Perspective Chapter 1: Alcohol, Dreams, and Dave

"Well. It's finally come. The Day of Hell. Things were looking up when he dumped her, but then they had to get back tagether. Right back together. Is like some kind of sick joke. Af . . . after five years I had worked up the courage to tell him how I feel . . . finally . . . and then he announces to everyone that he and Lisa are not only back together, but that they are going to get married. Well, let me tell ya, when I heard that, I wasss ready to puke. Hic. Don' you understand? They don't belong tagether. He should be with me.
"And then she assed me to be her maid of honor. How sickening. I'm tellin' ya, when she assed me to, I was gonna spit in her face. But . . . can't do that in the office . . tho I don't know why not. Hmmph. Bartender, another one here. So's anyway . . . where was I? Oh right. But then I said 'sure, I'll be your maid of honor,' and then I came down here to . . . get myself plastered. I think. Oh, thanks a million Mr. Bartender Man. So now I'm drunk, and I am not looking ta tomorrow. Isss gonna suck some ass, 'M tellin' ya."
Taking a final swig of the glass in front of her, the red head in the nearly empty bar passed out with a resounding thud.
The man sitting next to her looked at the bartender. "We shouldn't just leave her here."
The bartender shook his head. "Nope. Good thing she's a regular and I happen to know how to get a hold of someone who can take her home."

It was getting near closing time, and the red head was still there. That was when a man entered the bar and, seeing the red head, went up to her and started coaxing her awake.
"Beth. Beth, come on now. Wake up."
"I'm wake."
"Ok, I'm going to take you home now. Can you stand on your own?"
"I think so," she said, as she attempted to get up from her perch on a stool. When her legs collapsed from under her, she amended herself. "Nope."
"Ok, I'll carry you out," Joe said as he picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. With that, he nodded once at the bartender and walked out.

Once in the cab, Joe turned on Beth.
"What was the point of that?" he asked her.
"The point of what?"
"Getting drunk alone."
Feeling uninhibited because of the alcohol still coursing through her system, she replied with a frown, "because Dave is marrying Lisa."
Joe turned a shocked look on Beth. "You, you have a thing for Dave?"
Beth nodded her head twice.
That started Joe giggling.
Annoyed, Beth glared at him. "What's so funny? Dave is a very . . . tractive man."
Between laughs, Joe tried to answer her. "Because . . . you used to make fun of Lisa . . . because she thought Dave was sexy."
Beth just sighed. "It wasss my way of dealin' with the fact that he was my boss and not . . . tracted to me."
Joe's laughter quieted down as the cab pulled up to the apartment complex where Beth lived. After paying the man, Joe helped Beth up the stairs and into her apartment. Once she had sobered up a bit, thanks to a generous amount of coffee, he asked her "why did you never tell him how you felt?"
Beth sighed, embarrassed from her scene, and from admitting that she was in love with Dave. "Because," she answered in a small voice, "what if he doesn't feel the same way? It would ruin my working relationship with him, and I would be ridiculed endlessly for it, and . . . Lisa might not want to be friends with me."
Joe just nodded. "Well," he said, getting up to leave, "just remember this: once he's married to Lisa, you can't touch him. But, until then, you have a chance to make it work. You gotta do what you gotta do."
Beth nodded, thinking. "I guess I'll have to see how it all goes." She looked up at him. "Thanks Joe. For everything."
He smiled at her. "You're welcome. Think about what I said. Now get some rest. It's going to be a big day tomorrow."

The day was bright and clear. Crisp white clouds floated across the indigo sky. Beth was nervous. She had only hours to find Dave and tell him how she felt. She looked to her right and saw Matthew headed straight for her. She was starting to get frustrated. She needed to find Dave!
Matthew finally reached her. "Lisa's looking for you. She said that she couldn't find blue bonnet, and she was refusing to get married until she found it."
"It's in the breakroom."
"Oh," he said, and walked off.
The next thing Beth realized, she was standing with Lisa in a room. Lisa was dressed in a Princess Leia outfit, with a blue bonnet on her head. She was muttering something, but it took Beth a minute to figure out what it was. "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." She kept repeating it over and over again, and she was looking around the room, searching for something.
"Lisa, calm down. What are you looking for?"
"Beth! Thank God you're here! I can't find something borrowed. Do you have anything I can borrow?"
"You could borrow my gum."
Lisa seemed to consider it. "Ok, that'll work."
Beth handed over her gum. "Why are you dressed like that?"
Lisa started looking around again. "Oh, Dave thought it looked nice," she answered distractedly.
"Don't you think we should get going?"
"In a second. I want to finish this game of chess first."
The chessboard had appeared out of nowhere. Lisa sat down and became engrossed in it.
Beth walked outside to find Dave, in a tux with a cup of coffee in his hand, talking to some people Beth didn't recognize. He turned around to her, and suddenly a golden light shone down on him. He looked beyond handsome. There were no words to describe how magnificent he looked. It was then that Beth's heart started beating double time. He smiled at her, and she walked over to him. He didn't look the least bit nervous.
"Is Lisa ready yet?" he asked her.
Beth was speechless, but found her voice a moment later. "Uh, no. Not yet. Listen, Dave, I need to talk to you.” She glanced behind him, then added quieter, "in private."
Dave nodded his head and they were alone. "Look, Dave, I know this hardly the time or place, but, I think you should know . . . I'm in love with you."
Dave just looked at her. "Oh, was that all?"
He was going to say more when Lisa appeared suddenly. They were all at the altar, and Dave and Lisa had just said "I do."
"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride." As they kissed, Beth felt her world shatter, and darkness blotted out her vision.

Beth bolted upright. She was covered in a cold sheen of sweat. The nightmare had been so real, and so heartbreaking. Dave had just blown her off. She couldn't let that happen. She would rather he never know then to have him reject her like he did. Her breathing gradually came down to normal, and the sweat covering her body dried. She shed a single tear, feeling sadness and loss and pain. And then she looked at the clock. Resignedly, she sighed. She had a wedding to go to.

The day was bright and clear. A few wispy white clouds drifted across the blue sky. Beth fiddled with her dress, hoping she looked all right. She looked over at Lisa. Lisa looked better than all right. She looked down right gorgeous. She smiled a nervous smile at Beth. Beth sighed with envy and a tinge of depression. She could never look that pretty. And she could barely stand it.
"Lisa, I'm going to go outside. I'll be right back." Before Lisa could protest, Beth was out the door, breathing the fresh air deeply. She saw Joe meandering over to her. She wanted to get away, but there was nowhere to turn, and she sure as hell wasn't going back to Lisa.
He came and stood next to her. She didn't look at him, but asked him the foremost question on her mind. "How's Dave?"
"He's fine. Nervous as all hell. Couldn't even drink coffee without spilling it everywhere. Of course, it didn't help that Matthew can't stand still. Dave finally had to tell him to leave, so he could remain sane."
Beth laughed slightly. "Yeah, Lisa's pretty nervous too, although she's doing a much better job of hiding it."
Joe smiled with her. "So. Are you going to do it?"
Beth's smile disappeared and she looked straight ahead. "No. I had a dream last night. I told Dave how I felt, and he just kinda said, "oh, really?" and married Lisa anyway. I took it as a sign that it was rather pointless to tell him."
"You're not going to tell him, based on a dream?"
Silence. "Yeah." Then she looked at Joe. "He doesn't need the extra stress."
Joe nodded, taking the hint. "Well, it's your life. Course, I could help you, if you wanted me to."
Beth just shook her head. "No. Don't. It's all wrong. I couldn't do that to Lisa. Or Dave."
"Fine. Well, I better get back. The ceremony is supposed to start pretty soon."
"Yeah. Me too." They went their separate ways.

When Beth walked back in, she found Lisa pacing.
"There you are! Beth, I don't have something borrowed! I have to have something borrowed! Do you have something I can borrow?"
Beth paled slightly, the memories of her dream coming back to her. And this time, she didn't have any gum. "No, not really. Don’t worry. I'm sure we can find—"
"Beth, I can't do this! It's crazy! We were drunk when he proposed. I'm not ready for this!"
"What . . . what are you saying?" Beth asked, not believing what she was hearing.
"I don't want to get married. But I don't want to lose Dave. And I thought that if I married him, he and I would have the same relationship, only living together. But, there's so much involved . . . I'm not ready for this. I just . . . can't go through with this," she finished, collapsing onto a chair.
"It's going to break Dave's heart."
Lisa looked at Beth, the pain obvious in her eyes. "I know. That's why I don't know what to do. What do you think I should do?"
Beth was torn. "I think . . . that you should do what you know in your heart to be the right thing. Whether you marry him or not, it's going to be a decision that affects you for the rest of your life."
Lisa was quiet for a minute. Then she looked up. "My heart says no, don't do it."
Beth wasn't sure whether to smile or weep. "Then don't."

Beth walked out of the room with determination. She made the short walk to where the guys were in about half the time it normally took. When she reached her destination, she took a bit of a gulp and was about to knock on the door when it opened and Joe walked out, almost walking right into her.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I was about to have to tell Dave that Lisa didn't want to go through with it."
"Really? That's what I was coming to tell Lisa. Dave says he doesn't want to go through with it."
"Really?" Beth's eyes lit up and a smile played across her face.
"Yeah," Joe smiled with her. "Come inside. I'm sure Dave will be relieved to hear what you have to say."
Beth walked inside, her heart pounding. She saw Dave and smiled. He looked as handsome as he had in her dream, sans the golden light, of course. He smiled a small, almost apologetic smile at her.
"Was Lisa angry with me?"
"I don't think she will be. She sent me over here to tell you the same thing."
Dave smiled a full smile then. "Yeah, I guess it was a pretty silly thing for us to think we should get married."
"Are you two going to stay together?"
Dave's smile was beginning to look a bit forced. "I don't know. I'll have to talk to her."
"Well, let's not waste any time," Beth said and, with that, grabbed Dave by the arm and pulled him over towards where Lisa was.
They were quiet on the walk there until Dave broke the silence. "I'm sorry you had to get all dressed up for nothing. Though, if it's any consolation, you look very nice."
Beth blushed slightly. "Thanks. Besides, it wasn't all for nothing. I got to see you in a tux."
Dave smiled slightly, then threw her a strange look. Before he could ask her what she had meant, they arrived at their destination. "Well, here I go," he said.
"Good luck," she said to him and, impulsively, gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Dave looked shocked, but said nothing as he headed into the room, and shut the door behind him.
And so, Beth waited, wondering about the outcome.

She had taken to sitting on a little mat that was on the ground, with her back propped against the wall. She had long ago given up hearing what they were saying to each other, but, she figured, since it had been nearly forty-five minutes, they must have decided to stay together. All she felt now was embarrassment for kissing him. And, of course, the ever present yearning to know just what his lips were like. She hoped they would hurry it up because she wanted to make plans for her next drunken pity party, in her apartment this time. She was calculating the amount of alcohol it would take to get her plastered when the door clicked. She looked up and saw Dave walk out.
Immediately she stood up. "So, what happened?"
He just looked at her. "Well, Lisa and I agreed that we didn't want to get married. She, however, wanted to continue our relationship, and I didn't. So, I broke it off with her, telling her that I was attracted to someone else.”
Beth hardly found her voice. "Who?"
Dave didn't look at her. "Just . . . someone. It's not important. Anyway, we talked a little bit more, and worked everything out. We're just friends now."
Beth's heart was singing. "Why won't you tell me who it is?"
Dave turned on her. "Oh, for God's sakes Beth! I don't have to tell you everything about my life, particularly my love life."
Beth gulped, realizing she'd pushed too hard. "Touchy, touchy. I'm sorry Dave."
He sighed, then started walking toward where the guys had been. Beth hurried to catch up. "Well, how did Lisa take it?"
He looked at Beth as they walked. "She . . . was hurt, but I think she understands."
His answer made Beth want to ask more questions, but she refrained from doing so, wanting to stay on his good side.
They walked the rest of the way in silence. The entire walk, Beth kept wondering who this woman was that Dave would break up with Lisa over. She wondered briefly if it was her, but she immediately dismissed it. If it were her, wouldn't he have kissed her or something? Beth then resolved herself: whoever this woman was, she was competition. And if Beth had anything to do with it, Dave would forget she had ever existed. But, how to accomplish this? And then, inspiration struck. It would require a little money, which was always something that Beth didn't have enough of, but nothing would stop her from putting her plan into action.
It was about this time that the two of them reached their destination. Dave started explaining what had happened between him and Lisa, while Beth's mind wandered to her plan. She was confident it would work. And she smiled a giddy smile, looking forward to the week ahead.

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Part 1
Part 2 Part3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6