The wedding, as we had predicted, was better than Prom. And not just because of the open bar. The maturity of the last seven years helped. As did my date – my Sweets was wonderful (unfortunate that he lives across the country and has one last year of law school, as I would otherwise request his presence as my wedding perma-date)—and having seven good friends from college in attendance.

My favorite part was the third dance, after the bride and groom danced with each other and the bride danced with her father, the bridal party was invited on the floor. Sweets made a detour, stopping to our group to ask, “Molly, will you dance with me?” My assenting smile was immediate. To Frank Sinatra, Sweets twirled me out and then twirled me back in, he twirled me in circles and even knew how to dip.

He spent a large portion of the evening playing host and mingling with guests, but he would check on me occasionally, asking if I needed him to get me a drink and reminding me that we would have more dances later. Though in all honesty, I didn’t need a date, I had the other barefooted girls to drunkenly shriek Whitesnake lyrics.

I had a great time. For 99-percent of the evening.

Near midnight we were standing in a circle talking, and Sweets was telling a story, something supposedly humorous about a pair of lost sunglasses on Halloween; when he reached the punch line, he said, “And so then, [The Kid]’s girlf-“ And he stopped, his eyes locked to mine, his face frozen. He tried to backpedal, saying, “I mean, this, um, one person that I know.” His eyes stayed on mine, apologetic.

“It’s ok, his girlfriend, it’s ok.” I tried to assure him, that it really was ok, even adding her name as proof. Ignoring that my stomach had plummeted at the reference. The I’m sorry‘s, an undertone to avoid attention in the group, started and again I reassured him that it was nothing. And it was nothing. I am not going to be that person who needs her stories censored. I brushed it off and requested a beer refill from the bartender.

But after that, the evening took another tone; instead of having fun effortlessly, I had fun with a mission. Proving to myself that I was unaffected. I flirted with guys with whom I shouldn’t have flirted. I danced often – even to really bad Bon Jovi. I teased my date’s cousin about an older bridesmaid who had pointed to him and stage-whispered, “Is this guy from out of town? Because I only hook up with guys from out of town at weddings.” I learned a bar game of flipping coasters. I had fun. But consciously.

If he hadn’t been texting me throughout the night, I am sure it would have been easier to stop thinking about him.

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