Chapter One

I stood in front of the ornate full length mirror hung in my bedroom, arms held straight by my sides, my legs pressed together. I inspected every single detail of my outfit, assuring that my lapels were straight and my sleeves pressed, the hem of my skirt even and my shoes clean. Even my hair was immaculately rolled into a perfect French twist. I'd be lying if I said it didn't take two hours and a full package of bobby pins to achieve it.

"I think I'm ready." I said, nodding assuredly to myself. I leaned in and made sure my makeup looked even. I'd gone for the demure but sexy look, hoping it was appropriate for such an occasion. It had been a long time since I'd worn false lashes, but despite my slight discomfort, I looked fantastic. For the past few weeks I'd been on a strict diet, slathered every inch of my body in moisturizer and even had my worst fear come true.


Gianna watched on, bemused at my neuroticism.

"You're going to stick out like a sore thumb." She replied, eyeing me with humour. Gianna was more casually attired, clad in a plain aubergine bodycon dress. Over her shoulders was a black knit bolero.

"And you're going to be covered in lint." I said, ignoring her comment. I turned around and gave her a stern look. Gianna was sprawled on my bed, waiting for me to finish scrutinizing myself and the grey tweed suit I was going to be wearing to the wedding. Under the jacket was a pink silk button-up blouse with tactful frills that traveled up to my neck, wrapping around in a modern Victorian fashion. It was the trendiest thing I owned.

"It's Heath's wedding, I don't care for the guy. I would have gone in a paper bag if it hadn't been for you." She joked, jumping off the bed and pressing down her outfit.

"Hell I wouldn't have gone at all."

The both of us took one last look in the mirror before leaving the bedroom and heading into the kitchen. Gianna went to the fridge and grabbed a soda as we left. I locked the door behind us and we walked to the elevator. She pressed the button to go down. After a moment, the device rang and the doors opened to reveal my neighbour, Asher. He was shirtless and sweaty, only wearing shorts, expensive running shoes and a small towel around his neck.

"Well, well, well. Where are you ladies headed off to?" He asked, eyeing me from head to toe as he stepped out, rubbing his damp hair with it. I smiled, admittedly pleased that he was paying me so much attention. I was surprised that he didn't have a woman with him.

"A wedding." I replied, stepping past him. Gianna followed behind, ogling him like a steak dinner. He ignored her.

"You look great." He winked, holding the elevator doors open as we got in.

"Thanks." I pressed the button for the main lobby and he retreated, smirking at me as the doors shut. I could see Gianna looking at me through the reflection on the cab wall.

"What?" I felt a blush creep up my neck and I feigned innocence.

"Why didn't you tell me you have such a hot guy living on the same floor? Did you see how he was flirting with you?"

"That was flirting? The conversation consisted of one syllable words, Gianna." I raised my brow.

"It's not the size that matters." She replied, a come hither grin spread across her face.

"I believe the word for your type is 'horndog'." It didn't matter anyway, Asher wasn't my type. I couldn't even imagine having sex with him. Blondes reminded me too much of Heath.

After a twelve story elevator ride, we emerged into the lobby, the clicks of our heels against the tile attracting the glances of a few passersby. I smiled inwardly as we headed out the side entrance to the parking lot, feeling like a million bucks. I passed Gianna the keys to my small white convertible Fiat, letting her have the duty of the seven hour drive.

"You're kidding."

"I'm already on edge, Gianna. If I have to drive, I might kill someone."

Knowing she'd be the closest in proximity, she gave up on the idea of arguing the issue. The locks clicked opened and we hopped in. Gianna started the car and pulled out away from the building, down the road towards the interstate. Making sure the suitcases were still secure in the back, I started the air conditioning to cool down on the abnormally hot day. I only hoped the weather didn't annihilate my hair. I plucked the invitation off the dash and opened it. Inside were raised gold letters, tastefully announcing the date and location where Heath Lewis and Elizabeth Hirsch were to be married.

Heath Lewis was my ex. We had gone out for two years and I was madly in love. That was, until I found out he was cheating on me for one-and-a-half of those two – with Hirsch. What followed were a few emotional meltdowns and pawning of a lot of Heath's prized possessions. It took five months to recover from the heartbreak and six for the wedding invitation to come in the mail. At first, I was completely shocked and angered that he would be so bold to send me an invitation to his wedding, but being the smart, confident woman that I was before he completely destroyed me, I took it as a chance to stake my claim. Show him I was better than ever. Although I wasn't planning on crashing it, invoking a little feeling of regret on his part would be a harmless way to get some of my dignity back.

After two hours, I started becoming restless and we agreed to pull over at a rest stop on the side of I-78. Gianna bought some chips and another Coke. I purchased a small turkey and swiss sandwich from one of those deli fridges, refusing to eat anything that could cause me to break out while I stayed in town for the wedding. After we ate and had a washroom break, we were off again. Along the way, we played a few CD's, noting the transition from the city atmosphere to the modest and colonial neighbourhoods of Charlottesville, Virginia. The time seemed to pass rather quickly and we arrived at 2:45 in the afternoon. The ceremony was going to be held at 3:30 so we had the option of leaving the day of. The city was romantic, though I did not care much for rural areas. There were endless streets on the outskirts of town, lined with white washed suburban houses. The grass was green, the garden beds carefully tended to - it was a perfect place for a couple like Heath and Elizabeth to settle down in. This was the locale if you dreamed of getting married, having two children and adopting a dog named Skip. Perhaps one day when I squeezed as much as I could out of Manhattan, I'd come here to die.

"It's very Stepford Wives." Gianna said observantly while I read her the directions to Belle Springs Country Club.

"Take a right here." I pointed to the upcoming street. "Yes, it's a little eerie, don't you think?"

"I hope were not surrounded by a bunch of cardigan sporting housewives." Her face pulled down in a jokingly horrified look, though I didn't think she was kidding all that much. "My mother was one of those."

"Apparently, Elizabeth is bred from them." I motioned for her to take a left. "Heath didn't even like places like these when we dated. She must have changed his mind." My voice went a little soft. I supposed it was the disappointment that I could've never persuaded Heath to do such a drastic thing while we dated.

"So that's why we're out here in the middle of nowhere." She muttered, clearly unimpressed that she was trapped in such a bleak little town. I couldn't have done it alone, so I promised her I'd make it up to her someway or another if she tagged along.

We soon arrived to the country club. Gianna pulled into the decent sized parking lot and crept into a free space as close as we could manage. I saw Heath's empty car parked closest to the walk up. I had good memories in that car. Too bad I wasn't in the passenger seat anymore. I held back the urge to wallow in self pity, it wasn't an attractive look for me.

"This is actually rather charming." I did my best to smile despite the circumstances. Gianna knew I was faking it.

"Relax." She said, patting me on the shoulder. "I don't even know why you're putting yourself through this."

There was a long pause, as if she was expecting an answer, but I didn't really know how to sensibly justify it in words. Why was I doing it? The odds were stacked against me. There was a much higher chance of coming out of this weekend more hurt than before.

I figured, just maybe, he would come to his senses after being with Elizabeth. But then again, getting married after two years - despite most of it being spent in an affair - was a pretty serious commitment. I smoothed myself down and nodded like a big girl. I'd at least show him that I was fully recovered and perfectly content being a free woman in Manhattan. We both stepped out of the car, noticing that a grey Chrysler pulled up two spots over. A finely groomed woman with pale blonde hair styled in large curls and beautiful freckles emerged from the driver's seat. She looked very pretty in a knee length purple halter dress, covered in lace. I smiled politely and she reciprocated. I could see that a young boy in the back seat, clad in a little man's tuxedo, was focused intently on his Gameboy. His mother rapped on the window.

"Get your butt out of this car before I count to three." She held her hands sternly on her hips and waited. He stuck his tongue out and she opened the door, grabbing the toy and throwing it in the passengers seat, exasperated. The boy reluctantly slid out and his mother yanked him through the parking lot.

"If there are more than 3 children attending this wedding, I will drive away like a bat out of hell." Gianna told me sternly. Truthfully, I wasn't in much of a mood to deal with crying babys and whiny kids either.

"What did you expect?" I asked grimly, referring to the town. Of course all the mothers would dress their little offspring up and drag them along to a boring event such as this. It was like peacocking, but with little humans. She rolled her eyes and shut her door. We walked up the small paved path to the side of the large mansion that held the ceremony and she threw me the keys, which I slid into my jacket pocket, along with my cellphone. I left my clutch in the car to avoid the unwanted burdon of carrying the damned thing around. If I needed lipgloss or perfume, I'd just pop out for a second.

It was a romantic, colonial style building complete with white columns, red brick and large shuttered windows. The wing we entered was meant for guests coming from the main parking lot. Inside was a group of black vested ushers who led people along to the foyer. The area was large, almost ominously so. Two large curved staircases led up to the second story overhang. The banisters were decorated with wispy garlands and orchids - a large banner hung in the centre. It simply read 'Elizabeth & Heath'. The walls on our storey were lined with tables that had beautiful flower arrangements and small take-along keepsakes. There was a guestbook sitting on a podium towards the two large oak double doors that led to the ceremony room. I walked over with Gianna and signed it. At least I wouldn't be completely forgotten.

All the women were tactfully dressed in typical wedding guest attire. Not too exposed, but enough not to seem prude. The men looked bored and I even heard a group of bachelors to my left bet about which women they would sleep with that night. I heard a comment about 'the girl in the grey suit' which I identified to be myself. I ignored their attentions and withdrew my cell to check the time. It was quarter past three and I had a hunch this was when the guests should typically be seated.

"The ceremony is suppose to kick off at 3:30, what's the hold up?" I looked around and noticed I wasn't the only one getting anxious. One mother was attempting to soothe her distraught baby, but it wouldn't stop crying. She gave up and walked out of the foyer, to my relief. Gianna and I had been reduced to playing games on our phones for the next fifteen minutes. I caught sight of the time and frowned.

"They're running late." I groaned.

"Maybe she ran off." Gianna wiggled her brows. I wanted to laugh, but I caught myself off guard by my sudden hope that maybe she did.

"No, that sounds like a Heath thing to do." I snorted.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, sorry for the delay. We will be seating you now." An older looking usher smiled forcefully and opened the two doors. We walked inside and scrambled to get good seats. Gianna and I took ours three quarters to the front, on the inside. The seats were all clad in white slipcovers with pink tulle bows tied around the back. At the front and centre of the room was the minister, his forehead slicked with sweat and his hands anxiously thumbing the pages of a booklet. Something wasn't right.

"What's his deal?" Gianna asked. I shrugged as if I didn't care, but my hands were clenched together so tightly my knuckles had turned white. Clearly they wouldn't have gone through the trouble of seating us – people were still pouring in – if the bride had skipped out. I was nervous. So was everyone else. On either side were the bridesmaids and groomsmen. The women wore long pink dresses with a white sash tied around their waists. The men wore simple, grey tailored suits and bow ties. I recognized two of them as Heath's friends I'd met when we were still dating. I immediately wanted to duck under the seats so they couldn't see me - I had a strong feeling I was now known as 'that crazy ex-girlfriend'. All of Elizabeth's bridesmaids were attractive and tall, except for one closest to the altar. She was slightly shorter and thicker than the rest and dressed in an unflattering pink chiffon frock that slightly differed from the rest. She was probably the maid of honour.

Once we were all seated, fifteen more minutes had gone by. When I was ready to take out my cell phone to check my e-mail, someone ran up to the altar.

It was Heath.

I felt a bizarre rush of nostalgia when I saw him. He scanned the room and soon locked eyes with me, his widening in shock. Maybe he didn't expect me to come (even though I had already RSVP-ed). I gathered my wits and smiled as charmingly as I could, tilting my head slightly to the side. I had plenty of time to study my technique. He opened his mouth slightly in pause and then grinned widely. It worked, apparently. He ripped his attention back to the minister and they exchanged a few hushed words. The maid of honour heard; rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. Another man frantically ran around in my periphery and the classic wedding march began playing on piano. Before I could stop myself from turning, I did, and saw that Elizabeth Hirsch was standing at the door. Her off white wedding gown was beautiful and my initial reaction was to get and stomp on it. Just rip the fucking thing to shreds.

Her arm was linked in her father's. I looked back at Heath and he seemed to be in awe at the sight of her.

"He looks brain dead." Gianna whispered. I giggled a little too loudly. I swivelled in my chair once more and realized that Elizabeth's skin was Her spray tan was the opposite of convincing. A modest smile played upon her lips as she stepped slowly down the aisle. Her father kissed her on the cheek and let her continue on up the stairs to the specially constructed altar, decorated in more of the beautiful white orchids.

She took her time, careful not to step on the gown that spanned almost the entire width of the aisle. As she stepped up, she lost her balance and nearly wiped out, but Heath caught her arm in time. There were a few gasps in the audience, but Mr. Hirsch turned around and motioned that everything was alright. There were a few awkward laughs. Elizabeth steadied herself and the music ceased playing as the two of turned to face each other. The minister read the typical wedding ceremony speech, but it seemed much shorter than usual. He slipped up a couple of times.

The ring exchange was fast approaching and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the best man patting his pockets. His face blanched and he whispered something to the guy beside him, who suddenly looked equally distressed.

"Uh oh." Gianna had noticed.

"And now for the vows." The minister smiled. Elizabeth nodded and began hers first.

"Heath Lewis... Since the first day I saw you, I knew you were the one for me. Somehow I just knew everything would work out and we would be together-"

I suppose admitting that you slept with a taken man in your wedding vows wasn't in style.

"-and here we are. I love you more than you'll ever know, and I hope that we stay together for eternity. I want my future to be with you, Heath. This is the beginning of the rest of our lives." Her eyes welled with tears. "I want you to hold my hand all the way." One slid down her cheek. "I love you." She wiped it away, along with some of her spray tan and overdone blush. Heath smiled and grabbed her hands, holding on tightly.

"And you?" The minister eyed him. Heath reached into his pocket and paused. He checked the other one, then his tuxedo coat pocket. She looked at him, her eyes widening. He leaned over to the minister and shook his head, to which he replied by mouthing the words 'go on'. Heath stood up straight and smiled.
"I love you, Elizabeth. Let's go all the way."

She looked completely and utterly devastated.

There was an tense silence that fell upon the audience as everyone stared on in disbelief. We were all thinking the same thing. Heath, on the other hand, seemed to be the only one who didn't notice, and continued to smile like an idiot at his soon-to-be-wife as if he'd just recited a Shakespearean play from memory. I stifled a giggle and looked over at Gianna. Her eyes were wide with humour, her mouth pressed into a hard line to stop herself from laughing aloud.

"Alright then." The minister murmured nervously. "Now for the rings."

Heath turned back and looked at the man standing beside him. His face was blank. I saw Heath incessantly bob his head but the man shook his. Elizabeth gaped in horror.

This was a disaster.

I looked over at Gianna, shocked, and she placed a hand over her mouth in surprise. Everyone else seemed to have had the same reaction. The ring bearer took off one of his and handed it to the groom, the maid of honour quickly followed suit. If this wedding could have been anymore cursed, the whole room would have burst into flames. I no longer felt like laughing. The minister said a few commonalities and finally the moment came that'd I'd been dreading.

He pronounced them man and wife, closing his bible with haste. The sound seemed to reverberate quite loudly through the silent crowd.

"You may now kiss the bride!" He said hurriedly, almost forgetting that part. They obliged, leaning in and pressing their lips to each other. Despite the ruined spray tan and the lack of rings, their kiss felt genuine and everyone clapped in accordance. They raised their held hands in triumph.

It was over and it all felt very surreal to me.

I sat there and watched the whole thing happen, but I couldn't quite process the idea that Heath was married. I started to regret telling him I didn't want to get hitched until I was older.

We all filed out of the seats and gathered around in the hall again, waiting while the ushers rearranged the chair setting in the ceremony room. The tables lining the walls were brought forward and some caterers set out food stations for cocktail hour. A few carried some champagne on platters through the crowd. Gianna and I grabbed one and knocked them back. I exchanged my empty flute for a full one.

"Look at that poor sucker." I said, motioning my glass towards the ring bearer. He was searching the ground for the infamous missing rings, but people kept walking in front of him. I wanted to help, but I didn't want to mess up my outfit (truthfully, I didn't care if they were found). The bridesmaids lingered, attracting the attention of some of the men. One was exceptionally gorgeous, her long chestnut locks trailed down her back in shiny waves. Hazel eyes stood out against her slightly ethnic coloured skin. Beside her was the shorter, chubbier one, trying to make conversation. She just looked at her silently and walked away, unamused. How rude.

"Don't even think of going over there." Gianna warned, noticing my attentions had been placed elsewhere.

"It won't hurt to introduce myself." I said. Before I could think about it further, one of Heath's old friends came up. He had a champagne glass in one hand and a long, lean blonde lady in his other. I felt dread wash over me, but I hid it with a curt smile.

"What are you doing here, Deirdre?" He asked, laughing. It wasn't a playful question.

"The same reason you are." I did my best to play along.

"I'm surprised Heath sent you an invitation!" The woman started giggling along with him.

So he came over here to attack me. Gianna put a gentle hand the small of my back and gently pressed, but I dismissed her. I was a big girl, capable of handling Heath's parasitic friend.

"And why is that?" I smiled, taking a generous swig from my glass.

"Oh well, what with all that stuff that happened." His smile started to lose its glimmer.

"I forgave him a long time ago." I knew he wasn't talking about Heath's cheating. "I thought it would be nice to come see him start a new phase of his life."

He didn't say anything, because I hadn't left him much to say. That was, unless he wanted to just tell me I was a crazy freak, but there was no courteous way of putting that. He nodded to me and Gianna and walked away with his blonde arm candy. I took a deep breath of relief.

"That went better than I'd thought." I said.

"You handled him like a pro." She took another gulp of her drink. "Maybe this weekend isn't going to be a total nightmare." Her words were oddly comforting. After a half an hour or so of mingling and introducing ourselves - I as an old friend - I met the maid of honour. Her hair was dark brown, strewn in curls along her shoulders. Her face was rather cute, but her height was far below mine and I was only 5'6".

"That was some wedding, huh?" I laughed. She smiled and shook her head like she was annoyed.

"What a crapshoot, right?" Her laugh was high pitched but very infectious.

"I'm Deirdre, an old friend of Heath's." I said, sticking out my hand to shake hers.

"Deirdre?" She asked, thinking for a moment. Her eyes blinked wide as she realized who I was. "Deirdre Jones?"

I felt my gut sink - she knew who I was. I wanted to turn and run but Gianna was across the room, flirting with a handsome middle-aged man with dark brown hair. I let out a deep sigh.

"Why not just call me crazy Deirdre like Heath's buddies? I love when they do that." I smirked, shoving as much sarcasm into as I could muster.

"Oh my god!" She gasped. "I can't believe I'm meeting you! This is so awesome!" Her voice was overly excited. I couldn't help but look at her, confused

"You make it sound like it's a life goal."

"Sorry, I should have introduced myself. I'm Elizabeth's sister, Kitty." She stuffed her face with a little filet mignon on a toothpick.

"Kitty?" I asked, amused by the choice of name. I knew the P&P sisters names anywhere.

"Yeah. Our mom reads a lot of Jane Austen. My other sister is Jane." Her eyes rolled as she chewed the meat. I waited for her to finish so she could continue. I was still baffled why she was so happy to meet me.

"I'm sorry." She looked around to see if anyone was watching, and threw her toothpick over her shoulder. If this was Elizabeth's sister, then I was the pope. "I guess I should explain. I hate Heath. Almost as much as I hate my sister, but she takes the cake. That guy is as dumb as rock and as unique as a grain of sand. He treats me like I'm Elizabeth's handicapped sister. Anyone who did what you did to him is alright with me." Her full lips pulled up in a mischievous smile. "I'm a fan."

"Ah, so you don't like your sister's choice?" I asked, remaining detached. All I needed was to slip up and say something inappropriate to make myself look like even more of an ass. Maybe this was a ploy on Elizabeth's part to get me to admit I wanted him back? I had to be careful, especially around the family. I picked up one of the little olive paste hors d'oeuvres and popped it in my mouth.

"I don't really care what she does." She muttered, her voice lowering a few notches.

"Well, if they're happy, I hope it lasts." My statement was devoid of any truth. She picked up on it and smiled again.

"Any relationship that was founded on an affair will go down in flames. We both know that." She winked. Her attentions caught on someone who was on the other side of the room. She shook my hand again and left. That poor girl must have been living in Elizabeth's shadow for her whole life. I felt sorry for her. I turned around and Gianna was laughing up a storm with Mr. Good Looking. I let her mingle while I stood against the wall, surveying the people who were in attendance. Most of them looked rather boring – most likely from around town. A few looked cultured in their trendier attire. There were some older couples conversing with younger ones and I spotted Elizabeth's father with a woman on his arm. She had deep brunette hair, with streaks of grey that ran through it. Her face was more similar to Kitty's than Elizabeth's. Before I could look away, her father turned around and noticed I was staring. I smiled but he looked daggers at me. I was shocked at his attack, but quickly dismissed him. I didn't come here to pick fights.
Gianna realized I was alone and walked over with her man in tow, a beaming smile painted on her face.

"Deirdre, this is James. He's a lawyer down in Central New York." Her voice was proud. She'd hunted a good one. "James, this is Deirdre, ex-girlfriend of the groom." She couldn't say that I worked as a Public Relations agent at an established business in Manhattan. No, I was that dreaded ex-girlfriend who never moved on from the relationship. He didn't seem to recognize my name and stuck out a hand as greeting. I shook it and smiled politely.

"James invited us to dine at his dinner table." She said, pleased as punch. "There were a few spots free so I took him up on his offer." She laughed and patted him on his broad shoulder jacket.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, dinner will be served shortly. Please be seated." Another usher announced.

We walked in and I was honestly surprised that it was the same room. The altar had been removed and the tables were set up around in a circle. There was blue lighting cast over the room, creating a cool and relaxed ambience. In the centre of the circle were their names, being cast from an overhead projector.

"Very snazzy." I commented to Gianna. She was quite at awe at the transformation. Apparently Elizabeth's family weren't hurting for money. Each table had a beautiful tall vase with white calla lilies and light pink orchids. In front of the chairs were numbers and I realized we hadn't gotten any.

"It's okay, James is going to move some around so we can get in. He didn't get a number either." She leaned in to whisper, reading the bewilderment on my face.

He ushered us to a table which was placed in the inner circle just off the dance floor. He made quick work of replacing the number markers at other tables before the ushers saw. Gianna and I sat down and two couples joined us at on the other side of the large table. The seat beside me was unoccupied - James had also taken its number by accident. He came back and sat down beside Gianna and we waited patiently for dinner to be served. The bride and groom walked in through the giant double doors and everyone who'd been seated turned around and clapped. Elizabeth had changed her dress to a more form fitting mermaid gown, which fit her lithe body well. Everyone clapped as they sat down behind the long table at the front of the room. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were placed on either side of the two massive chairs meant for them. The doors closed once everyone was in from their miscellaneous breathers and smoke breaks and dinner commenced. There were a few toasts and laughs in the crowd before they served the main courses.

I had the intense urge to take my fork and stab myself with it, I was so incredibly bored. Gianna was hunched over toward James, hanging on every word that came out of his mouth - which I had to admit, was not a lot. In fact, I didn't even know what his voice sounded like.

I wasn't hungry and found it difficult to eat past the few bites of steak I had managed to digest. I treated myself to a third glass of wine and the alcohol started to dull my newfound hate for the situation.

I had to admit, for a brief period after our breakup, drinking was the one thing that distracted me from the pain.

Yelling suddenly erupted from outside the doors and woke me from my lamenting. I swivelled in my chair they opened to a tall man with dark hair and a look of fury across his face. His brows were drawn together and he scowled so deep it intimidated me.

"Darby?" I heard Elizabeth exclaim hysterically from the front of the room. Everyone was staring at him in complete silence. He straightened and adjusted his jacket, quickly recovering his composure. There were some chairs squeaking and Elizabeth's father rose angrily, marching to the door and grabbing the man's arm. He escorted him out and the ushers closed the doors as if nothing happened. I looked back at Elizabeth's incredulous expression. James leaned in.

"That's Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend." He said, shaking his head with a solemn look.

"Is that a bad thing?" I asked in a hushed voice. He looked exasperated.

"Very bad. I wonder who invited him." He took a long drink of his wine. I followed suit.

"Could this wedding get any crazier?" Gianna asked. Everyone in the room waited tensely until Mr. Hirsch walked back in with Darby behind him. He eyed me and pointed to the empty chair beside me. My face fell in dread as Darby ominously strode over and sat down, silent. Strangely, the first thing I took note of was how good he smelt. The scent wafted as he adjusted the buttons on his blazer – a mix of spice, musk and outdoorsy pine. It was soft of… intoxicating.

I felt myself giving him an involuntary once over. He was wearing an extremely nice, tailored black suit, perhaps a bit too high class for the event, but it looked well on him. His legs were long and his torso lean. Even sitting, he was much taller than I. I avoided looking at the general region of his crotch, afraid of what I might find, but I noticed his hands were clenched into fists upon his lap, much like mine during the ceremony. I examined his jawline, which was strong and defined with a coat of black stubble. My fingers tingled with the urge to run my finger along the edge. His mouth, well defined and oddly pale, formed a severe line. His nose was sharp, perfectly proportioned for his face. It was when I finally reached his eyes that I noticed he'd been staring down at me the whole time. I felt a chill creep down my spine, finding myself unable to look away. His eyes were black and unsettling, burning into me. He finally quirked a brow and I blushed, frantically searching for something around the room to look at and found my gaze locking with Heath's. He didn't look pleased, maybe even a bit worried. I felt a smile bubble up and waved hello. If I wasn't mistaken, he raised his glass of champagne to me.

'You look lovely,' he mouthed. My heart skipped a beat. Shit.

I felt even more flustered and decided to pretend to listen to James talking to Gianna about his vacation home in Cuba. I felt uncomfortable - I could tell the guy sitting beside me was still watching me. I felt the burn of his gaze on my back and I shivered, the feeling quite foreign to me. In fact, it made me a bit...


A waiter came around with bottle of wine and I motioned for him to pour me a glass.

"Actually I'll take the whole thing." I decided as I swiped it out of his ready hands.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry but I can't do that." He tried to fetch it with a polite smile and I placed it on the table out of his reach.

"I'll be drinking this either way." I retaliated. "So if you don't want to be back every five minutes to fill my glass, I'll just keep this on hand."

He stared at me for a moment and finally gave up. "Alright miss." He nodded and retreated rather hurriedly. I must have scared the little bugger. Without looking at him, I poured some into Darby's empty glass and rather inappropriately, took a swig from the bottle.

"Thanks." He murmured.