- The Wedding Date
“I was afraid of that. Well, I can only hope we’ll be here so long that you’ll take pity on me.”
She slipped her shoes halfway off, just enough to relieve the pressure on her toes.
“No offense, Drew, but my goal is not to be stuck in this elevator with you all night.” Although those abs . . . No, remember Olivia? Her sister? Right, Olivia, okay, yes, Olivia. Time to ask him another question so she’d stop staring. “Don’t you have plans tonight? What are you doing here in San Francisco for the weekend anyway?”
He made a face.
She made a face back at him.
“Don’t say it like it’s a prison sentence.”
He slumped against the wall.
“If prison sentences lasted for a weekend, this one would qualify. Okay, fine, a prison in a cushy hotel, but still.”
She looked around at the dim, still elevator.
“Not so cushy right now. What’s so terrible about this wedding?”
He threw his hands in the air.
“Let me count the ways.” He held up one finger. “One: it’s my ex-girlfriend’s wedding.”
Alexa winced. She’d been there. Exes’ weddings were always a trial, even in the best circumstances.
Second finger. “Two: she’s marrying one of my best friends from med school.”
Alexa covered her eyes. Okay, he maybe had a point.
“Were they . . .”
“No, she wasn’t cheating on me with him, but . . . let’s just say I wasn’t particularly pleased about how it all happened, shall we?”
“Ouch. Well, I understand why you—”
He held up a third finger. “THREE.”
She sat up straight.
“There’s another one? A third finger?”
“Oh yes.” He waved his middle finger in the air. “As a matter of fact, this is the worst of the fingers. Three: I am a groomsman.”
She swung around and faced him, mouth wide open.
“Are you kidding me? A groomsman? What? Why? How?”
“Yes, you are asking the important questions. The ones that Josh, Molly, and I all should have asked before this nightmare of a wedding weekend started. What and why indeed. What could have possibly inspired him to ask me to be a groomsman? Why would he do that? Why would she allow it? WHY would I say yes? How did this happen? All of those questions should have been asked, and yet, here we all are.”
“Oh my God, Drew. That’s almost enough for me to give you some cheese.”
He patted her shoulder. Cheese? Hell, if he’d let his hand linger there for a few more seconds, she would have given him a lot more than cheese.
“Alexa, I’m touched. I truly am. And then”—he waved another finger in the air—“there’s four.”
“Oh good Lord, what could four possibly be? Are your divorced parents coming to the wedding with their spouses, too, or something?”
“No, but good guess. What a nightmare that would be. No, four is that I am not only a groomsman in the wedding of my ex-girlfriend and former best friend, but I am a dateless groomsman in the wedding of my ex-girlfriend and former best friend. My date bailed on me at the last minute, so I’m going to look pathetic, and I’ll probably get drunk and hit on a bridesmaid—the whole thing is going to be a nightmare.”
She brushed that off with a wave of her hand.
“Oh please, you’ll be fine. Weddings are great places to meet people. It’s better that you’re without a date. As my friend Colleen always says, ‘Don’t bring a sandwich to a buffet.’”
He let out a bark of laughter.
“I’m definitely going to steal that saying. And while in most situations I would say that your friend Colleen is totally right, this is that five percent of situations where a sandwich would save me from all of the food poisoning in the buffet. I’m going to get so many pitying looks, you have no idea. And the worst part is that I RSVP’d with a plus-one, so there’s going to be an empty seat at the head table. And lots of ‘What happened to your girlfriend, Drew, couldn’t make it?’ And I’m going to have to smile and take it, but there’s like a thirty percent possibility I’m going to have one too many glasses of bourbon and go rogue.”
She touched his hand and tried not to linger there.
“Okay, yes, sometimes a sandwich is a necessary security blanket. I’m sorry that yours bailed on you.”
He looked down into her purse again.
“Alexa, I’m going to need you to stop talking about sandwiches if you don’t want me to steal that cheese.”
She grabbed her purse and moved it to her other side.
“Now temptation is farther away. Isn’t that better?”
He looked at her, at the purse, back at her. She smiled and kept her hand on the strap.
“So, Drew. What happened to your girlfriend?”
He narrowed his eyes at her, and she laughed again.
“Okay, first of all, Emma wasn’t my girlfriend. We were just hanging out, that’s all.”
Alexa frowned at him. This guy had to be in his thirties like her. Hadn’t people stopped “just hanging out” with people by their thirties?
“Don’t look at me like that! I’m not a girlfriend kind of guy! And when I could tell that she might want something more serious, I ended it. I was nice about it! I don’t do girlfriends. I haven’t had a girlfriend since . . .” He sighed. “Molly. Anyway. Except I forgot that I needed a date for this damn wedding.”
Alexa pointed to the fourth finger that he’d raised in the air.
“Wait,” she said. “How, exactly, is that your date ‘bailing’ on you?”
He shook the finger at her.
“Don’t do that! Don’t blame this on me. It’s not my fault. It’s not her fault, either—she was going to come to the wedding with me anyway, but her dad’s having surgery tomorrow, so she couldn’t come.” Those ab muscles moved in a lovely way when he sighed. “And, of course, I’m sorry about her dad. I don’t blame her for that at all. I do, however, think this is just more evidence that I’ve been cursed when it comes to this wedding.”
Alexa laughed and relaxed against the wall. If she happened to move closer to Drew while doing so, that was just an extra benefit. Hey, it’s not like she was in danger of becoming this guy’s not-girlfriend. She could at least get a few accidental touches of his arm in before this elevator started back up again.
“You probably did something to deserve it.”
Drew reached around her and grabbed her purse.
“Oh, really? I pour out my heart to you about this nightmare of a wedding and how now I won’t have a date and all of the terrible things that will happen to me because of that, and when you hear my tale of woe, you tell me that I did something to deserve it? Just for that, I’m taking some cheese.”
He reached into her purse but hesitated for a second and raised his eyebrows at her. She sighed and nodded.
“Okay, fine, you can have a little cheese, but you’d better save some for Olivia. And no tearing it off with your fingers. What kind of a Neanderthal do you think I am? There’s a knife in there.”
He beamed at her. Good Lord, that was a dangerous smile. She looked away and found the butter knife so she wouldn’t throw herself at him.
He’d just bitten into his third cheese-laden cracker when the overhead lights came on and the elevator started with a jerk.
“Wow, are we actually moving?” She sat upright.
“Looks like I won’t have to tackle you for the champagne next.” Drew got to his feet and reached out a hand to help her up. Was it just her imagination that his hand lingered in hers?
Probably. She had a very active imagination. It helped to make up for her current lack of a romantic life.
In no time at all, they reached the sixteenth floor. Alexa was treated to one more glimpse of those abs as he pulled his jacket on.
“Looks like your sister and I are on the same floor,” he said as they got off together.
“Looks like it.” She smiled up at him for a second before she had to look away from those eyes again.