A Story: Knots in the Rain
August 6, 2013 1 Comment
Kate’s arrival at the bachelor party is not just accepted – it is expected. I see my brother’s eyes light up when she saunters into the hotel bar in stilettos and the same black dress she had on at the rehearsal dinner a few hours ago but that has somehow gotten far sexier in the last hour. Maybe it’s the whiskey Sam has been plying me with for that hour. I mean, this is Kate. She’s practically my sister.
The other groomsmen hoot and holler and she gets swept off her feet, literally, as they lift her into bear hugs and toss her around the room from man to man. Eventually, she’s deposited on the bar stool between Sam and me, and I manage to grin at her over the rim of my glass.
“Thank God, my love, I thought I’d have to drink alone.”
With that, she grabs the glass from my grasping fingers and throws it back before slamming it on the bar and gesturing to the bartender. “I will have Lagavulin neat. And my young friend here,” she slaps me on the back, and I nearly choke on my tongue with the force of her palm between my shoulder blades. “Just make sure it’s strong and doesn’t have an umbrella in it.”
Turning to her, I can’t help but grin. Kate’s big brown eyes sparkle up at me, and I decide to focus on the crinkles around her eyes instead of the pain under the excitement, amusement and too much mascara. “Didn’t want to go out with little Miss Perfect and her sisters? I think they’re hitting the strip club over on 10th St.”
“Little Miss Perfect spent dessert whining to me about the rain. ‘How can it rain on my wedding day, Kate? Why is it raining on the day before my wedding, Kate?’ I could barely get a word in edgewise and decided I was more needed with my men than with her. Plus, for some reason, she seems to think I can keep you all in line.”
This last sentence is said at raised volume, and Sam and his buddies yell some more while Kate tosses back the very expensive whiskey Sam is paying for like it’s water.
“So how’d you get her to shut up? And please, if you have a strategy, share. I have to walk her little sister down the aisle tomorrow, and I swear to God she talks more than the bride.”
She slowly sips her whiskey, turning her back to Sam as she licks her lip to catch the last stray drop. Now I can see that the sexy black dress has simply been unbuttoned a little for show, but that underneath, she’s still Kate. She chuckles wetly as she cups my cheek in her hand.
“I told her that a knot tied in the rain is harder to undo. She seemed to like it.”
Her hand slides from my cheek, and her eyes go back to the bar in front of her. Her tells are subtle. Her backbone gets a little straighter. She blinks rapidly four times. When she looks up again, it’s to grin at the bartender and order another round of shots for the party. She declines and sips slowly, savoring the taste and laughing up at the men who surround her. Sam always said she was the perfect woman, and I still wonder that he knows that and doesn’t notice when she slips out to stand in the rain, with her face turned up towards the sky, an hour later.
Sam’s parents are paying the caterer. Sam’s in-laws are paying the band. Kate stands in front of the bathroom mirror in a gaping dress with her hair half down. She could never understand why it takes so many bobby pins to get it all into a simple bun. Sam and his wife – which would never sound right – leave for their European honeymoon tomorrow. And she’s standing in front of the mirror with a mouth-full of bobby pins, thanking God she didn’t drink that last glass of champagne.
Kate jumps, nearly swallowing a few bobby pins, when she hears someone pound on the door.
“Justin, I told you! I’m not going bar hopping with you,” she yells after spitting the bobby pins onto the vanity. “Seriously, go get Mrs. Perfect’s little sister to go with you. I’m tired.”
She’s still talking when she open the door, trying to catch the back of her dress together with one hand when she remembers that it’s unzipped from her neck to the small of her back.
Smiling a little foolishly and holding a bottle of champagne and three glasses, Sam and Justin stand in the doorway dressed in tuxedo pants and undone collars. Kate glances back and forth between them before blushing at the realization that she’s standing there half undressed, with smeared make-up and hair that looks more like a bad perm than anything else. The effect of the little black dress is probably ruined forever by the streaky mascara trails on her cheeks.
And with one look and a few sentences, she know it’s not over. It’ll never be over. Sam is a married man but he’ll always be her Sam. Kate raises an eyebrow at Justin, getting the distinct feeling that he has followed his big brother down here to make sure nobody does something incredibly stupid that they would definitely regret. Not that anything would happen. Sam is the proverbial lost cause but she thinks, after all the champagne and the tears, she can really say she’s happy with the way it’s all turned out.
Kate waves the boys in with a grin and a quip: “Well open the wine, boys, and I will go make myself presentable for company.”
Emerging a few minutes later, her face is scrubbed clean, hair is scrapped back and wearing Sam’s college sweatshirt and somebody’s stolen boxers, she grabs a glass of champagne from Sam and orders him to get his wife down to her room.
“I suppose I’m going to have to get used to her, and I might as well start now,” she says with a laugh before whipping a pillow into Justin’s smiling face.