Where we left off…
I approach the door of Roxanne’s bridal suite. I take a deep breath and knock on the door. A tall blonde guy answers the door and gives me an obvious up and down appraisal.
“Can I help you?” He asks me in a muted tone.
“Uh—Yeah. My name is Seth Turrell, and I was hoping to have a moment with the bride?” I ask, trying to be polite and not just shove my way through.
“Let me just check with the bride, please wait here.”
The guy closes the door in my face, so I stand there and wait in the hallway, hoping the groom doesn’t decide to visit at this very moment. I don’t think I’d make it out of here in one piece if he did.
The last time I saw Spence Manfredi, he had just caught me trying to seduce Roxanne. It was my lame, last-ditch effort to convince her to choose me. Well, that was the biggest fucking bust ever. I guess that’s what I get for trying to go up against the charismatic Spence Manfredi—that handsome Rich Bastard.
I know I’ve lost the fight. Spence won fair and square, and I went out like a chump. Now here I stand, ready to cut the last strings that keep me here.
The door opens again, and Tall guy ushers me in. I step into the room, past the door, and turn to see her standing there in front of a full-length mirror, looking more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. She turns and looks at me. I swear I can almost hear my heart-shattering.
Then another voice breaks into my thoughts.
“You shouldn’t be here, Seth, this is stupid,” Casey snaps at me, but I ignore her, stepping closer to Roxanne.
“Roxanne,” I breathe her name.
“Les, Casey… can we have a few minutes please?” She asks them, not taking her eyes off of me.
They nod solemnly and leave the room, but not before Casey shoots Roxanne a look of disapproval.
When we are alone, I close the distance and go to stand right in front of Rox. I look at her, and she looks at me wordlessly for a few seconds before either of us speaks.
“Seth,” she whispers, “what are you doing here?”
“I had to see you one last time before this became official,” I tell her.
“Seth, it is official.”
“Not until you say I do,” I shake my head. I know it’s official, but that part of me is voicing my wishful thinking.
She sighs and takes my hand in hers, and then she leads me to a nearby sofa. She gracefully sits down, and I take the seat next to her.
“You are so beautiful, Rox.”
“How’d you get in here anyway?” She asks curiously, ignoring my compliment.
“I’m someone’s date,” I say with a grin.
“Anya?” She guesses, and I nod in response. I was surprised that Anya had agreed to let me accompany her after everything that had gone down between us. I suspect that she was hoping to witness some drama today.
“Anyway, Roxanne, as much as you may think that I’m here to ruin your wedding day, I’m not. I just wanted to say goodbye to you,” I tell her, taking her hand in mine.
“Goodbye?” She repeats, and I nod. I bring her hand to my lips and kiss it. I stroke her fingers with my thumbs, reluctant to continue, but I have to.
“I’m uh, relocating.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m moving my business to Los Angeles. I’ve decided it’s time for a fresh start. Business here is alright, but the big money is in California.”
“Is this all because of me, Seth? I don’t want you to uproot your whole life because of me.”
“Actually, I’ve been considering this move for a couple of years now. When you came along, I put it aside, but now that you are no longer an option, I’ve decided to go ahead and do it.”
“Lucas told me that you weren’t doing so good. That you were acting kind of reckless lately,” She tells me.
Fucking Lucas. I nod– no use in denying it.
“I was stupid, I’ll admit it. I was on a tear, but I’m done with all that. I’m thirty-fucking-one years old. It’s time for me to grow up and get serious. This whole thing with you has shown me that.”
“I’m glad, Seth. I hated to think that you were so…so torn up about me. I didn’t understand it, because it’s not like we were ever really together.”
“I know, and I didn’t understand it myself exactly. I guess there’s just something about you, Rox. Lucas seen it, I seen it, and Spence most definitely saw it. He truly deserves you, Roxanne, because he’s the only one who fought for you.”
“I love him, Seth.”
“I know. I just wish it had been me, but that’s just how it goes sometimes. I do hope you two are happy together, and I truly hope this is it for you both.”
I see the tears start trickling down her cheeks.
“Oh Seth,” Roxanne sniffs and wraps her arms around my neck and hugs me tightly.
I hug her back tightly and rub her back—inhaling her sweet scent one last time. Her hair and skin always smell so fucking good–like honey and coconuts.
“I’m always going to have a soft spot for you, Rox. You’re the first girl ever to make me feel this way and question everything.”
“I’ll always care for you too, Seth,” She whispers against my shoulder.
I pull back a little and look her in the eye. I swipe a thumb across her cheek, wiping away a tear, and then I lean in and plant a small kiss on her lips. It’s a bold move that I hope doesn’t earn me an open palm across the cheek—I’ve witnessed her do this before and seen the welt it left on Spence’s face.
“Just a goodbye kiss,” I assure her, pulling back again.
Luckily, she smiles at me. I think she knows this is the end too, so she doesn’t give me hell for it.
“Are you staying for the wedding?” She asks me. I shake my head.
“No, I can’t do it. Letting you go is one thing, watching you get married is another.”
“Won’t Anya be disappointed?”
“Too bad for her,” I shrug.
“You’re so bad!” She giggles and swats my arm.
“Always, baby,” I laugh, then continue, “I’m going to miss you, Rox.”
“I’ll miss you too, Seth. You are a great guy, and I know you will make some lucky girl very happy someday. I’m sorry we could never make it happen with us. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, but it is what it is. Next time you meet a girl who makes you feel like you want more, show her the Seth, I know you are. Show her what you can be for her. Fight for her.”
A few minutes later, I leave Roxanne’s suite and start towards the exit. I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. I pull it out and stare down at the screen. It’s Lucas.
*What the fuck you doing, man? Casey just sent me a text message telling me to make sure you leave the wedding. Don’t do anything stupid!
I chuckle and shake my head as I text him back.
*Relax, Luke. I just left Rox’s room now. I was only saying goodbye to her. I just needed some closure before I left.
*OK Good. I was about to have a fucking heart attack. I thought I was going to lose my best friend today. I could see the headlines now: Stupid man gets murdered by an angry groom on wedding day for trying to steal the bride.”
*No chance of that happening, so you can breathe easy. I’m on my way out the door now.
“Do you mind telling me why the fuck you are here right now?” I hear a voice say.
I was so focused on my phone that I didn’t see what was ahead of me.
Standing there, with angry fire in his eyes, is Spence. My feet stop dead in their tracks.
“Easy, Spence, I’m not here to fuck anything up,” I say quickly.
He takes a few more steps forward so that he’s only a foot away from me.
“Then what are you doing here, Seth? I thought I told you to stay away?”
His jaw is clenched, and his fists are balled. For somebody who has always been a model of poise and control, his careful demeanor is crumbling. I feel a wave of guilt wash over me for making him feel this way today. I really didn’t want to ruin anyone's day.
“I only came to say goodbye—for good this time, Spence,” I say as convincingly as I can.
Spence’s posture relaxes a bit. His hands relax at his sides, but his jaw is still tense.
“Goodbye for good?” He repeats, and I nod.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m moving the business to LA. I need a fresh start,” I explain.
Spence takes a deep breath, and I see him relax, even more. I, too, let out a sigh of relief that he’s not going to kill me—or have me killed is a more likely scenario.
“LA, huh? Yeah, that will probably be a good move for you and the business,” he nods.
I’m not sure what to say next exactly but continue.
“Spence. I’m sorry that I pulled all the bullshit I pulled. Truthfully, I’ve always respected you, and I’m forever grateful for all the help and knowledge you’ve afforded me over the years. You really deserved better than my sorry ass, trying to fuck up what you and Roxanne have. I can see now that you two are meant to be together. You were there for her since the beginning…while I was too busy being stupid.”
Spence’s eyes go wide at my confession.
“Thank you, Seth, I appreciate you saying that. I know it hasn’t been easy for you, and I’m sorry about that. But Seth, you have so much going for you, you’ll have no problem finding someone who will be crazy for you and give you everything you thought you wanted with Rox. So, next time you meet a girl who makes you want more than a one night stand, get your head out of your ass and take what you want,” Spence tells me, grabbing me by the shoulders and giving me an encouraging shake.
I can’t help but chuckle in response.
“Roxanne basically told me the same damn thing. I think I’m beginning to know where my problems lie.”
“Good. Also, next time you meet a girl, make sure you don’t share her with Lucas,” he smirks.
“Or any handsome billionaires?” I retort.
“Well, you don’t need to worry about me anymore, but yeah- no sharing. Period.”
“Trust me; I’ve learned my lesson. Lucas included.”
Spence smirks, “You sure about that?”
I chuckle, “Yeah, I think so—at least he knows not to share with me anymore. Our friendship couldn’t take it.”
“Good. Alright, Seth, I wish you luck then. Email me when you get your business settled, and let me know if you need anything.”
My eyes go wide in surprise.
“Really? You’d still help me, even after everything?”
Spence lets out a deep breath.
“Despite everything, yes. I still care about you, Seth, and I want to see you continue to succeed. But you’re pretty good at what you do, so I doubt you’ll need my help anyway, but the offer is their regardless.”
“Wow, Spence. That’s mighty big of you. I don’t know if I’d be as forgiving, but I appreciate it.”
After Spence and I say our goodbyes, I leave the building and head for my truck. Just as I reach the parking lot, I hear my name being called. I turn and see Lucas jogging my way.
“Seth! Wait for me, bud,” he calls.
I stop and wait for him to catch up. When he reaches me, he takes a deep breath and starts removing his tie.
“What is it, Luke?” I ask him.
“I’m coming with you,” he tells me.
“Why not? Do you think I particularly want to watch this wedding go down? I only came to be polite because Spence is my boss. Honestly, I want to get the fuck out of here. Plus, Roxanne’s cousin was eyeing me up, and I already promised Rox that I wouldn’t sleep with her family.”
I laugh at him.
“Roxanne’s cousin?” I repeat.
“Yeah, I met her at their joint bachelor party. Really fucking cute chick, and I had it in the bag, but Roxanne totally cock-blocked me.”
“Good, what were you thinking, Luke?” I shake my head at him and laugh, “You really only think with your cock, don’t you?”
Lucas shrugs and laughs, “Yeah, yeah. I know, you think I would have learned my lesson, but sometimes…Anyway, let’s get the fuck out of here and get some drinks. I think we need it.”