Read an Excerpt
Late afternoon sun filtering though the stain glass window cast a kaleidoscope of color over the interior of the small church. A gentle breeze blowing off the bay drifted through the open doors, making candle flames dance, adding to the romantic setting. Lovely yellow roses adorned the end of each pew, altar, and vestibule of the wedding chapel on Van Ness Avenue in the heart of San Francisco.
Tuxedo dressed ushers had seated over a hundred guests: the bride's family and friends on the right, the groom's on the left. The flower girl was walking down the aisle, yellow rose petals dropping from her fingers as she skipped toward the altar. The ring bearer, struggling to keep up, had tears running down his cheeks because he'd lost sight of his mommy.
Nicole Weston waited at the bottom of the aisle for her turn to walk before the assembled crowd. Resplendent in her pale yellow, backless, maid of honor dress, a small bouquet of yellow roses was clasped in her hands. Thank the stars in heaven it was a dress she didn't mind wearing. Unlike the last bridesmaid dress she'd been forced to endure--lime green, big bell skirt, bows in stupid places, and shoes to match. At least Tami has taste, she thought to herself. Music flowed from overhead speakers. The magical strains of Between Now and Forever, sung with emotion by Bryan White, sent chills down her spine.
Watching closely, she took her first step out, just as the young ring bearer's mother gently pulled him into a pew at the front of the chapel. One step, pause, next step, pause, Nicole made her way toward the groom, soon to be her best friend's husband. The smile on Jerry'sface lit the entire room, his happiness only exceeded by that of the bride. Nicole smiled to herself; it was amazing that in six short months, her friend Tami White had gone from nervous virgin to bride. With the rocky start their relationship endured, it was amazing they'd made it this far.
Taking her place on the right of the minister, Nicole thought back to that first day, six months ago, and again saw the tear-streaked face of her friend.
The lunch hour passed, the crowd thinned, and Nicole Weston sat alone in the corner booth with her lukewarm coffee and half-eaten piece of cake. She looked down at her watch, noting the time. One fifteen, she only had about ten more minutes to wait for Tami to arrive.
She and Tami had been friends for over six years now and shared everything. Nothing escaped their conversations, including details of their sex lives. Nicole could hardly wait to hear about last evening. She knew Tami had been worried about her date with Jerry. She'd revealed yesterday her certainty about his desire to have sex. The women discussed whether Tami would be ready for the big step or not.
The fact that Tami was a virgin at twenty-six still astonished her. With all the advice she'd been given over the years, it made no sense she didn't date well. There was always some problem or other, and after about the second or third date the relationship would implode. This new liaison with Jerry was going on two months, and now with the possibility of sex for the first time--it was an amazing feat in and of itself.
Nicole saw him on several occasions; he seemed nice enough, if a little nerdy. He was too short for Nicole's taste, only about five-six and in her opinion, he needed to lose a few pounds. Hey, but what the heck, she thought, I'm not dating him and if Tami likes him she should go for it.
After much discussion they had agreed that if Tami felt comfortable with the situation and desire struck, she would let him have his way. Nicole had done her best to give her friend some insight into what to expect.
Glancing up from her now empty plate, Nicole watched as Tami entered the diner and walked to the table in the back to join her.
"Hey you, yourself."
"Sit, sit, and tell me all." Nicole noticed Tami didn't laugh. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Everything. I did it wrong."
"You did what wrong?"
Pointing to the seat across the table from her, Nicole indicated Tami should get comfortable because this could take awhile. Waving her hand toward the waitress at the counter, she indicated they needed some service. "Hold on a minute, let's get you a cup of coffee and some cake, then you can tell me all about it."
Tami dropped into the seat and put her head in her hands. When the waitress arrived, Nicole ordered the coffee and dessert, asked for a refill on her coffee, and ordered a piece of pie for herself. She waited for the waitress to move out of earshot before continuing. "Okay, hon, tell me what happened."
"I can't; it's too embarrassing."
"What's too embarrassing?"
"Just start at the beginning and tell me what happened. I can't help you if I don't know what's going on."
"You're going to laugh at me."
"When have I ever laughed at you about something important?" At least out loud.
"Never. I guess."
"Right, never. So stop with all the drama and get to the details. Besides it can't be all that bad."
"Oh yes, it can!" Nicole noticed Tami's voice crack. My God, what in the world could have happened that is so bad she's about to cry?
"Take a deep breath and tell me about it. We will decide together if it is really that bad."
Just when she thought Tami might start talking, the waitress showed up with their order. They waited in silence for her to place the coffee cups, desert plates, cream, and sugar on the table.
"Can I get you anything else?" the waitress inquired.
"That's all for now, thanks." Nicole just wanted her to leave so she could get Tami to tell her about last night. "Okay she is gone, give over."
"He picked me up at about eight and we went to that little burger shop on the corner of Franklin and Union. You know the one?"
"Yes, I know it." Is this an essential part of the story?
"We had a great time. He told me about his days in high school, about college. He's really interesting you know."
"If you say so." Bor-ring!
"I thought you liked him?"
"I do, he's just not my type. Doesn't mean he's not perfect for you."
"Well, after last night I don't think I'll get a chance to find out if he's perfect or not."
Nicole was getting frustrated. She was interested in details, not a pity party. Try to remain calm. She forced a smile. "Sweetie, you are going to have to tell me what happened if you want my help."
"I thought that's what I was doing," Tami whined.
"Okay, sorry. Go on."
"After dinner he invited me to his place, said he wanted to just kick back and relax. I thought it would give us some privacy, and you know, I really wanted to be available for sex if he wanted it"
"And did he?"
"I wasn't sure at first. He poured us a drink, turned on the music, and we sat on the couch. I figured he would sit close and put his arm around me or something. He didn't."