Cold Feet/C10 Chapter 10
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Cold Feet/C10 Chapter 10
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C10 Chapter 10

RICK

Viola takes Trish’s arm but she shrugs it off. Camera flashes are going off intermittently and the situation is becoming increasingly embarrassing for everyone. I step forward around Trish and I close the door. When I turn, Trish screams at me.

“Who the hell are you! Why are you defending him?”

“I’m not defending him,” I reply calmly but firmly as I step up to Trish. She does not resist as she lets me gently relieve her of the cake knife. I lower my voice, “It is embarrassing you and everyone.”

She looks up at me and bursts into tears as she collapses against me. I put my arms around her and support her as she is wracked by huge sobs. She tries to talk as she sobs and I cannot understand a word she is saying. Over her head, I meet Viola’s eyes which are looking at me with a mixture of fading anger and newfound respect. I hold Trish close as she continues to sob. Finally, a couple presses through the crowd and approaches us.

I recognize them as Trish’s parents.

“Thanks,” her father says. He gently takes her arm. “Honey, daddy’s here. It’s okay,” he says softly. Her father gently pries her loose from me and she turns to her father, hugs him, and continues sobbing.

“I’m sorry for what’s happened, sir. Truly sorry,” I say.

Her father nods, “Thank you,” he says again.

I remove a business card and hand it to Trish’s mother since her father’s hands are full holding Trish. Her mother takes the card, looks at it, and then at me. I don’t need to say anything. The message is clear.

“Thank you, Rick,” Trish’s mother says. I simply nod and then turn to leave.

When I turn, Viola is there. She is looking at me again with narrowed eyes. I can tell she’s angry.

I sidestep her and push my way through the crowd that has already started thinning.

I can feel Viola’s eyes on my back as I leave. I almost expect her to chase me down but I think she knows that wouldn’t be a good idea on so many fronts. In a way I want her to chase me down. I want to see her, talk to her, even argue with her as long as I get to speak to her again. She has no idea of the effect she has had on me.

I reach the lobby and give the valet my ticket. My car arrives soon enough and I leave.

VIOLA

I can’t believe him. He gave his business card to Trish’s mother? How insensitive can you be? I want to explode right there and then but I think there’s more than enough drama already and this is not about me and my opinion. I crush the urge to go after Rick and tell him just how cold-hearted, selfish, and opportunistic I think he is.

I step up to Trish who is still being held by her father. I put my arm on her back.

“I am so sorry, Trish,” I say.

She nods but does not look at me. I can’t tell if she even knows who I am right then but it’s not important now.

The bathroom door opens behind me and Eric and the bridesmaid, Cherise steps out. They blush immediately when they see the people that are still standing there and then they look at Trish and her parents.

Trish’s father tenses and he tries to get Trish to release him but her mother steps in.

“No George,” she says firmly. “We’re better than this.” Her words hit home and George listens.

Eric takes off quickly with Cherise heading for the lobby. I watch them go. I want to follow them and scream at them. I have so many obscenities aching to be released from the tip of my tongue but I know that as much as Eric is the villain here, he is also my client and I shouldn’t be taking sides. Or should I?

I bite my tongue as Ashley arrives beside me. Her eyes are filled with tears and I can tell she has already been crying for some time.

I look at her and place my hand on her arm. She doesn’t look at me but looks down at her hands as I quickly steer her away from Trish and her parents.

“Oh God she was right,” Ashley whispers. “She was right and I pressed her to go through with it. Made her go through with it. What have I done?”

“Ashley don’t,” I whisper as I look around hoping that we are out of earshot of her parents and the other onlookers. “You can’t blame yourself.”

“Why not?” Ashley asks. “Why shouldn’t I blame myself? She didn’t want to go through with it. I convinced her she was wrong. I convinced her to go ahead and that she would see she was wrong. It’s all my fault…”

“It’s not your fault, Ash,” I reply. “That’s what I hire you for.”

“Yes. And I did it because it’s my job! That’s what I get paid to do! Since when did someone’s happiness come to mean less than my job and the money I get paid? She’ll carry this with her for the rest of her life.”

“Don’t beat yourself up Ash,” I say trying to comfort her. “You were only trying to do the right thing.”

“Which is what?” Ashley asked suddenly turning on me. “Which is what? Protecting your name? Making sure your clients are happy? Who do I blame if not myself? You?”

Ashley is unraveling fast and I need to get her away from here. “Ash, please. Calm down. You’re not thinking clearly. You’re upset. I get it and I’m sorry. Just go home. Have a drink, relax and we can talk later or tomorrow.”

Ashley looks at me saying nothing.

“Please?” I asked.

“I’m out,” Ashley says before she turns and heads for the lobby.

I sigh as I watch her go. Could this night get any worse? I have never had a situation like this in my life. I am badly unprepared for it. The best in the game just got beat by a cheat. Beat by a cheat, I think to myself. Maybe I can become a poet I tell myself sarcastically as I head back to Trish and her parents. They are now seated in the lobby and Trish is still crying.

I approach her and her parents. I kneel before Trish. “I am so, so sorry,” I say looking into her eyes. Trish says nothing but simply looks down at her hands that are holding a business card. I glimpse the name on it. It’s Rick’s card. I feel my anger flare again but I keep it to myself.

I look at Trish’s parents, “Why don’t you go on home? I’ll clean up here. Don’t worry about anything.”

“Thank you,” Trish’s mother, Emma says. She nods to her husband and they help Trish up. Together they lead her to the lobby and I watch them go.

After they depart, I look around. What a mess, I think to myself.

I key the walkie-talkie in my hand and speak to the team, “Pack it up. The show’s over.”

As I step into the garden, I wonder what happened to Eric’s parents. I did not see them leave. Like father, like son, I tell myself.

I reach the reception area where the team has started packing up and I watch them as if in a daze. I can’t believe it all went so wrong so quickly. I had prepared for every eventuality except this. I feel as if Rick was a jinx on the wedding. A man who has no faith in marriage and makes a living off divorce cases shows up at the wedding reception and it all goes to hell.

One by one the team approaches me. They all say sorry for what happened although they don’t have to. I know the bigger question on their minds is whether they’re going to get paid or not. I assure them all that they’re going to get paid. I decide not to make any profit from the wedding. I’ll give it back to Trish’s family once the team has been paid.

The team packs up quickly and efficiently and leaves the place as they found it. I am the last to leave and I speak with the manager. I settle the balance of the bill and leave a generous tip as always before leaving.

As I wait for the cab to arrive, I get a message from Steve, the lead singer for the band. It’s a video from the wedding.

I watch the video and feel my stomach turn.

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