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“Sophie, snap out of it.”
As I sat on the counter in Sophie’s enormous bathroom I thought of poor Sophie. She was sitting in her white marble bathtub with bubbles foaming all around her. She held her hand up next to her face so that the rose she was holding was touching her cheek. Her eyes were a soft red due to the tears streaming down her face.
“You love James, what's the problem?” It was the night before her wedding and she was falling apart. Not once had she ever said a bad word about James, and now she wouldn’t even look at the door where her wedding dress was hanging.
“The problem, Marissa,” she said, her face beautiful even in a scowl, “is that I don’t love James.” The rose shook with her hands.
“What do you mean, Sophie? I’ve heard you say how much you love him. I’ve seen you two together . . . it was meant to be.”
“Then why,” the mascara from her full lashes was falling to her chin. “Can’t I get Anthony out of my mind?” Anthony?
“Soph, who’s Anthony?”
“Anthony,” she moved the rose -- so that the tips of the petals just touched her nose -- and closed her eyes. “Is a boy I met years ago . . . he took me up to this rooftop and we danced all night. It was so romantic . . . then the next day he disappeared.” Her eyes opened slowly with a dreamy look.
“Two days went by with no word, but on the third day he sent me a rose. Just a single rose.” I looked at her distant face wondering why she never told me this before. “From that day on, I received a rose every day for a month. No phone calls, no letters, just a single rose. I thought it was sweet and kind of romantic.” A hard look came onto her face. “And then he stopped.” She threw the rose she was holding into the water and it was lost in the foam.
I had never seen Sophie so . . . not angry, it was more than that . . . it was pain. I had never seen Sophie so pained.
“This time he was really gone. I waited for some sign that he still cared. I waited for a month but nothing came. Not a letter, not a rose, nothing.” She clutched her shoulders and the tears stared flowing freely now. “I’m not meant to be with James, Marissa. I’m meant to be with Anthony.”
I felt my jaw drop. How could she say that, and now of all time. She was getting married tomorrow for crying out loud.
“So the big, done up, wedding and the announcement in the paper?”
“All a plan.” She said these words without shame.
“Sophie, how can you do this . . . and now? What about James? Does he mean anything to you?” Her whole wedding was a plot, and I had thought so highly of her.
“Of course he meant something to me.”
“Until he proposed,” her eyes started tearing again. “When he got down on one knee, all I could think about was Anthony.”
“I know . . . I’m a terrible person.”
“Yeah you are,” I couldn’t control the shock on my face. “You are using sweet, innocent James, who feels nothing but love for you -- ” I was cut off by her cell phone, buzzing next to me on the counter.
“Could you get that?” Sophie looked at me with wide eyes. I couldn’t say no to that innocent, tear stained, face.
“Fine.” I reached for the phone; it was a restricted number, probably a telemarketer.
“Hello?” There was no hope in keeping the impatience out of my voice.
“Sophie?” the man on the other end sounded confused.
“No this is her friend. Can I ask who is calling?” why would a telemarketer know her name.
“Yes, can you tell Sophie that Anthony called?” I blinked trying to process what he had just said.
“I’m sorry, can you repeat that?”
“Anthony, A-N -- ”
“One minute.” I cut him off holding the phone out for Sophie. Her beautiful, mascara streaked eyes widened in disbelief.
“Hello?” she said warily.
“Sophie, it’s Anthony.” I heard from the receiver. Sophie’s perfect red lips spread into the smile of a young girl.