After Rose arrived from the weekend spent with Josh, she did her best to avoid any conversation that would lead me to ask any questions regarding Josh. I internally thanked her for doing so because for me Josh's chapter was closed forever.
The rest of the week went by quite quickly as I was busy preparing for the weekend brunch and in a lot of new things that were happening at the work front. I worked as a writer for WALLS, an interior designing magazine and our company was collaborating with one of the most reputed interior designing company called ENVISION, and apparently they needed a writer to work for their latest blog for a project that our company was assisting them in. And I applied as one of the candidates.
I spent my entire week channeling all my anger into the creative energy that I needed for my work and I had my fingers crossed for this new venture with envision. At the same time I was excited to catch up with Nick and the girl's boyfriends.
On Thursday I got free from work early and decided to go shopping. I wanted to look my best for the weekend because I was not willing to let anybody pity me now. I went to the mall and shopped my heart out. I picked up a blue dress which complimented my green eyes and brown sandals to go with it. On my way home I decided to stop at the grocery store to pick out a few things for Saturday's brunch. I parked my car and went inside the store.
I was standing near the cheese section, looking for mozzarella, but suddenly I couldn't concentrate on the cheese anymore. I don't know what happened but I felt my heart dropping and my vision blurred a little, I decided to get out of the store and get some air assuming that all the extra work was showing its effects and I should rest for a while. But it didn't take more than a second for me to realize that the reason for this sudden anxiety wasn't work or tiredness but it was the familiar scent that made my heart drop. The smell of Josh's cologne-mint and musk!
I turned around and saw Josh standing beside me. He just smiled casually and I took a moment to take a deep breath and braced myself for the last thing that I wanted was to appear weak in front of him.
"Hey." I said casually.
"Hey. So how have you been?" He asked and flashed a smile at me. The same devious smile that makes me go weak in knees.
"I've been fine. What about you?"
"I've been fine too. Just came back from Paris."
"Yeah! Didn't Rose tell you?"
"She did." I lied. "So how's Regina?"
"Regina's great. We are having a good time together. In fact she wanted to see you. I mean she has seen all my friends except you."
I got a little confused after he said that. "What do you mean?"
"I mean everybody came this weekend except you."
"You didn't invite me." I said bluntly.
"I did. I told Rose that all of you have to be there."
Well this got me more and more confused.
"You know Regina was so busy at the wedding that I didn't get to introduce you all to her in a proper fashion." He continued. "And you weren't there at the rehearsal dinner as well. Where are you nowadays?" He brought a frustrated expression on his face and it hurt me. It hurt me to know that he expected me to be there and didn't think about how hard all of this was for me.
"I am sorry. Well, tell Regina I will see her soon." I tried to mask all the pain that I was in and said it with a smile.
"Well that you will because... she's right here!. She's buying some meat back there. I'll go call her."
"It's ok Josh I am actually busy today. What about some other day?" I said grabbing his arm.
"That's not fair. See if you are upset about the fact that I couldn't introduce you two properly at the wedding, then I am sorry. I was really busy and nervous." He said as he ran his fingers through his hair.
He was just about to say something else when Regina came and stood next to him.
'Speak of the devil' I thought to myself.
"Hey Ray! I was about to call you." He said as he looked at her.
'Ray! What a cheesy nickname.' I thought to myself.
"Hey!" She said to me and turned to Josh. "Won't you introduce me to your friend?"
"Of course. This is Emma, my childhood friend and Emma, this is my wife Regina. Please excuse her for not remembering you from the wedding. As you had already mentioned I didn't introduce you two properly then." He said and turned his attention to Regina. "Know what? Emma here was just complaining about how I didn't introduce you two properly at the wedding."
And as soon as Josh uttered these words, all my confusion was crystal clear. Everything made sense, Rose's behavior and her actions, the utterly confusing conversation I was having with Josh so far, everything!
"Great Josh!" I exhaled sharply as I couldn't control my anger anymore. "I thought you cared a little for your 'childhood friend'..a little, not much you know? But I was SO SO wrong! You don't!" I poked my finger at his chest.
"Wait-wait! Emma? What's wrong?" He said holding my hand and a deep frown on his forehead clearly suggested he had no idea of what I was saying and this made me all the more furious at him.
"I wasn't there at your wedding Josh." I blurted out.
Josh didn't say anything to that. How could he? He just stared down on the floor trying to come up with an answer.
"But you know what? I am so glad I didn't waste my time on your stupid wedding where the groom doesn't even care for my presence. Wait a sec! I guess it's not your fault.. I mean it was your day and all. You must have been so self-absorbed that all you cared to look for was a mirror screaming how good you look and how you bagged yourself a good-looking wife and all. Isn't that right Josh? Did I just repeat the thoughts that you had at the wedding?" I said harshly being surprised at the words that came out of my mouth.
"Look Emma!" Regina said taking my arm. "I know this isn't a very pleasant thing that Josh did but he's your friend and I don't think that now, when the wedding's done, you should really complain about it so much. I mean even you weren't there and he could be as mad as you for not showing up, right? But he isn't!"
"Well that's because in his own little world he thought that I was there! And you know what after all of this.. I seriously don't think that you should be justifying his actions." I replied to her in the same harsh tone.
"Look Emma. I am sorry. See we are seeing each other after such a long time, I don't want to waste this time fighting over a mistake that I made. You want to punish me? Go ahead and do whatever you want but don't be so mad at me." He said with a serious apologetic look in his eyes and I melted like a slab of ice on a hot summer day.
"Josh, I think I need sometime ok?" I paused for a sigh and continued. "It was nice meeting you Regina, hope your marriage lasts longer than our friendship did." And there I said it! "16 years to be precise." I paused to believe my own words and with the brightest and the most fake smile on my face I turned away, ending this friendship forever.
"Wait Emma." Josh followed across the aisle and held my hand.
I turned around to face him.
"I know it is very hard for you to forgive me now, but I hope with time you will be over this. It's just a phase you know, like the old times when you'll get angry with me? I know that even now you'll call me again." He said with a small smile.
His words came as a surprise for I expected him to be mad at me for behaving like that with him, especially in front of his wife. But the fact that he kept his ego aside and tried to patch things up made me a bit softer.
"Alright Josh. I hope everything gets back to how it was." I said and wished that it could all be true, that the real old time could be back. "Umm.. now if you excuse me I have someone waiting for me." I said without thinking only because I could see Regina coming down the aisle and the stupid, jealous part of me couldn't resist the urge to make Josh jealous as well.
Josh didn't say anything but just raised an eyebrow at me.
"Ya, I have a boyfriend now and he's waiting for me so I guess I better go now!" I said and turned around and ran towards the other section as far as I could to avoid any further interrogations from Josh.
As I reached near the wine section, I let out a big sigh of relief.
I started scanning through all the wines that were there in front of me and picked a bottle of white wine. As I kept the bottle in my basket I saw Josh coming to the wine section with Regina at his side and before I could turn and run away he reached there and said, "EM! I thought you said your boyfriend was waiting for you." He said as he came walked towards me.
I cursed myself and got so nervous that I made another stupid mistake. "And yes he is." I said as he pointed my hand towards a stranger who was busy picking out a wine.
The stranger looked at me with utter disbelief and frowned. I stepped closer to the boy not believing my own actions as I said, "Hey, honey. Meet my friend Josh and his wife Regina."
Josh extended his hand towards the stranger and said, "Hi! Nice to meet you."
*To the readers*
Let's do a little brainstorming. In the comments section leave a guess as to what might happen next! maybe one of you will get it right, right?
@anonymous - Really appreciate the feedback. Let me know your opinions on this chapter as well.
@amit - Thanks for the lovely feedback and let me know what you like about this chapter.. waiting for the comment!