To all the Certified Bama Girls out there.
Thank you for wanting this story. And more importantly, for waiting for it.
“Never again, tequila. Never. Again. You're dead to me.”
“ARE YOU FUCKING serious? You’re still going?”
I lift my eyes in the mirror and lower the tube of lipstick in my hand.
Richard is standing in the doorway of our bedroom, leaning against the frame with half hooded eyes and flushed cheeks, looking pissed and a beer or two away from being full blown drunk. He takes a swig from the bottle in his hand, squints, and points it at me.
“This is fucked up, Ri,” he slurs. “Seriously. Way to back me.”
I sigh as an ache pinches in the center of my chest. “He’s my brother,” I remind him. “Honestly, what do you expect me to do?” I stand from my vanity stool and walk over to the duffle bag opened on the bed, further explaining, “I can’t miss Reed’s wedding. And Beth is like, my closest friend. I’m in the wedding party. I have to go.” I slip the tube of lipstick into my makeup bag, zip it closed and pack it inside the duffle. I grip the sides and look up at Richard when I’m finished. “I’m sorry,” I tell him, hoping my words sink in this time. “I’m kind of stuck. You know I want you there with me. I don’t want to go to this without you, it’s just—”
“It’s just your brother is a fucking dickhead and you’re backing him instead of sticking up for me,” he snaps, cutting me off. “Probably think he was right in firing me too.”
My shoulders drop.
“Don’t say that. You know that’s not true.”
“Yeah? Do I know?” His brows reach his dark hairline. Before I have the chance to respond, Richard straightens in the doorway and shakes his head, looking disappointed in me. “What-the-fuck-ever,” he grates, swiping his free hand through the air in a brush-off motion. “Go. Do what you want. I don’t really want you here right now anyway.”
I blink. “What? Why?”
He doesn’t really mean that, does he? Why wouldn’t he want me here? What did I do? I didn’t get him fired.
I move to offer some sort of comfort—my hand squeezing his or my arms wrapping around his back—needing to give it as much as I crave to feel it myself, but halt a foot away when Richard’s head jerks up and I see his eyes. Eyes that are burning now, heated with anger and bitterness and blame.
And it’s all for me.
“This is fucked up,” he snarls. “You’re my girl. We’re together and I don’t get invited to this shit?”
I bite the tremble in my lip. Tears threaten to build behind my lashes.
I can’t really argue with Richard on this one. I feel the same way. But what can I do? I can’t bring someone with me to the wedding who’s specifically not invited. That’ll just cause tension, and I don’t want anything messing up this weekend. That wouldn’t be right to Reed or Beth.