Harley & Rose(2)

By: Carmen Jenner

The Hamiltons moved into the Edwardian row house next to ours in Noe Valley, San Francisco, two days before the school year started, and Harley’s bedroom was directly opposite mine. The day they moved in, he waved through the open window. I poked out my tongue and drew my blinds closed.

The first day back at school, Bryson Hopper pushed me over in the sandpit. Harley helped me up, and then I pushed him over. From that day on, we’ve been pushing one another’s buttons. We’ve also played at other things that don’t involve buttons or any kind of clothing, rather a definite lack of.

He shakes his head. “Fuck. I spent a goddamned fortune on this wedding. The caterer still has to be paid for all the goddamn food that we didn’t eat, not to mention the venue, the musicians, and the flowers.”

“The flowers were a gift from me and if you so much as think about trying to give me money for them, I will hurt you, Harley.”

“They were beautiful; you know?” His head is in my lap now, causing my stomach muscles and other things farther down to tighten and ache. “Your creations always are.”

“Well, I may have caved on the bridal party frangipanis, but no way was I going to let her get away with covering every surface of the venue with them. Can you imagine looking back at those pictures in ten years’ time?” I ask, exasperated. Harley doesn’t say a thing because he knows how I get around brides with the wrong choice of flowers. You want the happiest day of your life to appear timeless and beautiful, not as if you attended some busted-ass Malibu Barbie luau. And if that is your thing, then you need a new thing … and possibly the help of someone like Dale Tutela. That man is a god with event planning.

“If I had my way entirely it would have been gorgeous,” I say breathlessly, dreaming of the wedding I’d been planning for over half my life. I glance down at Harley, whose expression seems so hollow, his bright blue eyes haunted, it breaks my heart into a million pieces. On the flipside, some of the pieces of my shattered heart are jumping for joy. This makes me a horrible friend because I shouldn’t be happy right now. I shouldn’t be, but I am. My best friend is heartbroken, dumped at the altar, and I’m drunk and exulted. I should point out that he’s drunk too, so it’s not as if I’m popping champagne bottles and toasting to a life of him being alone, but even so, guilt worms its way through my gut because this started out as the happiest day of his life and the worst of mine, and somehow everything got turned upside-down.

“What am I supposed to do?” Harley whispers.

“There’s nothing you can do. Except open another bottle of this fine champagne that the strumpet’s parents paid for.” I hold up the booze in question and clink it heavily against the open bottle in his own hand that’s mostly gone untouched. “Then, you’re going to lick your wounds and hop a flight to Hawaii where you can spend the entire week of what was supposed to be your honeymoon sprawled out in that big beautiful bed. You can sleep all day, eat delicious food, drink cocktails, and when you decide to move there permanently you won’t even complain when your best friend comes to live in your spare room.”

“Come with me.”

I inhale sharply. “What? Oh no. No that’s a very bad idea.”

“Why? How is it any different from the two of us taking the weekend to drive down to Big Sur, or going to the cottage without the parentals?”

“Okay for a start, this isn’t Carmel or Big Sur, it’s Hawaii.” I rest my free hand on his chest. The hurried thwamp, thwamp, thwamp, beneath my palm causes my own heart to skip a few beats. “Secondly, it’s your honeymoon, Pan. I can’t go on your honeymoon with you.”