Chapter 1

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... one year ago ...

Life had turned into a dreadful routine of eating, working and sleeping. Kasia was staring at her reflection in the bathroom mirror and determined that she looked as terrible as she felt. Her cheeks were hollower than they used to be, her eyes dull and when she ran her fingers through her long, chestnut hair, they constantly got stuck in tangles. How did anyone still put up with her? She was sure that once upon a different time she used to be happy, or at least content. If only she knew what had changed, then she might have been able to turn around her miserable existence as well.

Her phone suddenly started vibrating on the washer, blinking in a hypnotic rhythm to get her attention. Kasia just looked at it, uncertain of what to do next. She knew that there was only one person who would call her at such a late hour, but she was not sure how much of Robyn's bright bubbliness she could actually handle. They were supposed to be best friends, but at that moment she couldn't even remember how they had become acquainted in the first place.

"Hi?" Kasia answered unenthusiastically before the call went to voice mail.

"Kaaaaaaaas! We're picking you up in 10 minutes. You better be ready!" Her cheerfulness almost oozed out of the receiver, but quickly dampened when Kasia didn't respond immediately. "Don't tell me you forgot!?"

"Forgot what?" Kasia scrambled to her calendar in the living room. "What? Of course I haven't forgotten. How could I?" The date was circled several times with red marker, clearly stating 'BACHELORETTE PARTY'. There was even a bright pink invite taped to the bottom of the page. "But ..."

"Good! See ya!" Robyn hung up before Kasia could come up with any kind of lame excuse. She knew that she should feel bad for not wanting to spend time with her best friend, but it was difficult to muster up the energy to do much of anything these days. By some sort of miracle she had evaded the appointment of maid of honour, even though it probably had something to do with her turning into more and more of a flake, but there was no getting out of that party now. She donned on the mandatory pink clothes she had shopped for with Robyn a couple weeks before and fixed her hair in a messy bun. She quickly pinched her cheeks to get some life into them before leaving the apartment to wait for the car at the curb.

A couple minutes later a fittingly pink stretch limo pulled up and Kasia was greeted with cheers and hoots from everyone inside. Even before the door was closed behind her, someone had shoved a glass of champagne into her hand.

"You look ... skinny. Did you lose weight again?" Robyn smiled and kissed her on both cheeks before turning back to clink glasses with the others. She had in fact lost weight, but not exactly voluntarily. People kept commenting on her getting thinner and at first it was good, because she had always felt a little too round, but now it had become an annoying comment, because she wasn't doing it on purpose. She had simply lost her appetite. But the night wasn't about her, so Kasia brushed off the remark, took a deep breath and then put on her best imitation of a genuine smile. She did not want to ruin this for anyone, least of all for Robyn.

"Yay! Now that we are finally complete," Marianne cast an accusatory glance towards Kasia as if the entire hold up was her fault, "it's time to announce tonight's schedule." Kasia zoned out while Marianne rattled off a number of bars and places they would visit before ending up at some strip club called The Flamingo by an estimated time of 4 AM.

She really had no idea what that girl's problem was, after all it was her Robyn turned to whenever she needed someone to organise or plan a social gathering. Kasia was never made for that sort of stuff, she preferred solitude a lot more. And she had been glad when Robyn asked Marianne to be her maid of honour, she was truly a much better choice in every way. Robyn needed Marianne in a way that she never needed Kasia, who just felt like an old remnant from the past most of the time now. She was like that person you didn't even like all that much anymore, but who you had been friends with for way too long to cast them out of your life all of a sudden. Maybe that was what bothered Marianne that much, that there was a time when Kasia knew Robyn and she hadn't even been part of the picture yet. She couldn't help but wonder how Marianne would go through life after the wedding, when she didn't just have to share Robyn with other girls, but also Tom, her husband. An image of Marianne dissolved in panicked tears, running down to the altar to stop the wedding formed in her head. They could then proceed to run off into the sunset together, dressed as Marianne and Robyn, the new age-version of the favourite couple of Sherwood Forest.

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