I breathed a sigh of relief when I laid my eyes on the “Welcome to Nashville” sign. After driving for nearly 9 hours straight, I was ready to pull my hair out. Call it a lapse of judgment, I not only agreed to be the maid of honor at my best friend Audrey’s wedding, but I also agreed to be the head of dessert catering! I own a small bakery back home, so I figured why not? I need the extra money anyway. Yeah, after I got off the phone with her that day, I IMMEDIATELY regretted my decision. I was a social hermit in my day to day life, why did I think it would be a good idea to cater a wedding!?
Luckily, my GPS said I was only five minutes away from the house that Audrey and her soon to be husband Thomas moved into a few weeks ago. The sooner you got there the sooner you could get this over with. It
As I turned down a cobble street road, I took the opportunity to look at the scenery around me. Beautiful willow trees lined the streets, their leaves overhanging on the road. Various bushes of flowers scattered the sidewalks, giving the street a pleasant smell even from my car.
Before I knew it, my GPS beeped letting me know that I had arrived at my destination. I pulled my car to a stop in front of the house and allowed myself to admire the details. It was a one-story, cottage type house made of grey brick. The dark grey doors and windows were accented by white trim. The house itself sat on a beautiful piece of land decorated with countless types of flora and fauna. Considering Audrey is a florist that specializes in private events, I would say the flowers were her doing.
I climbed out of the car, careful to grab my purse and phone from the passenger seat next to me. As I shut the door, a loud squeal that resembled a small child sounded from behind me. That would be Audrey.
I turned to face the house, useless against the brown blur charging towards me. I had to stop myself from falling into the car behind me as Audrey brought me into a bear hug, all while still squealing.
“I can’t believe you're finally here Margaret! It seems like it’s been ages since I asked you to be my maid of honor.” She flashed me a smile before letting me go from the hug. Without asking, Audrey opened the back door of my car and grabbed my suitcase from the backseat.
“Remind me again why I offered to come down a week and a half before the wedding?” I quipped with a bright smile on my face.
“Haha, very funny. If you were not the best baker I know, I would tell you to kiss my ass.” She groaned as she hauled the suitcase off the seat to set it down on the street. “Jesus, did you put a dead body in here?”
“I’m the only baker you know Audrey, and hey, you should be praising me for my resourcefulness considering I was able to fit nearly two weeks of clothes in there and some special supplies I didn’t know if you’d have for the desserts.”
Audrey glanced up from the bag to look at me, her steel-gray eyes taken on an innocent tone as she fluttered her eyelashes at me. “Speaking of desserts, there’s something I have to ask you- “
“What is it, Audrey?” I sighed, crossing my arms over my chest.
“The woman that was making our wedding cake canceled, something about a family emergency.” Audrey blasely ran her hand through the air. “Anyhow, I figured since my beautiful and bestest friend in the entire world is a baker…”
“That I’d make your wedding cake?” There was a stern tone in my voice as I looked at Audrey. She and I both knew it was only a matter of time before I gave in. What can I say? I’m a people pleaser.
“Alright, I’ll do it. You’re lucky I love your crazy ass.”
“You’re the best. Come on, I’ll bring you in the house. Only me, you, Thomas, and Declan are staying in the house. Everyone else opted to stay in a nearby hotel.” I followed Audrey as she led me towards the house, suitcase in tow.
“That’s one of Thomas’ close friends. Something about they used to be roommates in college.” Audrey pushed open the door to the house, then stepped aside to allow me in. “This is it. Your home away from home. At least, for the next two weeks.” I could not stop my eyes from widening as they took in the surroundings.
The birch wooden floors worked beautifully with the stark white walls and high ceilings. The furniture, though simplistic, seemed to fit the room. Past the living room was a staircase with a white wooden banister. “How were you guys able to get this place? It’s absolutely gorgeous.”
Audrey chuckled at my amazement. “Thomas’ brother who works in real estate out here found it for us. The house was a foreclosure, so we got it relatively cheap.”
Just as Aubrey finished her thought, a sound of thudding footsteps vibrated off the walls. Whoever it is sounds like a trotting Clydesdale.
Before I could open my mouth to ask who it was, Audrey rolled her eyes as we walked closer towards the staircase. “And that would be Declan.”
Sure enough, a set of feet soon appeared as they came down the stairs. A man was bounding down the stairs, a permanent scowl seemingly etched into his face. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, his eyes floated towards Audrey and me as we stood by the stairs. He didn’t say anything as he continued to stare the two of us down, his eyes narrowing ever so slightly.
Audrey cleared her throat in an attempt to break the silence. “Margaret, this Declan. Thomas’ best friend.” Declan moved his eyes off of Audrey and onto me, giving me his sole attention.
His black hair was cut close to his head but slightly longer on the front and sides. I didn’t know what this man’s height was, but he easily towered over my 5’4 frame as he stood in front of me. I could not stop the chills that ran down my spine as his ocean blue eyes pierced into mine.
Declan’s eyes ran up and down my body as he scanned me, his eyes lingering in some places longer than others. I stuck my hand out towards him in an awkward attempt at an introduction.
His eyes fell to my hand, then floated back towards my face before he nodded and walked off to a different part of the house. Well, isn’t he mister friendly?
I couldn’t stop myself from wincing as I withdrew my hand from the air. “Don’t worry about Declan. He’s not exactly the most- inviting person.” There was an underlying tone of utter annoyance and aggravation in Audrey’s tone as she spoke to me. I looked over to see a deep frown etched into her lips as she watched the spot Declan once occupied.
After a few moments, Audrey shook her head before bringing her signature grin back. “Now you just HAVE to see the kitchen, which I know you will love- “She spoke, grabbing my elbow and guiding me past the stairs and towards the back of the house.