Tiresa gladly took her sister shopping that very day, not even bothering to finish unpacking their stuff. Three second-hand shops later, Bella was styling and smiling and Tiresa was no longer ashamed to be seen walking next to her.
Then, unbelievably, Bella and Mika started dating. Dating. Tiresa was never so stunned in all her life. She helped Bella pick out something to wear for her first date with Mika, then after that, Tiresa lost interest in helping her look good. If Bella could catch a man like Mika, then why should she need her help for something as superfluous as dressing?
Tiresa stirs her drink, a cherry speared on the stick, wondering again how she lost Mika to her fat little sister. Bella had always been slightly chubby, but when her weight soared after the wedding and giving birth to Abe and Fi, Tiresa was secretly pleased. Served her right for stealing Mika from her. Tiresa was the beautiful one, the willing one, but Mika was so ambitious back then and Bella’s talent for writing sucked him in. She wrote every speech he gave in college and law school and beyond. Mika could say he wanted a light-hearted speech and ta-da! Bella churned out a chuckling crowd-pleaser. Or maybe he needed a serious one focused on fund-raising for some worthy cause and wham! Bella’s words had the audience in tears.
Tiresa looks at her engagement ring, turning it this way and that to make the light reflect off the dozens of diamonds around the four carat one in the center. How galling to be picked over in favor of intellect and talent. But that’s over with now, she tells herself. I’ve got Mika; I won in the end. I’m successful and still beautiful. What does Bella have? Two kids, a divorce and a limited income.
Finally Mika arrives, sees her across the room and nods. “Hey babe, sorry I’m late” he says, brushing her cheek with the briefest of kisses.
Tiresa looks at her watch again to show her annoyance. “Twenty minutes? Making me wait twenty minutes? Really, Mika, you could have called. How long does it take to drop off the kids?”
Mika sits. “I’ll have a scotch and soda,” he says to the bartender. He straightens his jacket and turns to her. “I said I was sorry. What more do you want? Let’s not argue and just relax and have a nice evening.”
Tiresa rolls her eyes. “There’s no such thing as a nice evening with your partners. Are their wives coming? I detest that Morris woman. She never shuts up about her soccer-playing kids. Like anyone cares about that sort of thing.”
Mika shrugs. “Well then, talk about the wedding. All women like to talk weddings. That way you dominate the conversation.”
Tiresa gives him a dark look. “That’s very sexist of you to say.”
“What?” Mika asks innocently.
“‘All women like to talk weddings’. Jeez, Mika, give me more credit that that. I’m not ‘all women’. I’ve worked hard to make myself more than that. I hope you want to marry me for more than my looks.”