Moments Before The Disaster
It was a draining night for me, so I need to refresh my energy as I can’t leave the reception yet. I repeatedly sighed at the mini-bar while cursing the bartender in my head, thinking of grabbing the bottle of Pinot Noir from him as he tended to another one’s drink.
I don't know if he's just slow, or I’m utterly impatient. Or maybe he’s intentionally ignoring me, unhurriedly taking his time so that I’ll get my a*s out of his face. I knew it! That was why when he saw me earlier, he got this you-don’t-get-to-order-me look, then turned toward Jurina Palermo, a Latina Hollywood actress, who came seconds after me.
I’m currently at Luna and Matthew Wyatt’s wedding reception, in the Stella Vista Events Place, in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony was held outside, in the majestic garden of the event's place. The glimmering, golden reception in the grand ballroom was exceptional, given the lavish foods, breathtaking decorations, and of course, the celebrity guests in their striking outfits.
I thought I should dress simply for a wedding so that I won’t offend the bride in any way. I’m not part of the entourage, so I went with my sky blue A-line cocktail dress, paired with silver heels, which earned a glorious frown from my acquaintance and my former literary agent, Kelly, when she saw me earlier.
The bartender probably thought that I was the lamest person tonight because of my bland and unprovocative dress. And while I’m still not popular enough in the entertainment industry, I already wrote several films for the groom, who happened to be an independent film producer, so I’d understand if he won’t recognize me unless he read my books and watched my films.
Or it could be because of my race. Well, this isn’t the first time I’m being snubbed in this country for being an Asian, so maybe I’ll have to use my hidden card tonight— my connection with the groom, so I can go back to my seat and have fun with my drinks as I wait for Matt to recognize my presence.
I tapped the counter thrice to grab the bartender’s attention with my fist. And when he did, he looked at me with a totally wrinkled forehead and piercing eyes. Oh, how I want to dab my fingers in his sockets.
“I’m Jasle Marie Almazar. I know Matt left you an instruction, so let’s get this over with,” I dictated to the now confused bartender. Fortunately, that caught his attention, and after a couple of seconds of browsing his memory files, he remembered.
“Oh! You’re Ms. Jasle!” I could see his face flushed in embarrassment before he spun around, grabbed another bottle from the liquor shelf, and quickly gave it to me. It was so awkward.
My jaw dropped when I saw what he handed me was a Cháteau Margaux. It freaking costs more than seventy thousand Philippine pesos per bottle!
Holy crap, Matthew!
I was about to thank the bartender as I carefully clenched the bottle with my right hand and snatched my wine glass from the counter with my left, but he was already busy with someone else.
Pft! He was really avoiding me.
I shrugged before I turned around and walked cautiously back to our table when a man in a three-piece maroon suit, crashed into me and half of the Pinot Noir on my glass splattered on his expensive clothes.
“What the hell?” I burst out, giving him a deadly glare when our eyes met after he inspected his suit for a second.
I am an athletic person, and I don’t easily lose my balance. I have quick reflexes too. So I didn’t know how the wine spattered on his suit. It could be that I’m more mindful of the hand holding the bottle than the other. Or maybe I was just overpowered, seeing his sculpted muscles wanting to be freed from his suit. I bet he’s six feet flat, he’s not that tall, but he’s already towering over me given my almost five-foot height.
I didn’t recognize him, so it’s safe to say that he’s not a celebrity or a tycoon. However, something about his eyes made me think that I somehow knew him. Could I have seen him before, and I just couldn’t remember?
Nonetheless, familiar or not, he wasted my drink. He should apologize for it since he’s clearly the one in the wrong. “Just some friendly advice. Maybe you should try to use your eyes, especially when you’re in an enclosed space like this,” I snapped at him.
He scoffed upon hearing my words. “What a nice way to apologize.” He openly gaped at me in astonishment, shaking his head as he turned his back on me and walked away. I was shocked in disbelief that he disregarded me.
Whoa! Why are there loads of jerks in here!
Honestly, I was thinking of grabbing his arms and challenging him to a fight or whatever, but it suddenly came to mind that I’m at a wedding. This is why I don’t appreciate going to events that require me to associate myself with everyone I do not know. And this is like the third time I’m attending a huge one because of Matthew.
I kept myself busy with my food and drink as I got back to our table, and I didn’t realize that I was sort of murdering my food with a knife when Kelly spoke, surely to annoy me more.
Can’t anyone just shut up?
"Jasle! Can’t you lighten up a bit? You should have intervened at the ceremony earlier if you're gonna act that way,” she muttered softly but deadly.
I shook my head in frustration. She didn't know what I had gone through minutes ago. How dare she lecture me. She’s lucky I didn’t have the energy to argue with her. “Whatever."
She still thinks that I’m onto Matthew, just because of a silly lore that a man and a woman can never be just friends.
Don’t get me wrong. The groom, Matthew, isn’t my ex or anything. I'm not romantically involved with him. Though he’s tall, handsome, rich and influential, he’s just another pawn for my next endeavor.
I met him at an event here in Los Angeles sponsored by various entertainment organizations. My father, Ronaldo Almazar, owns a medium-scale talent agency here in Los Angeles, and he brought me to that party. I indulged because I needed that event to interact with prominent people in the industry if I wanted my books to get recognized.
You now know that parties and I don’t match, so I slumped myself in the garden while sipping my punch. That’s when Matthew came into the picture.
I immediately felt comfortable in his presence. I was also glad that he's not that type of man who flirts at first sight, and because of his good humor, we easily clicked.
One thing led to another. After exchanging pleasant introductions and surprising revelations, I jokingly dared him to adapt my novel into a film, to which he half-drunkenly agreed.
It was all fun and games until I went to his office two days after that party. He apologized and told me that it would be impossible to grant my wish since he lost his father's major investors after his failed movie.
However, I can be a bit persuasive, and I even declared that my father would handle most of the production funds, which made him think about the deal.
When I talked to my father about his supposed investment, he went mad. He knew about Matt’s company and even told me that there’s no chance of salvaging Wyatt Films anymore. He then gave in when I told him that I’d do anything he asked me to if ever our movie failed. Actually, he had been planning to marry me to his friend’s son for a long time, but I was firm in denying his request to meet that womanizer he was talking about.
Thankfully, I proved my father wrong. Our movie became a hit. Matt got new investors, and I gained more readers. We didn’t stop there as we also adapted my past novels into films. Matt urged me to write scripts instead when there was none left to adapt, so I did. Together we made six films, and four were adapted from my books. He won’t produce a movie from then on if it wasn’t my work.
Matthew is now married to Luna Kim; a Korean model turned actress and the main lead of our recent romance comedy movie, No Boobs Since Birth, which was our highest-grossing movie. When I heard the news of them dating from Kelly, I realized that Matthew played the love at first sight card during the audition. I don't know why Matthew fell in love with Luna instead of our other lead actresses. However, who am I to question Matthew's feelings, right?
Luna got a freaking attitude on sets and kept changing her lines. I was actually against her claiming the role when other actresses who auditioned were way better than her. That woman can't even be natural on camera. I'm thankful to Rob Fietro, Luna's on-screen partner in the movie, for he managed to carry the whole film despite Luna's rubbish exaggerations.
Good thing she played a dumb, ignorant, flat-chested woman and that role alone suited her well. Thanks to our movie, her Instagram followers tripled, and she got several endorsements back in Korea and Hollywood. Plus, she got Matt's love, and for sure, that woman is going places someday, despite her unsettling character, all thanks to Matthew.
I exhaled softly as I looked at how happy Matthew was as he danced with that brat Luna. Of course, I'm genuinely happy for him, regardless of that woman. He could have found someone better, or he could just not power-tripped me into attending his wedding. I sighed again in frustration as I remembered when I asked Matthew for a favor weeks after rejecting his wedding invitation.
"I know you’ve been preparing for this for some time, so I'll let you direct our next film— only if you go to my wedding. I don't know why you're bitter about something trivial like this, but, dude, this is me. I'm your friend," Matthew pleaded with teary, puppy eyes.
Though I’m gratified that he considered me a friend, the only reason why I am torturing myself in this uncomfortable environment is our deal. Next time, I'll draw a line between my acquaintances so they wouldn't dare invite me to their special occasions. I’ll just think of this as a small hurdle for my career advancement.
I was about to open my expensive wine when Kelly nudged my arm. “They’re calling us,” she explained when she saw my confused reaction.
“No. I didn’t hear my name being called.”
Her lips curled into a sneer. “It’s time for the toss, brat!”
"Oh!” I exclaimed, understanding her excitement. I think it’s her most awaited part of the wedding so she can display herself to everyone. Why would I catch the bouquet when I’m dating no one. “I’m good. You can go by yourself,” I excused myself.
This time she slapped my arm. “Are you dumb or what? This is your time to
see Matt, so you can finally go home and have your beauty-Asian rest.”
I was actually amazed at her suggestion. But before I could react, Tim, Wyatt Film’s Director of Cinematography, suddenly interrupted. “Are you seriously dissing the throw?” He peered intently at me.
“Why?” Melanie, Matt’s forty-three-year-old secretary, officially joined the conversation. “Don’t you want to get married? It’s not so bad,” she tried to convince me.
Oh, bloody hell! I don’t even have a boyfriend, for goodness sake!
“Don’t y’all get it? She’s still single!” Kelly ratted out. They all laughed at the plain insult.
“Why don’t you take this opportunity to get boned tonight?” Melanie commented, eyes sparkling at her idea.
Kelly scoffed. “As if she wanted to get boned!”
Now, I can feel my blood curdling in anger. This isn’t good. I don’t want to make a scene at Matt's wedding. “Excuse me, I came here to celebrate Matt’s significant day. I don’t have the same thinking like you, guys, coming to a friend’s wedding to get shagged. Come on, guys. How do you do that? How do you come to that level of thinking?” I replied sarcastically.
When I saw Melanie’s reaction, I think I knew what she was gonna say. “Oh my gosh. Please don’t tell us that you’re still a virgin?” She gave me one cringey skeptical look.
That’s it. I’m done.
I rose from my seat and I could feel the tears wanting to escape my eyes as I clenched my jaw.
“OMG! It’s true!” I heard Kelly exclaim exaggeratedly as I marched away from them.
“What’s with the Asians and their precious virginities?” Tim asked as his voice became fainter.
I should go and see Matt right now to leave this place while I can still hold myself back.
I saw Matt beaming at the right side of the elevated platform, behind the ladies eager to be betrothed next, so I had to walk around the hall behind the eyes of the gawking crowd, and I spotted a few celebrities joining the toss.
I met Matthew’s eyes when I was a few meters away from him. Then he waved his hand at me as I made my way up the stage. However, I didn’t get a chance to congratulate him.
I don't know when Luna raised her arms or tossed the flowers, but when I saw a ball in the air diving toward me, my athletic instinct kicked in, and I stopped in my tracks.
Flashes of light and clicking sounds filled the entire hall; nevertheless, I bent my knees, put my arms together and hit the ball hard with my wrists as it came in contact. I smiled as it flew back in the air, only to realize that it wasn't a ball to begin with.
My jaw dropped as I saw the rosy Peonies scattering in the air, slowly falling into pieces, hitting the maidens who are now throwing me with shocked, annoyed, and disgusted looks. Then I hear the crowd laughing and booing at the same time, in unison.
Then I turned to look at Matt who expressed his shock and disappointment directly at me.
What the heck did I just do?
The shuttering of cameras went on as I stood there in front of everyone, dazed and embarrassed of myself.
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