Shine Not Burn
Author:Elle Casey

“He was drunk. They were both drunk. He told me about it, so it’s not like he was hiding it.” I remembered the sharp pain of humiliation over that one. It came back full force every time I thought about it, which was way too often.

 

Kelly sat down on my other side. “Please stop making excuses for that shitheel, would you? He confessed because everyone in the entire firm saw it, and he knew you were going to find out sooner or later.” She put her arm around me and squeezed. “He’s a crap boyfriend and a crap guy in general. Please just let him go and move on. Please, please don’t go back to him. He’s offering you a golden opportunity right now.”

 

“That’s easy for you to say. You’re marrying Matty the mortician next week.”

 

“Yes, well, if you recall, I kissed a lot of hairy, warty toads before I found my prince.”

 

“Yeah. Remember Bruno from Italy?” asked Candice, giggling.

 

“How could I forget?” I asked, smiling too. Misery loves company. “Bruno, the one-balled wonder.”

 

“Hey, he can’t help it that he’s missing a testicle,” said Kelly, trying really hard to be offended but not quite hitting the mark.

 

“Uh, yeah he can, when he’s the one who made it fall off,” said Candice, snorting.

 

Kelly sighed with exaggerated patience. “It didn’t fall off, okay? I’ve told you a hundred times, Candice, he had it surgically removed.”

 

I couldn’t stop smiling despite being pissed off about that stupid text and the idea that the first thing I’d have to do when I got back would be to pack up his crap and deliver it to his apartment … although it would be nice to get my closet back. “And why exactly did Bruno have his own testicle surgically removed?” I asked, pretending I didn’t know the answer.

 

Kelly shrugged. “I guess he had too much testosterone or something.”

 

Candice snorted again, bending over a little with the giggles that were coming more uncontrollably now.

 

I sat back in my seat and crossed one leg over the other. “I thought he injected himself in the ball sack with some black market steroids and caused an infection down there that made one of them shrivel up and fall off.”

 

Candice was laughing loudly now, her guffaws sprinkled liberally with very unattractive pig-snorts.

 

“Shut up, Andie. The guy almost died. You shouldn’t be making fun of him.” Kelly pressed her lips together to keep from smiling.

 

I reached over and pulled her into a hug. “I’m sorry. You’re right. Poor old one-ball. He deserves our pity not our mockery.”

 

I looked over at Candice and winked. She had to look away to contain herself.

 

A voice came over the loudspeaker: “Delta Flight eighty-seven to Las Vegas now boarding business class passengers only. Business class passengers only.”

 

Candice and Kelly jumped up, Bruno One-Ball a distant memory.

 

“That’s us,” said Candice, picking up her Louis Vuitton make-up case. “Business class, here we come.” She tiptoed over to the ticket counter, boarding pass out and big smile on.

 

“Seriously,” said Kelly as we walked over to join our friend who was openly flirting with a man in a shiny silver suit, “you need to just let Luke go, at least during this trip. You need to be one hundred percent focused on having fun and enjoying this girl-time together. After I’m married and then have kids, I’m not sure I’ll ever have time to do it again, at least until I’m like sixty.”

 

I nodded. “I know. I’ll just deal with him when I get back.” The business of breaking up. And after a three year investment of time and serious future plan-making on my part, it wasn’t going to be pretty.

 

“That’s my girl,” she said, hugging me with one arm. “Come on. Let’s go drink all the vodka on the plane.”

 

“Didn’t you promise Samuel the ticket guy you wouldn’t do that?” I said, handing the attendant my boarding card and moving to the passageway that would bring us to the plane.

 

“Nope. I didn’t make any promises.” She pulled my arm and tugged me along. “Promises are only promises if you say the word promise.”

 

“I think it’s the intent that matters, not the words.” My feet dragged, my brain definitely not agreeing that Las Vegas was a good idea right now.

 

“You are such a lawyer sometimes,” she said, frustrated with me. She jerked my arm. “No more lawyering. From this moment until the point that you get off the plane here in West Palm on our way home, you will not be a lawyer.” She turned and faced me, standing in the doorway of the plane. “Promise me. Say the word. Promise you won’t act like a lawyer the entire time we’re gone.”

 

I sighed heavily, watching the crowd of economy-class passengers coming down the gangway behind us. Kelly’s stubborn. She’d stay there all day and make everyone wait until she got her way.

 

“Fine. I promise. Andie the lawyer is staying behind in the airport.” My shoulders sagged in defeat.