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There was a silence that fell over the entire villa. On the kitchen island, there were several bottles of empty and half-filled rosé. A lone pool float drifted from side to side while a plastic customized cup rolled around poolside due to the slight breeze. And on the couch under a blanket rested Katie with her head perched on the naked blow-up doll that she had brought the night before.
The night had ended somewhere between Alex passing out in a pool chair with a hastily-made margarita in her hand and Caroline falling asleep facedown in her Spanx in her father’s master bedroom. Everyone was still asleep, except for one person.
“I can’t believe she just showed up like that,” she texted to Todd from the comfort of the guestroom. “Like, way to make it all about you, Katie.”
Todd wasn’t responding, which only added fuel to her fire.
“I mean, I guess if you want to be the girl who shows up with a bunch of penis straws and x-rated games, that’s your prerogative. But I’d like to think we’re a little beyond that.”
Fuming, she decided to get out of bed and change out of her monogrammed pajamas and into workout clothes in an effort to rally the troops for the “group workout” that she had put on the itinerary. Knocking on the door to Alex and Victoria’s room, she yelled, “Get up! It’s time for group yoga by the pool!”
Alex opened the door with creases on her face from her pillow. “There’s no way in hell I’m doing yoga,” she mumbled. “Mama needs a mimo.”
With her blood boiling even more, she tromped down the stairs and entered the kitchen to make breakfast. Without Alex or Victoria on her side, there was no way the scheduled yoga would actually happen. The only person who seemed somewhat functional was high-school-friend Jill who sat in her bed watching a telenovela that she pretended to understand because she “studied abroad” in Spain for a summer.
Pablo was due to arrive in the next ten minutes to make a group brunch, but that didn’t stop her from banging around the pots and pans underneath the stove with the explicit intention of waking Katie up from her drunken slumber on the blow-up doll. When she finally rustled and asked, “What’s all that noise?”, the only response was, “Oops, sorry! I’m making some coffee – can I make you anything?”
Without saying a word, Katie rolled over and put the blanket over her head not to be disturbed until there was a knock at the door. “Ugh, can you get that?” Katie muttered.
From the kitchen, she walked through the entrance to open the door.
“Hola, Pablo,” she greeted him without making eye contact. She began leading him to the kitchen and explained, “Everyone in the casa is still in bed, but you can start making huevos or whatever else you brought. Si?”
Pablo looked at her and simply responded, “Sure, it should only take me about an hour to prepare everything and then I’ll be out of your hair.” And as he began unpacking the groceries, she went to the living room and began straightening up around a passed out Katie who would eventually bring herself off the couch and pitch in for the last few minutes of clean up so she could split the credit.
The girls sat around a patio table eating brunch and making mimosas with only a splash of orange juice to color the champagne. It was unclear whether or not Alex was awake at the table as her oversized Celine sunglasses covered the majority of her face.
“Alright, so here’s the schedule today,” Katie began. “I think we just chill around here for the morning and drink some mimos to get the wheels turning, and then whoever wants to go to the beach or out to lunch this afternoon can go with the driver, and anyone else can just pool it up here.”
Caroline looked over to her other co-Maid of Honor and received a look that screamed, “I had no part in making this schedule.”
“I’m going to stick around the house,” Katie continued. “I’ll prepare everything for the lingerie party tonight and help Pablo in the kitchen with tonight’s dinner.”
Jill perked up and asked if anyone wanted to do a banana boat at the beach that afternoon but the collective group looked at her like she was one of the Spanish-speaking characters from the telenovela she had been watching earlier.
As the girls began bringing their dishes to the kitchen for Pablo to do the dishes (he had already left), two remained sitting at the table – both of which happened to be the Maids of Honor in Caroline’s wedding.
“Just so you know,” she began explaining to Katie, “I have this all under control and I don’t necessarily appreciate you coming in at the last minute and taking over.”
Katie took off her sunglasses and whispered back to her, “Do you really want to make a scene right now? You need to chill.”
She stood up and began walking by Katie to take her plate to the kitchen only to stop directly next to Katie and said, “For someone who wanted to plan some bootleg party that Caroline would have hated, why don’t you just leave this to me?”
Too hungover to leave the villa, the girls lounged around the pool for most of the day discussing the wedding with Caroline and complaining about how smoothies really aren’t that healthy. Pablo had replenished the champagne and rosé for the day, and while the pool scene didn’t resemble a Chainsmokers-driven Vegas party like it did the day before, the girls had officially made their transition from devastatingly hungover to delightfully buzzed. One by one, group selfies went up on Instagram with a #carolineslaststand hashtag and an immediate 11 likes because, “Y’all need to go like my photo right now” was the most uttered phrase of the day.
One by one, they each decided to go to their rooms and get ready for the happy hour lingerie party that had been planned weeks in advance. Katie made sure she was the first one ready so she could instruct Pablo in the kitchen.
“The margaritas need to be sweet, but you can’t use too much agave in them,” she explained to him. “These need to be skinny margs that are pretty much just tequila, Cointreau, and lime.” Pablo confirmed that the margaritas would be fresh, but upon offering Katie one without any agave in it at all, she told him, “It’s good, but like I said, don’t use any agave. I got the recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s website goop and it’s pretty much the most traditional way to make them, tbh.”
As the girls assembled in the living room to give Caroline their gifts, Pablo brought margarita pitcher after margarita pitcher to them. “These are a little too sweet,” she explained to Katie, “You should’ve told him not to put agave in it.” But before Katie could explain to her that he was explicitly instructed to not put any in (which he didn’t), she stood up and began instructing all the girls (including Katie) on the party’s schedule.
“So,” she began, “In honor of being Caroline’s Maid of Honor, I wanted to be the first to give my gift to her.”
From a large white box with embossed gold print on it, Caroline took the bow off and began undoing the sticker on the delicate tissue. She gasped, “Oh. my. God.” while lifting a lacy white bra and panty set into the air. She laughed and jokingly said, “I cannot pull this off,” even though she had been attending daily barre classes in preparation for the wedding and everyone knew she could pull it off.
In between “ow ow” cheers from the rest of the girls, Caroline laughed, “Oh my God, John is doing to die – this is so hot and virginal,” before laughing and waiting for everyone to tell her how good she’ll look for him in it.
Katie then stood up and proclaimed, “Alriiiight, my turnnnnnn,” and pulled out a Nordstrom bag. “I know this isn’t going to live up to… that, but as Caroline’s best friend and Maid of Honor, I thought I’d get her something that she could use for the rest of her life.
The words “best friend” made and lack of “co” before “Maid of Honor” made the first gift-giver cringe.
Caroline opened the bag and pulled out a white robe with her initials on it (her new initials that included John’s last name). The robe would fall to the middle of her thigh and visibly more modest than the original gift.
Putting her hand over her mouth, Caroline paused before saying, “Oh my god – I, like, lovethis,” and stood up to put it on. The did a twirl and from the side, Alex said, “You should, like, totally wear that on your wedding day.”
Sitting just to the left of Caroline (with Katie on the right), knots formed in her stomach. It was already annoying to her that Katie hadn’t described herself as being a “co”-Maid of Honor, but the simple confirmation of Caroline wearing that on her wedding day in all her photos made her sick. She couldn’t fathom how her $350 lingerie set could be outdone by a monogrammed $45 robe that probably wasn’t even from Nordstrom in the first place. She gave a half-hearted, “Yeah, you totally should wear that,” before standing up and walking to the kitchen to check on the status of Pablo’s next pitcher of margaritas, which she needed more than before.
Following her to refill her water glass was Jill who stood in the kitchen for a brief moment with her. “Love your gift!” Jill complimented her while the other girls continued to compliment the robe and how great it would look in her pre-wedding photos. But she felt speechless with tears forming in her eyes.
“It’s just like…” she began to respond to Jill, “Idk, I’m just so over bachelorette parties at this point in my life.” .