Hi! Is this thing on? Seriously, everyone, please quiet down just for a sec. OK?! Hiii!!! Yay!
I'm Bethany-Lynn, aka Natalie's best friend in the world, aka the maid of honor at this ole shindig. When Natalie told me I was going to be giving a speech, I was nervous. Then she told me I couldn't mention anything we did between 2005 and 2009, and I was like, "Well, what the heck am I even gonna talk about?! There goes all the fun stuff!" Seriously, we never go out anymore, but tonight is gonna be a return. To. Form.
Natalie and I have been best friends for almost 13 years, since I spotted her across the cafeteria, and I was like, "Wow, that girl would be absolutely gorgeous if she ordered some Proactiv and really followed the regimen." But that's so Natalie, she doesn't care what anyone thinks. She's an iconoclast in the truest sense. And I immediately wanted to help her because, as we all know, Natalie has this sort of childlike quality that makes you want to nurture her, like a baby bird that's been dropped in the road with no mother and no wings. And it's really charmed the fellas, hasn't it? But the fact is, Natalie is more than capable. Capable of murder! Ahahahah. But seriously, from the minute we met, I knew Natalie was my girl for life. We became a tribe of two, us against the world. Even when we fought, we knew that it couldn't last, because then we would have no friends.
You may know that Natalie was a little bit of a bad girl in her day, so senior year of high school was a real experience to say the least. Natalie's amazing mom, Mary-Ellen — give it up for Mary-Ellen, how hot does she look tonight? — called me almost every weekend screaming, "Where the heck is Natalie?! I haven't seen her in days! Where the heck is she, Bethany-Lynn?!"
And I always said, "Calm down, Mary-Ellen, she is most definitely not with our substitute math teacher at a Days Inn near City Hall. Chill it out, mami!"
But seriously, our 20s drew us even closer together. As Natalie climbed the ranks at the digital marketing firm, despite a not-great college GPA, I struggled to get a job in food service and lived on a string of couches since, as you all know, my parents have been dead since I was five. Natalie decided it would be better for our friendship if I didn't stay with her at her luxury two-bedroom condo in the arts district.
So one night I sat on a park bench a block from her house while I waited for my acquaintance Jim to call me back and tell me if I could sleep at the foot of his Murphy bed, like a mangy terrier. Boundaries are something Natalie has always been really good at, and I respect that. She keeps people at a healthy distance, never yeses them to death, never yeses them at all. That is, until she met Bryon. Immediately, all bets were off, and he was living with her within two weeks, sharing her bed, her life, and her everything. Even things you may not want to share. Things that you may have picked up on your birthright trip to Israel from a guy named Avi.
Bryon is one of the hottest, nicest, coolest people who have ever lived. I would know because I actually met him first, at a Monday Night Football party at O'Berrigan's. I fell off my stool, one hundred percent not because of drunkenness but just because it was a bad stool, and he rushed over to help me up. What followed was an amazing five-hour conversation. I told him about losing my whole family in a forest fire, and he talked about how his religious beliefs have evolved since he started CrossFit, and I was just like, "Wow, this is the kind of person you could spend a whole life learning about and loving and taking care of in sickness and health and whatever." That's why I invited him to come with me to Natalie's sexy bowling b-day party the next weekend, and that's how he and Natalie met. SO CONGRATS TO ME! Certainly my reward awaits me in heaven. As do my parents, if I'm to believe Bryon.