“Which way is she?” They both looked up at the arrow signs by the elevator bank.
“This way,” she said, pointing to the left.
He consulted his room key.
“Ah, I’m that way.” He pointed to the right.
They smiled at each other and didn’t say anything for a moment.
“I can honestly say that I’ve never had a more entertaining time in an elevator. Thanks for that.” He reached out a hand.
“Likewise.” Alexa shook it. “Good luck at the wedding.”
He laughed and grimaced.
“Don’t remind me. Congratulations to your sister.”
She thanked him and walked down the hall toward Olivia’s room. She wished she knew what else she could or should have said to keep talking to him longer. She sighed and kept walking.
“Alexa. Wait.” This was crazy. Drew knew, objectively, that what he was about to do was crazy. But as she turned to walk away, he shouted for her to stop a split second later.
“Yeah?” She turned. “You can’t have the rest of the cheese, not even as a parting gift.”
Okay, here was his opportunity to play it off, pretend that that’s what he was asking for, banter with this cute and funny woman with the great cleavage one last time, then turn around and go to his hotel room and get ready for this brutal weekend . . . Well, when you put it like that, maybe this wasn’t so crazy.
“You . . . you wouldn’t be free this weekend, would you? How long is your sister in town?” No turning back now.
“She leaves tomorrow after her deposition. I’m working on Saturday. I have an event at—”
“Working on Saturday—what about Saturday night? Even . . . Friday night?” Oh please, let her be free, now that he’d gone that far.
“Well, I have to—”
“Be my date this weekend? Please? The wedding isn’t until Saturday night, so that would work, right? If you can’t do Friday night I understand, but if there’s any way you could come to the rehearsal dinner with me, I would . . . I don’t know what I would do. Really appreciate it? Buy you all the cheese you wanted?” How did he go from zero to babbling and pleading with this woman in thirty seconds flat?
“Drew, I . . . Are you sure?”
He smiled. With that question, he knew he’d almost got her.
“Positive. Come to the wedding, be my sandwich, protect me from poisoning and disaster. It’ll be your good deed for the year. And it’s only May—look at you, getting your good deed for the year done before the year is even half over!” He was so close to victory; he could tell by the smile in her eyes as she looked up at him. “Come on, Alexa.” He touched her shoulder. “Save me.”
She took a deep breath, and he held his as she considered.
“When you put it like that, what else can I say? I’ll do it.”
He pulled her into a hug. Her champagne bottle–laden purse clanked against his butt, and they both laughed.
“You won’t regret this.” He pulled back and grabbed his phone out of his pocket. “Wait, give me your number.”
He typed in her number as she recited it.
“There, I texted you, so you have mine. I’ll send you all of the details later.” He turned to leave before she could say anything else.
“Okay, but Drew, are you . . .”
“See you tomorrow, Alexa. Congratulations again to your sister!”
He sped down the hall with his suitcase, not giving her a chance to back out.
Alexa stared at Drew’s back for a few seconds. Had that really happened? Had that cute stranger just asked her to be his date for a wedding? And had she really said yes?
She turned and raced down the hall to Olivia’s room and knocked on the door. Olivia threw open the door and pulled her into a tight hug.
“Get in here!” They grinned at each other and hugged again. It was great to see her sister, it really was.
“Your hair looks amazing,” Alexa said. “The pictures on Facebook do not do that ’fro justice.”
Olivia looked her over and frowned in that way older sisters can.
“The outfit is great, and I love the shoes, but I thought you were going to get blond highlights? What happened?”
Alexa shrugged. “Sorry, I chickened out. I didn’t think I could pull off the blond.”
Olivia made a face at her.
“Haven’t we been over this? Look at Beyoncé!”
Alexa laughed. “I know I’m the same skin color as Beyoncé, but me in her blond weave wouldn’t go over too well during city council meetings. Even though I work in Berkeley, I still work for the mayor, you know.”
Olivia plopped down on the bed.
“Oh please, you could get away with some blond highlights, easy. But then, you always were the risk-averse one.”
Alexa opened her mouth to argue but thought better of it. She was here to improve her relationship with her sister, remember?
“Look what I brought you!” she said instead.
She pulled the champagne and the cheese and crackers out of her purse. “Not quite sure how cold the champagne is anymore, but we still have to drink it. And I heroically saved most of the cheese and crackers from the guy I was stuck in the elevator with, so we’d better enjoy them.”
“Well, of course we still have to drink that champagne! Gimme.”
Olivia grabbed the hotel water glasses as Alexa pulled the foil off the champagne bottle.
“I can’t believe you were stuck in the elevator all that time. And why weren’t you texting me back? Was your battery out?”
“Okay, there’s a story there, but let’s toast to you before I get into all of that.” She twisted the metal tie open and pulled out the cork with a gentle pop. After she poured a healthy amount into each of their glasses, she held hers up.
“To Olivia Monroe, the first black female partner at Palmer, Young and Stewart in over ten years. To a brilliant lawyer, but most importantly the best big sister a girl could have.”
“Are you trying to make me cry?” Olivia said. “It’s not working. I don’t care if you see water in my eyes; it’s just because I’m allergic to this carpet.”
Alexa smiled and clanked her glass against Olivia’s.
“Cheers to you.”
They both drank, hugged again, and drank some more.
“What time is our dinner reservation? Are we going to be late?”
Alexa took another sip of champagne and checked the time.
“Reservations are at eight and it’s not even seven yet. Have some cheese.”
Olivia reached for the champagne bottle and refilled their glasses.
“Oh wait, what was the story from the elevator? Why weren’t you texting me back? I was worried that you were, like, eaten by the elevator monster or something.”
“ ‘Elevator monster’? Olivia Grace, you couldn’t come up with a better fake worry than the ‘elevator monster’?”
“The champagne is already going to my head, and I had a six-hour flight today, so give me a break. Tell me this story immediately.” Olivia set her glass down on the nightstand and gave her a stern look.
“Damn, do I feel sorry for whoever you’re deposing tomorrow. Does everyone you give that look to automatically spill their guts?” Alexa took a fortifying sip of champagne.
The real Olivia slipped out from behind the lawyer face as she grinned.
“Basically, so start spilling.”
Alexa took a deep breath. It had just happened a few minutes ago, and this story still didn’t seem like it had happened to her.
“So, the other person in the elevator with me was a guy.”
“Obviously, otherwise you would have texted me back.”
Alexa kept talking so she wouldn’t lose her nerve.
“A cute guy.”
“Come on, am I an idiot? Of course he was cute. He wouldn’t have even known of the existence of the cheese and crackers in your purse if he wasn’t. But I feel like that’s not the end of this story. Wait.” Olivia looked Alexa up and down. “That dress looks like it’s easy to get in and out of. I am going to be SO proud of you if you had a quickie in the Fairmont hotel elevator!”