A high-pitched scream startled me from my sleep, causing me to nearly fall out of my bed. Once I righted myself, I promptly shot off in a run towards the scream. Audrey stood in the middle of the living room, a grin a mile wide on her face as she stared down at the phone in her hand.
“What’s wrong? Are you ok? Is the baby ok?!” I called out, my eyes frantically searching the space around.
“I’m fine trust me it’s happy screams. I’ve been wanting to get into this new restaurant downtown for months, hoping you, me, and Thomas’ sister could have a wedding party date. They just called; they have an opening for this afternoon.”
“Jesus Audrey that’s what this was about? I thought I was going to have to whoop some ass.”
“No, no ass-whooping today. Maybe when Declan gets back.” Audrey winked at me before shuffling towards the stairs. “I’m going to call Kate, let her know. This will be our getaway from the boys since they come back tonight?”
“They’re coming back tonight. I thought they were camping. Who the hell goes camping for one day?” I raised a questioning eyebrow as Audrey seemingly ignored my question as she trudged up the stairs.
It seemed with every growing second my skepticism grew of Declan and anything surrounding him. He tells me that he and Thomas are leaving to avoid Audrey’s wrath only to return the next day? Not to mention his texts from last night still did not sit well with me. I might just be looking too far into it, but they said they were getting supplies for the trip LAST NIGHT. Who gets supplies for a camping trip only to cancel it the next day?
I did my best to shake those thoughts from my head as I made my way towards the best. Today was not the day to question it. It was a day Audrey had been looking forward to since they first announced they were going to get married. I was not going to ruin it for her by questioning the motives of the best man. For now, anyway.
Audrey and I entered an upscale restaurant a few hours later with both of us dressed to the nines. Audrey wore a tasteful floral dress with capped sleeves and me in a little black dress that ended just below my knees. A constant shade of pink tinted my cheeks from the moment we stepped foot in the restaurant. Even an expectant mother looked better than me in a dress. I seriously needed to consider going to a gym when this whole wedding is over with.
We were only a few feet across the threshold when we spotted Kate already seated at a table overlooking the street. Her pearly smile matched the color of her sleeveless dress as she stood up from the table.
“You guys are finally here. I was thinking you’d gotten lost along the way.” The teasing smile on Kate’s lips eased the anxiety that gnawed at my stomach as we approached the table.
“We would have left sooner but someone had to pee several times before we could leave the house.” I sent Audrey a knowing look, which caused her to smile.
“I’m blaming the pregnancy. Speaking of which, I’ll be back.”
“There can’t be anything left in that tiny bladder of yours Audrey!” Kate called out to Audrey’s retreating form. Once she was out of sight, Kate and I took seats at the elegant, Victorian-styled table with wrought iron chairs.
Kate and I awkwardly stared each other down, each of us daring the other to speak first. Just as the tension reached a high and I had begun to crack, Kate cleared her throat as she sat back in the chair.
“Audrey tells me that you and Declan have a- thing going on.”
“No, no.” I nervously chuckled as I raised a hand to brush stray strands of hair behind my ears. “That would not be the case. I can assure you that Declan and I are nothing, nor will we ever been anything. He’s just- oddly friendly. That’s all.”
“Yeah, that’s how it started with me.” Kate downed half the glass of lemon water in one sitting.
“Wait? You and Declan- “
“Nothing ever serious. It was more of a- fling between us.” I could tell Kate was struggling to keep the conversation PG for the sake of the restaurant-goers. “But yes, I was ‘with’ him at one point.”
“Oh.” My voice was meek as my eyes drifted towards the edge of the lace tablecloth. He never mentioned anything about having a fling with Kate. Then again, Declan does not seem like the type to reminisce about old relationships, no matter how insignificant they seem.
“I’m not going to tell you not to get involved with Declan, mainly because it’s no use. I am sure you have noticed how charming the man can be when he wants to be. If I wasn’t able to resist it, I sure as hell can’t expect you to.” I could not help but chuckle at what Kate said about his charm, knowing full well that he has done the same thing to me.
“All I’m going to say about Declan is- there’s a lot you don’t know about him. And when you find out, let’s just say you are not going to be happy.” It felt as if my heart dropped to my stomach at Kate’s words. What did she mean I wasn’t going to be happy? And what was this seeming life-changing information that Declan was keeping from me?
I was not able to ask Kate any more questions as Audrey appeared from the bathroom, a smile on her own face as she sat at the table. I did my best to push past the growing ball of anxiety as it crawled its way up my throat, attempting to make its escape. What Kate told me only brought my past doubts and fears back to the forethought.
I wanted to know more than anything; what was Declan hiding from me?
The rest of the afternoon at the restaurant passed without event. With several glasses of wine in me, I was able to forget about the whole Declan thing- for a short time anyway. On the ride back to the house, the thoughts crept back into my mind as I pressed my head against the cool window. I wanted to know what was going on, but would I ever find out? Probably not considering Declan keeps personal details locked up like Fort Knox.
It wasn’t until we pulled into the driveway that I saw Declan and Thomas sitting on the front porch. Smiles were plastered on both their faces as they talked amongst themselves.
“I really don’t want to deal with their shit right now,” I muttered, banging my head against the window. Did I mention I have no brain to mouth filter when I’m tipsy?
“You and me both Margaret.” Audrey and I climbed out of the car, drawing the attention of Thomas and Declan.
“Look whose back,” Declan spoke, his eyes lingering on me longer than Audrey. “Wow, you got Maggie here to wear a dress. I’m surprised.”
“It only took several glasses of wine when we got to the restaurant, but she did it. She survived a social outing.”
“That’s why she’s so quiet right now.” Thomas chuckled before disappearing into the house.
Audrey’s elbow jabbed into my ribs as she walked past me. “Keep Declan out of the house for me, will you? I want to tell Thomas about the- surprise.” She didn’t give me the chance to respond as she climbed the front steps with me glaring at her form the entire time.
Once Audrey had entered the house, Declan slowly began making his way towards me with his hands stuffed into his pockets. “I have to say Mags, that dress is definitely working for you.” His eyes traveled down my body, lingering as they focused on my legs.
“Thanks, because that was my intention.” When he reached me, Declan lightly grabbed my hand and began walking us down the street in the opposite direction of the house.
“What are you doing?”
“I told you that when I got back that I was going to make it up to you. That’s what I’m doing.” It was not until that we had gotten halfway down the block that I realized he still had a tight grasp on my hand.
“Where are you taking me? You realize I’m slightly drunk right now, right?”
Declan smiled, intertwining our fingers together slightly as he continued to lead me down the sidewalk.
“Don’t worry about it, you’re in good hands. It’s nothing that’s going to freak you out even further than you already are if that’s what you’re worried about.”
“We’re just going to see a good friend of mine.”