Hadn’t Met You Yet. Chapter 23.

“What?” Olivia demanded with too much fear impregnated in her voice.

“Don’t play dumb. You know what I’m talking about. Give me all the juicy details, don’t leave anything out.”

Olivia blinked twice as the absurdity of the situation started to sink in. Here they were, locked inside the women’s bathroom, her friend, glowing and absolutely stunning in her wedding gown, her arms crossed over her chest waiting for Olivia to dish up all the details about her date to the wedding. As if she’d just seen her talking to the cutest senior guy from back in high school and she couldn’t wait for Olivia to tell her everything.

Then, again, only Tracy could pick up the most bizarre moments to have a girl talk.

“You mean to tell me you dragged me all the way here just to……..you don’t even have to, you know, go do number one?”

“Come on, you’re my maid-of-honor not my nanny. I can go to the bathroom by myself. Although now that you mention it, last time I came it took me a while to figure out how not to mess with the dress.”

“Oh gross. Just for that I should just walk away and let you fend for yourself. Teach you a lesson.”

“But you won’t. You’re far too responsible to walk away from your duties. Which I know don’t include this but they do include helping the bride every step of the way.”

“You’re impossible, poor Trevor.”

“Yeah, yeah. Come on, missy. And don’t even think for a second that we are walking out of here without you telling me the deal with Mr.-he-can’t-take-his-eyes-off-you, out there.”

With a sigh of defeat, Olivia helped Tracy get inside one of the stalls, all the while chanting over and over, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” She walked out and leaned outside the closed stall door and had to fight the urge of putting her hands over her ears to block out the noise of trickling water, not necessarily coming from the faucets in front of her.

“Okay, so ‘fess up. Who is he, why is he here, and most important, why hadn’t you told me about him, because it is pretty obvious you two know each other very well.”

“We don’t.” Indignant, Olivia huffed out her response. Debating her options, Olivia eyed the closed door and knew she could make a run for it. Knowing Tracy though, the woman would just find another moment, maybe a more embarrassing one to know what she was after. Besides, it was her wedding day, the least Olivia wanted was to cause a scene or get her upset.

“I can hear your brain working but I can’t hear any useful information.”

“Fine! His name is Michael, and I met him at the grocery store near my house the other I went with…..” She stopped before saying Emilia’s name. Clearing her throat, Olivia shook her head and carried on.

“When I went the other day. He needed something, I helped him out and next thing I know he’s chasing me down to the register line and asking me out to dinner.”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me.”

“Okay, so let me get this straight. You met this random guy and then out of the blue he asked you out.”

“Pretty much.”

From inside the stall, Tracy pressed her still pale coral painted lips together as she tried to picture her friend’s sexy date with a grocery cart doing errands. Definitely an image that might make more than one woman swoon over him, just as Olivia was trying very hard no to.

“What did you help him with?”

Ah, jeez, I knew she would ask.

“He was looking for that spray deodorant thing for his niece.”

Two seconds passed, before Tracy commented.

“Then you did a hell of a job, I mean for him to ask you out and then for him to be your date for tonight.”

“He’s not…..look, just so you know, I haven’t been on a date nor am I planning to, with Michael. In fact, I pretty much told him he was some poor loser trying to score, making up the story about his niece.”

Tracy ignored the first part of her reply and pressed on.

“I’m sorry but him being out there says otherwise.”

“I didn’t invite him, he uhmm…..he sort of appeared outside my doorstep just as I was about to drive to your parents’.”

“Appeared? Who is he, Harry Potter?”

“Duh, very funny. No, I don’t even know how he knew about today. I just opened my door and there he was, all dressed up, with his tie matching the color of my dress…..looking like a movie star, informing me he’d come to pick me up for the wedding.”

Oh, this I have to see. Tracy thought of her friend’s face. She detected a slight sigh as Olivia explained why was Michael with her tonight.

Olivia pulled away from the door when she heard the sound of water flushing on the other side of the closed door. Holding her breath, Olivia felt the door pull open and went inside to help Tracy lift the dress and walk out. Then, she let it out in one quick whoosh. Tracy rolled her eyes up to the ceiling.

“So, you were saying. He came to your house, to pick you up. Okay, so now you have to tell me how does he know where you live? He’s not some creepy stalker is he?”

Shoot. Walked right into that one.

“It turned out he did have a niece, which coincidentally is the one and only Camie Hurst.”

He is her uncle?” Tracy pointed one finger to the closed door, as if he was standing on the other side.

“Yep.”

“Figures. I kept trying to remember if I’d seen him before, some place else. Wow, they have the same..”

“Eyes, yes I know. Her dad does, too.”

“Hold it, hold it. You’ve already met her dad? Have you’ve been holding out on me best friend?”

“Well, if you would quit interrupting me I could finish telling you, bridezilla.

“Fine.”

Olivia crouched in front of her friend and started fixing the skirt of her dress, while she told her about meeting Camie’s dad.

“Anyway, Camie joined the book club and last Wednesday we had our meeting. Noah was supposed to pick me up since you took my car that day. In the end, he got tied up at the office so Michael offered to give me a ride, but Camie decided I should join them for dinner, so I went. That’s how I met Jerry, Camie’s dad.”

“And is he as yummy as his brother?”

“Tracy! Shame on you! You haven’t even been married for twenty-four hours and you are already thinking of other men.”

“Hey, if it weren’t for this,” she waved her left hand at Olivia’s face, “I would have already taken dear Michael to the nearest coat room.”

Olivia laughed because it would take someone really dumb not to see that her friend was crazy about her husband. Still, she tsk-tsk in disapproval before continuing.

“Anyway, that’s how I know Michael. Now, there you go,” she stood up and studied her friend in her perfect, dreamlike wedding dress, “ready to get back.”

But her friend’s words stopped her before she reached the door.

“Not so fast. I’ve known you basically my whole life, there is something you’re not telling me Olivia.”

Incredulous, or at least she thought that was what she was going for, when she turned around to stare at her friend with widened eyes. She knew she’d failed when Tracy began tapping her foot impatiently on the black and white tiled floor.

“Just don’t get mad or anything, okay?”

Gone from impatient to concerned in a flash, Tracy went over and took both her friend’s hands in a reassuring manner.

“Never.”

Olivia sighed.

“Okay, that night after dinner at Michael’s house, because that’s where Camie and her dad live, he gave me a ride to my place. We….God, I was having a good time, talking to him. Telling him about my memorable twenty-fifth birthday. Then, we got to my house and I knew there was something there simmering on the surface, and before I had time to prepare myself he just pulled me into his arms and kissed me.”

Tracy’s gasp ricochetted off the restroom’s creamy painted walls. It wasn’t outrage but more of an aha feeling as she now knew why her friend seemed happy yet jumpy whenever Michael touched her or got close to her.

“Did you like it?”

“Tracy!”

“What? I honestly want to know.”

Olivia began pacing back and forth, not sure if she wanted to stop and think about the answer to that question herself. When Tracy said her name in a quiet whisper, Olivia stood still and closed her eyes before answering.

“Yes…..no. I don’t know. He just caught me off guard, just as he caught me off guard when he unexpectedly went by to my house Sunday to let me know he wasn’t going to back off without a fight.”

When her friend’s eyes sparkled with excitement, Olivia pulled her hands away and started to rub her arms, trying to shake off the rush of overwhelming and confusing emotions that always crawled all over her body whenever her mind went back to both moments outside her front door.

“Look, Tracy, I really don’t want to talk about this tonight. Besides, whatever Michael has in mind can’t happen. The only reason I agreed to come here with him tonight is because he promised this was all just a casual, between friends affair…..thing.”

But Tracy wasn’t listening to Olivia anymore, her mind had taken a huge leap backward. Her mushy and overtired brain, after all the wedding preparations, made the connection that had escaped her when her friend mentioned Camie being Michael’s niece.

“Oh. My. God. Wow, she is really good.”

Olivia’s face creased at her forehead in bewilderment.

“Tracy! What are you talking about?”

“Camie. Man, real smart kid. Totally fooled me, in a good way, but still.”

“I don’t see how Camie fits with….” However, Olivia suddenly saw it too. Was that how he’d known? No….. Michael wouldn’t do anything as low as use his niece to get away with his own agenda, would he?

Seeing it dawn on her flushed face, Tracy wondered if maybe she should’ve kept that to herself.

“I can’t believe it. Do you think he asked Camie to, I don’t know, keep her eyes open for a chance for him to make his move, to….”

“Okay, let’s just take a step back here. I don’t think he’d do that, especially because I can tell know it was all the kid’s doing. Maybe she heard us talking about you and Noah and since she knew I was going to be absent from the school next week, well…all she had to do was ask.”

Olivia wanted to be mad at Michael, so she would feel less guilty for having such a good time with him, and not thinking about her real boyfriend during this entire time. But Tracy was right. Michael loved his niece and Olivia had to agree with her, no way would he use her like that.

“You like him, don’t you?”

“Please, Tracy not now. I….”

“Okay, okay. It’s just…I don’t know if you’d noticed, but you’ve been grinning like a fool the entire time you’ve been with him. I’m just glad you’re having fun out there, that was the main purpose for me terrorizing half the city, anyway.”

Olivia wanted to argue with her friend, but who was she fooling? She’d been afraid that coming to the wedding alone would not be as much fun, at some point during the night, she’d been grateful for Michael’s timing.

Starting to feel trapped in the confines of the restroom’s small space, the maid-of-honor decided it was time to head back to the party.

“We should get back, Trevor might be wondering if I sneaked you out or something.”

Holding the restroom door open, Olivia waited until Tracy exited before following her along the hallway that led them back to the main room.

“Now that would be one of your main responsibilities.”

“Oh, I know. I have the biker waiting outside. Just give me the signal and I’ll create a distraction.”

Before reaching the end of the hallway, Tracy whirled around and not caring if she cried again for the thousand time, she hugged her friend tight and whispered in her ear.

“You know I love you, right?”

“Yep. Me, too, silly. Now come on, we’ve probably missed some good songs to shake our fine bodies, too.

“Damn right they are.”

But when her eyes located Michael talking with her mother, Olivia could only think one thing. 

Man, I’m in deep trouble.

And not because her mom would undoubtedly ask her what the hell, well not in those words, but she’d want to know why she’d decided to bring the same man she’d refused to talk about at Thanksgiving.

Her deep trouble was because the lines between friend and not were starting to blur as well as the lines from what was right and from what was wrong. Tracy was right though, she shouldn’t spoil the good time she’d been having so far. As with her hangover this morning, she’d have enough time tomorrow to beat herself for her reckless decision.

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