“All I’m saying is I wish you had given a little more advanced notice so I would have known not to dress like an absolute putz.” Eric said in a stage whisper, raising his voice to be heard over the din of a hundred people eating and talking.
Alyssa rolled her eyes and maintained a strained smile as she leaned into his ear. “For the last time, I told you about this wedding a month ago when we got the invite, which has been hanging on our fridge since then.” She sighed and continued teasingly.“I know you’ve been using the fridge to eat all my hummus and veggies, so you had to have seen it. Plus, you look good, babe. No one cares that your pants are a little tight. You saw how long it took us to get a drink from the bar, I don’t think there’s a single sober person here.”
Eric sighed heavily and forced himself to relax. He knew he was picking a fight because he was annoyed at himself. He had known about Alyssa’s old sorority sister’s wedding since they moved in together, and had been putting off buying a new suit since. And now here he was, the schlub in a suit that looked like he had borrowed it from his kid brother. He felt Alyssa rub his leg and took a long drink from his glass. The Makers Mark went burned nicely on the way down, and he felt himself unwinding. It was a wedding after all, and he loved weddings.
He kissed his girlfriend on the cheek and whispered in her ear. “I’m sorry, you’re right. There’s only one sober person here, and she’s wearing white.” He ended his sentence with a meaningful look and a grin that was not returned. Alyssa gasped and slapped his arm playfully. “We don’t know that! Stop it, I’m sure she just gained some weight since I last saw her. And maybe the wedding just happened so fast because she couldn’t wait to be married to the person she loves. Did you ever think about that possibility?”
Eric’s grin froze on his face as his mind, as it so often did, overanalyzed what he had just heard. “Wait – was that a hint? Is she saying that I’m moving too slowly to get married? No. Stop it. That’s just your mom’s dumb advice rattling you.” He shook his head slightly to rid himself of the thoughts that had been plaguing him lately. The conversation with his mom weeks ago had sparked something in him. A desire he’d never felt before. He wanted to…get married?
He was jolted out of his head as Whitney Houston’s powerful voice began playing from the speakers. Alyssa grabbed his arm with an excited squeal. “Come on, let’s dance!” Eric jumped up, determined to squash his inner conflict, or at the very least, distract it. They joined a circle where Alyssa’s friends and their boyfriends were putting on a display of some of the worst dance moves this country club had likely every seen.
40 minutes and three stiff bourbons later, Eric was drunk, happy, and drenched with sweat. He started to move towards his seat, needing a break from the dance floor, when the DJ gave him the out he needed.
“All right folks, it’s time to slow it down now,” He crooned into his mic. “I need all the couples out on the dance floor. It doesn’t matter if you’re married, dating, or just dating tonight, y’all better get out there and grab a hold of each other.”
Eric caught Alyssa’s eye and pulled her in, wrapping one arm around her lower back and the other holding her hand in the traditional waltz style of someone that has no idea what they’re doing. They giggled and looked around, relieved to see that everyone else was doing the same. As the opening bars Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” played from the speakers, Eric began to sway gently, holding Alyssa close. Unfortunately, while the song provided his body with the break it so desperately craved, it also gave his mind the chance to start thinking again.
“Kind of a weird song to demand that people dance to,” He said to himself. “Is this even technically a ‘slow song?’ I mean, it’s pretty slow, but it’s also kind of a rock ballad. Whatever, people are digging it. I guess that’s why I’m not a DJ.” Looking over the dance floor, his inner monologue continued.
“Damn, the bride and the groom are getting after it. In the middle of the floor, too. With their parents right there? Honestly, I respect it. Y’all are married now, Dad can’t say shit about that firm ass grab. And firm it is. Weird. Probably not something I’ll pull at my wedding. Which is…coming up? Fuck. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Sure, proposing after two years is a little on the early side but, when you know, you know, right? Plus, what could top proposing on the beach in Italy? How was he going to let that opportunity pass just because it was a little early?”
He breathed in deeply, the smell of Alyssa’s perfume mixing with the alcohol content in his blood to create what felt like a magical elixir. The more he thought about it, the less he wanted to wait. He wanted to propose in Italy. And he wanted to be with Alyssa. Things were great between them, aside from some small spats, and he couldn’t think of any reason not to take it to the next level. He exhaled with purpose and smiled subtly to himself. Yup. He was going to propose.
The 5-minute long ballad came to an end as the DJ seamlessly transitioned to something a lot more upbeat and modern. A resounding cheer from the younger attendees lifted the atmosphere in the room back up, and soon a rowdy dance circle had formed. Flying high on adrenaline, love, and whiskey, Eric’s brain slipped into party mode. It was time for him to become the center of attention.
As the song built to a crescendo, he knew exactly what he was going to do. The pinnacle of dance moves. The splits. Could he do the splits? Well, there was only one way to find out. He fanned out his arms to make room, and instantly the circle pulled back for him. It was just him and 10 square feet of hard wood. The music hit its peak as he jumped. He hung in the air for what felt like an eternity, realizing for the first time he had no idea what he was doing. But it was too late. His fate was already sealed. The music dropped and so did he.
His once too-tight pants immediately felt looser. He looked down to see his slacks ripped completely in half along the crotch. His boxers were hanging out, visible for the world to see. He looked up into a sea of shocked faces, including Alyssa’s. The moment dragged out a lifetime, until it broke.
“YEAAAAAAAHHHHHH,” came a raucous cheer from one of the groomsmen who had been drinking aggressively since 10am. And just like that, the tension broke. Laughter turned to cheers and hands pulled Eric up, clapping him on the back in celebration. He looked over at Alyssa and gave her a grin and a shrug. She shook her head and laughed.