I grabbed a water bottle out of the cooler and plunked down next to Rissa on the couch, with Dave sitting over on the far side of the couch, in his own world, playing video games on his phone.
“Sorry about Dave” I started to say but Rissa interrupted me, “I am sorry I came here Chris. What the hell is wrong with you? Plying us with liquor, asking your friend to seduce me and then when he can’t get it done moving in on me yourself? You suck!.” she started to leave but I pulled her back down by the hand and begged her to stay.
“Look, Rissa. I am sorry. I don’t know what is wrong with me either. This thing with Odette has put me over the edge. Have you ever trusted someone so completely and then had that faith ripped from you with one bad decision? I loved my wife. I do love my wife, but I can’t seem to get over the fact that she cheated on me, repeatedly with your boyfriend. ” I leaned over and put my head in my hands, this whole awesome night was tanking, once again, because of Odette and Jake.
Rissa stared at me for what seemed like an hour and then inhaled deeply “Chris, it seems to me that you only have two choices: get over it, or don’t. But, you can’t go on in limbo like this. It is not fair to you, to Odette and honestly to Jake either. I know you don’t care about him but I do, Chris, and I plan on asking him to move to St. Augustine with me after he graduates.”
Great, he was going to be near Odette again. “He has to pay for what he has done.” I took a long drink from my water and silently cursed Dave for pouring out my whiskey.
“And what about Odette, Chris? She is the one who broke her vows to you; not Jake. I realize it is easier to blame it all on him, but at some point you have to face the fact that your beloved wife cheated on you and hitting on Jake’s girlfriend, or beating him up, or making sure he gets a parking ticket every night by your stupid groupie cop friend is not going to change that. Deal with your own shit, Chris.” Rissa got up to grab her friend and as I watched her go I realized that the girl may be young but she is a lot smarter than any of us “adults” have been lately.
I have been spending so much time hating Jake I have been neglecting the real truth that Odette and I have problems that maybe even love cannot fix. I sunk back into the couch rubbed my eyes as I thought about the mess we were in. Would we be able to fix this? I wiped them again with sleeve of my well-worn hoodie and decided it was time to finally face everything.
I ran into the hallway and yelled “Rissa” hoping that I could still catch her before she left. As she turned to face me, I started to lose my nerve and turned back around towards the recovery room. “Chris, what do you want?” her voice was gentle, soothing even and so I bit my lip and turned towards her “Rissa. I want to make this right again and I think I need your advice.”
She followed me back inside the room and I just laid it all out. I shared with her my simmering plan to renew my wedding vows with Odette. I thought of it way back when we played our first show in St. Augustine and she wasn’t there. I kind of dreamed, while playing like a zombie onstage to stick-people out in the audience, that was the only way Odette and I could get back to how we were would be to remember our promises, make them somehow sacred. But I couldn’t actually face it at the time. You can’t renew your vows with someone you hate. I told Rissa that now I could imagine us together again, and that I had made enough mistakes to realize no one is perfect. I told her we were so young when we got engaged, then married so quickly with the surprise of Zoe’s pending arrival, we never really had a proper ceremony and even though I always said I would, I never got around to getting Odette a ring that didn’t stain her finger a strange tint of green. I knew that Bob was an ordained minister and if anyone could throw a party of a lifetime it would be Luna. But, Luna was in England and that is where Rissa came in. She knew St. Augustine and had connections all throughout the town. A decade of memories and too much spilled milk to cry about anymore, I wanted to show my wife that I would marry her all over again. But, this time, I want to do it better.