Two days. The knot in my stomach is growing by the second and while we are in full wedding mode for “Princess Lacey” at this point I can’t sleep, eat or stop fidgeting long enough to even relax. So much has been happening, not just the wedding. Logan moved in with Jack a week ago. My mother has pretty much cut off all communication with him at this point over his decision to move in with my ex-husband and has literally not said more than fifteen words to me since. Like this was my doing or something. I don’t know how the wedding is going to go and my anxiety is running in overdrive.
The rehearsal dinner is in a little over six hours and I’m wondering between thoughts of being close to him if I’ll be able to hide the dark circles under my eyes.
“Luce, don’t worry about it… nothing she says matters because we have each other,” Jack says softly in my ear.
I am worrying about it though. I’m a worrier, I over analyze everything and my mother is beyond angry that I’m ending up with Jack. I don’t want her to make a scene. I stop to let his strong arms surround me one more time before we head into the dinner.
“It’s our life, and no one else’s. You and me, got that?” he says into my hair, grounding me.
“Ma’am?” the cashier says annoyed.
“Oh, sorry I… lot on my mind,” I say not even trying to disguise the fact that I was lost in thought.
Little moments keep popping in my head at the most inopportune times and I’m beginning to wonder if that will ever go away as I climb into my car. I know that once the wedding is over my mind will settle down but I also know that it’s going to take a lot to process being so close to him. Backing out of the parking lot my thoughts are running wild and then…crunch. Snapping my head around to look after the jolt throws me back I see it. Almost neon green, how I missed it I don’t know. I pull back into my spot and pull out my insurance info, mentally smacking my head as I get out. The owner of the green monster is bent down looking at the minuscule scratch to his big bumper and for the first time in a long time I find myself thinking “I hope he’s cute…”
“Looks like yours is worse,” he says with a chuckle, not turning yet to face me.
I turn and look, still stunned by the previous thought and sure enough, the back passenger side of my little SUV is smooshed, “Well shit…”
“It’s just a car…” he says with another chuckle.
“I’m really sorry, I don’t know where my head is today…” I say, knowing exactly where it is.
“Hey, shit happens… I’m not too worried about it, I can fix mine myself, you okay though?” he asks, finally turning to face me.
Cool pale blue eyes are staring directly into mine and for longer than I should, I go silent.
“Really, are you okay?” he asks again pausing before he comes closer.
“Uh, yeah, I’m fine…” I say wondering if there’s drool in the corner of my mouth when he smiles at me because damn is he good looking.
First off he’s huge. Probably a good five inches taller than I am and built like a brick shithouse. Not overly muscley but solid. His hands are large as he extends one to me and I can see the seam of his t-shirt stretch when his bicep contracts. I suddenly get this overwhelming urge to be wrapped in those strong arms and I have to remind myself to close my mouth. I can’t stop letting my eyes travel along his body, the soft stubble along his chin, the way a dimple grows on just the one side of his mouth. I forget completely about the SUV. I haven’t thought about anyone quite like this in far too long.
“You don’t seem fine to me…” he says letting his hand drop as he gets closer.
I pause for longer than I should and then finally find words, “I have a lot on my mind, my sisters getting married tomorrow and my ex-husband and I are both in the wedding…”
“This is small then compared to that…” he says softly, after a few moments.
I don’t know why I chose to tell a complete stranger, a gorgeous one at that but the words just came out. I’m standing here still unable to look away from this fine specimen in front of me and can only describe what I’m feeling as confusion. There is this nagging sensation telling me that I’m damaged goods but simultaneously my body is responding in a way that it hasn’t in a long time. I realize he’s still there looking at me with his one dimple and small smirk like maybe he thinks I’ve lost my mind.
“Sorry, I don’t know why I told you that…” I say.
“No worries, I’m a good listener…” there’s that chuckle again.
“I’m Lucy,” I say finally offering more than a stare.
“Oliver. Wish we met under different circumstances Lucy,” he says with a shy smile.
“Right?” I say with a laugh, letting out a breath I didn’t know I was holding in.
“Look, Lucy, I’m not going to turn this in, I really just have a scratch on the bumper. You should though because you’re definitely going to need body work done…” he says seriously.
“Ok well here is my info, I’ll take yours just in case,” I say handing him my insurance info.
“Whatever you want…” he says before disappearing for a minute.
Waiting for him to come back I hurriedly straighten myself, you know, smooth the hair, make sure the clothes aren’t bunched funny. All the while I’m wondering if he is single. My inner voice is telling me to be cool, stay relaxed. I watch him walking back over, and again I’m reduced to not knowing if I’m coming or going.
“Listen, I don’t know you, and if you say no that’s totally okay, but what are you doing tomorrow night?” flies from my mouth before I can stop it, I look around to see if someone is standing behind me and said it.
“Well, I was going to have an exciting night of fixing this scratch on my bumper…” he laughs, a full deep laugh.
“Oh my god. I can’t believe I just did that,” I say out loud as I smack my forehead with my palm.
“Lucy…” he says before I can say another word, “the way I see it is you meet random people all the time, you may run into them, small talk at the grocery store or in line for something, somehow some way you are going to make connections with them. This just happens to be how we made our connection,” he says.
I spend more than a few moments considering what he said and what it means before I speak. What he said is true, you never know where you’re going to meet someone, though, I know in blurting out the invite I not only will piss Lacey off but I’ll also add to my anxiety. Something though about this guy has me thrown for a loop. Whether it’s the fact that this is the first time I’ve even remotely felt attracted to someone or maybe it’s the fact that my body is practically ready to jump the guy. I’m standing so close to him by the time I finally respond I’m nervous that I’ll ravage him right here in the parking lot.
“Don’t feel obligated, please, it’s going to be a mess. I’d hate to drag you into it…” I stutter out.
“I think it might be fun…” he says with a hearty laugh, that I find eases my nerves a little.
“Really?” I say stunned.
“Yes, really, Lucy,” he says with a bump to my shoulder.
This unfamiliar feeling washes over me and I know it. I’ve known this feeling before, years ago but never since. I find myself looking at him and then away again, somewhat unable to believe that this is really happening.
“Okay…” I say softly, barely able to recognize my own voice.
“When and where?” he asks.
“Oh, right, um, six thirty at the Old Oaks boat club. I’ll give you my number and you can text me when you get there and I’ll come out and get you,” I offer.
“Pretty fancy then?” he questions.
“Yes, my sister the princess,” I answer with a laugh, wondering what he will look like tomorrow night.
He pulls out his cell and hands it over after unlocking it. I’m pleasantly surprised to find a picture of one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen set as the background before I start putting in my info. I’m not sure what exactly it was that I suspected I’d see, a girl maybe. I hand his phone back over and within seconds mine is chiming.
Hi, beautiful girl…
A smile grows until I’m surely red-faced and about to embarrass myself when he takes my hand and gently kisses my knuckles shocking me even more.
“I’ll see you tomorrow night, Lucy,” he says before letting my hand go.
“Tomorrow night,” I mutter, watching him walk away.
Driving to my house I’m still on cloud nine, or some form of it anyways, a form that includes a dark and stormy center. Knowing that I’ve just potentially given my sister more ammunition, not to mention dragged this unsuspecting man into my mess I’m torn between the excitement of him and the issues that could arise from my invite. Carefully I rearrange the items in my trunk that will need dropped off and head in to get ready for rehearsal, or round one if you want to be technical.