I am struggling to eat breakfast, much to the amusement of my brother who has already cleared his plate, him and our father who I am sharing a table with.
“Is this because you need to make a speech?” my dad asks but before I have the chance to reply my brother chips in.
“Dec, you do know I’m the one who is supposed to get pre-wedding jitters, not you, don’t you?”
Him and my dad laugh again as I try to think of a plausible explanation for my inability to eat which is being caused by the dread in the pit of my stomach at being reunited with Anita.
“I’m going for a walk!” I growl and am already leaping up and turning to storm off but have no clue where I’m going.
I am barely out of the hotel restaurant when I feel Mase on my heels.
“What the fuck is the matter with you?” he snaps as he reaches my side and tugs me back to look at him. “Is it the speech? Because if it is, don’t make one. In fact, don’t do anything you don’t want to. I am getting married today and so long as Olivia ends the day as my wife, I don’t give a shit about anything.”
I immediately feel guilty that I am stressing him out with my wobble rather than reassuring him through his own wobbles, not that he has any.
“Sorry,” is all I manage to come up with as my brother leads me towards a quiet corner table in the hotel foyer and I try to think of something else to say, an explanation to offer. “I’ll be fine.” I want to kick myself for being what I perceive as deceitful and a bit of a dick.
“Dec, I mean it. If you don’t want to speak or do anything that is fine by me. Just stand next to me at the top of the aisle. I’ll even look after the rings if that’s an issue.” He smiles and adds, “Even if you lose the rings, I am still marrying my girl so there’s nothing you can do to cock it up.”
I admire his determination to marry Olivia. That is his only intention and he won’t let anything stand in his way. I am also slightly jealous of his obvious happiness and contentment, but who wouldn’t be envious of the huge smile on my brother’s face, especially when you consider the reason for it comes in the beautiful, sexy, funny and talented form of the brunette he met at my club.
“It’s the bridesmaid,” I blurt out and Mase simply laughs.
“I know there’s a certain tradition, little brother, but not only would Sarah kick your arse if you tried it on, her husband is considerably bigger than you and he is possessive of his pregnant wife so I really wouldn’t recommend it,” he laughs, clearly confused by who I mean.
Mase and I are really close and we don’t really keep secrets. We can and do talk about anything, but this, well, I have chosen to keep it to myself since it happened on the night of his engagement because I have no clue how he is going to react to it, especially if Olivia finds out and takes exception to it.
“Not that bridesmaid,” I confess in a hushed voice that I only know is loud enough for Mase to hear when I see his startled expression.
“Assuming you don’t mean our niece, I would say if you like Anita there’s no reason for you not to act on it, you’re both single…” he trails off and I assume my face has given away the fact that I have just made my previous move quite clear.
“What?” Mase asks, his tone is growing agitated, confirming that I might have already outed myself.
“We might have already hooked up. I didn’t know who she was, and it was an accident,” I stammer as I see his expression darken.
“What?” he asks again but his voice is raised, drawing attention to us, but not as much attention as his next question. “An accident? You accidently fucked my wife-to-be’s sister? How does that work exactly? Did you trip and accidently slip your dick inside her?”
I see the security man, concierge, whatever he is, approaching us and both Mase and I hold up a hand to assure him that this isn’t getting out of hand. That it is no more than raised voices.
“Come on,” Mase says and I dutifully follow him outdoors onto the terrace and once we have sat down together, he turns to face me and without another word I know he wants me to explain.
“It was your engagement party. Before the party. She arrived at the club, the caterer, and I had no clue who she was. I knew Olivia had step-siblings, kind of, you mentioned them but I had no idea who they were or what they were called. We were alone and ended up getting together, she was frosting the cupcakes,” I say and immediately regret it.
“The cupcakes for my engagement party? You shagged her while she was icing them? I hope to fuck you and she didn’t contaminate them, Dec. I ate them, Olivia ate them!” he grimaces and I can’t help but smile.
“That butter cream shit was seriously tasty,” I smirk and am relieved to join in with my brother’s laugh.
“You are disgusting, you man whore!” he accuses, but I simply shrug.
“Guilty as charged and you weren’t always so conservative,” I tell him as I recall my brother’s like of pretty girls in the past, pre-Liv, although she is his ultimate pretty girl.
“Declan, do not mistake monogamy for conservative,” he replies with a grin of Cheshire cat proportions that tells me that my brother is in no way deprived or missing out between the sheets, but that’s not for me. I still don’t get the attraction of one woman forever, not anymore. “So, you and Anita, do you plan on pursuing it? I have no objections if you do and I can see the attraction. But for fuck’s sake do not mess her around because if you do that will piss Olivia off and that would mean your actual fucking would end up fucking with my life.”
“I’m almost tempted to do it if only to piss you off,” I taunt but immediately back track. “Afterwards I missed her leaving, but intended to find her on the night, if she was working and if not I figured I could find her via Liv or her dad. I really liked her, fancied her, had enjoyed what we’d shared. However, she rocked up for the party as a guest and was introduced as Liv’s sister, which threw me, both of us and we avoided each other mainly.”
“Mainly?” Mase asks.
“Hmmm, mainly. I spoke to her, apologised for what had happened, explained that I had no clue who she was and assured her that I would never have touched her had I known.” Hearing my own words along with my brother’s expression I can see for the first time that Anita might have been offended, which would explain why she simply shook her head, gave me a death inducing look and walked away from me.
“Bet that made her feel special.” Mase frowns. “If she shares this with Olivia you are fucked and I would guess that I am too and not in a good way, so I am telling you now not to make this worse, not today. I am getting married to a woman who deserves to be happy, the same woman I have been kept from for the last seventy-two hours meaning if you piss her off and I don’t get laid tonight I will kill you!”
I laugh at his almost pained expression at the thought of not getting his special time with Liv tonight but he is deadly serious making me laugh louder and harder until I consider how amazing that one time with Anita was and how my words might have made her feel. I vow to myself that I will speak to her, make amends because there is no way anything I say could make things worse, is there?
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