“So, what’s the plan?”
I looked across at my oldest friend, Gabe, who really did look like the cat who’d got the cream and swallowed a canary. He kind of had. He had gone from being single, widowed, with a little girl of three-years-old and then he’d hired a nanny. A nanny he hadn’t wanted but had fancied the pants off, literally, and after a few bumps in the road they’d got their acts together. I do take some of the credit for that.
“The plan is as I told you it was last night; breakfast, shower, get dressed and marry my angel.” Gabe smiled, confidence oozing from him, knowing this was the first day of the rest of his life with his perfect woman.
I wondered what that felt like, having been hurt in the past, burnt by trusting and loving, only to find the strength to try again, to trust and to love again.
My friend stared at me as I tried to temper my own thoughts and emotions.
“You all good?” he asked with a slightly concerned frown.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” I heard the snap in my voice but was incapable of stopping it.
“If that doesn’t tell me you’re not, I don’t know what does.”
“Fuck off, Gabe.”
He laughed at me then shook his head. “Me and you are going for breakfast and we are going to talk this through, whether you want to or not because today is my wedding day. It is going to be perfect, Carrie and Charlotte deserve for it to be perfect, so the fact that we both know that it’s your past relationship with the bridesmaid that’s eating you, it needs resolving.”
“We didn’t have a relationship. We fucked, no more.” I was being a dick to my best friend now. I was agitated and becoming more pissed off with every second that passed because I knew that every second that passed was taking me ever closer to coming face to face with Bea.
“Then there won’t be a problem, will there, if you only fucked her? We both know there have been dozens, if not hundreds of women you have fucked. Women you only ever viewed as convenient and willing, and you’ve never had an issue with them, so Bea won’t be any different, will she?”
“Fuck off, Gabe.”
He laughed at me and turned to pick up his wallet, phone and room key. “You need some new lines, buddy.”
“Fuck you, you smug, arrogant fucker.”
With a small shake of his head, he grinned.
“If today wasn’t your wedding day, I would spread your nose across your face.”
“Yeah, like you’re man enough to do that.”
I flipped him off and he shrugged it off with a smile. The truth was, I wasn’t much of a fighter, was typically laid back. Of the two of us, Gabe was the fiery one, always had been. I was more likely to get punched by an angry boyfriend or husband, but Gabe was more likely than me to throw a punch. My mind went back to the night we’d found a guy, Toby, attempting to rape Carrie after drugging her. Thank fuck he was now locked up in a psychiatric unit. Now I was thinking that his bride did deserve the perfect day but was still pissed off and my friend was the only one here.
“I mean it, if it wasn’t for the fact that I love Nanny, and it would make her sad, you’d be nursing a broken nose. Although, if I did it, she might see that I was always the better looking one.”
He shot me a glare that said I was getting to him. Thinking, or suggesting that I might be thinking of Nanny in naked terms always riled him.
“I reckon Nanny and I would make a very attractive couple, sexy, really, really sexy.”
“Seb,” he warned in his firm tone uttering my name.
I laughed, I was being a dick to him and he didn’t deserve it. “Fuck, you’re too easy to wind up. Come on, let’s get the condemned man a hearty breakfast and I promise to be on my best behaviour, unless Bea rocks up with a new guy and then all bets are off.” I was deadly serious.
“For fuck’s sake. I have no clue if she’s bringing anyone. However, I doubt she is as she only dumped your arse a month ago.”
Long-term, serious relationships were not my thing. We’d agreed in advance that we were both looking for fun, no expectations and no commitments beyond us being exclusive, which was a big thing for me. We didn’t even have an argument. At the very beginning we discussed things, and both said that if either of us decided we were done, we’d say. We’d promised, pinky promised, no less. She’d called time on things when I thought everything was going well. It had bruised my ego as I was usually the one to end things, but not this time, not with Princess Bea.
“Seb, come on. I need food.”
Like a sulky teenager I followed my friend out, shuffling my feet and huffing as I went, incapable of thinking of anything other than Bea now and whether she had brought a plus one with her.
Gabe was pacing the room, waiting for me to finish getting ready.
“I will go without you,” he threatened.
“I am fastening my shoes and then I need to figure out how this fucking tie works.”
“It’s a cravat and it fastens with a pin.”
I stood up, having fastened my shoes and laughed at my friend. “Well, sorry for not knowing that, Gok Wan.”
We both laughed but I was more than grateful that he knew how to fasten the bloody cravat.
“Isn’t a cravat what posh people put wine into?” I asked.
Gabe smacked my shoulder. “That’s a carafe, you bell end.”
“I knew that,” I protested, making my friend arch a brow disbelievingly. “Now, today is all about you and Nanny and my beautiful girl, Charlotte, so let’s go and find your girls.”
We exchanged matching grins. He was more than ready to find them both and nobody deserved happiness more than him and his girls.
With our jackets on, we were good to go.
“Seb,” he called to me as he reached the door.
He sounded serious, so I gave him my undivided attention.
“I text Carrie earlier. Bea has come alone, no new guy.”
“Thank you.” I was unsure when I’d last felt that relieved. If I’d ever felt that relieved.