The rehearsal dinner passed without incident. No one questioned Declan or me about what they saw but Audrey kept glancing at me with a sparkle in her eyes, meaning that we would talk about it later. Though part of me dreaded the conversation, another part of me was excited. Audrey is my best friend. She’d warn me if she didn’t think whatever Declan and I had was a good idea.
Audrey was still saying her goodbyes to Thomas when I started making my way outside. It had been a long day and I had to be up early to set out the desserts before getting ready with Audrey.
My feet were dragging behind me when Declan emerged from the banquet hall with a smirk on his face. “Aw, is it past someone’s bedtime?”
“Fuck you Declan. I’m playing two roles tomorrow for this wedding. All you have to do is put on a suit and look good.”
“What do you mean? I look good every day.” He chuckled when he saw the deadpanned expression on my face. “Did you want me to take you back now instead of waiting for Audrey? That way you can get some sleep?”
“It’s fine, she shouldn’t be much longer. Hopefully.” Declan and I now stood side by side at the car, both our eyes focused on the banquet hall in front of us.
“What is this?” I spoke up after a few moments of silence, dragging a finger between us. “I mean, the day after tomorrow I go back home. You live here in Nashville. I need to know what this is before we go forward.” Before he was able to answer, Audrey came out of the hall, practically skipping towards the car.
“Let’s get this show on the road Margaret. I’ve got a couple of bottles of wine and some heavenly cheese fries with our names on them waiting for us at the hotel!” Audrey ignored Declan’s glance as she walked towards the driver’s side.
“That’s my cue to go. Relax Mags, we’ll talk about us later. Right now, we’ve got a wedding to get through.” Declan bent down, briefly placing his lips against my cheek before pulling away. He winked at me, before disappearing back into the banquet hall.
“Ok, I want details!” Audrey as she sat cross-legged on the hotel bed. A container of cheese fries was nestled in her lap as she held a red solo cup filled with wine.
“Got to be more specific than that Audrey.” I sat with my back against the headboard as I poured my own glass of wine with one hand.
“I’m talking about you and Declan. Specifically, the kiss at the rehearsal dinner.” Audrey fanned herself with her hand. “Holy shit girl, I didn’t realize you guys had gotten so- close.”
“Ughh, I was secretly hoping no one saw that!” I groaned, hitting my head against the headboard.
“Trust me, everyone saw it. Declan made sure of it.”
“To tell you the truth, I have no idea where we stand. I don’t know what’s going to happen after the wedding passes.” I dipped one of the fries in the cheese, swirling it around before popping it into my mouth. “Do you think he and I is a good thing? You’d tell me if there was something off, right?”
Audrey got a far off look in her eyes as she stared at me. “What I think doesn’t matter Margaret. What matters is that he makes you happy. And as far as I can see, Declan does make you happy. You two were- oddly made for each other if that makes sense.”
“I want you to be happy. If he makes you happy, then all the other pieces will fall into place”
After arriving at the house early the next morning, I worked my ass off getting everything set up. I was able to put the finishing touches on the cake, set the desserts out, AND help the other caterers set their food up. Within a matter of hours, the entire house was swarmed with people. I barely had room to breathe and my anxiety was at an all-time high but strangely, I didn’t mind it. My best friend was getting married. Something I put my blood, sweat, and tears into making sure it went without a hitch.
I finally shook myself from my stupor to head inside the house to hang up my caterer cape and put on my maid of honor hat. As I entered the house, various people were rushing in and out, bringing various items in.
I walked towards my room to grab the dress that had I stashed there when I first got here. I stopped short of the door when I saw Audrey clad in a white robe. A man, dressed in a suit, stood with his back to the door as he overlooked the background. Aww, Audrey and Thomas sneaking a meeting before the wedding. That’s fucking adorable.
Wanting to give them privacy, I began stepping back towards the kitchen. I stopped in my tracks when Audrey’s voice spoke up.
“I can’t keep doing this to her Declan!” She whisper yelled, her voice taking on a stern tone. “I’ve been lying to my best friend for nearly two weeks.”
“I know you have, but you, Thomas, and I knew what we were getting ourselves into when we agreed to keep it between ourselves.” Declan’s voice seemed nonchalant despite the seriousness of their discussion. “And as I seem to recall, you were the one that pushed for this when I started.” When he started? What the hell is he talking about?!
“That was before she fell for you Declan! I could see it in her eyes last night that she’s fallen hard and before you say anything, I know you have too.” Her voice squeaked as she launched into full-on panic mode. “I hope you plan on telling her after this because I can’t take much more of this.”
“I do Audrey it’s just,” I could hear Declan as he smacked his hand against the wall. “I don’t know what to say to her. It needs to be perfect- “
“Well news flash, it won’t!” Audrey was now on the border of screaming. “It’s going to be a fucking shitshow!”
“Declan, you’re telling her that you’ve been an FBI agent working undercover as Thomas’ bodyguard because of death threats he received before the wedding! If Margaret gets past that, which it will be a miracle if she does, she won’t get past the fact that you’ve been lying to her the entire time you’ve known her!”
FBI agent? Undercover? What?! The panicked thoughts raced through my mind as I began walking backward. With tears pricking my eyes, I stumbled into the counter. As I tried to catch myself, I bumped into one of the spare catering platters that balanced precariously on the edge.
The platter teetered before falling off the counter and crashing towards the floor. A loud clang sounded through the air as the metal hit the tile.