Everything was white, too white. Her dress was too white.
Her dress was definitely too white.
“I can’t get married. I hate white.” Shannon said and Grace just rolled her eyes.
“It’s not for you. I’ve just tried on enough dresses for one day.”
“Well we’re not the same size.” Shannon said, glancing at herself in the mirror. “But I look damn good in this dress.”
“Yeah, you do.” Grace said thoughtfully. “Try the veil.”
Shannon did, placing it on top of her head carefully. The opaque fabric fell gracefully around her, and she felt her heart ache with longing. She wanted her own wedding.
“Shit.” Grace said, looking at her from all angles. “We need to find you a man so you can get this dress.”
“Eh, it’s too much.” Shannon lied. “Besides, this is your wedding.”
“Yeah, yeah. Shut up and let me take pictures of you.”
Shannon rolled her eyes, but was secretly grateful for Grace’s determination. She posed for a few minutes as Grace snapped photos on her iPhone, gushing over the look.
“Alright, go change. I think that’s enough dress shopping for the day.”
“I think you’re right.” Shannon said, disappearing into the changeroom to change out of what might be the last wedding dress she ever got to wear.
As the week of the wedding approached, it was hard to know if Grace or Shannon was more nervous.
“You and Harry are going to make it, you know that. He loves you and you love him, what more can you need?” Shannon said to Grace, linking her arm as they stepped off the plane, trying to ignore her pounding heartbeat.
“I know, I just wish the divorce rate wasn’t so damn high.” Grace said with a sigh. “Like 50% in America? That’s crazy.”
“Well it’s also a 50% chance you’ll stay together.” Shannon pointed out. Grace rolled her eyes.
“All right Miss Positivity. If you’re not worried about me and Harry, why the hell were you twitching the whole plane ride over?”
Shannon blushed. “I was not.”
“You were so.”
“I, I don’t like airplanes.” Shannon lied and Grace raised an eyebrow at her.
“And yet you begged me for the window seat?” Grace scoffed, shaking her head at her. Suddenly her eyes widened in realization.
“You still haven’t talked to Niall, have you?”
Shannon blushed again, a very deep red. “I can’t.”
“He’s your best friend, you have to.”
“He turned me down. I literally begged him to choose me, and he still didn’t. I’m too embarrassed to face him.”
“You still have to, he’s Harry’s best man.” Grace pointed out and Shannon sighed.
“I know. You’re making me walk down the damn aisle with him and everything.”
“Good practice for your wedding.”
“It’s not going to ever happen, Niall made that very clear.” Shannon said. “Forget about it, I’ll be fine. Just worry about yourself, it’s your wedding.”
“Fine. For now.” Grace said. “Someone has to worry about you since you clearly won’t look after yourself.”
“Hey, it’s your fault I told him in the first place.” Shannon pointed out as they grabbed their luggage. They followed the crowd out of the airport and jumped into a taxi.
“It’s better he knows.” Grace said finally, as they were driving towards the New York City centre. “You’re not hiding anything from him.”
“I guess.” Shannon said, not wanting to start an argument. The truth was, she thought that telling Niall she was in love with him was the biggest mistake she had ever made. It had destroyed their friendship and left Shannon too embarrassed to even be in a room with the man she considered her best friend.
They pulled in front of the hotel after the short cab ride, and they two girls thanked the taxi driver as Shannon payed him. They removed their luggage from the trunk and made their way into the lobby of the hotel.
“Shit.” Shannon said under her breath as they stepped into the lobby. Grace just smiled solemnly at her.
“You were going to have to face him eventually. Might as well get it out of the way.”
“Did his girlfriend have to be in the room when I did it though?” Shannon muttered and Grace snorted.
“God hates you. Go deal with it.”
Shannon felt dread wash over her as she approached the front desk, right where Niall and his girlfriend Jenna were standing.
Jenna noticed her first, and smiled warmly at her. “Shannon! It’s been so long I thought you’d died!”
Shannon tried her best to smile normally back, but Niall had turned to look at her when Jenna spoke and she found it hard to look at either of them when Niall was staring at her with that pitying look on his face.
“I’m sorry, I’ve just been really busy with wedding stuff.” Shannon said which wasn’t a lie, as Grace’s maid of honour she had been very busy. Jenna pulled her into a hug.
“Well we need to get a drink later, I’ve missed having you around. Niall’s driving me crazy.”
“What else is new?” Shannon tried to joke, but it felt caught in her chest. Jenna didn’t seem to notice but Niall smiled at her sadly from over Jenna’s shoulder.
Shannon couldn’t tell if it was good or bad that Niall hadn’t told Jenna what had happened between them. On the one hand Jenna wouldn’t try and stop her from seeing Niall, but on the other hand, she would have to see Niall. A lot of Niall. And act like everything was normal between them.
It might have been easier if Jenna hated her.
“We’ll let you guys get settled.” Niall said, leading Jenna away.
“I’ll text you!” She chirped at Shannon. “About that drink!”
“Yeah.” Shannon said, giving them a small wave as they disappeared onto the elevator. Grace came up behind her and Shannon turned to her with a groan.
“Did you see the way he was looking at me? We’re never going to be able to go back to just being friends.” Shannon sighed. “I shouldn’t have told him.”
“It was eating you alive, you know it was. You two will get over it eventually. You’re best friends, nothing is going to change that.”
“You know, you used to get mad at me for calling Niall my best friend.”
Grace smirked. “I got over it. You need me. We’re sisters.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
The thing with Jenna, was that Shannon couldn’t hate her if she tried.
Usually when you fall in love with your best friend, he’s single, or he’s dating some bitch you hate but pretended to put up with for years because that’s what best friends do. But Jenna was the nicest girl Shannon knew, and she was perfect for Niall. They were even friends themselves, and Jenna often chose hanging out with Shannon over Niall, something that Shannon took pride in and used to rub in Niall’s face at every available opportunity.
Now however, she just wished Jenna was a bitch.
“So.” Jenna said, putting down her martini and smiling at Shannon. “Any hot guys at this wedding?”
“I mean other than Niall.”
Shannon tried not to blush, bringing her glass to her lips to try and disguise it.
“Ew.” She said as she finished her sip. Jenna just rolled her eyes.
“I get you guys are best friends since birth or whatever, but you still have to admit that he’s pretty attractive.”
Yes he is, Shannon thought, but didn’t say anything to Jenna. “Whatever you say.”
Jenna grinned. “I’m making it my personal mission to get you laid this weekend. I need a boy to make fun of you about.”
“Good luck.” Shannon said. “You won’t see much of me after now.”
“I’m the maid of honour, Grace has got me running around the city all weekend, picking up stuff for her. Nothing personal.” Shannon said with a grin. Jenna just swatted her arm.
“I hate you. You can’t stop me from finding you happiness.”
“I thought you were finding me a hookup?”
“Hookups can lead to beautiful things.” Jenna said. “Just look at Grace and Harry.”
“Fair point.” Shannon said, downing the rest of her martini.
She and Jenna stayed out for about another hour doing shots, before walking back to their hotel.
“You know, you chose the worst possible moment to disappear.” Jenna said.
“Niall’s been acting weird the past few weeks. He won’t tell me why and usually I’d ask you, but I know he hasn’t seen you since he started acting weird anyway.”
Shannon held her breath, waiting for Jenna to put two and two together, but thankfully she never did. They stepped into the hotel, taking the elevator to their respective floors. Shannon was staying in Grace and Harry’s wedding night suite until after they got married, which Shannon was eternally grateful to Grace for, since she knew she would be coming home to free champagne and food for the next couple of nights.
“Well this is me.” Jenna said as the elevator stopped at the 5th floor, giving Shannon a hug before stepping off the elevator. “Can you talk to Niall for me?”
“Of course.” Shannon lied, giving her a small smile. “Have a good night.”
“Yeah you too.”
The elevator doors closed again and Shannon let out a breath, feeling guilt wash over her. She knew what was wrong with Niall, and she knew damn well that she wasn’t going to speak to him more than was needed all weekend. She would just tell him to make up some tragedy to tell Jenna was bothering him.
She felt bad for putting this kind of strain on their relationship, but she couldn’t help but feel a glimmer of hope. If Niall was so bothered by what she had said, to the point where Jenna knew something was wrong, maybe he did feel the same way.
It doesn’t matter. The voice in her head cut off her blissful thoughts. He loves Jenna. You wouldn’t do that to her.
The voice was right, and she knew it. It was just hard to let go of the feelings she had been fighting since high school.
She stepped off the elevator and into the suite, grabbing the glass of champagne that was left out for her with the white card with elegant black cursive writing that read Congratulations!
She ignored the card as she downed the glass of champagne in one sip. If she hadn’t already been drinking, she might have noticed that the second glass was missing.
It would have been helpful if she had noticed that before she poured herself the second glass, because when the man in the room came up to her she was so shocked that she dropped the rest of the bottle on the ground.