One Year Ago
I shouldn’t have been marrying a guy like the one across from me, but I couldn’t help myself. I’d been in love with him too long, and maybe I’d a shot at changing him if I tried hard enough. Maybe.
“What kind of cake do you think we should have at the wedding?” I asked my fiancé Brad. Although we had not set a date yet, I was eager to plan our big day. My feelings could fuck off. My wedding was something I’d dreamt of ever since I was a little girl.
Brad ignored me and picked up his beer.
He looked straight past me to the Miami Dolphins game on one of the bar’s gigantic televisions. I took a sip of my white wine, wondering if he hadn’t heard me the first time. The sinking feeling in my gut let me know he’d heard.
“Brad,” I said, a little louder. “What kind of cake do you think we should serve at the wedding?”
“Really, Tiffany?” He shot me a disgusted look for a quick second before his eyes went back to the game. “I don’t think you should be worrying about cake. Don’t you have a dress to fit into?”
My cheeks burned with embarrassment.
Over the past several weeks, Brad had become more vocal about my weight. It had never seemed to be an issue until recently. He did have a point, though. I should be worrying about a new diet and workout plan for the wedding, not what kind of cake I was going to devour.
“Are you ready to order?” The young waiter approached our table nervously. He had to have only been eighteen, although he looked much younger. Brad flipped the two-sided menu over, barely looking at it.
“Double cheeseburger, well done, with fries,” he said. The waiter scribbled down Brad’s order and turned his attention to me.
“And for you, ma’am?”
Truthfully, I didn’t have a chance to look over the menu. I wanted to have a cheeseburger as well, but with Brad’s awful mood, I was afraid of what he would say. It felt like I needed his permission to order food. What had our relationship become? Was I basically signing up to spend the rest of my life with my overbearing mother?
“Should I have the Miami salad or the cobb salad?” I asked Brad.
“Have whatever the hell you want to eat!” he yelled, pounding his empty beer mug on the wooden table. His sudden outburst caught me off guard, and I struggled to keep my calm demeanor.
“The cobb salad,” I told the waiter, thrusting my menu into his hands. I wanted him to leave quickly and based on the look on his face, he wanted to leave quickly as well. Brad and I didn’t speak until the waiter returned with our food.
I pushed the salad around with my fork, not hungry at all. My appetite had left the restaurant as soon as Brad had his mini tantrum. The silence and awkwardness was killing me, though. I never did well with conflict.
“Just think, if I eat like this every day until the wedding, I’ll be a supermodel!” I broke the silence and forced a smile.
Brad nearly choked on his beer. He set it down and smiled at me. Well, more like smirked.
“It’s going to take a lot more than salad for that,” he said. “By the way, that ranch dressing is full of fat. You probably would have been better off going for the cheeseburger.”
If anyone knew what was better to eat, it was Brad. Unlike me, he was in shape. He worked out daily. Some days, he even worked out twice a day. After we got engaged, he tried to get me to work out with him, but it was not pretty. He never invited me back.
Aside from working out, he had a great metabolism. The greasy cheeseburger and fries that he ordered wouldn’t make a dent in his perfect six-pack abs.
“Maybe I should start going back to the gym with you,” I said, offering a simple shrug. “You could teach me what to do to lose weight for the wedding.”
He rolled his eyes. “I don’t have time for that, Tiffany. I have my own shit to do.”
I don’t know why I expected anything different. As much as I hated to admit it, Brad was an asshole, and yet I couldn’t walk away. I was too locked into the idea of a future together. But the truth was harsh. My needs never came before his. I dropped the subject as quickly as I’d brought it up. Brad continued to watch the game intently.
“Speaking of the gym, how did it go today?” I asked. Turning the attention to him was usually a great conversation starter.
“Fine,” he said, still watching the game.
“How was work?” I was desperate to get him to talk.
“Fine,” he repeated.
I sighed. I wasn’t sure what I’d done to piss him off, but it didn’t seem as if he would get out of this mood anytime soon.
“Are you going to eat, or did I just waste my money on this whole dinner?” Brad suddenly turned his attention to me.
“I’m not hungry,” I admitted.
“Great,” he said, throwing a wad of cash on the table. “Let’s get out of this hellhole.”
* * *
Minutes later, we arrived at the apartment I shared with my best friend, Mandy. She was a nurse who worked nights, which meant the apartment was currently empty. Perhaps this night wasn’t completely shot, yet. Brad and I could have some drinks and end up in the bedroom. Maybe he was just stressed out and needed to relieve some tension.
I returned from the kitchen and handed Brad a beer. He grabbed it but tried to avoid eye contact with me.
“Let’s talk,” he said, patting the space next to him on the couch. My mood instantly boosted.
Yes. Let’s talk! Finally
He hadn’t spoken on the whole ride home. Maybe he was thinking about what an asshole he had been during dinner. Doubtful, but a girl could hope.
“I am so glad to hear that,” I dropped down on the couch, maybe a bit too eager. “What do you want to talk about? I thought maybe we could have the wedding next June? It’s not too late to book a date.”
Brad sighed and ran his hand through his short blond hair.
“I didn’t mean talk about the wedding,” he said. “Don’t you realize how sick I am of talking about this wedding?”
“No…” My voice trailed off as Brad continued to talk.
“Don’t you think it’s weird that we haven’t finalized a date yet?” he asked. “Isn’t your family or Mandy asking you why we haven’t picked a date?”
I nodded. Of course they were. My family and friends were constantly asking me about a date. I’d wanted to nail it down as soon as the ring was on my finger, but Brad wanted to wait. I’d been the easygoing fiancée, allowing him time to decide when would work well for him and his out-of-town family.
“We aren’t getting married, Tiffany.”
The color drain from my face as it suddenly became hard as hell to breathe.
“What did you just say?” I asked, trying not to pant.
“We. Aren’t. Getting. Married,” he said, speaking each word slowly. “It’s over.”
I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. I knew things had been different during the past couple of weeks, but I’d never expected this. I waited for him to tell me it was a joke.
“Did you hear me?” he asked, standing from the couch. I tried not to look at him, afraid that I would begin to sob.
“But, what’s wrong?” I finally spoke, my voice high-pitched and breaking.
He paced around the living room. I studied the look on his tan face. Unfortunately, I’d seen it often. He was hiding something.
“It’s just not working, Tiffany,” he said. “Stop making this harder than it needs to be.”
I needed an answer. Just six months ago, he had proposed. Granted, he was drunk, and it was without a ring, but it still counted. I’d made plans, I’d scheduled a dress fitting. I was committed to the idea of being committed.
“You need to tell me why. I’m at least owed that,” I pleaded. “No. Don’t tell me. Just please just give me a chance to fix this. We can work through whatever it is.”
“I’m in love with Jessica,” he blurted out, each word stabbing me in the heart. Jessica. He had introduced her to me at the gym. She was about half my size, with double the tits and a tiny waist. She would intimidate the most confident girls in the room. At the time, I thought I was just nervous about being at the gym and meeting someone so gorgeous. I must have known deep down that something was going on between them. I hated myself for not saying something back then. What a joke I was.