Tim’s face is full of confusion. Derek and Susan look extremely panicked. Tim is really going to propose to me and all I want to do is run out of here with Susan. Bloody hell!
Still on his knee, Tim looks at the moment killers.
“Am I missing something?”
It’s eerily quiet in the room. I glance at my mother. She’s still eating her dessert with not a care or concern in the world. Nothing comes between my mother and a good dessert…seriously.
Susan opens her mouth to speak but Derek beats her to the punch. He turns to face the guests and laughs.
“You have sauce on your cheek. Let me get that for you so the photographer won’t snap that faux pas.”
A couple of guests laugh. Tim adjusts his tie and holds the ring up to me. I want to vomit.
“Ashley, I love you. I almost lost you once when you were deployed and I can’t bear to lose you again before I have the honor of making you my wife. Will you say yes?”
The room is filled with gasps and excitement. Mother actually stopped eating.
My hands start shaking. I reach for the hand of the only person who understands me. Fighting back tears and an incredibly high level of anxiety, I grab Susan’s hand. She stands beside me, putting me between her and Tim.
“Tim, I’ve been lying to you, myself, and everyone in this room for a very long time.”
I look at Susan. She nods. I continue.
“I can’t allow myself to continue to hurt you nor can I continue to allow myself to not live my life the way I want to live it.”
Tim’s stands, puts the ring on the table, and sits down. His head is in his hands and I see a single tear running down his index finger.
“The person next to me has been my best friend for 15 plus years. She’s seen me at my best and at my absolute worst. She knows more about me than most of you in the room will ever know, including my number. Most importantly, she knew that my heart belonged to her before I did.”
My mother starts crying. All the other guests now look like one big blob. Susan squeezes my hand. Derek stands up but before he could take a step, Tim jumps up, blocking Derek’s path.
“Wait a minute. You knew about them and didn’t tell me?”
“I didn’t know for sure, but I had a strong hunch. How was I supposed to tell you that your girlfriend is screwing my girlfriend?”
Tim laughs, but his tone is dark.
“The same goddamn way you’re telling me now!”
All of a sudden, Tim lunges at Derek, fist leading the way. He connects with Derek’s nose. Blood goes everywhere. Susan and I run back towards the door with the other guests. My cousin rushes my mother over to us and we leave.
My mother chuckles, “I guess it’s safe to say the shit has officially hit the fan.”