It was just the cherry of horror on the parfait of hell for all the other guys, this engagement. James, Seth (apparently quite friendly about the alleged break-up with Snow), Vinnie, Kelly, and even Chris were shivering like scolded dogs. It was the whole "M" word. All of the significant others were giving significant looks to the guys.
Except David, of course, but it was obvious to even the women (and Chris) that he was so pissed off about the lost hockey season, and so irritated at the performance of the Sixers in the NBA, that he wasn't really taking in the ramifications of The Engagement.
"He's such an inconsiderate asshole," Kelly was complaining, at the Hurry Sundown. "Even if he is my brother, shitbabydamn ."
James nodded. "Fuck, yeah. Jules is looking at brides' magazines. Says it's to help E. with ideas, but jeeze, it makes the skin crawl on the back of my neck."
"You just moved in with her, man, you can't say you haven't contributed to the general Commitment-a-rama," Seth said. The other guys stared at him; Snow wasn't the only who who found Seth's whole Zen thing annoying.
"Yes," James said tetchily. "But I don't want to get a ring and go down on bended knee.
"Me, neither," Chris said, behind them.
There was a scuffle, and they saw Heidi, one of the store's bank tellers, slap Nathan. "You slut! You'll sleep with anything!"
Nathan caught her wrist. "Never said we were exclusive."
Chris came over. "Let the lady go, Nate," he said, his voice as smooth as Gentleman Jack.
Nathan let her go. "Hey, Chris, I just don't want her to hit me." He walked out.
Heidi tossed her hair back. "Threesome boy," she muttered.
Chris, feeling that some depths were better left unplumbed, gave her a winning smile and went back to his drink.
Kelly, James, and Seth were staring at him.
"How do you do that, dude?" Seth asked.
"What?" Chris asked, with false innocence.
"Get seven feet tall, like that," Kelly said. "Backed him off."
"Freak," James said.
"I'll overlook that, since I choose to use my powers for good, and not evil," Chris smirked.
"You have to do our cake," Eliza said. "You can stop fuckin' by then, can't you?"
Snow yawned around her cigarette. "Depends. When is it?"
"Pretty soon, because I don't think poor Nicky's nerves will take a long engagement." Eliza stretched luxuriously, revealing a navel ring. "Poor baby had himself all worked up to ask me, as it is."
"Yeah, I can take a break, if the boys let me."
Eliza's eyes narrowed. "Boys?"
"What have I got into ?" Nicky moaned.
"Eliza's pants," David said, taking his clipboard and checking the delivery list. "Hey, those New York Strips are flyin' out of here. I'll take all I can get at that price."
"I can get you some more," Nicky said automatically. "Listen, are you about done? I gotta talk to you."
"Yeah, oddly enough, I can go home in a minute. You want to get a couple of beers, shoot some balls?"
"Yeah, or we could just go to your place and hang."
David handed back the clipboard. "Sure, but I've moved, you'll have to follow me."
"Nah, let's just go to the Sundown."
Chris was still talking to Seth, when he saw David and Nicky come into the bar.
"What?" Seth said. "You just---" he looked behind him, but Nicky and David had taken a booth.
To distract him, Chris said smoothly, "Seth, my man, tell me. What's the story about you and Snow?"
"---fucking Tantric fucking," Snow sighed. "It's boring, dude. It's all about feelings. Hell, I'm there for the sex, not deep breathing and meditation."
"Man, you're cold," Eliza said. "I mean, I do agree, though, that it can be a bit over-the-top. But I thought---"
"Seth, he's so sweet and everything, but I'm not really the one for him." She coughed, puffs of cigarette smoke coming out of her mouth. "He's anti-smoking, for one thing." Snow looked meditatively at her Salem. "Hell, Adam smokes cigars, dude!" She patted Eliza comfortingly. "I'm not in your place, hon. I've been married before. Now," and she squared her shoulders. "I'm going to be the Maid of Honor, right?"
Eliza went bright red.
"There's just a time in your life that you find your person, and you have to go for it," David told Nicky. "It's your time. It's E's time. The wedding stuff is hell, of course, but all you have to do is say, 'Yeah, sure,' to the gals. You really just show up." He looked up, and smiled.
Nicky sighed. "Oh, all right." He turned his head. "Hey, Chris."
Chris slid into the booth next to David, who seemed to move over grudgingly. "Another round?" he asked Nicky.
Nicky tossed a ten onto the table. "Naah, I gotta cowboy up and go to my fiancee's house." He stood up, slapping David on the shoulder. "Thanks, dude."
"De nada," David said.
After Nicky left, Chris rolled his knee against David's. "Home?"
"Yeah, unless you want to go to that sale on sheets at TJ Maxx. I got Marc to stick back some of those 500-count sheets. Man, I'm telling you, they feel like satin."
"Sweet," Chris approved.