“I’m not sure I should be drinking this…” Mia said when Chris handed her the flute of champagne. “Alcohol is not good for a baby!”
“Um… OK…” Chris responded hesitantly, “Give it to me. I’ll take care of it!”
Chris chugged his glass, laid the empty glass on the floor, and then did the same with Mia’s glass. He had already had several drinks while on the airplane, and was just at a delectable buzz. Reaching for the bottle of champagne, he refilled his glass.
“Y-y-ya might want to go easy on that,” Mia cautioned. “Your going to miss the skyline. Besides, this is our wedding night… I’d rather not spend it alone after you pass out.”
“I can handle it!” Chris said confidently. “I won’t leave you alone anymore!”
However, as they took a short tour of the city en route to the hotel, Chris continued to fill and empty his glass. Once they arrived at the hotel, and the driver opened the door, Chris grabbed the handles next to the door of the limo, and started to pull himself out, rather than allow Mia to exit first. When he put one leg onto the concrete and tried to let his weight down on it, the leg turned to jello and he stumbled forward, losing his balance. The drive, who was still holding the door, had to catch Chris and steady him. Every time he tried to turn loose of Chris, Chris’s body would begin to lean towards one side or the other, and the driver had to reposition him. It was like a scene from a Laurel and Hardy movie: lean…steady…lean…steady. Finally, the driver physically moved Chris against the rear fender of the car, placed his elbow and forearm into Chris’s chest, and gallantly took Mia’s hand with his free hand. They closed the car door, and Mia pinned Chris against the car while a doorman from the hotel brought a cart for their luggage which the driver unloaded from the trunk. After the bags were loaded, Mia had the doorman to bring the cart near Chris, and they helped him kneel precariously on the cart while they wheeled the cart into the lobby with the doorman on one side of the cart, the driver on the other, and Mia turning a deepening shade of red from embarrassment.
As the driver prepared to leave, Mia opened her purse in an attempt to pay him, but he stopped her in mid-reach.
“It’s all been taken care of, Miss.” Looking at Chris hanging on to the end of the cart, the driver turned to Mia with a kind expression, and said, “I hope your stay in the city is a pleasant one.”
Mia met his gaze and said, “I’m sorry for your trouble, and thank you for your kindness.”
“No trouble at all, Miss…” he responded and then smartly turned and left the lobby.
Checking in was surprisingly easy, and Mia walked beside the luggage cart with a new bell staff manning the other side to help support the body of Chris, who was now mumbling incoherently. Once they reached the room, the bellman unlocked the door, and wheeled the cart into a beautiful suite. Mia caught her breath as they entered, taking in the luxurious furnishings and incredible view of the city.
“…and where would you like me to place the…uh…luggage, Miss?” The question from the bellman invaded her response to the surroundings.
“Can we take this cart into the bedroom?” She asked.
“Certainly…” he responded.
All the while, Chris mumbled something about money in his coat pocket. After wheeling the cart into the bedroom, the two of them maneuvered Chris off the cart, tried to stand him up, and when that failed, the bellman grabbed him under the armpits and slid his upper body over the bed where it fell with a flop. Mia grabbed both his feet, spun his legs around til she was at the end of the bed, and let them drop across the wooden foot board.
“Oops…” Mia sarcastically said. “That probably hurt.”
By reflex the bellman said, “It will tomorrow…” Catching himself, he quickly said, “I’m sorry, Miss. I shouldn’t have said that”
“Don’t worry about it. Besides, you’re probably right!” She quipped. As he was preparing to leave, she said, “Just a moment, let me get my purse…”
“Don’t worry about it, Miss. Everything has been taken care of… and I am sorry about your evening.” The bellman said while closing the door.
“Thank you…” Mia replied quietly. Turning towards the huge windows, filled with the beauty of the New York cityscape, she walked towards them and began to cry.
If ever a night was prophetic of a marriage, it was the wedding night of Chris and Mia. Chris was filled with promises about excitement and fun, but it usually ended up that he was the only one experiencing either. New Year’s Eve was no exception. After meeting Mercer and one of his many girlfriends for an 11 am brunch the next morning… which Chris couldn’t eat… the four of them took a tour of the city by limousine. Again the car had a well-stocked bar, and everyone except Mia put it to liberal use. What angered Mia the most, however, was when Chris began to flirt with Mercer’s girlfriend. She also became very uncomfortable when Mercer did the same with her. The new life Chris had promised may have been his dream, but it was becoming her nightmare.
They returned to the hotel around 8 pm to “help prepare” for the party which was to begin at 10 that night. The only actual preparation Chris, Mercer, and his girlfriend accomplished, however, was to hang out in Mercer’s huge suite, smoke dope and oil themselves up with vodka. Mia spent the time fending off Mercer’s physical advances, while Chris looked on, snickering, and snuggling with the other girl.
When it was finally time for the party, Mia decided she had enough, and left the three of them in Mercer’s room while she returned to her own room. Upon entering her room, she once again took a place next to the windows. Looking down from her lonely perch, she watched the line of limousines and cabs line up along the street in front of the hotel. She couldn’t actually see the extravagantly dressed party guests exit each vehicle, but something about the scene, brought a deep homesickness to her. The scene in front of her began to blur, and was replaced by her memory of Father Baaken’s words to her after their counselling session. “Mia, just remember that we are also your family here. This is home. You are ALWAYS welcome at home.”
Was this to be her home now? Was Chris her family? And what of their child? The thought of bringing up a child in this kind of atmosphere brought a shiver across her shoulders.
Looking up in the sky, Mia whispered, “Help me, God!”
It was a short prayer, but a heartfelt one. Pulling herself away from the window, she walked into the bedroom, got ready for bed, and fell asleep.