Shine Not Burn
Author:Elle Casey


A DINNER OF SALAD AND a single breadstick wasn’t exactly a gourmet meal, but with this tight black dress on and the stupid gel-filled boob propper-uppers Candice had forced into my bra, there was no way to fit a normal dinner into my belly, even if I’d wanted to. Thing was, though, I was too nervous to eat that much anyway. I found the firey liquid diet I’d been feeding myself since the haircut was more to my taste right now.


“God, all I had was a stupid salad and I feel like I’m going to bust a seam on this thing.” I was walking on higher heels than I was used to, thanks to Kelly and her having the same size foot as me. “You guys conspired against me with this outfit, and don’t think I’m going to forget it easily, either. We have at least two more bachelorette parties to plan in the future and revenge will be my bitch when that time comes.” I flicked my hair back, trying not to smile. The haircut really did make me feel beautiful. It was totally Jennifer Anniston, and both Kelly and Candice said I was pulling it off well.


“What’s she whining about now?” asked Candice, putting on lipstick using her tiny purse compact.


Kelly hiccuped. “I’m not sure, but I think she’s complaining about the shoes again. Or maybe the dress. I can’t keep track. I lost my brain about an hour and three margaritas ago.” She rubbed her stomach and grimaced. “Can I go to bed now?”


“No, you can’t go to bed.” Candice snapped her compact shut and dropped it into her small handbag. “We’re just getting started.” She rubbed her hands together. “Okay, girlies, where to first? Poker? Slots? Craps?”


“Do you have to go to the potty? Because I do too. Good idea.” Kelly tried to take Candice by the hand but Candice shook her off.


“What are you talking about? No one said anything about going to the bathroom.”


Kelly frowned at her while I laughed silently. I loved watching my harebrained buddies try to have a grown-up conversation. The several cocktails I’d consumed since my haircut was making it even more amusing than usual.


“You said you were going to crap, so call me crazy, but in my world, that means we need to find a toilet.” She smirked at Candice and then looked at me, rolling her eyes.


“If you had a functioning brain cell right now, you’d be dangerous,” said Candice. “I said do you want to play craps, not I have to go take a crap. Jesus, I don’t even use that word. You know I wouldn’t say that, what’s wrong with you?”


I decided to rescue my poor tipsy friend before she got too much dizzier trying to figure out what Candice was talking about. “Craps is a game, sweetie. Gambling. Where you throw the dice across the table and that guy has that hockey stick he uses to push and pull chips around? Like on TV where the guy’s on a roll making a bunch of money and everyone’s standing around cheering for him while he throws the dice?”


Seconds ticked by and then a virtual lightbulb went on over Kelly’s head. “Ooooohhh, you mean the gaaaame craps. That makes waaaay more sense. It’s true … you never say crap unless you’re around people you want to impress and then you say that word instead of saying shit.”


“No, I don’t,” said Candice, looking miffed or maybe a little embarrassed.


“Yes, you do,” said Kelly, completely oblivious to Candice’s mood change. “Okay, let’s play this crap thing. This crappy crapper craps game.” She giggled.


Candice rolled her eyes. “Do I want to get her another drink, Andie?”


“Yes and no,” I said. “Yes, because it’s her bachelorette party and yes we want her to get good and hungover later so she never forgets this trip and how much fun it is to be single … and no, because I hate it when people barf. It makes me barf when I see it. And if she drinks too much more…”


“…she’s gonna barf,” Candice finished for me.




“Waitress!” yelled Candice, running after a barmaid with a tray.


Kelly and I watched her go. “What’s she doing?” Kelly asked.


“Getting us drunk.”


“Aren’t we already drunk?” she asked, scratching her head.


I smoothed down the hair that was sticking up as a result of her confusion. “You are and I’m nearly there. But this is your party, little sis, so you must drink until you fall over or until you kiss a stranger.”


Kelly looked at me in horror. “I did not come to Las Vegas to cheat on Matty!”


“Then you better start drinking,” I said, handing her one of the cocktails Candice brought over.


“How’d you get these so fast?” I asked her, looking down into the glass, wondering if I was drinking something she found next to a slot machine.


“What can I say? Cleavage works.” Candice raised her glass high. “Here’s to winning big tonight and possibly getting laid in Vegas!”


“Here’s to getting married!” said Kelly, raising her glass.