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The phone rang just as Nora sat down to apply some apple red nail polish. She groaned in annoyance as she rose to answer the telephone.
“Yes, Hello?” Nora demanded
“Mom? Hey it’s me, Syd,” Nora’s daughter announced unnecessarily.
“I know, honey, what’s the problem?”
“Nothing, I was just wondering if me and dad could come over for a little chat today. Have some coffee with you. Is that all right?”
Nora was confused and stunned. Why would Jim be coming over? She hadn’t even seen Jim in over 3 months. Something wasn’t right.
“For what, Sydney? I’d rather not see him if you’d like to know the truth,” Nora stated.
“Just to talk about the wedding, you know how it is. Just some loose ends to tie up. Please mom? I promise it won’t be awkward.”
Nora knew this was a promise Sydney had no way of keeping.
“I just don’t know Sydney.”
“This is important to me,” Sydney knew Nora could not say no to that.
“Oh, all right, see you soon?”
“Thanks mom, we’ll be over in an hour,” Sydney then hung up the phone. Nora was anxious and nervous. She rushed to the bathroom to fix up her hair. What were these ‘loose ends’ Sydney spoke of? Did Jim want Nora to be his date to the wedding? Nora blushed from embarrassment, what a crazy thought! She dabbed on some blush and lipstick, just incase.
An hour later, Olivia answered the door. Nora overheard their exchange faintly. Olivia led Sydney into the dining room first. Nora was waiting, her fingertips tapping rapidly on the wooden dining table.
“Hey Mom,” Sydney kissed Nora on the cheek, “Dad’s just taking his coat off, are you wearing lipstick?”
“No, ha ha that’s silly, sit down,” Nora quickly dabbed at her mouth with the top of her wrist. She made sure no one saw.
Jim waltzed in, looking better than ever. It appeared he has lost at least five pounds and colored the grays in his hair. His suit looked new and even his teeth looked whiter.
“This apartment is quaint, Nora, thanks for having me over,” Jim smiled weakly and pulled up a chair across from Nora.
“So, what is this all about, whoops, first off, would anyone like anything to drink?” Nora’s dark blue eyes darted from Jim to Sydney and back again.
“No, we’re fine, Mom. This is about…um maybe Dad should start.” Sydney bit her lip and wrung her hands.
“Sounds good, well Nora, you must be aware by now that me and Eva are, or have been in love for a while now.” Jim stated plainly.
Nora’s heart sunk, “okay, I thought this meeting was about Syd and Max’s wedding. Not that I’m not completely interested in your love life Jim.”
Sydney cut in, “well it is about a wedding but not my wedding.”
Nora’s eyes widened, “what’s going on here?”
“There is no time like the present and since our little Sydney is having a big wedding in two weeks,” Jim grabbed for Sydney’s hand, “I thought why not just have me and Eva get married on the same day. You know kill two birds with one stone? There is no use in getting another minister and another venue for another wedding, when it can all be done at once.” Jim smiled like a used car salesman.
“Mom?” Sydney turned to face Nora, “isn’t that a nice idea?”
Nora looked down at her hands and pursed her lips tightly. How stupid she had been to think this was going to be a peaceful meeting. Why couldn’t Jim just leave her life for good? She was just getting over the failure of her marriage and he just had to pull some bull shit like this. The worst part was that Sydney was on her Dad’s side. Did anyone planning this wedding have any concern for Nora’s feelings? They hadn’t been legally divorced for more than 2 months and he was already engaged, to no one other than the fucking nanny!
“Nora?” Jim asked, concerned. “Say something.”
Nora blinked hard and raised her head, “what would you two like me to say?”
“Mom, I know this sounds soon, but this gives Dad the chance to really move on,” Sydney said. All Nora could think of was how much a traitor Sydney was. Give Jim a chance to move on? Ha! Don’t make me laugh, Nora thought. He didn’t even have to move on. He had moved on from the first time he cheated on Nora two years ago.
“What about me?” Nora asked, “so I just leave after the first wedding?”
“No, of course not! You stay for both. We’re going to have a joint reception and I want you to speak on behalf of me and Max, like a toast,” Sydney said as if it was the most obvious solution ever.
“I refuse to make myself out to look like an idiot in front of all of our family and friends, not to mention Eva’s family.” Nora’s voice raised an octave.
“That’s absurd, Nora, you will look like a mature adult. The independent ex wife.” Jim tried to convince Nora.
Nora was fuming, “the independent ex wife, ha! What will you say to Eva’s parents? ‘Hey that’s the woman whose husband your daughter stole away, what a catch!’”
“Nora, don’t act like a child.” Jim scolded her.
“Me, a child? You’re the one who’s practically eloping with a woman half your age so you can avoid living through your midlife crisis!” Nora was yelling by now.
“Mom, please stop acting this way!” Sydney had tears in her eyes, “Please just be civilized for me and Max.”
Nora was done with the conversation. She couldn’t believe this was actually happening to her. “Please leave my house, both of you.” Nora pointed to the door.
Olivia walked into the dining room, “what the hell is going on here?”
“Nothing Liv, leave us alone,” Sydney pleaded.
“Dad, why is Sydney crying and why does Mom look so mad?” Olivia asked.
“Nothing, Olivia,” Jim wouldn’t look Olivia in the eye.
Olivia looked into her mother’s eyes for an answer. When she didn’t find one she stomped out of the room angrily.
Jim and Sydney left the apartment together with their heads down. Nora slammed the door behind them with no guilt. Sure, she felt a tinge of sadness for ruining Sydney and Max’s wedding reception, but she felt absolutely no remorse for what she had said. She decided she would leave directly after Sydney’s wedding and go home. She wished a bus would hit Jim on his way to work. How could Sydney not see where Nora was coming from? Nora laid down in her fluffy bed and began to stuff herself with a carton of cookies and cream ice cream.