Chapter Ten - The Blurry Night Before
When I woke the next morning I couldn’t remember most of the night before. We’d had a lot to drink at the club, all I could remember was the strippers and then coming home. My head felt like someone was jumping on it whilst simultaneously using a jackhammer. I groaned and turned over, opening my eyes. I felt like utter shit.
“Morning.” Brennan said softly, he was dressed and standing by my side of the bed with a glass of water and advil. “Thought you might need these.”
Felt my face redden with shame. Had I been that drunk when I’d returned? Had it been that obvious. I had hoped I’d just climbed into bed, but judging by Brennan’s ‘gifts’ that was not the case at all.
“I really hope I didn’t embarrass myself last night. I don’t drink usually.” I sat up and took the glass and advil from Brennan.
“You don’t remember coming back last night?” Brennan asked, walking to his case and slipping his shoe on. There was a blanket on the floor by my case, and my shoes were tangled up in it. I frowned and shook my head.
“No, should I?”
Brennan looked over at me and shook his head.
“Not at all. Hey look the guys and I are all meeting over the other side of the house to get ready. Mom will be by soon to get you to meet with the girls. We’re almost there Grace.”
I smiled and nodded before putting the two blue pills on my tongue and gulping back the water. Brennan walked over to me and sat down on my left. He picked up my hand and grazed his finger over his grandmother’s ring.
“I know being my PA hasn’t been easy. I’ve made you do things I couldn’t ever ask you to forgive me for. I’ve shown you all the worst sides of me. You must think I’m a misogynist asshole.”
He wasn’t wrong, but he wasn’t entirely right either. The Brennan I’d seen over the last few days showed me another side. Maybe it wasn’t genuine, maybe he was acting.
“I did until we came here.” I whispered. “I’ve learned more about you in two days than I did in three years. Unless it’s all part of the facade.”
“Why do you do the whole playboy persona then Brennan?”
“Honestly? At first it was because I could. Because in high school girls didn’t look at me. Then because my parents hounded me to settle down, to do at least one thing right. Now it’s because I don’t know if i can. I’ve been messing around for so long I’m scared to fuck the real thing up.”
The truth was like a punch to the gut. I turned my hand over and squeezed my fingers around Brennan’s hand.
“You could miss out on something or someone pretty great by being too scared to do something about it. One of these girls you’ve ghosted could be your true love Brennan and you wouldn’t know because your fear of fucking up held you back. People fuck up every day B… if they all hid in the corner nothing would ever get done. You fought the odds once before, you can do it again. You can survive with a broken heart, you can’t survive without love.”
Brennan stood up, his hand extracted itself from mine. He stopped though and bent down, pressing his lips ever so soft against my forehead. The touch had a direct line to my gut, twisting it and turning it until it felt like a thousand butterflies had been set free. It took all I had not to lift my face until his lips met mine.
“Thank you G.”
He left the room and I tried to dissect the kiss on my forehead but I found myself drawing a blank. This damn situation was messing with me. Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.
Once Jaq had been to get me We were all in the room with hair and makeup artists getting prepped to within an inch of our lives.
“Blake was so annoyed we got strippers.” Jade giggled. “He didn’t shut up about it until I gave him his own private one.”
Kate laughed. “Ew, I’m not sure I need to know that about my brother.”
I squinted, as if I was trying to see something even though I was looking at myself in the mirror as the hair stylist did my hair. I remembered coming home, we were out on the driveway, talking about our night.
“You alright Grace?” Kate asked, her hand touched mine, grazing the ring. “The ring suits you. You know, Brennan offered it to Blake when he proposed, and then to Alec. I’m glad we both said no.”
I nodded, but I didn’t feel alright.
I closed my eyes and tried to remember the night before. We’d been in the room. I’d fallen on to the bed. I sighed with relief, I had just gone to bed and straight to sleep. But then I remembered the pain, my heart hurting. I’d been in my underwear, in the middle of the floor. Brennan had covered me. He’d rejected me. It was still murky, but it was obvious I’d thrown myself at Brennan. I picked my phone up and typed Brennan a message.
If I did anything inappropriate last night I’m sorry - Grace
His reply was instant.
You didn’t. I promise. - Brennan
After an hour and a bit we were all ready. We walked out of the house and climbed in the vintage aston martin that was parked in the driveway. The car was driven down past the main office and the too big barns. There were cars lining either side of the driveway and two big white buses parked up. The car stopped at the edge of a gazebo and we all got out.
“Holy shit.” Kate exclaimed. “I’m actually getting married.”
“You are!” Jade giggled. “And soon we’re all going to be sisters!”
Jade took my hand in hers and the three of us hugged. I ignored the guilt for what seemed like the millionth time in 48 hours and let myself pretend for a moment it was real.
Jaq kissed Kate on the head and then walked through the gazebo doors. Another car arrived, Brennan, Blake and their Dad hopped out. Brennan’s Dad Sam walked to Kate and kissed her on the forehead, whispering something in her ear which made her smile and tear up a little. Blake and Jade looped their arms, and Brennan walked up to me.
“You look beautiful.” he smiled offering me his arm.
He was wearing a black suit with a lavender purple tie and his hair was styled almost naturally, his hair softly curling at the ends.
“So do you.”
Blake and Jade went first through the Gazebo, it was empty, a corridor to the real show. Brennan and I followed behind. As we walked down the aisle I couldn’t help but look in awe. There were at least 200 guests, sitting in white chairs, the aisle was decorated with white roses and lilies and there were flower garlands draped overhead.
The music began to play as Blake and Jade finally took to the petal covered aisle, Brennan and I followed behind and I was surprised to find my stomach in my throat. I squeezed his arm with mine and he placed his other hand over mine.
“Kind of magical isn’t it.” he said, his voice low.
“Just a little.”
At the end of the aisle we parted ways, standing across from one another as Kate and her Dad made it to the end. He lifted her veil and kissed her on the cheek, passing her hand to Alec’s before he took his place next to Brennan. He had tears in his eyes, he had a heart. It hurt me to know he didn’t show it to Brennan.
The ceremony was beautiful. The vows Blake and Kate spoke made me yearn for something that was even a small percentage close to what they had. When they were pronounced man and wife, everyone in attendance applauded and whooped like it was a concert. Brennan and I made our way to one another. Brennan had tear lined eyes which made me smile.
“A little emotional Mr. Wolf?”
“My baby sister just got married.” He offered. “I’m not completely hard hearted.”
I placed my hand on the lapel of his suit and straightened it.
“I never said you were.” His hand covered mine and he smiled.
“Save me a dance tonight. Okay?”
“I can’t dance.”
“Oh, I beg to differ.” Brennan said with a knowing grin. I shook my head.
“What do you mean.”
“You really don’t remember do you? I thought maybe you remember after the text earlier, but…”
I stopped and closed my eyes, the music from the club played in my head. Shit. I’d stripped off and danced before Brennan had rejected me. I felt sick to my stomach.
“I’m so sorry Brennan.” I choked out. “I’m so embarrassed.”
Brennan’s smile fell. “I didn’t want to embarrass you. I’ll uh see you in a bit, I need to get some air.”
I wanted to tell Brennan that it was an outdoor wedding, how could he possibly need more air, but I stopped myself. I watched as he walked away and left me standing there all alone looking like an idiot. I walked with everyone else through another gazebo to the right of where the ceremony had been. I stood there, looking lost before Jaq took my hand and pulled me toward the wedding party table. She sat me down at my seat, where a small placard read my name and to my right was Brennan’s empty seat.
“Where did Brennan sneak off to?” Jaq asked, a hint of concern in her voice. “I notice you two seemed to be at odds.”
I sucked in a breath. We were about to be uncovered and Brennan was nowhere in sight. I bit my lip. Fuck.
“He needed a moment. Coming back has been difficult, I promise you, we’re fine.”
Jaq nodded and then placed her hand over mine. “Only, Brennan and you have sort of kept each other at arm’s length most of the time. You seem to be friends, more so than lovers.”
I smiled and nodded. “Brennan is my friend, He was my friend first, lover second. The best partners start from friendship. If you think we’re being coy, it’s only out of respect.”
“No need to hold back for us Grace.” Jaq laughed, letting go of my hand. I felt Brennan sit beside me. He filled his glass with one of the Wolf Wines sitting on the table and took a sip.
“Would you like to dance?”