Instead, I went as Elaine, telling everybody who asked where my date was that he was unavailable, which was true enough; there was nobody who looked like the real me at the time (there is now, although we've just emailed so far). They said that was too bad, asked if I wanted another drink, and about ten of them mentioned that Kenyon just got dumped by his girlfriend.
I don't think I did much to particularly embarrass the real Elaine; she gave me notes, seating that if something else goes wrong, she's going to build an app, put it on her phone, and be done with it. I timed things so that I could arrive just in time, say a passing hello to anybody who recognized me in the church, and smile through the ceremony, trying not to feel too exposed. The dress Elaine had suggested didn't actually show any cleavage and even went down far enough that I didn't have to cross my legs, butt it left my shoulders bare and the church had the AC on blast.
I was going to make a quick am entry and exit from the reception as possible, but the happy couple sort of sets that schedule, and taking pictures took forever. The flower girl, I'm told, had a meltdown that required a lot of her mother's attention, and since mommy was the maid of honor, well, you can guess how that went. In the meantime, old Daryl-slash-Elaine is getting a super-concentrated version of the post-Trading Post experience, with rapid-fire introductions to a lot of Elaine's old friends who want updates on just what she's been doing and how she's been. I try to fill in the blanks with what little I know, make my way to the bar, and try to pace myself because I know I'm smaller now but still probably overdo it a bit. When the bride and groom do arrive, I'm probably a little Rossiter than I should be, but everybody just chalks that up to Daryl letting me down.
So just bail as soon as dinner is done - except that I always want to dance when you get a few drinks in me, a few is even fewer than before, and Elaine's friend Marisa chose a heck of a playlist. Based on what I found in "my" email the next morning, I must have demanded she send me a copy. Anyway, once that kicks in, it takes a while for me to feel confident enough to get on the floor, but once I'm there, I don't really stop. I wind up paired with this Kenyon guy a lot, and it could be worse; he picks up on how I jump the first time he touches me and saves that for when I'm about to fall over the rest of the night. At some point, the bride ditches her heels and that means it's okay for the rest of us, and I move a little more.
The next morning, I can't find one of the blue heels that goes with the dress anywhere, and I've fallen asleep with an underwire on (don't do that!), but my panties are where I left them! I'm alone in the room, and there are no phone numbers written anywhere, so I guess it's not a total disaster. Nobody is shooting damn, boy/girl, you done messed up! I fly home to Chicago, relieved.
And then, at the airport, I realize that I can't go home. If been staying at my own apartment since returning from Maine, just popping into Elaine's quick enough to grab the dress before heading to the wedding, but now somebody else might be there, and I don't want to show up and have him think we're going to act like boyfriend and girlfriend. So I call an Uber, give it Elaine's address, and go there. I hit the buzzer for just long enough to remember I don't have to do that before going up.
I take a shower, a little intimidated by how many products are still on the various shelves despite nearly two years of male occupancy, make myself some food, and try to fall asleep to some Netflix. The next morning I wake up, and in some ways waking up alone in Elaine's apartment was just as weird as waking up in her body. I felt like she should be there with me, but she wasn't, not in the right way. I kind of tried pretending she was - putting on some of her sexiest underwear, feeling myself up in front of the mirror while making sexy talk - but even before I tried slipping a hand into my panties, I felt kind of pathetic.
I killed the next few days without really meaning to, seeing the new Star Wars twice, finding a two-year-old puzzle magazine and finishing the kakuro, that sort of thing. I went to a poetry slam thing with Elaine's friend Dorrie last night, and she asked me where "the cute nerd" was. It felt kind of good to hear that, but I said I didn't think it was going to work, or if it did, we'd have to start all over, because, well, I can't explain. She said that was too bad, "I" really seemed to like "him", and vice versa.
Somehow, that was what I seemed to need to hear to realize that I didn't miss Elaine, and the unanswered voice mails meant I kind of didn't miss "me". I decided to test a theory, went to Netflix, and searched on J.T.'s name. The first couple of things were dumb kid stuff, but soon I found some weird low-budget sci-fi thing from three or four years back, start watching it, and, holy shit, I can see "Elaine" in his character. I'm doubting it at first, but once I realize that I've slipped my hand into my underwear and not sure what to do next, I know what I've got to do. Well, not exactly right them, but tonight.
So, I'm writing this at the airport, waiting for my flight to New York, Ray to give the guy who dumped me a piece of my mind.