Chapter Ninety-Six: “For one thing, there’s a pretty big chance someone’s going to step on your head”

Priscilla hadn’t anticipated the reception going spectacularly well for many reasons, namely the extreme heat, Iggy’s bitter hatred of Taylor, and whatever the hell was happening with Oscar, but she hadn’t quite managed to imagine just how terrible it was really going to be. She and Keith were sat at a table with Sybil and Chris and then two of Dan’s friends from work. They were fine, if not almost unbearably shy, but their dates were horrendous. One of them got drunk within the first fifteen minutes of dinner and the other one was already drunk when she sat down. Priscilla listened to one of them talk about her candle-making home business for what felt like an eternity.

“I’ve lost precious moments of my life to conversation with that woman,” she whispered to Sybil at one point.

“I think we’re going to have to kill them,” Sybil returned. “It’s the only way.”

Priscilla looked over to find that Chris was fully playing tic taco toe with himself on one of the gold leaf-patterned paper napkins.

They managed to survive dinner, but barely, only to have Jacklyn sprint over to their table just before the cake was cut. She gestured to where her date was sitting with the other dates of the bridal party, including Katy’s boyfriend Ezra, Dan’s sister-in-law, and then some other random people Jana and Dan clearly had had no idea where to seat.

“Why is he crying now?” Jacklyn demanded, as if Priscilla was somehow more aware of her date’s emotional state and needs than she was.

“Well he’s clearly very sensitive,” Priscilla shrugged helplessly. “At least we can take solace in the fact that he’s most likely crying tears of joy for these people who are strangers to him on their wedding day. It’s a nice sentiment, if not intensely strong and vaguely off-putting.”

They looked back over to Amare just as Ezra was handing him a handkerchief and patting him on the back. It was a lovely moment, but perhaps not one that was going to further endear him to Jacklyn, who struggled with genuine emotion that wasn’t anger, especially in other people. The likelihood of this relationship panning out depended entirely on Amare having his tear ducts removed.

“Uh, on a scale from one to ten,” Chris interrupted, leaning back in his chair and looking generally unbothered by everything around them. “How concerned are we about your friend lying on the floor between tables seventeen and twelve?”

He pointed over to where, sure enough, Oscar had laid down on the ballroom floor, leaving an extremely bewildered Erin sitting at the table beside him.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Priscilla groaned. Keith was staring at Oscar in abject horror.

“So that’s at least an eight then?” Chris checked, turning to Sybil, who sighed and stood up.

“We should go do something about that,” she informed Priscilla.

“We’ll be right back,” Priscilla told Keith, rightly assuming that his presence would only serve to make Oscar more upset as he seemed to have taken a very strong disliking to Keith. Jacklyn also stayed behind, sitting down in Priscilla’s vacant chair to continue complaining about all of Amare’s many tears to Keith. He looked incredibly startled. On the other hand, it was nice that he had company that wasn’t that other woman and her candle making business.

Priscilla, Sybil, and Chris walked over to where Erin was sitting and Oscar was lying on the floor.

“Hey, Erin,” Priscilla greeted her dully. Erin turned her bewildered and faintly panicked eyes on Priscilla instead of Oscar.

“What the hell is going on?” She demanded. She sounded afraid. Priscilla was concerned for the precariousness of her relationship with Oscar. It was becoming less and less likely as the mere minutes passed that theirs was a relationship that would span the ages.

“Oh, he does this,” Priscilla returned vaguely. She wasn’t quite sure what Oscar had actually told Erin about his current situation and his previous relationship with Katy. In the car on the way to Destinyville, it hadn’t seemed like he’d said anything about it at all and, while she definitely thought it was something they should talk about, preferably sooner rather than later, she absolutely did not want to be the person that brought it up. She didn’t know Erin that well and that seemed like the kind of conversation that would either make them much closer very quickly or even further from friendship equally as rapidly.

“Does what?” Erin asked, still stunned. “I don’t know what’s happening.”

“Hey, man,” Chris said, looking down at Oscar. “I’m Chris. Nice to meet you.”

Sybil smacked him in the side of the head.

“Hi,” Oscar returned dully. Priscilla crouched down beside him, which proved extremely difficult in her dress. She had borrowed it from Tallulah for the weekend. It was a burgundy sheath dress made of velvet that gathered at the middle. It was quite form-fitting and the material was not as such stretchy. She managed to get down to her knees, fairly confident she would never be able to get up again, and petted Oscar on the forehead.

“You okay, buddy?” She asked, despite the fact that he clearly wasn’t.

“I’m fine,” Oscar lied.

“Sure, sure,” Priscilla nodded sagely. “You are lying on the floor, though. That’s a bit concerning.”

“Is it?” Oscar returned, feigning airy detachment.

“A little,” Sybil chimed in.

“For one thing, there’s a pretty big chance someone’s going to step on your head,” Chris added. Priscilla shot him a dark look.

“It’s happened before,” Oscar told him. “Not so bad.”

Priscilla exchanged glances with both Sybil and Chris, both of who looked appropriately saddened to hear that Oscar’s head had been stepped on before.

“Is this about Katy?” Priscilla asked, turning back to Oscar. She whispered so that Erin wouldn’t overhear them. One brief glance in her direction showed that she had moved on from confusion to irritation. Priscilla didn’t necessarily blame her. Oscar had clearly not been entirely forthcoming about the wedding or the tumultuous emotional circumstances that came with it. She had seen Katy early, fawning over her new boyfriend, at least the second man she’d dated named Ezra, and his blindingly white teeth. Together, they looked like a bridal magazine photo shoot, which was undoubtedly a thorn in Oscar’s side. His tie had been crooked since the beginning of the day.

“Probably,” Oscar answered, which wasn’t entirely helpful.

“Hey, man, why don’t we get you on your feet so that no one steps on your head,” Chris interjected, reaching a hand out to help Oscar to his feet. “Again. And then we can go deal with this the right way.”

“What’s the right way?” Sybil asked and Priscilla was pleased to see she looked as concerned as she felt.

“By getting stupid drunk,” Chris answered. Oscar took his hand and allowed Chris to haul him to his feet. Then Chris clapped him on the back and lead him off to the bar, starting up a conversation about his ex-girlfriend, some woman with apparently immense breasts and an even bigger flair for dramatics. Priscilla watched them go for a moment, trying to work out how best to stand up without flashing Jana’s elderly great-aunt at the table next to them.

“That for sure isn’t going to end well, by the way,” Sybil said after a while.

“Oh, I assumed not,” Priscilla replied, reaching out both hands so that Sybil could drag her to her feet. Somehow, it was at least half as graceful as when Chris had hauled Oscar to his feet.

“It’ll be fine,” Priscilla assured Erin, even though she and Sybil had literally just said the opposite. Unsurprisingly, Erin didn’t look overly reassured. Priscilla patted her on the top of the head and set off for the bar as well, stumbling a little because her feet had fallen asleep while she was sitting on them.

As predicted by Sybil, it definitely wasn’t good. After several very quickly consumed drinks, Oscar took the dance floor by storm, in that he looked like the human embodiment of a tornado. He knocked over one of Jana’s young cousins. Chris kept her from crying by giving her his chocolate truffle wedding favours. Priscilla and Sybil stayed close to him the entire night. For a lot of it, Erin was nowhere to be seen. Priscilla had begun to suspect she had returned to their hotel room on her own. Every once in a while, during the slow songs, Keith would pull Priscilla away to dance with her alone. He dipped and twirled her, like a suave gentleman. She would’ve been impressed if she wasn’t preoccupied by the way Oscar was haphazardly doing the running man.

And then Katy approached him. It was the worst thing that could’ve happened, second only perhaps to Danielle making an ugly appearance. Prior to her arrival, the lot of them, Sybil and Chris included, had been dancing to “Footloose”. Chris knew all the words, which was both surprising and amazing. Oscar in particular loved it. He and Chris had become fast friends. Part of Priscilla wondered how much Chris actually liked that. Probably not very much. He was indifferent to almost everything.

“Hey, Oscar,” Katy greeted them sadly, at which point Priscilla noticed several horrible things all at once. One, Erin had not in fact left for the hotel room for the evening. She had been at the bar, ordering all of the shots available at once it seemed, as she was approaching them with a silver tray of full shot glasses and a grin. Two, Katy was wearing an engagement ring. It was almost impossible not to notice because of its enormous size and dazzling brightness. Katy’s ring had so many diamonds on it that Priscilla assumed it was difficult for her to hold her hand up. It would be terrible for her if she ever fell off a boat with it on because it would for sure anchor her to the bottom of the sea. Three, Keith hadn’t noticed that anything was going on and had continued to dance to “Footloose”. Even Chris, who also had no idea who Katy was to anybody, had noticed the clear tension in the immediate vicinity and had stopped dancing. And four, Ezra, with his blinding white teeth, was standing just behind Katy, smiling at them all. His teeth were probably the only thing in the world that shone brighter than Katy’s absurdly glittery ring.

Oscar noticed the ring just as quickly as Priscilla had, but instead of merely being amazed at its brilliance and simultaneously wondering if it was made of smuggled blood diamonds, Oscar launched himself at Ezra, fist first. The myriad of problems with that began and ended with the fact that Keith, dancing his heart out to Kenny Loggins, danced his way between Oscar and Ezra. In some ways, he was a hero. Well, in one specific way, he was a hero to Ezra’s stupidly white teeth. Keith and Oscar hit the floor in a tangle, which was when the second largest problem arose, that being Erin tripping ass over head on Oscar and Keith’s spread limbs. She also ended up in the human haystack while her tray of shots ended up primarily on Priscilla, Sybil, and Chris. Priscilla’s borrowed velvet dress was drenched in tequila. She was going to have to return it to Tallulah smelling like someone’s overly eventful spring break trip to Tijuana. It wasn’t as bad as Sybil, however, who got a lime slice to the eye. But it was by far the worst for Chris, who got the whole tray to the face.

Standing there, soaked in tequila, next to Sybil, who was crying from one eye, mascara and eyeliner running down her face, and Chris, whose nose was bleeding, Priscilla experienced a shame like none other. It was magnified by the fact that Katy and Ezra remained pristine and dazzling, if not a little stunned.

“Holy fuck, I’m blind!” Sybil exclaimed after a moment as the three on the floor tried to sort themselves out.

“Son of a bitch!” Chris shouted, putting a hand to his bloody nose. It wasn’t unwarranted, but he said it just as Jana’s young cousin, the same one Oscar had already knocked over, was walking past. Priscilla had to relinquish her own chocolate truffle wedding favours as well. And then she promptly left the wedding behind Sybil and Chris, Keith, Erin, and Oscar trailing behind her.

“What have we learned tonight?” Priscilla asked as the six of them sloped along morosely on their way back to their hotel rooms.

“That Oscar can’t throw a punch?” Chris guessed.

“No,” Priscilla returned sternly. “Try again.”

“That we should’ve left him on the floor because that’s where he ended up anyway?” Chris offered.

“I’m done with you,” Priscilla jabbed a finger in his direction. “Someone else?”

“That getting lime juice in your eyeball stings like a motherfucker?” Sybil replied darkly. Priscilla sighed deeply.

“Fuck it, whatever,” she said. “Yeah, alright.”


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