Diana showed up to the group’s If Dinner at Emilio’s looking disheveled and not at all like herself. She knew this, but she couldn’t bring herself to care, not when she had just broken up with her fiancé an hour ago.
Her third fiancé.
This one, at least, wasn’t a lying, cheating scumbag, but he wasn’t the one either. In fact if she was being honest, most of the time he bored her half to death. If she learned one thing in the past two years, it was that she deserved the kind of love that her sister Min had with Cal.
She didn’t know if she would ever find it, and now she was even less sure than before.
She wasn’t going to cry.
She wasn’t too upset about the guy himself. He was nice, but nothing more. She was upset about yet another wedding she wouldn’t get to have, yet another engagement that ended in failure for her.
Min had a busy day at work and Diana didn’t have a chance to speak to her sister since the break-up happened, but Min took one look at her, and Diana knew she could tell something was wrong.
“What’s going on, Diana?” Min asked.
“I just broke up with John,” Diana replied, her eyes burning with unshed tears. She was not going to cry.
“Oh god, I’m so sorry,” Min said. “Do you want to get out of here? I’m sure the rest of the gang can fend for themselves.”
“No, it’s okay.” Diana brushed away a tear. “I could use the distraction.”
“This calls for extra wine. Men are the worst,” Liza said. At least Diana could always rely on Liza’s hatred for the male population.
“Actually, I was the one to break it off. John was just so… boring,” Diana said.
“That is true,” Tony said from the other end of the table. “He was a walking snoozefest. I’m surprised you didn’t fall into a year-long slumber with him.”
Liza punched him in the arm, and Diana smiled for the first time that evening. It wasn’t really funny, but Tony was right. John was one of the most boring people she’d ever met. She didn’t understand why she had ever said yes to him when he had asked her to marry him.
“Come and sit down,” Bonnie said. “We’ll talk about something else entirely.”
They spent the whole night debating the merits of having both a cat and a dog as pets, as Cal and Min were thinking of adopting a black lab mix puppy.
Diana didn’t feel like coming to The Long Shot for drinks afterwards at all, but she let the others convince her pretty easily. The guys took turns buying her drinks, and soon she was tipsy-verging-on-drunk. Diana told herself she wasn’t going to have a drunk breakdown at the bar.
Tony must have noticed that something was going on. “Are you all right?” he asked, then winced. “Stupid question, of course you aren’t.”
“No, I’m not,” Diana told him honestly. She probably looked like a mess and all she wanted to do was get out of there “I just want to go home.”
“I’ll come with you,” Tony said. In that moment, she was grateful for him. She didn’t want to lose it in front of him, but she also couldn’t be trusted to be by herself with her judgement impaired by her break-up and alcohol.
“That would be lovely, thank you,” she said and gave him a sad smile.
They walked back to Diana’s apartment in near silence. When Diana shivered, Tony offered her his coat, which she gladly accepted. She didn’t often take him for a gentleman, but Tony had the genuine ability to surprise her.
Tony walked her up the stairs and was clearly getting ready to say goodbye, but she wasn’t ready to be alone yet, so she invited him in for a drink.
This was turning out strangely like the last time she ended an engagement, she realized. Tony took her home after a horrible scene at dinner, she invited him in for a drink, she cried in his arms, they made out a little bit on her couch, she sent him home, and they never spoke of it again.
She would not make out with him tonight, though. She promised herself that.
Tony made himself comfortable on the sofa while Diana prepared a vodka on the rocks for him.
“Sit down,” he told her as she handed him his drink.
“Okay,” Diana sat next to him on the couch, leaving a gap between them on purpose.
“Talk to me,” he said. Diana was surprised. She really didn’t take Tony for someone who wanted to hear about feelings. On top of that, she wasn’t sure she was ready to share. After only a moment’s hesitation she did anyway.
“There isn’t much to say. I had a guy, I lost the guy, I’ll be alone forever,” Diana said and started to cry. Tony scooted over closer to her and hugged her towards him.
“Shh,” he said, rubbing her back as he hugged her closer. It was oddly comforting.
“I will just clearly never find my happily ever after. I will never have what Cal and Min, and Bonnie and Roger have.” She hated the way she sounded right now.
“No, you won’t,” Tony said. Diana gasped and shoved at him. She really hadn’t expected him to agree with her.
“And why not, may I ask?” She was irritated now, and happy to have an emotion other than her heartache to latch onto. If she’d wanted someone to insult her… well, she would have come to Tony, actually. At least he always told her the truth.
“Because you have lousy taste in men,” he said. “You just have to try and pick a good one for once, and then you’ll have the happily ever after you’ve always dreamed of. Including your picture-perfect wedding.”
Hearing him talk like this, like it was just that easy, made Diana mad. Really mad, and mostly because she knew Tony was right. She did have lousy taste in men, but she hearing it right now was the last thing she wanted. She cried harder, and wanted to make him feel just as bad somehow.
“Please don’t cry, I didn’t mean it like that,” Tony said. “You won’t be alone forever. You just weren’t going to get your happily ever after with John. He was a bore, you know that. And the other men you were engaged to were assholes.”
“I know,” she said. “I was still hoping I could make it work with John. He’s a good man, and he might have become less boring with time.” She was still sobbing tiny sobs, but at least she’d stopped the tears. She hated for Tony to see her cry all the time. Well, twice. Still.
“There was almost no way to make that guy less boring,” Tony said, smiling.
Diana smiled sadly at that. “Yeah, you’re probably right.” She scooted even closer to Tony. She liked his warmth, both physically and emotionally.
“Remember the last time we were here?” she asked then.
“Hmm… I vaguely remember,” he said with a wink.
“I can’t believe this is the second time we’re here,” Diana said. “Knowing me, it’s probably not the last time, either.”
“Well, it wasn’t all bad, was it?” Tony smiled.
“Are you referring to the kiss? The kiss we never talked about?” Diana asked. “Are you sure this is the time to bring it up?”
“Probably not, but I’m doing it anyway. Anything to distract you.”
“It may be working,” Diana said, then silently scolded herself. She was not going to make out with Tony again after her breakup. This could not become a pattern.
He kissed her, then, and she forgot all of her previous objections for a minute and just lost herself in the kiss. Tony was a damn good kisser.
“Did that work?” he asked with a grin when they broke apart.
“I’m not sure. You might have to try again,” Diana said.
“Why don’t you just marry me,” she said after a longer silence. It sounded more serious than she’d intended. She really only wanted to get him back for the ‘lousy taste in men’ comment earlier.
He just laughed at her.
She paused, thinking. Tony had always been honest with her. They’d only kissed once before, but Tony was fun, he was unpredictable, he wasn’t at all like any of the men she had been engaged to in the past. She knew he would be in her life for a long time, and somehow he had become one of her best friends in the past two years. She may even love him a little bit. Why the hell not?
“I’m serious,” she said then. “You’re not at all like any of the men I’ve been with. By your logic, that means you must be perfect for me.”
He obviously still didn’t quite believe her. She stared him down.
“I’m not going to marry you, Diana,” Tony yelped. Good, she’d freaked him out.
“Why not? We’d be good for each other. We’re already good friends anyway. We make out occasionally. What’s the big deal?”
“Two times is hardly occasionally!” he said. Diana continued to stare him down. “The big deal is, we’d drive each other crazy.”.
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Diana still had tears in her eyes, but she laughed. “What a stupid idea.”
“I better get going,” Tony said. Diana couldn’t blame him. She’d just seriously proposed marriage to a man she had never even dated.
To Diana’s surprise, Tony kissed her on the mouth. “Goodbye kiss,” he whispered to her, then walked out of her apartment.
Less than five minutes later, there was a knock on Diana’s door. She opened the door, and Tony stood there.
“I reconsidered,” he said. “Not about the marriage thing, that’s insane. But about… us. Seeing if there could be an us.”
“Come on in,” Diana said, smiling. Her broken off engagement was pushed to a thought in the back of her mind. She could have Tony instead. That was a chance for something so much better.
When he walked back into her apartment, Diana promised herself she wasn’t going to let him leave again before the morning.
Six weeks later, Tony and Diana walked into Emilio’s together after having just returned from Kentucky. They were late on purpose to make sure everyone would be there for the big announcement.
They walked to their usual table, Tony’s arm wrapped slung low around Diana’s back. They’d agreed to break it to them gently, but when they got to the table, Diana couldn’t take it anymore.
“We got married in Kentucky,” she yelled out, holding up her left hand to show them the ring Tony got for her. They were in a rush to get the ring, but it was still the nicest one she’d ever had.
A lot of shocked gasps broke out. Everyone but Min was gaping at them. Diana had called Min from the road and warned her. She imagined Min’s reaction was similar to the rest of the group’s.
“You what,” Bonnie shouted. “What happened to your fairy tale wedding?”
“I guess I just realized that after three tries, it probably wasn’t for me. This is a good thing,” Diana said, smiling.
Tony just nodded.
“Once I’m done being mad at you for not being invited, we’ll have to celebrate,” Min said.
“You were invited to my first almost-wedding,” Diana said. “Remember how much of a disaster that was?”
“Fair point,” Min said, smiling at Diana. “I’m over it. Let’s celebrate!”
“Bring us some champagne, Emilio,” Cal yelled to the back. “Tony and Diana got married!”
Emilio peaked out from the back of the restaurant. He set down the plate of spaghetti he was holding to run over, hug Tony in a manly hug, and kiss Diana on the cheek. “Finally,” he said.
“There’s no way you called that one,” Cal said.
“Bet you I did,” Emilio said, smiling.
He walked back to the bar and brought them the largest bottle of champagne he had in the restaurant. He made Brian carry a tray full of glasses. “On the house,” Emilio said, pouring champagne into the glasses, then handed them out to everyone at the table.
“To the happy couple,” Emilio said, raising his glass.
Everyone chimed in.