Riyaan exhales an over-exaggerated exasperated sigh.Â “Then we’ll find someone online.Â That’s how I found my last two boyfriends.Â Now, Bella, ignore the major dating sites because you won’t find anyone interesting on those.Â They all lie and are only looking for someone rich.Â Go right to the niche ones because that’s where you’ll find the goods.”
“Or I can go as your date,” says Cat, and her tone is completely serious.Â “There’s no law which says you can’t take a straight woman date.”
The silence is loud as Riyaan, Sands and I envision Cat in all her homeless, stinky glory appearing as my date to the wedding while the other guests give her a wide berth, staring and whispering in our direction.Â It was not a pretty pictureâ€”except that Mika hated her and it would piss him off to no end to have her show up.
A diplomatic excuse to not invite her as my date presents itself.Â “I don’t even know if I’m invited, so there’s no point figuring out who I should take as my date.Â Can we talk about something else?Â Please?” I ask.
“Sure, darling,” Riyaan pats my hand.
Sands rolls her eyes.Â “Don’t look for a date online.Â It’s dangerous and you don’t know what freaks you’ll meet.Â Come to the gym tomorrow and we’ll check out the men there.”
“I don’t want to check out men there because they’ll check right out the door once they see me,” I complain.
Sands slams a fist on the table.Â “Then exercise!Â You HAVE to go to the wedding to show them up and you need to look your best.Â Make them see that no one disrespects Bella. Ruin their wedding by looking fabulous.”
“Oh-oh-oh,” Riyaan pants, “I have the best ideas to ruin the wedding.Â When my cousin got married, someone ran over a skunk in the road next to the place where they had their outdoor reception.Â The smell ruined it for everyone.Â Even the cake took on the stench, so what you need to do is get a skunk and place it near the cake.Â And then you should spike the bride’s champagne so she passes out and there’s no wedding nightâ€””
“They’re past that point already,” I point out.
“No, no, no,” Sands joins in the conspiring.Â “Just get drunk before you get there and make yourself vomit on Tiresa’s gown.”Â She claps her hands and cackles.Â “Or when it’s time to toast, give a speech about how kind Tiresa is to take Mika off your hands because he could never get it up in bed.”
I had enough.Â Since my friends aren’t interested in commiserating with me, preferring to tell me what to do with my life, I had to find sympathy elsewhere.Â “I gotta run.Â My dad’s expecting me, then Tiresa’s picking up the kids at 4 p.m.”Â I slide out of the booth, placing both hands on the table for support.Â It tips toward me and Cat.Â In a panic, I lift my hands and start to stand up, but my belly catches on the edge of the table.Â The table tips the other way, spilling coffee, creamer, sugar and spoons onto Sands and Ryan’s laps.Â Â