Trinity - M. Never

For Jennifer. You know who you are.

Jenn

“TO THE BEGINNING OF THE END.” I clink the rim of my plastic champagne glass against Janine’s.

“Jenn, you are such a drama queen. I’m getting married, not walking the green mile.” My dark-haired, blue-eyed best friend chuckles as she takes an indulgent sip.

“Might as well be. Committing yourself to one man for the rest of your life sounds like a death sentence to me.” I swallow a large gulp of the crisp, dry bubbly.

“Please . . .” She follows suit, draining her glass. “Marriage is a sacrament. The happily ever after everyone is so gung-ho about.”

“Is that how you’re selling it to yourself?” I wipe down the bar top, then straighten the square cork coasters in front of her.

“I don’t have to sell it to myself. I love Jack. He loves me. That’s enough of a reason to get the needle.” She taps her arm dramatically before wagging her empty glass at me.

I pull the corked champagne bottle from the ice bin and pour her refill, a little disturbed.

“Don’t give me that look,” she scolds me as she takes another generous sip.

We ordered the expensive champagne months ago, right after she and Jack got engaged, and have been keeping it safe for this very night.

“Why not?” I laugh. “You just alluded to death by lethal injection. And had no issue with it.”

“Because I’m confident in my decision. In Jack.”

“You have way too much faith.” I’m a total pessimist.

“And you don’t have enough.”

I snort cynically. “Faith has never proved to do much for me.”

“Jenn, I know you’ve kind of had a shit time of it”—she flutters her fake eyelashes—“but you had better be careful. With an attitude like that, the only relationship you’re ever going to have is with this bar.”

“Might not be such a bad thing.” I run my hand over the worn wood. “You know my affection for this place.” I glance around the room. The weathered restaurant isn’t much—a bunch of tables in an open space, scuffed teak floors, and dated seaside décor—but the unobstructed ocean view erases all the imperfections. It brings a youthful life to the aging structure and revitalizes a liveliness in me day after day. My faith lies within these four falls.

Tell you a secret? I’m not really scared of commitment; I just haven’t found a man who can make me feel the way this place does. Safe, home, alive. Janine has been with Jack since high school. She knows his every in and out. Her faith is warranted. He’s proved himself to her over and over again. He’s her stability.

The only stability I’ve ever had is this restaurant.

“That’s completely unacceptable to me, Jenn.” Janine hiccups. “You need cock to survive. It’s as essential as eating.”

I nearly spit my champagne. She always has spoken her mind . . . sans filter.

Janine Sinclair has been my best friend since we nearly burned down the local high school with a chemistry assignment gone awry. She’s responsible for my navel piercing, my tattoo, and my new haircut—a choppy bob with hot pink highlights. I’ve always had long hair, so I’m still adjusting to the chin-length, layered cut. I find myself constantly flipping the pink and platinum bangs out of my eyes. Annoying. I questioned if the atypical color was going to look too outrageous in her wedding pictures, but she just waved me off and foiled my hair. Did I forget to mention she’s also my stylist and has bold blue streaks threaded through her own dark locks? Funky is Janine’s theme for this wedding. Hell, funky is Janine’s theme for her life.

“What time is Shayna supposed to get here?” She asks, close to polishing off her third glass of champagne.

“Any minute now,” I inform her.

“Good, because I’m ready for you to be done working. I want to get this party started!” She shoots off the barstool and throws her hands up in the air. Oh boy, the bubbly is kicking in.

“Soon enough,” I promise her. “Don’t go off the deep end too soon. Jack and his posse aren’t even here yet.”

“Who needs them?” She waves. “All I need is you, some awesome music, and lots and lots of this.” She swirls her plastic glass sending splashes of champagne over the brim.

“Is that all?” I toss a bar rag at her so she can clean up the spillage on the floor. “Then why did I go to all the trouble of putting a party together?” Janine and Jack couldn’t really afford separate