. On top of everything, I smell like the cab driver’s cologne.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” I ask. I may look and smell unappealing, but who is she to judge. I want to punch her.
“I’m Kat, Joe’s sister,” she says, with a smug look. “And I don’t mean to be rude, but you do not look like someone who’s going to a wedding. Plus, I personally think having more people in this room is a mistake, but you girls do what you want,” she says with condescension, as though she were infinitely older and wiser. She even walks off snottily.
Amy is standing on a coffee table in the middle of the room. I watch the blushing bride as she puts her fingers in her mouth and produces an ear-splitting whistle. Everyone stops in their tracks and turns to look at her.
She speaks so as to be heard above the radio and TV. “THIS IS WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO! WE ARE PUTTING ALL THE HAIR AND MAKEUP PRODUCTS WE CAN GET OUR HANDS ON RIGHT HERE, ON THIS TABLE.” When she says the words, “this table” she picks up her feet and stomps down on the table for emphasis.
“WE ARE GOING TO GET READY HERE. BY OURSELVES. WE ARE GOING TO HELP EACH OTHER, AND EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE. NOW, LET’S GO!” Amy says, and jumps off the table.
The room resumes buzzing with activity. The children take off on another sprint around the suite, and the women start swarming to collect their beauty products. I haul my duffle over to the coffee table, and dump all the contents out on top of it.
“At least you came prepared,” Amy says, staring at the almost embarrassingly large pile.
The lounge area is lovely and ample and has great big windows overlooking the entire city, which provides great natural light. A now-giggly group of bridesmaids and moms is sitting in something of a circle, chattering excitedly and doing each other’s makeup and hair as though this were a pre-teen slumber party. In the center of the group is a truly massive mound of beauty products.
Amy and I have set ourselves up near the window, away from the group at large. I’m trying to keep a low profile, as Amy never officially introduced me, and I’d like to avoid any more unpleasant conversations like the one I had with Kat. No one seems to care that they don’t know who I am.
“You know, I want to do something with my hair that’s pretty and interesting, but not too weird or unlike me,” Amy says, as we both look into a handheld mirror, trying to figure out what to do. We have curling irons and hot rollers and clips and bobby pins at our disposal, but no real sense of what to do.
“We’ll figure something out. We have time to try some things,” I say, believing myself. “Let’s get some of these warmed up.” I grab a curling iron and set of hot rollers and plug them in them to heat.
“Do you mind if I go try and find a cup of coffee from downstairs,” I ask, desperate for caffeine. I’ve calmed down from the rush of the morning, and I’m positively aching for the coffee that the manager never sent up.
“Of course! Just don’t be too long—we have to figure out what we’re gonna do!” Amy says.
“Oh, and, can I borrow your room key? I don’t want to be held hostage in the lobby again.”
I’ve found a little café off the lobby, and have purchased a huge cup of black coffee. I’m happily waiting for the elevator when a rather noticeable couple joins me. The man is wearing a cowboy hat and boots, and is drinking something brown from a rocks glass. The woman is tall, blond, tan, and looks like Porn Star Barbie. She’s wearing tight jeans and spiked heels and a halter top. She is also rubbing her arms up and down and her teeth are chattering.
The man looks at me, “It always this cold in ‘Frisco?” he asks with a slight twang.
“A lot of the time, yeah,” I reply, cringing at the use of the word ‘Frisco.
“I thought it would be more like L.A.” says the woman, in a sultry voice. “I don’t think I even packed a coat.”
“We’ll get you warmed up back in the room, sweetheart. Don’t you worry. Weddin’s not for a couple hours yet.”
“Oh? You’re here for a wedding?” I ask, thinking back to the conversation I had with Amy at Mac’s.
“Yeah, well, thought it’d be nice to come out, see family again. And Amber here’s never been to ‘Frisco, so we decided to make a trip of it.”
“Are you by any chance related to Amy Grace?” I ask, wondering if this is in fact the infamous cousin Earl and date, Ambrosia.
“We sure are. You a friend o’ hers?” Earl asks.
“I am, yeah. I know I must look a mess, I sort of came in a rush—we had something of a hair salon crisis this morning. Long story. But yes, I’m here for the wedding.”
“Hey now, Ambrosia here used to be a professional hair stylist ‘fore I got my hands on her. Ain’t that right, honey? She’s a dang beauty queen herself, I’d say, but she got a real talent for that shit.”
“Do you need any help?” she asks, as the elevator arrives.
Hmm. Don’t know if accepting Ambrosia’s help is a great idea, but then, what have we got to lose?
“We’d love extra help,” I say. I bet Kat will be especially pleased.
“Hey Amy, look who I ran into in the elevator,” I say, looking at Amy who’s looking at Ambrosia rather quizzically.
“Amber!” Amy says. Guess they’ve met.
“Yes, this friend of yours said you might need help here. You know, I was a hairstylist before I met Earl.”
“Oh, no, I didn’t know,” Amy says, a little flushed. I watch her process this and suppose she’s thinking what I did—that we have nothing to lose.
The ladies in the room are taking a lot more notice of Amber than they did of me. Hard not to stare.
“Have you ever done weddings?” Amy asks.
“Oh, plenty! You should see some of the do’s I’ve done! But I suppose you’ll be wanting something simple and, like, elegant, huh? None of that big hair stuff, right?”
Amy and I are both visibly relieved by this statement.
“Yes. Simple and classic would be great.”
“EEEEEEEEEEEK!” There is a sudden shriek from the bedroom which immediately shuts everyone up.
“I’m Santa Clause! I’m Santa Clause” is shouted back, and out from the bedroom bursts the ring bearer being chased by Kat.
“Alistair, you get back here THIS INSTANT” Kat is shouting as she chases him into the center of the room, toilet paper trailing from her hand.
“I’m Santa, Mommy!” he yells, laughing and running at the same time. He is in his tuxedo shirt and jacket but still not wearing pants. His face, jacket, and sleeves are covered in white foam.
A group of bridesmaids who are now in their dresses start screaming and running to get out of the foamy boy’s path.
Kat grabs hold of Alistair just as he knocks into a small table and tips it and a lamp over. With her free hand she swiftly wipes as much foam from his face as possible. She looks furious. Alistair is startled at the lamp falling over and starts crying.
“What have you DONE? What did you DO? The whole jacket is RUINED!” Kat’s yelling as the boy cries. Rather than say anything reassuring to Alistair, Kat looks around the room accusingly.
“Who gave him foam?!?! Where did he GET it? What IS it???”
The maid of honor ventures a guess. “It looks like shaving cream.”
“I think it might be this,” says the twelve-year-old junior bridesmaid, picking up something from the ground near the bedroom.
“Well, what IS it?” asks Kat, as though the answer would somehow result in her boy not being covered in it.
“It says sper-m-i-ci-dal foam? Huh? What’s that?”
Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. I should have checked my cabinet. I can’t believe I never threw that crap out. Oh my god. I brought spermicidal foam. To a wedding.
“Mom-my” Alistair starts through his sobs, “it doesn’t smell good.”
Everyone in the room is stunned. The junior bridesmaid asks again, “What’s spermicidal foam? Does it have to do with…oh! Sperm!” she announces, and then starts blushing and giggling.
“Who would bring…where did…what am I going to do about…” Kat stutters. She looks like she’s going to cry.
I’m standing next to Amy, who’s holding still while Amber prods her head. I say quietly, “I think I may have brought it, by mistake.”
Amy bursts out laughing. Everyone starts laughing. Alistair even starts laughing again, but Kat still looks horror-stricken.
“This isn’t a joke! His jacket’s covered, and it looks like it’s staining. What are we going to do? Someone has to help me clean this up,” Kat says.
“I’ll help,” I say, since Amy’s pretty well taken care of.
“How considerate,” Kat sneers. She drags Alistair in the direction of the bathroom, and I, ever the responsible one, follow her.
Amy looks stunning. Ambrosia may look cheap, but she did one hell of a job. Not only did she get Amy’s hair into a beautifully simple up-do, she instructed the others on some simple techniques, and everyone looked beautiful, just as Amy promised.
Alistair’s jacket, however, was not as lucky. Apparently, spermicidal foam is not easy to get out of a tuxedo. I tried to pat his clothes clean with a damp towel while Kat cleaned up Alistair, but my efforts were all but useless. “It won’t show up in the pictures” was the best I could muster.