Jessica sighed, “No.”
The man in front of her swished his wine glass around and grinned at her. He leaned in like he was going to tell her a secret.
“It’s because of my looks, right? Most ladies say they don’t want to be outshone by their husband”
She snorted, “Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly why.”
“I knew it,” he whispered completely serious, “it’s such a curse to look this good.”
Jessica grabbed his hand and led him through the party guests. It was her friend Karen's Christmas Eve party. She had warned the man whose arm she was still pulling, Warren, not to have any of the strong liquors. He passed out if he had too much sugar for goodness sake, forget about alcohol tolerance.
She stopped in front of a woman wearing a violet evening dress. Then pointed at Warren, “Karen, can you watch him for me, he had more wine than he can handle.”
Karen tucked a strand of her silver dyed hair behind one ear.
“Yeah, I’ve gotch ya”
“Thank you, earlier he actually asked me to marry him!”
Karen’s smile broke as her laugh bubbled through, “Yeah, that might be a bit problematic.”
“It’s my looks,” Warren told her solemnly.
Karen had to brace her hands against the wall she was laughing so hard. Jessica ignored her and made a beeline for the food table.
Grabbing water for Warren, and loading a plate with chocolate covered pretzels, popcorn, a few chips and a single stick of celery, just to make herself feel better.
She absentmindedly crunched at a few Doritos, smiling when she realized that it was all normal people food, that Karen had just put into glass dishes, so it looked “fancy”.
Looking around, Jessica made sure no one was watching before she stuffed at least five packages of fruit snacks into her dress pockets.
What a perfect combination, a dress with pockets and fruit snacks.
Then she power walked away, pretending she hadn’t just taken a least half of everything for herself.
The second she got back to her friends, Warren was in front of her. He awkwardly held her wrists because of her full hands, and stared deep into her eyes.
“Jessica, will you marry me?” She stared, to him she seemed shocked maybe even overwhelmed with the prospect of taking his hand in marriage. In reality she hadn’t answered because her mouth was still full of Doritos, which she really didn’t feel like showing anybody by opening her mouth.
Warren was now attempting to reassure her, “You’ll get used to my dazzling visage overtime, we can overcome this together, since our parting I have only fallen deeper in my love for you, ever since Lady Karen began regaling me with tales of your marvelous feats.”
Jessica swallowed the chips before turning a glare on Karen.
“Oh? What feats, pray tell?”
“She spoke of the time you finished three full size bags of chips in one go, and of when you were challenged by a ruffian for a game of pickup basketball, you missed the hoop and decked your cousin Brian in the face.”
“Really Karen?” Jessica’s snickering friend raised her hands in defense.
Rolling her eyes, she turned back to Warren, “My answer is the same as it was when I was asked earlier.”
Warren looked affronted, “Someone asked you earlier?! How dare they! Tell me who at once! So that I may challenge the lowlife wretch, to a dual for daring to think he is deserving of you!”
“Warren you’re the one who asked me.” He tilted his head staring blankly for a moment before bursting into tears.
“I knew I wasn’t good enough for you, what an angel you are for indulging me with your company, oh how could I ever believe I was worthy of you?”
Jessica didn’t really know what do when the drunk man laid down face first on the floor. She glanced around awkwardly. Nudging him with the toe of her shoe.
“Hey, get up,” she dragged him into something that at least resembled sitting up, “you’re embarrassing me.” People were beginning to look now and most of them had her on Facebook, which would be a problem if any of them started taking pictures.
Warren stared at her mournfully, “I’m nothing but a burden to you, I don’t deserve to be in your presence.”
Looking around for help Jessica realized that Karen had snuck away sometime during Warren’s breakdown. That sellout, she was probably at the snack table.
She slowly began pushing Warren out of the room, toward the outside garden. At some point he got the idea and started walking on his own. Outside he sat down on a bench beneath a cherry tree.
He looked at her, tears still on his face.
“Oh, Jessica could you ever think that you might one day deign to accept me in matrimony?”
“Please, think on it, for just a moment.”
It grew quiet then as they both watched the silent petals of the cherry tree slowly float to the ground as a gentle moon shone over the two people sharing the warm summer night. Distantly they could hear the sounds of the party in the house, voices intermingled with festive music and happy laughs.
“Warren-, “she tried again.
“Please, marry me.”
“Warren, let me finish-. “
“Please, marry me.”
“Warren!” She laughed, “I won’t marry you because,” she grabbed his left hand and held it in front of his face, then showed him her own left hand. On both of their hands rested identical rings.
“I already said yes.”
Jessica’s husband beamed, looking at her like she was color and he a blind man that had learned to see. He threw his arms around her and pulled her up with him. He danced around the quiet courtyard, holding her in his arms as he twirled her around.
Her crimson dress rippled like rose petals in the wind, moving in waves as they moved over the smooth stone and gentle grass.
Their matching pure gold wedding bands shone in the warm light of the house and the gentle rays of the moon.
The dancing couple moved to song only they could hear, both grinning like fools, and both wondering how they had ever gotten the other, but knowing they wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even all the fruit snacks in the world.