I took a seat at the counter, across from Billy's uncle and next to Alex and Nancy. I worried my new, curly hairdo and accepted the glass of wine presented to me. My mood wasn't exactly celebratory: I was in the process of hating my hair for the day, as well as fighting off the cramps that were encasing my lower midsection. I'd been on the verge of tears all morning, trying on no less than four outfits before I settled on one, putting through Billy through the hell that is the "Do I look okay in this outfit?" routine. I was frustrated about my curls, bored with my clothing selection, and worried about how I'll look in a bikini in less than two weeks. Ever the fantastic boyfriend, Billy told me that I looked beautiful - My hair, my body, my clothes, everything. "Your hair looks great, your outfit looks great now, and you're going to look amazing in the bikini," he said. He kissed me and smiled, but I imagine he didn't particularly enjoy being my cheering section. Again. As usual.
So, when we entered the Billy's family & friends Easter gathering, the seat at the bar, and the wine that waited there, were welcome options...For both of our sakes.
Billy worked the room, leaving me to fend for myself. I sipped my wine and said my hellos to his family from the comfort of the seat, feeling good that Billy knows we're at that point where he can leave me alone at his family functions, and know that I'll survive. Despite my foul mood, I always feel a sense of accomplishment that we no longer need to be chained together at family functions. He talked to his cousins while I talked to his aunt and uncle.
We hadn't been there for more than twenty minutes when the food was unveiled; two buffet tables packed with lunch and desserts. People immediately swarmed around the smorgasbord, leaving just a few of us at the bar.
I talked with Alex and Nancy and Billy's uncle while, all around us, people settled in with their heaping platefuls of Easter lunch. But I was tired and unmotivated, too lethargic to stand in line, so I stayed where I was, caressing my wine glass and catching up with my fellow stragglers.
I felt a hand on the small of my back and turned around to see Billy. His long fingers straddled my spine, and kneaded the exact area that ached. He leaned down and kissed me gingerly on the forehead. "Are you hungry?"
"Yeah," I tucked a kinky piece of hair behind my ear. "I'll get some in a few minutes, when the line dies down."
"Do you want me to fix you a plate?"
"Would you mind?"
"No," he set his drink down in front of me. "What do you want?"
"Surprise me. Thank you, baby."
He kissed me again. "You're welcome."
His uncle, from the other side of the counter, watched our exchange with wide eyes. "Who. Are. You?" he said to Billy, squinting his eyes. "'Do you want me to fix you a plate?'" He mimicked. "Oh my God. You've gone over to the other side!" His raised his voice and grasped his head in his hands, a sign of pure confusion, desperation, disgust.
Naturally, Billy rolled his eyes, annoyed with being called out. "Trust me," Billy said. "Two minutes of fixing a plate saves me hours of aggravation later." We all laughed.
"I can't believe you trained him," his uncle said to me, spearing a slice of ham with his fork.
"Stop picking on him," I said, attempting to defend my man in the face of his emasculation. "I haven't trained him, he's just being nice. And he's right. You don't know how bitchy I've been."
"Yeah," Billy said, "you have no idea. Trust me. This is purely for my benefit." And he left.
I glared, in jest, at his uncle. "You leave him alone. Things are good. Don't fuck this up." I pointed my thumb over in Billy's direction, where he stood in line, talking to his cousin, two plates in hand.
"Hey," his uncle said, laughing his way through a bite of mashed potatoes. "I've been getting shit for years for being nice to my wife. Thank God I can finally give it back to him. I was worried I'd never be able to. " He pretended to cry. "He's one of us now," he said, nodding to Alex. I wasn't sure if his mock tears were of happiness or defeat, but apparently, he was including Billy in the Men Who Treat Their Women Well group.
I'm so happy to finally be one of those women.