"She was actually nice to me
for five minutes last night at Joey's," he said into the phone as he walked into
his bedroom. He was half dressed in his suit, tie hanging around his neck, and
trying to find his socks while he talked. He looked at his clock and went
towards the bathroom to get his medicine.
"Really?" He heard her sigh and pictured her rolling her eyes. "That's progress."
It might have not been the best news in the world, but at least she could have been a little sympathetic about the situation. Months before, even days before Dani had been stand-off-ish, but something had changed between them. He wanted to thank someone for that, but didn't know that it was a person really that had done it. He knew that his mother had talked to her and wondered if his mother had said something to her to get her to change her mind about him.
"Damn coffee." Michele coughed.
"I'm boring," he said with a sigh. When he thought about it he knew that he was silly for sounding so teeny-ish about things, but he was glad things were going well. "I know, Michele, this isn't the biggest news in the world, but at least give me a moment to celebrate. I thought it was exciting."
"I didn't mean to patronize you." He could hear her in the kitchen and heard Ian talking to her for a moment. "I just think it's cute that you're being this shy about her. You've already slept with this woman. She's seen you naked in more than just the physical way. You need to just go up and ask her out or something. You know? Just go and say--"
Chris grabbed out his pills and popped one in his mouth then ran some water in the sink before scooping some up into his hand drinking it down. "Gross."
"What?" she asked.
"Nothing." He put the pills away and looked in the mirror. He wanted to tell her what he was doing, wanted to tell everyone what he was doing, but he couldn't just yet. He ran hs tongue around in his mouth and reached for his toothbrush then decided to wait before he brushed knowing that he didn't want to do it while on the phone with her. "I shouldn't have had beer last night. I've got cotton mouth."
"Don't change the subject," Michele said, "You should ask Dani out."
"Leave him alone," Ian said loudly, "You're not cupid honey."
"You be quiet Ian," she said, "Go get in the shower so we can get to the wedding on time."
"Why?" he said, "We're just guests."
"Well I want you to practice for your own wedding, because if you show up to mine late I'm gonna throw a fit."
"Who said I'm marrying you?" he asked with a joking tone.
"I didn't say that," she said, "If you don't get in the shower I'm gonna run away with Chris."
"Sure honey. You're giving him advice about Dani, but you're gonna run away with him?" Ian said, "That's really great. And women seem to take offense to men who say that women can't make up their minds."
"I love you too," she said.
Chris heard them kissing then she bumped into the phone. "You still there?"
"You really think that I should ask her out?"
"Duh," she said, "Yes. No wonder you haven't gotten anywhere with her. You don't listen to women when we talk to you."
"You know what I mean," Michele said, "You're paired with her for the wedding. It's the perfect topic of conversation. You and her are together again and now you can play that up and say how good things would be with her again."
"I'm not sure," Chris said, "I don't want to piss her off just because she's said that things were ok between us."
"You need to ask her Chris or she's gonna go back to LA and it'll take you another six months to get the courage up to talk to her."
"I hate that you know me too well," he said, "You're evil."
"I know, but everyone loves me."
"Yes they do," he said, "I need to hit the road so I can meet up with the guys. We got home at like 4 this morning. Thank god the wedding is at three and not sooner or I have a feeling that we'd be all still drunk during the ceremony."
"Sounds like it. I'm sure that the girls had fun."
"I'm surprised you didn't go."
"Ian is leaving tonight for Chicago for a meeting tomorrow morning after the ceremony so I wanted to spend the night with him. He's only going for the day, but we--" She paused, "It was all worked out. Kelly understood. She and I went out last week for lunch so it's ok."
"If you say so. I guess I'll see you at the church."
The room that they were in to wait for the ceremony was tiny. Chris had been in a million tiny off stage rooms like this, but today wasn't a performance. At least for Joey it wasn't. Chris was a different story. He needed to walk out there and somehow make everyone believe that his heart wasn't broken and that the woman who had torn him apart and could maybe put him back together was only a few feet away from him.
"I can't believe that you're actually going through with this," Chris said with a sigh.
Four sets of shocked eyes stared back at him. He leaned back against the wall behind him and kicked his foot against the wall. "I didn't mean it like that," Chris said, "I just wasn't sure that any of us would ever get married."
"You were the one who we thought was gonna get married first though," Justin said tugging at his tie. He'd already tied it and untied it three times since they'd gotten there and still seemed to be bugged by it. "You just were inside looking out rather than outside looking in."
"Really?" Chris said, "You thought that Dani and I were marriage material. I can't ever see myself at that stage with someone. I don't know...at least no one that comes to mind seems to be able to put up with me on a permanent basis."
"You can't?" Lance said. "I may be single at the moment, but even I can see myself up there saying vows." He took a seat and looked over at Joey. "I knew that you and Kelly would eventually end up together. It's been a long road for you guys--"
"Oh please!" Chris groaned, "Let's save the sappy stuff for the ceremony."
Lance frowned. "Does it ever occur to you that this might be the reason you're still single?"
"Yeah right," Chris complained, "Like you're romeo ways are really getting you anywhere."
"I've got my eye on a few girls. You just have to be picky when it comes to something like dating someone."
"Like finding someone who isn't going to marry their ex?"
"Chris," JC sighed from the doorway where he was peeking out into the church, "Let's not even get into all the stupid things you've done in relationships. I don't think any of us have enough time to listen to all of them."
"Why does everyone chose to point out all the reasons why Chris is single?" he said, "It's like I'm that game Where's Waldo? except everyone is trying to find out all the bad things about me."
"Shit Chris," Joey said and moved his tie a little. "Don't pull this now. No one was saying anything about anyone. We just always thought that you'd be the first to go. Justin and Lance just were saying that--" He paused. "--Everyone is just wondering why you haven't gone back to her and gotten on your knees and begged her to come back to you. Everyone saw that you guys had a good time last night and I believe that you were babbling drunk about her last night to the bartender for a while."
"I was?" he asked trying to remember what really had gone on the night before. He remembered leaving dinner with the guys, but didn't know where exactly they went. It had been a bar and of course the manditory strippers were there, but all those places started to look the same after a while.
"Leave it alone guys," JC said coming over from the door. "I think that we're about ready to start so get in order."
"You're a producer," Joey said with a laugh, "Not a choreographer."
"Whatever," he said, "I'm the one keeping your ass out of trouble because if we walked out there in the wrong order Kelly would flip her lid."
"Sure. Sure." Joey joked.
Chris took a deep breath and prepared himself to see Dani again. He didn't know when he had begun to have to prepare himself to see her, but he knew that when he walked out that door he wanted to be calm cool and collected. He ran his hand over his chin nervously and remembered that he'd shaved his goate down. he normally would have tugged on the longer strands of hair a little, but couldn't this time.
As they started to walk out the door Chris patted his pants pocket. The pills were there and he knew that today he'd need them. If he was going to follow Michele's advice he was going to have to stay level headed.
Once the boys were at the front of the church everyone settled into their seats and music began to play. His heart rate went up as the girls entered the room and somehow he made eye contact with Dani as she walked. He expected her to break eye contact with him, but he didn't see her do that until the wedding march began to play and everyone's attention was turned towards where Kelly was coming through the door.
"You look great."
Dani turned around and found Chris standing there watching her. She smiled and moved her hand to smooth down the front of her dress. "I hate being a bridesmaid," she said. "I have only been one three times, but that's enough."
"Feeling a little lonely?" he asked.
"Have you already gotten yourself drunk?"
"No," he said, "I meant are you feeling a little lonely over here. You've been sitting over here spacing out for about twenty minutes. I almost thought you'd fallen asleep over here."
"I was just thinking," she said and looked towards where Joey and Kelly were already on the dance floor dancing. It wasn't that late into the evening, but the couple couple were looking tired already, or maybe that was just their way of slow dancing. Joey's arms were holding her close and the two of them had their eyes almost half closed.
"Can I ask you a question?" Chris said, "Well two questions, but the first one is more important than the second one."
"Ok," she said, "Pull up a chair though. I feel like I'm in trouble if you stand over me."
"Sorry," he said and pulled a chair over to her.
"So what's up?" she asked.
"I was thinking today and Justin said something and I just wanted to get your opinion on it."
"Ok?" she said still feeling confused to why he was over here babbling at her like a nervous highschooler.
"Did you ever think we'd get married?" he said, "I mean when we were dating did you ever think that we'd end up that way?"
"Why did this come up?" she asked, "I mean I know the whole connection to the wedding and all that, but why all of a sudden are you so obsessed with us?"
"I was just thinking about it," he said. He sighed. "Truthfully it makes me feel really old and really lonely to be around people who are getting married. I mean both of them are five years younger than me and they've got their whole lives planned out."
Dani looked over towards the couple dancing again. "They don't have everything planned out Chris," she said, "They just know that whatever comes ahead of them that they want to be together to face it."
"So if you think of it that way," he said, "Was it that I was doing something that you didn't want to do or--"
"Do we have to talk about this now?" she asked. "I know that you want to talk about this and that it's on your mind, but do we have to bring this up today?"
"Well," he said, "That leads to my second question."
"Which would be?"
"Will you go out on a date with me?" he asked, "I mean a real date. Dinner and a movie or something so we can talk. I know it's not going to fix everything and that there is a long way to go before we get back to where we can hang out and stuff, but I just wanted to talk to you."
"I guess," she said, "We can probably do that."
When Chris smiled at her she smiled back and then watched as Justin came over and pulled him away. She watched the boys weave their way across the room and sighed.
"Girl if you mope this whole night away I'm gonna have to kill you." Mereith plopped down next to her and smiled. "So are you and Chris leaving here tonight together or what?"
"Nope," Dani said, "We wouldn't go home together anyway. I've got babysitting duty tomorrow for the kids so I'm gonna be out of commission."
"At least you're talking again, right?"
"Yeah," she said with a smile, "He's being all strange and serious, but yeah, we're talking."
"Come on," she said, "Lets go grab the boys and get drinks and start up the Kareoke."
"You're the singer," Dani said, "Speaking of that. How is your career going? I mean I know you've been doing a lot of work, but how has it been treating you?"
"I'm definitely going to need another drink if you start that one."
"Ok," she said, "Let's grab another one and tell sob stories about work."
"Sounds good," Meredith said.
They walked across the room towards the bar and joined the guys as they started to pour shots. Chris was standing with his back to her and she wished that they were on better terms because she wished that she could wrap her arms around him an hug him. Instead she tapped him on the shoulder.
He was in the middle of telling a story and didn't see her when he turned around. She didn't notice the glass of red wine in his hand, but when he turned around the drink went splashing across her front.
She saw that he was upset instantly about what he'd done but it still didn't excuse him for what he'd done. He dropped the wine glass onto the floor and instantly grabbed for a towel.
Chaos ensued, but she pushed everyone away from her dress, glared at Chris more time before she took a breath. "I can't believe you'd do something like this to me. You know how you asked me that question earlier Chris?"
"This," she said pointing down at her dress, "This is why I didn't see us together. You can ruin my day in two seconds."
"Dani," Justin started.
"Leave it alone Justin," she said, "If you'll all excuse me I think I'll be going home now." Tears filled her eyes as she left the room and her shoulders began to shake as she made it to the door.
She knew it was horribly rude to leave early, but she was in need of some air and some space.