Their road to New York was comparatively uneventful, even though they crossed paths with a grizzly bear, got beat up by a gang of homeless people, and spent a couple months working for a circus troupe. While those experiences did contribute to the overall growth of the three protagonists, I as an author have run out of valuable ideas for plot twists that would keep you, the reader, engaged in the rest of this story. I was planning on making this book ten chapters because, well, why not? Ten is a good number… However, I am proud of myself for even reaching this point in the story and have decided that I am ready to end this saga after only seven chapters. But let’s be real… seven is the perfect number, right? So let’s just pretend that I planned this all along.
Anyway, let’s skip to the part of the story you’ve all been waiting for. Cue the scene where Anthony, Antwon, and Rachel are sitting in the restaurant, chowing down on the best chicken and waffles in the nation.
“So what’s something you’ve learned on our journey?” Anthony asked the group.
Antwon and Rachel thought for a moment, before both starting their sentences at the same time and then awkwardly halting because they didn’t want to interrupt the other, and then starting again at the same time and stopping again because— well, you know what I’m talking about. We’ve all been there.
Finally, Rachel was chosen to speak first and this is what she said.
“I haven’t learned anything.”
“Yeah, same here,” Antwon agreed.
“Well, but… surely you learned something!” Anthony said.
Silence engulfed them for a while. Anthony was flabbergasted (boy, that’s such a mom word) that his compadres hadn’t learned anything from their months on the road together. Nothing? Nothing at all? That’s hard to believe…
“Well I learned,” Anthony began, “that life on the road has its own challenges. I learned that self-discovery sabbaticals aren’t all they’re hyped up to be.. that you can learn about yourself even at a boring desk job. I learned that I should value stability in life and having a job is a good thing. I learned that I can’t always trust people, but that I should give grace to people anyway. I learned the value of second chances. I learned that weird people like you guys can be the best friends a guy can ask for!”
“Wow, you sure learned a lot,” Rachel said.
“Yeah, I guess I learned all that too,” Antwon said, his gaze fixed on a beautiful woman across the restaurant.
Anthony and Rachel turned to look at the girl Antwon was looking at. She wasn’t honestly that beautiful, but to each his own…
“Hey, you should go ask her out,” Anthony said, elbowing Antwon playfully.
“Ehh… I tried that once, remember? Didn’t work too well.”
“Yeah, but you can’t give up! What do you have to lose?”
So Antwon plucked up his courage and walked confidently over to the table where the woman of his dreams was sitting with a few of her friends, laughing.
“Excuse me, my name is Anthony VanHilderbrant and I think you’re extremely attractive. Would you like to go on a date?”
“No,” said the woman.
“Fine,” said Antwon.
When he returned to Anthony and Rachel’s table, rejected and defeated, he found them making out like two turtle doves at Christmas time.
“WOAH! Since when did you two…” His voice trailed off at the end. He was utterly confused, and quite frankly, terrified.
“Oh, we’ve been in love this whole time!” Anthony said. “Ever since I laid eyes on you in the Hungry Hamster, I knew…”
“Ew, get a room!”
“Actually, we’re gonna get married. Will you be my best man, Antwon?”
“Dude, how did I not see this coming?? Are y’all for real right now or are you… what’s the phrase… pulling my leg??”
“No leg pulling here,” Rachel said.
“Well then I’d be happy to be your best man, Anthony.”
So they took their chicken and waffles to go and drove to a courthouse where Anthony and Rachel eloped. It was a happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy occasion. Truly happy, one might say.
As they sat down on the steps to the courthouse, holding a marriage license in one hand, and their chicken and waffles in another hand, nothing in the entire world could ruin the magic of the moment.
“This is like Hollywood. A perfectly happy ending. We just need someone to say ‘and they all lived happily ever after,’” Rachel said.
“And they all lived happily ever after,” said Antwon.
Anthony sighed happily. What a day.
“Y’know, this might be kinda controversial, but I don’t really like chicken and waffles…” Antwon said.
“Yeah, me neither,” Rachel said.
Anthony just laughed. He loved chicken and waffles.
Author’s Note: This story is based on true events.