Revenge of the Nerd Ch. 64byrpsuch©
The first four items on the list were not at issue. Jeff and I would be married. We were both Jewish so there would be a rabbi and a chuppah. Both families and all our friends would be there.
So would half the business community. The guest count was over fifteen hundred and seemed to still be climbing. Who were these people?
Not only would the attire be dress-up, black tie was preferred. And flowers? Anyone with allergies would need to dose up on antihistamines to make it through what was shaping up to be a marathon wedding celebration.
So what was it that was bothering me? My parents helped me identify it.
"Sunny, set up a meeting with my mother."
"What has you so agitated?"
"They've gone absolutely crazy. I can't believe them."
"What did they do, Ashley?"
"You know how we typically give out gifts to the bridemaids?"
"They're planning to give out gifts to everyone who attends."
"What's wrong with that? That actually seems nice."
"You haven't heard what the gifts are."
"I haven't, but I assume you're going to tell me."
"Everyone who attends gets a certificate to open a free checking account at Fine Bank with a two hundred fifty dollar deposit."
Sunny made a sound that sounded like a clipped "ooo."
"That's not all. It gets better. There's also a certificate for a free investment consulting session. You don't have to open an investment account at the bank. They'll still talk to you. And there's more.
"If you do open an investment account the first three trades are free. It's not a wedding; it's a fucking wedding promotion to draw customers to the bank. I'm so angry I want to punch them both in the face and walk out of their lives forever."
"Goodness. I'll call your mother and get back to you."
From Sunny, "Goodness" was an imprecation of the highest order.
Jeff had been at a meeting with Dr. Lloyd when I spoke to my mother.
He saw me when he walked in the door, gave me a small smile and asked, "Should I have something to do for a while?"
"You didn't do anything. I'm so furious."
"Would you like to talk about it?"
Before I answered, he sang, "That's what friends are for."
I didn't give him the chance to sing that I should keep smiling. My hands were in the air, muscles clenched. I yelled, "Aaahhh."
He walked over and put his arms around me, which was very courageous. Someone with my body language was more likely to punch him than to relax. He got lucky.
I finally calmed down enough to fill him in. I stood waiting for him to curse my parents along with me but, of course, he stood there and thought about it.
"Very clever," he said almost with admiration.
"What the hell are you talking about?" I asked with no admiration whatsoever.
"He's going along with the wedding; letting you marry the guy he doesn't approve of. He's going to cover all the costs and he doesn't want my parents to contribute a cent. But he's making the conditions so odious he expects you to refuse to have the wedding.
"Then we'll have to regroup while you figure out what kind of wedding you want, how it will be funded and who will attend. I'm guessing he hopes that doing it this close to the wedding date will make the planning fractious and create enough friction between us to break us up."
Could this have been his plan? I was furious, enraged. I was also a little bit impressed. Had my fiancé been anyone but Jeff his plan might well have worked. But Jeff would know how to counter this, wouldn't he?
"What do we do, Jeff? What does Sun Tzu say about this?"
"I don't think Sun Tzu is the proper authority in this case. Your father has struck a formidable blow. I think the proper response will be found in Judo."
"Judo?" I was incredulous. "What are you going to do, throw him into a wall or something?"
"No. The key principle of Judo is to use your opponent's force against him. In this case his force is considerable so we need to turn it around against him."
"And your plan is …?"
Gee, with a plan like that we don't have anything to worry about. I didn't verbalize it. As angry as I was, I had enough self control not to take it out on Jeff. Besides, I had absolute confidence in Jeff. He would be able to come up with a brilliant plan. I hoped.
Jeff's eyes lost their glaze and focused on me.
"You have it?" I asked.
"Let's go out to dinner."
"That's your plan?
"No, I'm hungry."
"Stop that. You make it really difficult to maintain my level of rage when you screw around like that."
"And I'll tell you my plan over dessert."