The groom and his groomsmen stood across from the Bridesmaids. He looked so handsome and dapper standing there. As though he felt her eyes on him he suddenly turned towards her and catching her stare, he grinned ever so slightly and winked.
"He winked at me" Biola giggled.
"He winked? What does that mean? Personally I find men who wink creepy, there's just something unsavory and salacious about them" Zinna said.
Zinna, opinionated and outspoken as ever. Biola sometimes found her exhausting, she always had an opinion, always had something to say, always sarcastic, always cynical, always a bit too much. But, she was always witty, always funny, always brilliant, always the life of the party, always there when Biola needed her, and that's why she was her best friend.
"I see nothing wrong in it. He was just being playful" Biola said, her voice low, now lacking conviction.
"Whatevs... If you say so" Zinna was already bored, about to go on a tangent about one thing or another, as she often did, but Biola cut in.
"He invited me to dinner tonight Zee"
"The winking guy invited you to dinner? The lewd lecherous perv! You know he plans to shag you tonight, right?" Zinna laughed mischievously and then laughed harder at Biola's lowered eyes and uncomfortable smile. She was so sweet and innocent, Biola. Like a flower in spring. Zinna felt protective towards her, even though at 26, Biola was a year older than she was.
"He doesn't Zinna. And he wouldn't, because you're coming with me"
"You are. Please Zeeee, don't say no. I can't be alone with him, not on the first date. I wouldn't know what to say, you know how scared I am of awkward silences... Please?"
"Ok ok, I'll go. Eishh! 'Zinna Patron Saint of awkward silences' " she said with feigned exasperation and they both collapsed into fits of laughter.
He was just as handsome as she remembered, and his eyes always shone bright with boyish mischief.
"I thought you were joking when you said you were bringing a friend along. A little too old for a chaperon aren't we?" Coby asked testily but his smile to Biola was amused and gentle. He was even more amused by the way she shyly averted her gaze, avoiding eye contact with him.
"It's very nice to meet you too" Zinna said, her words dripping with sarcasm
"Oh...?" Coby was a bit taken aback
"Well it's obvious you saw me here, but hello seemed a bit too much for you, right?"
"Oh, now I get it, you were being sarcastic?"
"Now, now, gather around people, you need to see this" Zinna said, gesturing wildly to an imaginary crowd as Coby and Biola looked at her, wary yet anticipating. "We have a real life Sheldon Cooper in our midst. A real person totally incapable of recognizing sarcasm when they hear it"
"Biola, is your friend ok?" Coby asked, his tone was sharp and slightly irritated but there was something else; amusement, admiration?
"Forgive my friend Coby, she's a bit of a psycho. Please meet Zinna, I told you about her...", and turning to Zinna, "Zee, this is Coby".
"Hello Zinna, lovely to meet you" Coby said, trying to start afresh
"A little too late for that aren't we?" Zinna said, dismissing his pleasantries
"Zinna! Behave..." Whispered Biola, but Zinna only brushed off her plea like an errant fly
" 'Zinna behave'? That's an oxymoron!" She shrieked with mock horror.
Coby burst into laughter, despite himself. "Damn Biola, your friend is a riot!", he clutched his belly as his body quivered with laughter
"Well that's Zinna..." Biola muttered.
"Mr Coby, I'd say it's nice to meet you too. But first I have to ask, what are your intentions for my friend?" Zinna looked Coby square in the eyes, squinting her eyes for effect.
"ZINNAAAAA! What's wrong with you?" Biola cried
"Answer the question" Zinna said, her eyes still trained on Coby. "You said you like her and you'd like to see where things go... What are your intentions for my friend?" She asked again
"Your friend?" Coby asked, momentarily confused. "Oh you mean Biola... Errr, I do like her" Coby said distractedly. Biola felt something sink deep within her. Coby's eyes were fastened on Zinna. It seemed they were having a staring contest, each daring the other to break the stare, and end up the loser.
"So you're a BBT fan too?" Coby asked Zinna, conceding.
"BBT?" Zinna asked.
"Big Bang Theory, I don't know why I called it that, just trying to sound cool I guess..." Coby suddenly sounded shy
"Yes. I love 'BBT', but certainly not as much as I love GOT"
"Oh my God! GOT, me too! Dang! How far have you gone? Did you see how King Joffrey died?
"I did, it was too kind a death, that evil imp deserved to have his fingers chopped and fed to him and then the rest of his body, in tiny little bits!" Zinna said morbidly and for some reason Coby found this completely hilarious
"Oh dear! You're so right. You're so so right! Wow, Biola I'm really loving your psycho friend" Coby said to Biola. On hearing her name Biola immediately perked up, grateful to finally be included in their gist but crestfallen once again to find that his eyes hadn't left Zinna's face even for a split second.
Biola knew she was losing Coby.
"The church will now rise" the voice broke into her reverie. Biola struggled to her feet and looked into the distance at the approaching figure, an ethereal vision in white. Time stood still.
"She's so beautiful, isn't she?" The bridesmaid beside her asked in an adoring whisper.
"Yes" Biola said.
Yes. It seemed she was cursed with that word. Why did she always have to say yes?
"Hi Biola, it's Coby. I guess you're not close to the phone 'cause I've called you twice. Quick question dearie, I know this is awkward but I really respect you so I wanted to ask you first. Is it absolutely ok with you if I hang out with Zinna? Just in case you're wondering we exchanged numbers so that we could swap DVDs later... Please know that I would go with whatever you say, I promise. So, is it ok?" His text read.
Biola knew this was an opening and she should latch onto it; "I will go with whatever you say". But then he still asks if it's ok?
"Yes. Of course it is". She replied, a knot forming in her throat.
"Biola, you're awesome. You rock!", came his immediate reply.
And later that day...
"Biola I need to tell you something" Zinna said, her tone was very serious, very un-Zinna
"What is it Zee, is everything ok?"
"Emm, your friend Coby... It seems you guys aren't really... Err, what I'm trying to say is, he asked me out on a date. Is it okay with you if I go?" Zinna was nervous, Biola could tell that she was really struggling with this, yet she hated Zinna for asking.
Of course it wasn't ok! No, it isn't. I like Coby, I really like him, I haven't been able to get him out of my mind for a second since we met, even after our supposed "date". I LIKE him. I know he likes you but I have feelings for him and that makes it not ok. Seeing you with him, seeing him love you, would kill me, it would literally break me. No, it's not okay!
"Yes, of course it is Zinna", Biola smiled reassuring at a very relieved Zinna.
"Oh wow! You're such a sport. I love you you beautiful woman!" Zinna jumped off the sofa and wrapped Biola's stiff body in a hug.
And one year later...
"He did it He did it He did it He did it He did it He did it !!!" Zinna screamed into the phone
"Calm down woman! Take a deep breath, who did what?" Biola asked, she wondered for the hundredth time how Zinna always managed to stay in a state of happy delirium.
"Coby! Biola Coby proposed to me! We're having a December wedding Biola! We're wedding in December! You'll be my Maid of Honour obviously?"
"Hello, Bee, are you there? Did you hear me?"
"Yes... Yes I'll be your maid of honour" and the tears flowed.
Biola had never seen Zinna look so beautiful, Coby couldn't take his eyes off her. And Zinna stared lovingly up at him. Even in her four inch Louboutin heels under her 5ft7" frame she stared up at Coby, his shoulders broad and strong, his jaw; square and proud but his eyes, all boyish mischief and tenderness. In that moment Biola had never felt more envious of Zinna. For Zinna could stare at this Adonis for moments on end without having to explain it, he was after all, about to be her husband. But she, what reason would she give if someone noticed the raw passion and longing in her eyes when she looked at him...
"Now, does anyone have a reason why these two should not be joined together in Holy Matrimony? Let him or her speak now or forever hold their peace." the Minister bellowed.
And just as though Biola was really accursed with the word, it slipped from her lips, her voice a bare whisper, yet a resounding echo in the hollow Chapel
With a collective gasp the entire church turned towards her. Biola did not know what came over her, she wasn't sure what to do or say next, she willed the earth to quake and mercifully swallow her... Zinna stood shellshocked with eyes as wide as tennis balls, Coby's jaw tightened but he remained calm.
"Yes" she continued, her voice louder and firm. "Yes! Let him or her forever hold their peace! For what God has joined together let no one put asunder!" Biola cried out.
Relief flooded the church, from the altar to the last pew. Their relief was palpable and noisy as feet shuffled and people muttered about the overly impassioned Maid of Honour. What a loyal friend, a bit too forward but very loyal nonetheless, they all said as the Minister tried to restore quiet and calm.
Still, Zinna looked at Biola whose eyes where now firmly planted on the ground. Slowly Biola raised her eyes up to hers, and for the very first time, Zinna knew. No, it was not okay, it was never okay.
...If only Biola had said those words, if only she had given a tiny hint, Zinna thought to herself, as she and Coby lovingly exchanged their vows and sealed them with a kiss.
Dedicated to the one who said it was "ok" when it certainly wasn't.