“Turn that thing off,” I grumbled, burying my head under the pillow. “It’s way too early to be awake.”
“It’s your sister’s wedding day,” Paddy said, the bed shifting as he reached for his phone on the nightstand. “You can’t sleep until noon.”
“She’s not getting married until three o’clock.”
“You’re the Maid of Honour. Hannah needs you at the lodge by nine.”
“I don’t want somebody else doing my hair and make up.”
“Because I’m quite capable of doing it myself. And I’m a little hurt that Hannah didn’t want me to do hers.”
“You do know who was hired to do it?”
“Of course, Paddy,” I snapped. “Just because that bitch works on a movie set, doesn’t mean she’ll do a better job.”
“Isn’t she doing you as well?”
“Stop being a pouty baby, Alexis.”
“I’m doing no such thing.”
“Yeah, you are.”
“Leave me alone, Paddy. I didn’t invite you to my pity party.”
“Well, I’m gonna crash it, like I always do,” he said, prying the pillow from my fingers.
I froze when I felt his arm encircle my waist. There was no way we were cuddling in bed. Friends don’t do that shit. “What are you doing, Paddy?”
“I’m not upset.”
“Yes, you are.”
“Why would I be upset on my sister’s wedding day?”
“Because it’s an emotional day.”
“It’s a happy occasion. Hannah is marrying the love of her life. And he’s filthy rich. I don’t have to worry about her and Cleo anymore. Miles will take care of them.”
“But you’re sad because they’re starting a new family that you won’t be part of.”
“Why won’t I be part of their family?”
“You will. But you don’t live with them. They’ll have a life of their own. Go on family vacations and shit without you.”
“You’re not making me feel any better, Paddy.”
“I’m trying to say that, when people get married, things change between siblings. Cleo is kind of like your kid. And Hannah has custody of her. She’ll be part of their day-to-day life. But you won’t.”
“It’s been that way for a year. The only difference now is they’ll be married.”
“Until they start having babies.”
“What is your point, Paddy?”
“I’m just trying to say I understand why you might feel a little blue.”
“You know me too well,” I said, a sob catching in my throat.
“Turn around,” he murmured, nudging my hip.
I rolled over so I was facing him. He tucked my hair behind my ear before wiping away my tears with his thumb.
I knew he was gonna kiss me before he ducked his head down. This was so fucked up. But I didn’t pull away. His mouth found mine, his kiss a soft caress against my lips while his arms tightened around my waist.
“What are we doing, Paddy?” I whispered.
“I’m not sure,” he said, pulling away with a reluctant sigh.
“How big is your dick?” I blurted out.
“Your dick. The other night, when I was sitting on your lap in the hot tub, it felt massive.”
His face broke out in a wide grin. “There’s only one way to find out, sweetheart.”
“Well, duh,” I snorted. “Obviously, the only way is for you to drop trou and show me.”
“That’s not gonna happen.”
“Because you’re my best friend, Alexis. We shouldn’t be doing show and tell unless we’re planning to change the terms of our relationship.”
“We’re in a fake relationship while we’re here.”
“A fake relationship created to make another man jealous,” he clarified. “When we’re alone, we’re still Alexis and Paddy, BFFs.”
“You’re no fun,” I sighed, rolling onto my back.
“I’m gonna hop in the shower.”
“Have fun jerking off,” I muttered.
“You heard me.”
I slipped out of bed when I heard the water turn on, tip toeing across the frosty wooden floor. It was friggin cold in Alaska in the morning.
I couldn’t imagine being up there in the winter.
Paddy didn’t lock the bathroom door. I turned the knob slowly, pushing the door open. A rush of adrenaline surged through my body as I reached for the curtain. I grabbed the fabric and yanked it open.
He turned around slowly, a smug grin spreading across his face. “Can I help you with something?”
“Who wears boxers in the shower?!” I cried.
“A guy who can read your mind.”
“Where’s Cleo?” I asked, glancing around the room that had been converted into a hair and makeup salon.
“She refused to get done up,” Hannah sighed.
“She has to,” I declared. “Where is she? I’ll talk to her.”
“She’s down in the main lobby, doing crafts with Lucy. Once Madeline is done, she’s going to send Lucy up and she’ll sit with Cleo.”
“I’ll do her hair,” I offered.
“I’d really appreciate that, Lex,” Hanna said, pulling me in for a long hug. “You’re the best.”
“Don’t start getting all emotional,” I warned. “You’ll ruin your makeup.”
“I don’t have any on yet,” she laughed, swiping at her stray tears. “Gina is going to do you first.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said, staring up at the tall, raven-haired woman waiting by the salon chair.
Gina Momosan-Crushfeld was one of the most famous hair and makeup artists in Hollywood. I was jealous and envious, of course.
What stylist wouldn’t be?
It was my dream job to work on a movie set. I was hoping to meet some famous people and make an impression. Hannah wouldn’t tell me who the celebrity guests were, but I knew there were at least a couple A-listers attending.
Which was why I wanted to do all the hair!
And now, my only hope at displaying my talents was Cleo. I had to find a way to keep her in the chair for more than five minutes.
“I’m thinking messy bun with loose tendrils,” I explained.
“No,” Gina stated dismissively.
“Okay,” I said with a nervous laugh.
“You’re getting a side bun with large flowers that match your bouquet.”
“I’m not really a big fan of side buns.”
“I chose the hairdos, and the bride approved them.”
I resisted the urge to bitch at my sister. There was no point. And it was her wedding day. I could suffer through one day with a lame do.
“First we need to get rid of these ridiculous purple streaks,” Gina announced.
“Really?” I whined.
“How are things going with Paddy?” Hannah asked, her forced smile the same one she used on Cleo whenever she was working up to a tantrum.
“I’m not Cleo,” I muttered.
“Then stop acting like her, Lex.”
“I snuck into the bathroom while Paddy was in the shower this morning, and he was wearing boxers!”
“What?” she laughed. “Who wears underwear in the shower?”
“He knew I was gonna try and see his dick.”
“How did he know?”
“Because I asked him how big it was.”
“You did not!”
“I did so.”
“What did he say?”
“He said there was only one way for me to find out.”
“Go, Paddy!” she cheered.
“I’m not following,” Madeline said from the chair next to me, where Gina’s assistant was working on her hair. “I thought Paddy was your boyfriend.”
“No. We’re just friends. But don’t tell Cleo. She has a big mouth.”
“I’m still not following,” Madeline chuckled.
“Paddy agreed to be my fake boyfriend to make Osk jealous.”
“Paddy is in love with Alexis,” Hannah explained. “I’ve been trying to tell her that for years, but she wouldn’t listen.”
“He seems like a nice fellow,” Madeline said.
“We’ve been best friends since we were kids.”
“But you have feelings for Oskar?”
“We were seeing each other for a year. And then he asked the Silicone Princess to be his date to my sister’s wedding. Apparently, they are dating, and have been for quite a while.”
“The Silicone Princess?” Gina chuckled.
“Yeah. You should see this chick’s tits. Gross. At least mine are real.”
“So Oskar was cheating on you?” Madeline asked.
“No. We weren’t exclusive.”
“And this woman he brought knew he was sleeping with you?”
“Yep. They have an open relationship.”
“May I give you some advice, Alexis?”
I glanced at Miles’s mother in the mirror. I got to know her pretty well while I was staying at their house the summer before. She was pretty cool, for a chick in her seventies.
“Sure,” I agreed.
“Don’t let the love of your life slip through your fingers. Listen carefully to your heart.” She paused, smiling sadly. “I had a best friend growing up who was a boy, just like you did. We were inseparable. I had years of schooling ahead of me though. One night, not long before I left for university, we had too much to drink. We ended up in bed together. It was the first time for both of us. The next morning, he told me he was in love with me. I lied and said I didn’t feel the same way, because that was easier than telling him I loved him and then leaving. He ended up dating my sister. They got married and had four kids and fifty-five wonderful years of marriage. I never met anyone else. He was my soulmate. And I let him go.”
“You guys looked pretty cozy yesterday.”
“We reconnected after my sister passed away. It’s been a long time, but those old feelings are still there. True love never dies.”
“That’s wonderful,” I whispered, reaching over to pat her wrist. “I’m really happy for you guys.”
“Don’t make the same mistake I did, Alexis.”
“Even if I did have feelings for him, there’s no point in doing anything about it. We want different things. Paddy wants to have a big family to pass all his funeral homes down to. He’s an only child. I don’t want kids. I’m too self-centered to be a mother. I like to sleep until noon. And I’d prefer to keep my biscuit nice and tight. I don’t wanna get fat, or turn my tits into milk dispensers.”
The woman doing Madeline’s hair burst out laughing. “You sound just like I did at your age.”
“Yep. And I have five kids.”
“You betcha. All boys.”
“You’re not fat.”
“They’re all teenagers. I’ve had lots of time to get my body back into shape.”
“You didn’t wanna have kids, but you had five?”
“You play, you pay,” Gina chuckled. “Right, Clarissa?”
“Yep. Life happens. One broken condom, and it’s game over. And it seemed like after the first one, all he had to do was look at me and I got knocked up. But I love my boys, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“Is giving birth really as bad as they say?” Hannah asked.
“The first time. But each one gets easier. By the third or fourth, they practically fall out. And you just hope like heck your uterus and bladder stay put.”
“Nice,” Hannah muttered.
“And that is why I’m not having any,” I said.
“It’s not that bad,” Clarissa laughed. “I remember when I was giving birth to the first one, all I kept thinking was never again. It hurt so bad. They couldn’t get him out. Had to use the forceps, and I tore in every direction. But the moment they placed him in my arms, it was all worth it, and I knew I’d do it again.”
“I’m not afraid,” Hannah said. “It will be worth it to have Miles’s baby.”
“The way you guys have been holed up in your cabin, I’d say it’s probably too late to change your mind now. You’re gonna leave a trail of jizz behind you when you walk down the aisle.”
“Alexis!” Hannah gasped.
“Keep your dirty thoughts to yourself.”
“That’s no fun,” Gina said.
“I know, right?” I laughed. “My sister needs to lighten up.”
“And you need to behave, and stop chasing immature drummers with pierced dicks,” Hannah snapped. “Take off the blinders and see what’s right in front of you.”
“Did you say pierced?” Madeline gasped.
“Yes,” Hannah snorted.
“Ouch,” Clarissa whispered.
“Doesn’t that hurt?” Gina asked, setting the timer for my colour.
“Hm,” she mumbled to herself as she peeled off her gloves and tossed them in the trash.
I sat quietly, lost in my own thoughts while they chattered about the wedding.
What if Hannah was right about Paddy?
Was he in love with me?
Would our friendship ever be the same again after this trip?
What if we slept together? It could destroy us. I couldn’t lose him. Paddy was my rock.
Did I want to sleep with him?
What about Osk?
Was it really over between us?
Did I want more from him than just sex?
Was Osk even capable of having a real relationship?