When college friends Kate, Nina and Zoë take holiday from their busy schedules on opposite coasts to join their former roommate, Hannah, for her wedding in Lake Tahoe, they not only bring suitcases packed with what-not-to-wear bridesmaid dresses, but baggage of a more emotional kind.
Supported by a variety of eclectic characters determined to wreck havoc on their carefully organized lives, each woman is forced to come to terms with her past before she walks down the aisle. Zoë must learn how to reveal a vulnerability beneath her bravado before she can finally open her heart. Kate needs to reclaim her identity before she can regain her strut. Nina must heal her own inner child so she can provide for another. Hannah needs to release a ghost in order to recover her spirit.
A bottle of booze, a host of laughs, a hankie or two worth of tears, and seventy-two hours among those who know and love them the most is the perfect recipe for four women to Eat, Drink, and Be Married.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)|
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Eat, Drink, and Be Married
By Rebecca Bloom
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Rebecca Bloom
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe sounds emanating from beside her were inhuman, vaguely resembling a jarring, Saturday-morning jackhammer, or maybe a hibernating grizzly bear doing an impression of a high school championship drum-line. As Zoë carefully sat up she could almost feel vibrations created by his snoring on the mattress beneath her, the entire bed turning into one of those cheap Vegas motel quarter slot Magic Finger rides. Every muscle in her body, including her jaw, ached from clenching—her unconscious fight-or-flight response to the torture with which her ears were being inflicted. All his best plumage—the devilish grin, the doe eyes, the accented Australian tongue—couldn't hold an addictive sway in those wee hours of sleep and dreams. Zoë carefully untangled herself from his haphazardly placed arm and slid quietly out of bed. She grabbed her snakeskin clutch from beneath the pile of last night's loungewear, and naked, she skittered across the room, tucking herself into his tiny bathroom.
She shut the door, pulled her bright pink hair into a loose bun, splashed some water on her face, and almost laughed out loud as large, dark-blue makeup rings crept down her cheeks. Bare as babe below, spackled like a harlot above. Her visage was always hidden beneath a canvas of glitter, shine, and gem-toned gloss. She couldn't remember the last time she had left the house without her fanatical football-fan face. She slowly ran her hands down the side of her torso, her body a long, lean, yoga-sized line of pale skin practically devoid of freckles or other natural beauty marks. She was almost translucent. The milky white of a corseted Victorian lady. Maybe that's what the makeup was for—to give substance, weight, to her skin, anchor her to herself. Without it, there was this subtle, embryonic glow, like when you stare at neon too long, and it leaves trails when you close your eyes. She pirouetted slowly, and what once looked as untouched as a private beach in the Seychelles only occupied by the lifestyles of the rich and famous now seemed like Diddy's party in South Beach on New Year's Eve. Her back was a hobbit's playground filled with bright ink and gossamer wings. Blue butterflies and dragonflies tipped in amber danced upward from the small of her back, twisting around her right shoulder blade. A beautiful fairy the size of a small deck of cards held court on the left surrounded by a garden of lush blooms, looking over her subjects with a soft smile on her lips. Zoë was at home in these contrasts, relishing the feeling of being able to just spin in different directions and become completely different characters. Innocent and pristine, punk and eccentric all at the same time. Her body was her clay, her canvas, her typewriter. She was like those butterflies on her back, always capable of metamorphosis.
Zoë dried her face with a ball of Kleenex, wiped off the indigo trails as best she could, sat down on the toilet, and fished around in her purse for her iPhone. She set the phone down on the edge of the sink and used a damp green terry towel to stuff the small crack beneath the doorframe. She felt like she was fifteen all over again when preparing her bathroom for a quick nicotine fix entailed a five-minute ritual of wadded cotton, pried open fire-escape windows, and the exact combination of various aromatic spray products that she was convinced actually sucked the smoke from the air and vaporized it before her mother could catch even a whiff of ash. Again, Zoë almost laughed out loud, but then she remembered her sleeping Adonis in the next room and swallowed her smile. She grabbed his robe off the back of the door and wrapped it around herself as she resituated back on her perch. She dialed Hannah's number and waited for the familiar chirp.
"Hey, hi." Hannah answered distractedly
"What's shakin'?" Zoë asked. "You okay? Everything ready?"
"Sort of. Almost. I had another panic attack," Hannah nonchalantly tossed off. "It took two cups of chamomile, a valium, and a paper bag to calm me down."
"So I was right to guess you were up already?"
"Sleep and I are like Betty and Veronica. Deep down we really love each other and want to be friends, but life and Archie just keep getting in the way."
"Well, I've got enough foundation to mask whatever bags you throw down. So, what set it off?" Zoë, asked as she absentmindedly picked at her nail polish.
"The embroidered linen ones I ordered didn't come in—something about being lost in customs—so they rushed a replacement, but the color was slightly off. And, even though they were better quality because of the screw up, they are not what I wanted. And then I started thinking what an idiot I was for ordering napkins from Italy when it would have been so much easier to just get them in LA, and then, maybe the wrong napkins were a sign that this is the wrong thing to be doing." Getting riled up. "And maybe David's the wrong guy, and everything is just wrong!"
"Hannah, take a deep breath," Zoë urged her friend, hearing the shortness of breath in Hannah's voice.
"I'll try. Hold on."
Zoë waited patiently on the line while she heard Hannah breathing into what sounded like a paper lunch sack.
"Okay." Hannah came up for air. "A little better."
"I thought the napkins are white?"
"So, you're saying that because they are the wrong shade of white, which I don't really think is possible, the perfect guy you have loved since you were eighteen and weathered countless storms with has become obsolete?" Zoë tried not to laugh at the absurdity of her friend.
"I know, I know, I'm completely insane!" Hannah started to laugh. "Who would have thought I would be a bridezilla?"
"Well, me, and Nina, and Kate, for starters. Then there's your dad, and Tess and ..."
"Screw you!" Laughing fully. "I think that this wedding has made something snap in my brain. I have vivid dreams about place cards and seating arrangements where all my old Barbies are the wedding guests. I put them around the tables and create conversations! I was even doing voices!"
"You're nuts, but that's a very cool image. Something Graham would think of for one of his photo essays. A wedding party consisting entirely of large-breasted, tan, plastic women with various punk-rock haircuts due to your childhood obsession with giving your dolls makeovers. Did I have a Mohawk?" Zoë got up from the toilet seat and piled her bangs into spikes in the bathroom mirror. "I always wanted one of those, or at least a faux- hawk."
"Just make sure you wait till after the wedding to do any drastic appearance alterations."
"You do know my hair is still pink, right?"
"Uh-huh. I am kind of hoping that will change sooner than later."
"I sense sooner means by this weekend. What difference does it make?" Zoë's patience was getting tested. "When did you get so conservative? Don't think I have forgotten holding your hand through that lovely tattoo of yours."
"I was eighteen at the time, not pushing thirty!"
"What are you trying to say?" Zoë could see frown lines and her eyes flashing with annoyance in the reflection starting back at her.
"Nothing, nothing. Look, let's get back to me."
"Much safer topic." Zoë exhaled and tried to switch her support button back on.
"Do you think I will ever be normal again? Do you think this happens to other women? I don't remember Nina getting so riled up."
"That's because Nina is the most anal person we know, and she thinks of details before she even sees the big picture. Also, Hannah, maybe all this sick 'über' attention to every last detail is a way of coping with the mom thing."
"I wonder how she does it?" Hannah ignored Zoë's comment. "Magic, maybe? Or, maybe Nina eats Wheaties with iron every morning on that crazy health kick of hers."
"Should I take that as a sign that I hit a nerve or that you didn't hear me?"
"She wouldn't dare, all those carbs." Hannah continued to ignore Zoë. "I haven't had one in weeks, and David's arm is starting to look pretty damn tasty. But then again, that would be okay since it's protein-based."
"Okay, then." Zoë took the hint. "I think you're going to be fine. You have to be, because I can't lose my best friend to a pile of organza, Jordan almond sachets, and cannibalism."
"Speaking of place cards." Hannah refocused her attention on the wedding. "Your date—you didn't put his name on the reply card. I need it so I can tell the calligrapher."
"Marco, I told you already."
"You did? See, my memory is shot! Marco what? Or is he like Madonna and only has one name?" Hannah tried to make a joke.
Zoë panicked. Last name? Shit. She barely knew his first! Her eyes flashed around the bathroom looking for clues. All of a sudden she was living inside the "Worst Date Survival Guide" Graham had sent her for Valentine's Day last year. She vaguely recalled a chapter sandwiched between the ins and outs of ditching a date at dinner and how to tell if your date is a real he, about when you wake up and don't know the name of the person next to you. Wallet, purse, wait ... medicine cabinet! She threw it open and proceeded to knock all the contents off their little shelves. Everything clattered into the sink.
"Earth to Zoë."
"Hold on one sec, Hannah." Zoë put the phone down on the floor and tried to clean up the disaster she had unleashed.
"Babe," a voice called from the other room. "What's going on?"
Zoë poked her head out the door and smiled.
"Go back to bed."
"What happened in there?"
"Nothing. Just knocked something over. I'll be there in a second." Zoë smiled as seductively as she possibly could.
"Hurry up, I'm cold." He pulled the blankets around him and lay back down.
Zoë shut the door and frantically began shoving things back into the medicine cabinet. A razor, some vitamins, Advil, a nose-hair clipper, nothing with any sort of identifying label. All she needed was one damned prescription bottle. Didn't this guy ever get sick? Leave it to her to find the one guy in LA not on some hair-growth tablet or antidepressant. Zoë surveyed her surroundings one more time, hoping for salvation. She just did not want to admit to Hannah that her date was really a fake date, or not so much a fake date, but a casual who-the-hell-wants-to-go-to-a-wedding-alone last-minute date that she had only known for a few weeks. Hannah would give her this long lecture about how it was inappropriate to bring someone you barely knew to your best friend's biggest event ever, that Zoë needed to get over her fear of commitment, date men instead of boys, and finally grow out of all her relationship phobias. Zoë was tired just imagining the conversation. She reached down for the phone and her inevitable demise when, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted something. A Maxim magazine was poking out from beneath the bath mat. Zoë crossed her fingers and picked it up. She closed her eyes, flipped it over, and looked. Gold!
"Sorry, Han, I knocked over a glass. Water everywhere."
"Where are you?"
"At Marco's, hiding in the bathroom because he's sleeping, or really was sleeping."
"So, you two are serious? I have to admit I thought he was one of your beards."
"Only gay people can have beards."
"Not true. Girls who hate going to things alone can have them as well."
"Are you implying that I can't do anything by myself?" Zoë hated that her friend knew her too well.
"Nope, of course not. There are a lot of things you do well alone, just not big events or really any event that requires, or not even requires, just looks more fun with a plus one."
"Are you trying to piss me off? I mean, the hair thing was one thing, but now you are starting to get on my nerves. Not all of us have found our boy- wonder. Some of us still deal in frogs."
"I'm sorry. I have been going at everyone lately. Look, I'm glad you are happy with ... what was his name again?"
"Marco." Rolling her eyes. "Veranno. One r two n's." Zoë glanced at the magazine label.
"Thanks. I can't wait to meet him. He's an actor, right?"
"Yeah, we met on a commercial shoot I did. He's got amazing skin."
"Only you would bliss out on good skin," Hannah mused.
"True, but it's important. I can't tell you how difficult it is to put makeup on someone who you have to mask beneath layers of foundation before you even begin."
"Are you bringing all your stuff with you?" Hannah asked.
"Of course. We are all set. I canceled my plane ticket. I think it's easier to pack up the car. Do you want me to take anything for you? I'm sure I'll have room."
"That would be awesome! I'll get some stuff together and drop it off at your place tomorrow."
"Cool. Hannah, I should go. See ya later, skater."
The old Hannah would never have sent tiny, poisonous, head-shrinking voodoo dating darts at her for no reason. What is it with weddings? They seem to burrow into people and infect them on a cellular level with this virus. A wedding virus where those afflicted can't think straight. Zoë decided then and there that she was eloping. Her wedding would be a last-minute quickie in Vegas or maybe on a beach in Costa Rica with a surfer as the rabbi. A Jewish surfing rabbi with shorts and a tan. Wait, maybe that's whom she would marry, and instead a whale could officiate with a school of dolphins as witnesses. Yeah, a talking whale who looked like Shamu. Uh-oh, this illness may be contagious. Zoë laughed at herself.
She rinsed out her mouth with toothpaste and opened the door. A faint, new rendition of the snores-of-hell chorus was just becoming audible. Zoë took action. She slipped back into bed, wrapped herself around him, and began planting tiny kisses along his shoulder. Thank goodness it didn't take too much coaxing to wake him.
Nina rose before her clock radio, her body, its own alarm, somehow sensing it was exactly 5:00 a.m. Who would ever have thought the girl who used to stay up all night and sleep till well past noon would wake bright and bushy-tailed before the sun? Nina had come to relish the early morning, the silence, the way the darkness seemed to caress her, hold her. She got out of bed carefully so as not to wake Ben and reset the clock for him. She looked down at him, his lanky, still-boyish body half-covered by their 500 thread- count slate-gray sheets, and wished she could relax into sleep so completely. He wouldn't rouse for another three hours, his first class not until noon. They never were in the same time zone anymore. It was startling that they had managed to conceive. Sex had become something that needed scheduling; she had even begun putting little black stars in her iPhone so she would remember when they had or when she should at least try to muster up the dance. While Nina still thought her husband was sexy, sex just wasn't a priority. Lately, they were never even horny at the same time. He liked it in the morning; she hated walking around all day with the scent of it wafting around her. He got home late from teaching his night class and couldn't really even muster it up when she was loose and eager for a spin after drinking two event-sponsored special martinis.
Excerpted from Eat, Drink, and Be Married by Rebecca Bloom Copyright © 2011 by Rebecca Bloom. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rebecca Bloom captures the spirit of a destination wedding in this book. It is full of funny dialog and conversations you have definitely had with your girlfriends. Keeping with her style of writing, Bloom gives readers another romp with a heart.