Chapter 8: Miss Bridesmaid
Lucas never shied away from as he shamelessly gawked at his boss’s enthralling beauty as she walks down the aisle to her post as a bridesmaid. She was wearing an off-shoulder laced lavender-colored dress that stops to her mid-calf. It suited her perfectly with her pale and porcelain skin, her hair was up into an intricate bun. She was glowing under the chapel’s natural lighting. She was all smiles as she stood there beside the bride as the ceremony started. His breath hitched as the drumming of fastening when she caught him drooling over her. He could swear that saw a grin on her face as she looked away.
The memories that he so wanted to forget came flooding in once again.
Lucas was stuck inside a dinner for a part-time job since it was pouring outside the diner was soulless. He was the new kid in the town, he was helping his mother with their finances so he immediately took a job once they were settled. He took a break and seated at the booth by the window. He leaned on the table as he looked outside when he thought he saw a dancing nymph under the rain. Lucas's breath was snatched out from his lungs, he could hear his heart beating loudly.
Her long brunette locks were dripping wet, it was raining cats and dogs. Her yellow dress was soaking wet and she doesn’t seem to mind as she lifted her head, spread out her arms and welcomed the rain against her face. She wasn’t a dancer, that he was sure of. Her steps were off but she seemed happy and carefree, he couldn’t help but admire her for bravery for two things: one for in dancing in public and two for dancing under dangerously cold water on a mid-October afternoon.
“Thank you for coming to Thorin!” Thorin hugged Dione tightly as she approached her. “You didn’t give me a choice Dione,” she said sardonically. Dione let go from the hug and slapped her arms.
Thorin crossed her arms against her chest and raised her perfect brows. Dione snorted at her, “You needed a break Ms. Montréal!” She said as she pointed Thorin like a scolding mother.
Thorin swats it away and smiled at her, “Oh please! Congratulations Dione.” Later on, Dione’s husband entered their chat, as Dione formally introduced her husband to her former boss. The conversation took off smoothly but Dione’s husband excused himself to find some guest. Dione dragged Thorin to take a seat and poured some champagne for her and Thorin, “How’s Lucas fairing?”
The mere mention of his name gave her summersaults, bugs and all that insect inside her guts started to move. She placed her glass on the table and feigned a hurt expression, “You didn’t even ask me how am I Dione! Some friend you are!”
Dione only rolled her eyes at her and ignore her theatrics, “I know you’re fine. Lucas knew how to take care of you, I called him every once in a while to check on you.”
The curiosity in her got the best of her. She wanted to know what Lucas thinks of her for the past months. Did he complain about her thorny mouth? Her temper? She wanted to know all of it! “What did he say?”
Dione notices her friend’s sudden mood change. She could see her friend’s eye dilated at the mere mention of his name. That man had it all, is a fine specimen he is. She kept on wondering if Lucas was real or just a guy came from a romance novel. She could remember Lucas’s assurance over the phone. He wasn’t complaining at all about Thorin’s very irritable personality. Hell if she didn’t know well Thorin, she would run fast away from her! Dione glanced back at Thorin and shrugged, “Just the usual.”
Thorin frowned at her friend, “Usual like what?” Yes. She was curious alright! It’s as if a light flickered above her head as she met Thorin’s gaze. Dione smiled sweetly at her, “Do you happened to know if Lucas was dating anyone?”
Thorin was taken aback by the sudden question. What the hell? The thought itself was disturbing her system, it’s as if someone punched her in the gut. Dione was feeling triumphant at her expected expression from her friend, “My hubby’s sister is here and I want them to you know... hit it off. Lucas being the chivalrous type and all.”
Dione stood up and pretend to look for Lucas. Thorin panicked for the first time.
Lucas couldn’t believe that the old flame that he was dying to blow off was yet again reappeared. He was so sure that he buried it deep within him a long time ago. Now it had reappeared like a ghost and it was haunting him.
He wants to bang his head on the wall or drown himself by the near famous fountain. He can’t have such emotions for her. Lucas established it years ago, that he wouldn’t. Why? That kind of emotion was lethal and he's truly scared for it.
He gulped his first and last red wine as he excused himself from the strange company he was caught in. He trudged outside aimlessly until he halted at the famous Trevi Fountain. Tourists flocked around the fountain even after sundown. Artists and alike were all over the place, painting, sketching, dancing or playing some classics on violin. It was always the same as he remembered although this time it was different.
He was no stranger to the place. He often comes here since he lived in Italy for years. Things were perfect back then, his father was around. As Lucas looked at the fountain itself, he couldn’t help but bitterly laugh. Did people wish for true love huh? This was the very place where his parents met, love at first sight? Name it all but in the end, it didn’t work out. Things were left broken and unsolved. He fished out his phone and took a picture of the fountain regardless of the people swarming around. He sent it to his mother and did not disappoint when she replied, ‘Have a wish. Try it! Stop thinking for once.’
He shrugged and he was gonna do it. He fished out a coin and tossed it on the fountain. He takes a step back and closed his eyes, a smiling Thorin appeared as he closed it. He cursed himself at that enigma.
“Hey stranger,” Lucas inwardly groaned. This would be the death of him. She would be the death of him! He closed his eyes once again and calming his system. Lucas opened them and met her enthralling beauty, she was tall as he is. Oh, Thorin was wearing those shoes. Lucas looked down on their feet, then back to her glowing face. He swallowed hard as he met her gaze, “Is there anything you need Mis--”
“Just your company stranger,” Thorin shifted her weight on her right foot. These killer heels hurt too much not to mention the road surface was uneven as she looked for Lucas. Lucas noticed her pain in her eyes but masked it immediately but he knew better. He lifted his boss in bridal style, shocked was an understatement as Thorin remained silent absorbing what just happened. A smile tugging on her lips but hid it as she snuggled on his firm pectorals. He smelled so good!
Lucas placed his boss on a stair a few steps away from the ton. He was inspecting her feet as he untangles the straps and freed her feet, she was staring at him. Even though he was just touching her feet, no malice intended. She could feel all her nerves awaken and defibrillating her spine. He placed her heels on his side as the seat beside his boss without glancing at her beauty, “Let your feet rest Miss Montréal.”
Thorin wants to strangle the man for being too uptight and ruining the moment. His repulsion level is getting stronger than ever! She buried her face on her smooth palms. Why was she even desperate for his attention when other men would even fight for it? Why? Oh, she likes him. Yet she knew this was strong, it’s not even like! She wasn’t sure about her feelings anymore, she has been the master of controlling her personal feelings well. She seems to have lost it when Lucas entered into her office, her life.
Lucas felt the sudden heaviness that emitted from his boss. He asked too soon without even thinking twice! “Did I do you wrong Miss Montréal?”
“No,” Thorin gritted her teeth. Lucas wants to laugh at her state, she looked cute. He tried his best to cover his laugh and gave off a blank face. He stood up and dust off his black trousers, he looked down at his boos who looked like a clueless puppy. Out of nowhere, a violinist plays a tune in front of them. The looked on the violinist’s face was almost comical, as he wiggles his brows on Lucas, then looked back and forth between him and his boss. The violinist played a piece of soft classical music, it was hypnotic. Lucas looked down on his nymph as he lends a hand to her, “Will you dance with me?”
Another wave of memory hit Lucas with fear and doubt.
Lucas entered his Senior Prom late without a date. He was just here, for one thing, gawked at her as he melted into puddles. He found his soccer teammates by the corner and approached them, high fives and heads up where exchange as he looked for her. There she was facilitating the event with her co-student council officers, a.k.a minions.
His teammates know his secret crush for her. It was the ultimate secret between the team, it was for at least three years now. His teammates would always encourage him to court her and confess right then and then when he has the chance. But he was a coward actually, he was scared shitless, he knew how flippant his muse was and he respected her. As the night ended, he was just at the corner of the hall waiting like a hawk.
“Fuck, not again man! Everyone in the team will be laid tonight! And you, my friend, isn’t!” A member, punching him playfully.
“Geez, I’m not here for that!” Lucas hisses. All of a sudden, Lucas was pulled from the table by Mitchell. ” Just be yourself. Say something nice,” he was dragging Lucas by his collar and shoved him in front of her.
“Which one? I can’t do both,” Lucas cringed inwardly. Unable to do anything once she laid eyes on him, brows raised- totally questioning his presence in front of him.
“Will you dance with me?” He blurted out without thinking. She smiled and looked down on her feet as she untangles her heels, she looked up again without glancing, “Nah. My feet hurt.”
He heaved a sigh as she took his hands. Is this for real? She accepted his request. Thorin rose from her seat and grinned at him, “I don’t --”
“You don’t want to.” He reluctantly released her hands. “No! No! You didn’t let me finish! I don’t know how to dance,” Thorin looked away, she had two left feet. It was a gift really, note the sarcasm.
Lucas took her hands and squeezing it lightly. Thorin stopped and met his gaze, “Place your feet atop my shoes.” She did so, not questioning his demands. Lucas glanced down at Thorin, hoping that she would be okay, “Can I wrap my arm around you Stranger?” Thorin nodded and flashed a smile.
He wrapped his strong arm around her, she felt like melting into puddles. She felt safe, comfortable and homey. She dared to stare into Lucas’s hypnotizing orbs, she could feel his breath fanning against her nose. Thorin placed her arms around his neck. Lucas gazed down and grinned at her as he led the dance. He swears he could hear his heart’s erratic behavior, hope she won’t hear it.
“This would be the second time that I asked a lady for a dance,” Lucas chuckles. Thorin furrowed her brows, a pang of jealousy brewing. Jealous? Strong word but she was feeling it alright.
“The first one would always be your mother hmm,” she stated thoughtfully. He was opening up? Lucas slowly shook his head as they continued to sway to the music of the violin. He was insane to start this type of topic.
“That wouldn’t count, I always dance with my mother.”
Dang. Thorin bet that the girl had a lovely time. But she was floored! He’ll dance with his mother. He won the best son award from Thorin. Wait, who was his first dance for crying out loud! I bet she was whipped on having engulfed by Lucas’s arms. She hated the thought of Lucas with another female species, “Then what happened ?”
Lucas beamed a smile and shrugged, “Long story short. She turned me down, saying her feet hurt.”
Who was she? Why would she turn down a man such as Lucas? God, that girl infuriated her without even knowing her. “Lucas?”
“Yes, Stranger?” Lucas was being playful tonight. She wanted this side of him too, she never really thought that he had it in him. She wanted more from this, “I like you.”
Lucas stopped, he could feel his world shaken and stopped. Is he hearing things? Was this even real? He’s dreaming, isn’t he? Can someone wake him up? He knows Thorin well, she doesn’t settle and commit.
He knows she would hurt him and that scared him. He knows what will happen to him, that’s why he avoided her and never really took a shot in confessing ten years ago.
“Can we date?” She knew she ruined this by asking such a question. The look in his eyes says it all. Of all the people, Lucas knew what’s in and out of her life. She had dates with random guys, how messed up this can be? She blew this up!
“Some questions are better left unanswered Ms. Montréal,” Lucas noticed someone’s stare drilling a hole in his head. He cursed himself mentally as he remembered that this lady in his arms had a plus one that she brought with her in this romantic city.
How could he forget? He mustered a cool and composed expression, “Your date is looking for you,” he was probably possessed by elementals as he placed a chaste kiss on Thorin’s forehead as he let her go.
The elevator doors closed as she stands there, legs wobbling. She didn’t mind a seething Jacob, she was just feeling how the chaste kiss on her forehead felt. It was spontaneous and pure, she felt cherished, special and treasured. She reached her forehead where his lips were and couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot!
“You kept on embarrassing me Thorin,” huffed Edward. The hell she cares! Why would she in the first place?
“You are a walking embarrassment itself. Get over it! It’s Ms. Montréal for you!” She exited the elevator with a flip of her hair as she leaps through the corridors towards her suite.
Once inside her suite, she squealed like a teenager. It was just a kiss on the forehead! What more if it were an actual kiss? She would die in happiness, she thought. How could she sleep now? She cursed herself for remembering that Lucas wasn’t near her reach or in this hotel!
She never heard an answer, well that was interesting.
Lucas ringed once, immediately the front door opened up revealing a man. The man smiled at his cousin and hugged him, “Giovanni! You’ve grown!” Thick Italian accent was very much audible as he spoke in English. Lucas shoved him and entered his bachelor’s pad apartment. Dropping his bag, he faced his cousin again.
“Stop calling me that,” Lucas hissed as he unties his bow and unbuttoned his dress shirt. His cousin laughed as he picked up a glass from his nearby bar. Lucas trudged directly to the bar and seated on the available high chair. Guio serves him a cognac, Lucas took it. They mainly conversed in Italian, it was very much comfortable that way. Although Lucas hadn’t been using his native language, he would suddenly switch back between English and Italian.
Lucas confides how his mother's condition has worsened. Their nonna knew of it and she was helping one way or another in expenses. Then again Lucas changed the topic, Guio understanding his cousin averted the touchy subject.
“Rio gave me a heads up that you’re back,” Guio started the topic speaking Italian. Lucas groan, he should’ve known. Their family driver was very much a chatterbox, ”Nonna misses you and Gianni. It’s been like what? Five years?”
“I’m communicating with nonna, when I have the time,” Lucas retorted back. He was emailing her and would skype her when Levi’s around. Besides he doesn’t want to have a chance of seeing his father at any cost and so is Levi. His brother barely knew the man, ”Zio would want to see you both you know.”
Lucas gulped down his second glass and cringed, “Not gonna happen.”
Guio leaves the topic and catches up with his cousin. They had skype with Levi, to say that Levi was envious would be an understatement. He was drowning in a pile of essays he had to submit, it was all fun and teasing until Levi spilled out the forbidden.
“How’s Roma con il tuo amore?” Lucas rolled his eyes as he leans his head on the couch.
“Your pronuncia sucked Gianni,” Guio stifled a laugh, clearly clueless about the meaning behind his cousin’s words. Levi again explained and told the forbidden story to their cousin, Guio listened intently. He remained silent throughout the exchange and didn’t even say goodbye to his brother.
“Giovanni why would you take assisting job for years? You knew too damn well that you’re good as the high names in the business! Perché non far parte dell’azienda di famiglia? Smettila di nasconderti, will you?” Guio was annoyed with his cousin for being too humble and saintly. Truth is Guio knew too well what’s behind it. Lucas does not want anything to do with his Italian family business, knowing that it was his father manning it now. "You've wasted your MBA degree, why took it anyway?" Guio pry.
“Dimenticalo. I wouldn’t do it anyway,” Lucas said dismissing another topic.
“Così? About that lady, Levi mentioned,” Guio wiggled his brows at him. “You knew very well that our lineage was blessed with God--like wonders. We sweep off ladies in just mere stare.”
“How did he even knew that I have a business trip?” Lucas asked trying to divert the topic.
Guio roared in laughter, “Business trip? You’re mistaken, probabilmente è un piacere!”
“It was not for pleasure. That was work. Si? Si.” He hissed in full Italian. Well, Lucas that kiss wasn’t just business isn’t it now? Wasn't it?
Lucas screwed up big time!