It's been a couple months since the proposal and I was happy as a girl could be.
I looked down at my left hand with the engagement band on my ring finger.
It looked absolutely gorgeous.
I heard a knock on my mom's guest bedroom door.
I sighed, getting up and smoothing down the same dress I wore that night. My mom wanted to throw us an celebratory engagement party and now here we are.
I walked to the door and opened it to find Gerald standing there with roses in his hand.
He gaped, causing me to smile.
"Wow, Ken, you look fucking gorgeous,"
I laughed, throwing my arms around his neck.
It meant so much to me that he was being supportive about all this.
I let go and walked back to the vanity, shaping my eyebrows with a wand,
"How'd you find me?"
He chuckled, sitting at the edge of the bed,
"Your mom told me to come up here,"
I smiled, still working on my eyebrows, "Are there a lot of people yet?"
He smiled, getting up,
"Yeah, and a lot of presents."
He massaged my shoulders, making eye contact with me through the mirror. He let out a sigh, fixing my hair over my shoulder,
"Are you nervous?"
I cocked an eyebrow, smiling,
"Nervous about what?"
He smiled, shaking his head as he walked back to the foot of the bed,
"Marriage. Marrying him."
I sighed, turning around in my seat to see him staring seriously at me.
I looked down at my pumps, not wanting to look at him.
I turned around in my seat, closing the lids of my makeup palettes,
"No, i'm not nervous about marrying him,"
I glanced up in the mirror to see him looking down at his boots, rubbing his bottom lip with his thumb.
He was thinking, hard. After a while he responded quietly,
"Well, that's good."
I smiled, getting up off my chair and walking towards the door,
It's been a few hours and the party was still going on.
All my friends and family were here, even the ones from the Endless Summer Tour and G's entourage/our mutual friends.
Ryland's family was here, as well, and it was a blast.
We all danced together, laughing, and drinking away the night. It was awesome.
I kissed Ry's cheek as I walked towards the backyard doors and left him to dance with our friends.
As I reached the double doors I saw Suzanne leaning against the wood frame, staring at something out there.
She turned her head when she saw me and smiled.
I smiled back, standing next to her and looking out.
It was Gerald. He was leaning against the fencing, looking out towards the bridge.
She spoke up, gaining my attention,
"He's been out there for about an hour,"
I looked back at him. He had his head down in his hand, rubbing his temple. He took a gulp from his glass, returning his head to his hand.
I opened the door quietly, trying not to make a noise.
I set down my cup on a coffee table, approaching him slowly.
He lifted his head, his eyes following my heels up to my face.
He straightened up, clearing his throat and flashing a small smile,
"Sorry, I, uh, needed to clear my head,"
I smiled, leaning against the fencing next to him,
He took another gulp, tilting his head to look at me.
I crossed my arms, staring up at him. He looked really sad.
Because of me. I'm hurting him because he still loves me.
I sighed, grabbing his hand and squeezing it,
"Are you alright?"
He laughed, shaking his head and pulling his hand away.
I scowled, wrapping my arms around my waist.
He kept looking out towards the bridge, watching the headlights pass each other.
He sighed, looking down at his cup of whiskey,
"I tried. I tried to be happy for you but I can't and i'm sorry for that."
I licked my lips, looking out at the city,
"I don't blame you. Don't apologize."
He looked at me, taken aback.
I glanced over at him and looked back out, feeling the familiar sting of tears behind my eyes.
Don't cry, Kennedy. Not in front of him.
I bit my lip, fidgeting with the engagement ring on my finger. We heard laughing and cheering from inside the house, everyone oblivious to us outside.
He stepped closer to me, lifting my chin with his finger. He let go once I was looking into his eyes. He sighed, eyes flickering from my eyes to my lips,
"I shouldn't have come back,"
I should be glad he keeps saying it since even I said it, but it only hurt me more.
I shook my head, a tear involuntarily leaving my eye. I swiped at it, hoping he didn't see.
I looked back at the bridge, the headlights and the buildings illuminating the sky.
I sighed, taking a sip of my beer,
"Don't say that. It's just that....."
He stepped even closer so that we were a couple inches away from each other, him bending his head down.
He breathed against my nose, "What?"
I shook my head slightly, pursing my lips as I looked up at his sad eyes.
I was taken aback by how close our faces were but I continued,
"Why are you doing this?"
He blinked slowly, looking down at his drink.
He glanced up at me, pursing his lips, "You know why."
I swallowed the lump in my throat, "No I don't."
I did know but I wanted to hear it from him.
He wrapped his hand around the back of my neck, leaning down so that our foreheads were touching. He breathed out, the smell of whiskey entering my nostrils.
"I'm still in love you."
I inhaled shakily, pulling back to look into his eyes.
I opened my mouth, but nothing came out. I wanted to tell him how I felt but I couldn't.
You can't leave Ryland.
I pulled away from him, stepping back. I stumbled over my feet, feeling hot tears falling down my face.
I looked up at his distressed face. He already knew what I was gonna say.
If only you knew how I really feel, Gerald.
I shook my head, "I'm sorry, I... I can't, Gerald, I-"
He held his hands up, his red eyes looking anywhere but at mine. He cleared his throat, turning his back to me,
"I understand. I already knew you would say no, but I had to tell you."
I stood there, staring at his back and his head hanging low.
I turned around, heading for the doors before he spoke up,
"It hurts me to see you with another man,"
I stopped turning back to see him looking at me with sadness and remorse etched into the worry lines by his lips.
I squeezed my eyes shut, looking down at the fake grass underneath my now bare feet.
I looked up to see him opening his mouth,
"But it's nice to see you happy. I'm glad he makes you feel the way I never could."
I scoffed, my shame and grief turning into anger and annoyance,
"You think you never made me happy? You still make me happy!"
He looked down at his boots, wiping at his eyes with his free hand.
I stepped back, holding onto the door handles,
"You'll always make me happy. But Ryland... he makes me happy too-"
He continued for me, his voice low,
"And he's never hurt you like I have."
I sniffled, opening the door and stepping into the party, leaving him outside alone to his thoughts.
No one took notice of me, drinking and dancing away.
Suzanne was still leaning against the doorframe, smoking a blunt.
She looked sad, handing me the blunt. I took a drag, giving it back to her.
She sighed, looking back out to G who was leaning over the fencing, his head hidden behind his arms,
"You should give him another chance,"
I watched smoke curl out of her mouth as she spoke those words softly.
I gulped, looking away from her wise stare.
Stop feeling guilty, you're doing the right thing.
I grabbed a bottle of champagne and started chugging, wiping away the dried tears off my cheeks.
That's it- drink your problems away. Just drink 'em all away.