Wedding of the Year (ON HOLD)

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Fifty More First Dates

DAY THREE: CHAPTER EIGHT

“Why don’t you stay here till the wedding?” Tyler leaned against the door and asked his mother as she checked the room to see if she left something behind. “You and Diana can have lots of gossip by the beach. You can even become friends with Raven Silverstein.”

“I promised Kyler I’d go with him to Puerto Rico for a week. It’s our first getaway together.” Skyler kissed his head. “I’ll be back for the rehearsal, okay?”

Tyler’s father had died in the Persian Gulf War, when he was six months old. Since then, his mother dated many Kylers, but none more than a year. He sat up on his knees and hugged her tightly. “Thanks for coming. Have a great vacation, okay?”

“There’s no need to come to the airport, Ty.”

“We got nothing better to do, anyways. Plus, we need city air once in a while or we’ll go insane on this island.” Vincent said as he picked up her bags. “You ready?”

She nodded with a wide smile. “I’m really happy for you, Vince.”

“You’re like a second mother to me, Sky.” He smiled back and kissed her cheek. Dump your boyfriend if he won’t get you back before my big day.”

She laughed. “That won’t be necessary. But if we don’t leave now, I might miss my flight to Puerto Rico.”

“I’ll get Hope. Oh, by the way, Nell asked me to give you this.” Vincent left the room as Skyler and Tyler laughed at his birthday portraits.

“Josh, how’s it going?” Hope was on the phone with her assistant and college friend, whom she left in charge of the museum while she’s gone. “Did you purchase The Death of Cleopatra?”

“The painting or the marble figurine? ’Cause we got both.”

“That’s great, but how much did you bid?”

“I bought Juan’s painting for 250 grand and the statuette was donated by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, since they are shutting down.”

“Swell. Are you all set for the exhibition tonight?” She smiled as Vincent walked over and hugged her to his side. “Do you need me to - “

“Trust me, Hope. I got it covered.” Josh insisted. “I’ll send you the details of this week’s events. You go have fun, get laid and -”

“Okay, bye – bye.” She hung up and turned to look at her best friend. “Hey.”

“Was that the museum?”

“Yep. Josh is taking good care of my baby, I hope.”

“I’m sure he is. He’s been working with you for almost eight years now. Have some trust in that guy.”

“I do. It’s just… I never left the museum for more than three days.”

The art museum in Asheville was the only thing her parents left her, so he knew how much Hope treasures it.

“What do you say we get out of here and go to the city?”

“I’d say yes, please.”

“Wait, why is she coming with us?” Jesse pointed at Casey, who was about to get on the yacht.

“Us?” Tyler raised an eyebrow. “Who said you’re coming along?”

“Me, duh.” He pushed Casey aside and got on the yacht. “I’m here to hit on your female friend and your mother.”

Hope and Skyler glared at him as he casually whistled and stood on the deck. “Relax, women. I’m coming along out of boredom, and thought you’d miss my company.”

“I have an errand to run.” Casey told Vincent. “It’s important.”

“I hope the errand is not what I think it is.”

She gave him a look that answered his question. Cue trouble.

~

“No.” Paris shook her head firmly. “Your bust appears enormous.”

Selena groaned as she unzipped her teal dress and grabbed another from Ellie’s hands. “This is so exhausting.”

Ellie glanced at Selena’s empty suitcase. “We didn’t even start packing yet.”

“Because Paris disapproves every outfit I try.”

“You’re going on a honeymoon, not a blind date.” Paris scoffed, and then whistled as Selena put on a white crop top paired with a palm print skirt. “See, now this one’s appropriate. Try the platforms.”

Ellie placed a white Panama hat on top of Selena’s head and let her hair fall over her front in soft waves. “Isn’t your honeymoon, like, twelve days away? Why are you packing now?”

“Vincent is out today and this is the perfect chance for me to try dresses without him seeing.”

“Where are you going again?” Ellie asked as she zipped up Selena’s plum bodycon dress.

“Maldives. We’re going to stay in one of those villas with an infinity pool and dine in the underwater hotel. There’s reef snorkeling, windsurfing and couple spa therapy. We might even go on a cruise. Also, did you guys know that the beach glows at night?”

“I went scuba diving there.” Paris said as she rummaged into more clothes. “They call it the sea of stars.”

“But we’ll be there for a week, at most, because Vincent’s regular season will start and NBC will fire me if I don’t get back to work in three weeks.” She released an exasperated sigh and fell into her bed face first. “Am I overdoing it?”

Paris and Ellie shared a look.

“I meant, the two weeks.”

“Not at all.” Ellie sat next to her and said, “We all needed a break from the outside world, from work and people. It’s like living a dream, you know? An island all to ourselves and doing anything we want, or nothing at all. This is the perfect getaway for all of us.”

“She’s right.” Paris joined them. “Look, now we’re doing the real bridesmaid stuff – picking the lingerie and the perfect honeymoon outfits. How long have we imagined of doing the pre wedding stuff?”

“Thanks for being here.” Selena smiled and hugged them both. “I missed our girl time.”

“As much as I love this moment, we didn’t pack anything yet, except for toiletries.” Ellie sighed.

Paris asked. “And I forgot to ask, did you buy the ‘Just Married’ matching tees?”

Selena stared at the huge pile of clothes in front of her. “Where is Casey?”

~

“Miss me already?”

An open smile came onto his face at the sound of her voice. “It’s your presence that I miss. And maybe that angelic voice. Most probably, your shadow too -”

“I’ll make you a copy of me, like in the Westworld.”

“No host will be as perfect as you. She wouldn’t have the comforting feeling your presence holds or make my heart skip like you do every time you laugh at my lame ass clichéd lines or take my breath away every time I see you. She wouldn’t be you.”

“I am not perfect.”

Being with her for one hour three months ago and the past two days made him go head over heels for her. He never felt such an intense connection with any woman before. “You are my kind of perfect, Hope.”

“You should get an award for the lame ass clichéd talk.”

“I’d rather prefer a reward. Maybe, a smooch?”

His heart stopped for a zeptosecond when she laughed gently, instead of brushing it off like he had predicted. “Liam – “

He cleared his throat. “Atlantic City is great. Have fun.”

“Okay.”

There was a moment of silence before he decided to man up. “I’ll be your tour guide if you want. We can have a day out, someday.”

“Is that your way of asking me out?”

“Maybe, yeah.”

“I’d love a day out in the Atlantic City.”

He was surprised for the second time that day. “You’re unusually bold today.”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One date and we’ll see where it takes us.”

He understood by now that she is afraid of commitment. However, he’s willing to do anything for her to stay with him. “Okay, one date. But I promise you, by the end of our first date, you’ll want fifty more first dates.”

~

“Where are we going? What’s this important errand?” Jesse leaned forward to look at Casey, who was going way over the speed limit and moving through the streets like she had memorized the city map in her mind. “Have you been to Atlantic City before?”

“I live here.”

“Huh.” Jesse rubbed his chin. “Then why were you at the airport?”

“I was coming back from Chicago.”

“What were you doing in Chicago?” This time, it was Tyler who asked the question.

“My job.”

“What do you do?” Jesse said, scoffing. “I know what everyone does, but you never talk about work.”

“We met literally two days ago and you expect me to tell you the story of my life?” She slammed on the brakes hard enough to make his head hit the back of her headrest. Casey raised the hand – brake lever before looking at Vincent. “Stay in the car. Do not move until I get back. And keep an eye on the three musketeers in the back.”

She stepped out of the car, reaching under her shirt to make sure her hand gun is secured before pulling her leather jacket down. And then, she started running towards a tall building, sirens wailing in the distance.

“Parker, give me an update.”

“I got information from the hotel reception that there is a rooftop party.” Casey talked through her earpiece. “He’s not alone, Lieutenant. I am going up, but we need to evacuate all the others before arresting him.”

“Of course people’s safety comes first and backup will be right with you. Don’t let him get away this time, Parker.”

“I won’t, sir.” She made her way up to the top of the building with guarded steps. Music blasted through amps as people danced and jumped into the fiberglass pool. And there he was.

Sebastian Salvador sat on a wingback chair in a white button down shirt and navy skinny pants with brown oxfords, jet – black hair slicked back. Casey casually walked over to the bar and ordered a martini. “Two guards, Lieutenant. No one suspicious around.”

“Can you take them down, Parker?”

She downed the drink and approached to where the guards stood, looking for weapons on their bodies other than the Ruger. “What about the people, sir? They will panic.”

“Backup is standing at the rooftop entrance. It’s your call.”

She didn’t hesitate. “Send them in.” Just as she heard the police enter, she threw a straight punch to the taller guard. Before he can recover, she stomped on his knee to keep him in place just as the other guard was knocked out with a hook to the chin. She kicked their pistols out of reach and pulled out her gun from the back, pointing it at the back of Sebastian’s head. “You are under arrest.”

~

“Miss me?”

“Not for a second.” He could feel her smirk on the other side. “The girls have kept me busy.”

“Really?” Vincent raised an eyebrow, a smile crawling up his face. “What did you do?”

“Um, nothing! Just… girl stuff, you know?”

“What kind of girl stuff?”

“Nothing you need to know.”

He’d known her long enough to tell that she’s hiding something. “Selena.”

It took her two seconds to consider telling him about what she was doing. “I was trying out clothes for our honeymoon.”

“Our honeymoon, huh?”

“Stop grinning.”

His grin only widened. “I’m not grinning.”

“I bet you are. You always have this impish grin on your face whenever we talk about the wedding or our honeymoon. I also bet your mind’s all over your dirty fantasies right now.”

“You sound sexy when you say dirty.”

“Shut up.”

Vincent was afraid his face will split into two from how his cheeks hurt from smiling. “You’re blushing.”

“I’m not.”

He laughed.

“Where are you guys?”

“She asked us to stay in the car while she’s on the job. I’m talking to you, Hope’s talking to Liam –“

“Liam? Those two are moving as fast as Peregrine falcons.”

He laughed. “I bet they’ll hook up on our wedding reception.”

Selena asked after a few seconds. “They have no idea about Casey, right?”

“If they did, they would be swimming back to Bluestone.” He sighed and leaned his head against the headrest. “At least, they are not asking any questions.”

“What about Tyler and Jesse?”

“Tyler’s talking to Kyler and Jesse – “Vincent turned around, looking at the back seat. “Where’s Jesse?”

Hope and Tyler hung up their calls at the same time. “He went to Mr Frostie saying he was starving.”

“Oh, shit.” He scrambled out of the car in a hurry. “Babe, I have to go right now. Trouble called. I love you.”

~

“What’s your name, Blondie?” Sebastian asked in his Spanish accent with a flirtatious smile.

She poked the back of his neck with the muzzle of her gun. “Sebastian Salvador, you are charged with money laundering and possible drug trafficking.”

“You don’t have anything against me.”

“We have more than enough proof and an arrest warrant.” She pulled out her handcuffs from the waistline of her jeans. “Hands where I can see ’em.”

Sebastian put his wrists together behind his back and she fastened the metal around one wrist when a familiar guy stepped into view with a milkshake in hand and a straw in mouth. “I didn’t know you were into the kinky stuff.”

“What in god’s name are you doing here?” Casey averted her gaze for one second and that was all it took for Sebastian to bring his elbow to her abdomen. The air knocked out of her lungs as she fell on her knees.

“Casey!”

“Jesse, get out.”

Sebastian grabbed him by the neck tight, right when Casey aimed at him. “Pull the trigger and your friend dies.”

“Let him go.”

“Put the gun down, Blondie.”

Casey put her gun down and slowly stood up. “Sebastian, let him go.”

“People like you always have a weak spot.” He laughed humorlessly. Jesse looked like he was going to piss himself, his pupils dilated and sweat trickling down his hairline. “Casey.”

“It’s okay, Jesse.” She raised her hand towards him. “Don’t be scared.”

“Don’t move!” Sebastian shouted when Casey took one step forward. “I swear I’ll throw him from here. Let’s see if he’ll live.”

“Don’t be smug. You will be going down, Salvador.”

“Even if I die?” Jesse asked, his voice quivering but still derisive.

“You are not dying.” She promised him. “I will kill you myself when this is all over.”

“You don’t have a choice, detective.” Sebastian smirked. “Kick the gun towards me and lie on your stomach, now!”

Casey comprehended the situation. He could most likely hurt Jesse, but she cannot wait till the backup team help people get out and come back up to help her. Kicking the gun with one foot towards him, she reached for her ankle holster, ready to take the shot.

A/N: Ooh, a cliffhanger! I’m not good at writing action – packed scenes, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

LOL, Katherine :)

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