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|Before Jamaica Lane(On Dublin Street #3)(14) by Samantha Young|
Joss chuckled. ‘If you’ll excuse us, we have more rounds to make.’
We waved Joss and Braden off, and settled into random conversation.
‘Hey, kiddos.’ Dad approached, looking dapper in his dark gray suit. His arm was wrapped tightly around Dee’s curvy waist. She looked stunning in a flowing light blue maxi dress, her long blond hair falling in waves around her shoulders. ‘Dee and I are going up to dance. Care to join us?’
‘Perhaps in a bit,’ Jo answered, her eyes soft as she looked at the older couple. Her expression said she was happy my dad had found Dee, and as I took in how relaxed he was, I knew for sure I was too.
‘Have fun,’ I said, and grinned at them.
Dee smiled down at me. ‘You look beautiful, Olivia.’ Her eyes swept the table. ‘You all do.’
‘Well, so do you,’ I replied, and immediately beamed happily under my dad’s approving smile.
I watched them walk onto the dance floor, feeling something shift inside me.
Not long after, Cole decided to reduce his boredom by seeking Hannah and Dec’s company, and Jo and Cam wandered off to find Ellie and Adam.
‘Want another drink?’ Nate gestured to my empty champagne glass.
‘You got it.’
I watched him walk through the wedding reception crowd, so at ease with himself. He’d shrugged off his jacket, leaving him in his shirt and waistcoat. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up and he’d loosened his tie. I could see most women following him with their eyes, so it wasn’t a surprise when a gorgeous young woman in a light blue, short, fitted dress pressed into his side at the bar and introduced herself.
I had to wait twenty minutes for my beer.
If I’d had Nate’s confidence I wouldn’t have had to wait twenty minutes for a beer. I could have just strolled up to a nice-looking guy, started flirting, and he’d have bought me one. If I could believe in myself like I knew I should, I could get up off my butt and do just that.
In fact, I was going to.
I searched the room for nice-looking men and pretended I couldn’t find any.
Slumping back against my seat, I mentally kicked myself in the shin, once again frustrated with myself.
After Nate was done flirting his ass off, he came back to the table and shuffled his seat closer to mine as he handed me my beer.
‘She was hot,’ I observed.
The left side of Nate’s mouth curled up, his dimple flashing me. ‘Sorry I took so long.’
‘Did you get her number at least? Or just a promise to hook up at the end of the night?’
His look said What do you think?
We sat in companionable silence for a moment, looking around the room at all the guests. I barely knew any of them.
‘What would you prefer?’ Nate suddenly turned to me conversationally. ‘Being perpetually stuck at someone else’s wedding reception or at the wake of someone you don’t know that well?’
I mused over this. ‘Do I know the person whose wedding it is well?’
‘Are both reception and wake inside or out?’
Nate took a swig of beer. ‘Is this a weather issue?’
‘We’ll give both an even playing field. Inside.’
I turned slightly into him, ready to give him my answer. ‘Okay, I’m going to go with the wake. At the wedding I’d continually have to pretend to be happy, and it is far more exhausting to pretend happiness than it is to pretend sadness. Also, I don’t know the wedding people very well, so I’m not going to know many of the guests well either. At a wedding reception that’s just awkward. Moreover, we’re talking a perpetual sound track of cheesy music, so we’re talking a perpetual migraine. No thanks. At the wake of someone I don’t know I can at least spend some of eternity getting to listen to the stories about that person from each guest. Who knows, maybe the deceased was some amazing adventurer who lived to the grand old age of one hundred. We’re talking lots of stories that are sure to be interesting. There’d be no awful music. I could be miserable if I wanted, but if I couldn’t pretend misery then no one would blame me since I didn’t know the deceased that well. There’s usually a buffet at a wake, so I’m more likely to find something to eat that I’ll actually like. Plus, death always makes people act weird, so there might even be a hot, grieving guy who wants to have sex upstairs in the bathroom with me. That would pass the time.’
Nate had been sitting with his beer frozen at his lips the entire time I’d been talking, his eyes slightly rounded as my explanation rambled on. Finally he said, ‘You put a lot of thought into that one.’
I shrugged. ‘You have to think it through when you’re talking about forever.’
‘So what would you choose?’
I wrinkled my nose. ‘Why?’
His smile was cocky as his eyes searched the room. His gaze stopped on the blue-dress girl. ‘Because there are always women feeling sad that they’re single, and they’re more than happy to quell that sadness with the first eligible man in the vicinity.’
‘Hey, I’m not the one who’s planning to take advantage of a grieving relative for sex in the bathroom at a wake.’
‘Yeah, well, at least I’d have the bathroom to go to. Where on earth are you taking these sad, lonely women if you’re stuck at the reception?’
‘I think the bathroom would work for me also.’
‘A public toilet?’ I arched a brow at him. ‘Have you done that before?’
‘Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.’
‘Oh, I want the answer,’ I replied, eyeing him curiously.
Nate ignored me, staring off at the dance floor. ‘You want to dance?’
With an inner sigh of disappointment, I let him off the hook and shook my beer at him. ‘Get a few more of these in me and then maybe.’
Grinning, he got up. ‘I’ll be right back.’
Suddenly the room shifted and the soft mattress of my bed was under my back, the ceiling of my bedroom in my line of sight. A feathery touch on my feet had me pushing up onto my elbows and I saw Nate taking off my shoes. After I almost knocked Joss off her feet with a serious lack of coordination, Nate had been as good as his word and had gotten my drunken butt in a cab and practically carried me up the stairs to my flat.