Wedding of the Year (ON HOLD)

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Seducing Exes, Severed Fingers & Champagne Ladies

DAY ONE: CHAPTER TWO

“I can’t believe it worked! We’re being towed.” Tyler leaned his head against the headrest with a heavy sigh. “Though I have to say, those girls are really stupid to even consider Jeep Gladiator a cab.”

“Maybe they thought that Jeeps are the new cabs in Atlantic City, you know?” Hope shrugged and rested her head on his shoulder.

“That makes no sense at all.” Jesse moved his hands around in a dramatic way. “I’m just glad that the robotic woman talked and now she’s a car away.”

“This is way better than automatic.” Xander grinned as he sat leisurely in the driver’s seat. “I don’t even have to move the shifter.”

The car was silent for one femtosecond before Tyler spoke again. “It’s still weird how those two thought it was a cab. What did they think, that they just hailed a taxi at the airport? Pfft.”

~

“We didn’t really think it’s a cab. I booked a cab because I thought no one was coming to pick me up. But then, this jeep came out of nowhere and asked us to hop in.” Ellie argued. “Paris didn’t even think where this guy came from.”

Paris plucked off her fake lashes and glared at Ellie. “Don’t put this on me. I just thought he was one of my Instagram stalkers. And I stopped thinking once I saw this beautiful jeep.”

“Well, thanks for complimenting my Gladiator. Even though it’s not mine.” Kaleb grinned sheepishly over his shoulder. “And I’m not a stalker, but I know the three bridesmaids.”

“Really?”

“Hey, I did my homework. Paris West, famous scuba diver in Florida. Ellie Barnes, owner of some Italian restaurant. Casey Parker – “He trailed off, looking at the blonde through the rear view mirror. “I don’t know what you do but Selena said that you work here in Atlantic City.”

“I do and that’s enough information for now. Why don’t you tell us about yourself?”

“I’m Kaleb, groom’s only cousin. As far we both know. Anyway, I’m the third groomsman.”

“That’s nice.” Casey looked out the window while Paris leaned forward. “Do you follow me on Instagram?”

Kaleb handed his phone to her. “No. Go ahead and do whatever you want with my account.”

“That’s a bit weird, don’t you think? Giving your phone just like that.”

“I’m an open book. Anyway, how come you people don’t know the people in the SUV?”

Ellie shrugged as Casey started eating another pretzel. “I didn’t even know the groom before the engagement party. He and Selena gave an hour – long speech on how the bride’s and groom’s side shouldn’t even know their names until before these two weeks. Something about coming only for the bride or groom.”

“He said it would spice things up; make it more fun to know each other.”

“Something like that.”

“How do you know them?” Paris asked Kaleb.

“Xander, Selena’s distant cousin, and I have been helping the wedding coordinator in making this entire thing perfect. And I’ve known the other three – Hope, Jesse and Tyler through Vincent. Since I’m his only cousin so, we meet a lot during the holidays. I’m surprised none of you knew Xander.”

“You said it yourself, he’s a distant cousin.”

“I wonder what they are doing in that car.”

Casey rolled her eyes and her voice was muffled when she spoke with her mouth full. “I bet they are talking nonsense, like earlier. Honestly, girls; you saved me from going insane.”

~

“No, I’m one hundred percent sure it was Halloween.”

“You never had a good memory.” Hope said, rolling her eyes at Tyler. “It was December. You dragged us along to go caroling, remember?”

Jesse laughed. “You used to go caroling? What else did you do on Christmas? Mail a letter to Santa?”

“I used to do that, FYI.” Tyler folded his arms and scoffed like a child. “Christmas takes you back to childhood. Ah, the best memories.”

“Ugh, I hate Christmas.” Xander groaned and threw an arm over his closed eyes. “And Thanksgiving. Also, what’s that egg decorating thing?”

“Easter?” Hope laughed. “That, we used to have a lot of fun. Ty and I always ended up getting paint on each other and eating the candy ourselves.”

“Now that we’re talking about Thanksgiving,” Jesse paused as if he was racking his brain. “Vincent mentioned something about a severed finger.”

“Oh, that.” Hope and Tyler looked at each other and burst into laughter, like it’s an inside joke. “That was the last Thanksgiving we celebrated together before we left for college. Vincent was dating this girl at the time – “

“Molly, I think?”

“No, Molly’s the date auction girl. Was it Holly?”

“Holly’s the Queen bee. Vincent hated her and they had hate sex once. No, it’s not her.”

“Maybe it’s Dolly, or Jolly?” Jesse suggested. Tyler and Hope ignored him and cracked their knuckles, as if racking their brains before they said in unison, “Polly!”

“Yes, he dated Polly during the summer and then they broke up because of the long distance stuff.”

“So, what does she had to do with Vincent losing a finger?” Xander perked up with interest.

“Oh, she was the reason he cut off his own finger.” Hope shifted in her seat as if she can’t wait to share the story. “Vincent wanted to cook that year and so he was roll cutting the meat while Polly wanted to seduce him that night and – “

“She wore a black sheer bustier dress with this sexy hair and lip biting – “

“We get the picture.” Xander waved his hand but Tyler continued. “Picture this, guys. An excited Vincent is cutting meat and all of a sudden, he sees a pair of white, smooth, toned, long legs. What would you do?”

“Jump on her bones?”

Hope stared at Jesse like the idiot he was. “No! He looked up at Polly, got distracted from the meat and instead – “

“He cut off a chunk of his middle finger.”

“Wow.” Jesse blinked and tried to process the entire thing. “So, he was rushed into the emergency room, got a replantation and bam, he’s a baseball player now!”

“That’s exactly what happened.” Tyler was hitting buttons on his phone screen as he said, “Yo, we survived and now we’re being towed! Also, we’re sharing stories about my MBL pal, Vincent Engelward! And my brush with death was totally worth it because we got the names of the chauffeur, Xander and the robot – straight faced blonde, Casey. Totally worth it.”

“Have you met those three before?” Jesse pointed at the jeep and turned to Hope.

“The bridesmaids? No, I just knew their names. Didn’t even see Casey at the engagement party.”

“You didn’t see me either at the party because I was doing June in the coat room.”

“Oh, we saw you, alright.” Hope and Tyler said simultaneously just as Xander muttered, “June, the champagne lady.”

“Yeah, we saw Jesse Campbell dry humping June – the champagne lady, over her strolling champagne skirt.” Tyler laughed.

“So you’re not bluffing.” Jesse sounded disappointed and glanced at Hope, who was trying really hard not to laugh. “You guys actually saw me!”

“You were pretty loud.” Tyler closed his hand over his mouth, eyes crinkling at the corners. Asshole’s laughing at him. “I think almost everyone heard you cry out like a girl. Anyway, the three bridesmaids are – “

“Naïve?” Jesse suggested. “By the looks of it, yes.”

“They’re probably gossiping about seducing exes, severed fingers and champagne ladies like us.”

~

“Alright, let’s see if you can beat this one.” Paris glanced at her two best friends as she said, “Some forty year old newlywed thought that I was her husband and pulled me down for a romantic dive.”

Casey examined her face, as if reading her thoughts. “She kissed you underwater, didn’t she?”

“Yes! She did, so what?”

“I wonder if her husband is as skinny as you.”

“I’d trade anything to get that underwater kiss.” Kaleb butted in on their conversation again. “At least, you can strike another thing off your bucket list.”

“You have been kissed by an older woman, which is nothing compared to cooking for hundreds of people on Valentine’s Day, all by yourself.”

“What happened to the sous?” Paris asked Ellie. “And don’t you have at least five line cooks?”

“Sous cuts himself badly during prep, severs a nerve and a tendon. One of the line cooks had the flu. I had to do most of the work and supervise other cooks.”

“Wow, you guys must have loads of fun in the kitchen.”

Ellie stared at Kaleb with a deadly expression. “Are you actually serious? It was the worst night of my career and I returned home like roasted beef.”

Kaleb mumbled, “I hear you, man,” although he sounded anything but apologetic. “Hey, Casey? You got another story? I’m dying to hear where you work.”

She rolled her eyes and tilted her head to face Paris and Ellie. “I ran into Maverick.”

Their jaws dropped. “When? Where? What happened?”

“Last night, at the airport. We sat in the food court, just catching up. And out of nowhere, he blurts out that he wants to get back together.”

“Oh my god!” Paris and Ellie started squealing and jumping in their seats. “Casey, that’s so great! What did you say?”

Kaleb mimicked their actions and asked, “Who is Maverick?”

“Maverick Perkins?” Paris gawked at him like he came from a different era. “The American supermodel?”

Kaleb was clueless. “Who?”

“He is the man in every girl’s dream.” Ellie cried out excitedly. “Anyway, he and Casey were on and off for over a year before they broke things off for good. Okay, Casey Parker, tell me what you told him!”

“Did you guys have makeup sex?”

“What, no! But I might have punched him in the face.”

The scene replayed in Casey’s mind. Seeing Maverick last night stirred some old feelings in her and she really thought for a second that they could be friends. But when he asked for them to go back doing their ‘thing’, something in her burst out. Anger. All he did back then was manipulate her for his needs and he’s planning to do the same now.

“Cass, what did you do?”

Casey ran her fingers through her long golden blonde waves. “I kicked him in the nuts, okay? I punched him in the face, kicked him in the balls and splashed cappuccino at his face.”

A collective gasp escaped from the two girls and Kaleb audibly swallowed. “Mental note to self; steer clear of the ball – kicking blonde woman.”

“What, why?”

“He deserved it, okay?” Casey shouted, her voice cracking at the end. “Yes, he has perfect hair and distinctive features. Yes, he’s great in bed and yes, he’s the man in every girl’s dream, but all that time I spent with him, he treated me like I was a worthless piece of shit. And it hurts.”

All of a sudden, her hands were on her face and she started sobbing. Kaleb turned around, panicked. “Oh, hey. Please don’t cry. Maybe I can help?”

“How can you help her?” Paris asked. “You knew her for not even five minutes.”

“Hey, I’ve known you three bridesmaids for almost two months and even now, I’ve known Casey for twelve minutes.”

“Still – “

“I’m a professional Cuddler. I can cheer her up faster and better than you girls.”

Casey looked up at him with teary eyes. “What?”

“A professional Cuddler?”

“Is that even a thing?”

“Of course it’s a thing!” Kaleb turned around in his seat. “I’ve been trained and certified for this job and I can make about 80 dollars per hour and –“

“Look out!”

Kaleb snapped his head and grabbed the steering wheel when he saw a truck coming in the opposite direction. Paris and Ellie clung to Casey, who was in between. “Ah!”

Casey groaned. Ugh, not again.

A/N: Second chap, not so bad I hope. Did you change your mind about any of the characters? I’m sure you will by the end of day one. And we still haven’t met the bride and groom. And I can’t wait to get to our fictional island, Bluestone, where the real story begins.

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LOL, Katherine :)

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