Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 74byrpsuch©
It may be silly, but it has long been considered bad luck for the groom to see the bride on their wedding day before the ceremony.
You would have thought it was bad luck to see each other for a week or two before by the way my family conducted themselves during that period.
We had relatives to dinner every night. There was no prohibition against inviting Jeff, but they monopolized my time to such an extent I rarely saw him after dinner.
I invited Jen and Rich a few times so he would have someone to talk to while waiting for me to become available. I didn't know what he did on the other nights.
During dinner he would respond to people talking to him, but he was reserved. He told me he was trying to put it all together to figure out what my father's plan was. I continued to argue there didn't seem to be a plan.
I found out, because he told me, he had been spending time talking with Sabrina. He said she was a friendly person and pleasant to talk with. She was also asking his advice about what she should do when she graduated. She asked questions about various professions and what kind of training would be required.
From his description of their encounters, I suspected the reality was she was hitting on him. She was good enough at it that, even if Jeff had been a normal guy, he probably would not have recognized it. In any event, it seemed harmless enough.
We were arguing more than usual. I attributed it to wedding jitters.
"I don't understand how you can even consider working for your father," Jeff said. "With the stuff he's pulled, aren't you even a little suspicious of his motives?"
"He thinks he's gotten a lot of what he wanted. Maybe he won't be able to marry me off to somebody he sees as useful to him, but he'll still be able to take advantage of my looks and personality."
"From what you've told me and what I've seen of him, he doesn't strike me as the type to settle for a consolation prize in a situation he is likely to see as a resounding defeat."
"Gee, thanks. I'm a consolation prize." I was miffed.
"Having you work for him is a consolation prize compared to breaking us up. And his failure to break us up, so far, is a resounding defeat."
"What do you mean by 'so far'? Is there something you're not telling me?"
"No. It's something I've just told you, but you choose to disregard."
"Oh, so now you know my father better than I do."
"I'm just telling you to be cautious."
"Right." But it was not an expression of agreement.
Jeff was annoyed. I was angry. I didn't realize at the time it had just become a fight I had to win, not because I was right, but because I had a need to win fights. I didn't need to understand and come to the right conclusions; I had to win.
I also didn't realize we were setting out on a catastrophic path.
Jeff said he couldn't come to dinner the next night.
"I'm falling a little behind on my work and besides, there's no need for me to be there every night."
I recognized it as an excuse. He wouldn't lie to me so he was able to convince himself he had a lot of work to do. He was still angry with me and didn't want to see me. It was accurate that he didn't need to be at dinner with me every night. It just wasn't the reason he didn't want to come. He did not want to say he didn't want to see me.
That was fine with me. I didn't want to see him either. I was angry as well.
"The next night he had a different excuse.
"‘I'm too tired. It can be such an ordeal over there. I want to get a good night's sleep.'
"Again, completely accurate, but not the reason he didn't want to come.
"I didn't bother to invite him the next night. He didn't call."
"What the hell are you trying to accomplish here?" Jen asked. "Are you trying to end your relationship?"
I just looked at her, bewildered.
"It's a good thing you guys aren't getting married anyway. You're both under the legal age - emotionally."
I sucked in a breath so I could yell back at her. Then I realized it proved her point.
"We're acting like children, aren't we?"
She gave me a look that said you think.
"Maybe we're not."
This time she looked at me, bewildered.
"There's no question I've been acting like a child. I don't know if Jeff has. This might be like those situations in the beginning when I would act outrageously and he would just walk away because he wouldn't put up with it.
"It's a little different now because he has to come back at some point. We have a relationship and, so far, uncanceled plans for a wedding. But he doesn't have to put up with my childish behavior."
Jen laughed. "It's good to see you can carry both sides of the conversation now."
"I'm sorry, Jeff. I reverted to my old behavior. You were just offering a suggestion and I went crazy. Can you forgive me?"
"As I mentioned before, I've met your relatives. You've spent quite a bit of time with them lately, exposed to their thinking, which bears only the vaguest resemblance to rational thought and sanity. I think it's remarkable you managed to recognize the nature of your behavior so quickly in that environment."
"You could have just said yes."
"No, I couldn't."