Hunter walks a few steps behind us, and when I turn and look at him, he gives me two big thumbs-up. While I appreciate his encouragement, it’s not needed.
“You two should take a picture together,” Hunter suggests.
Veronica loves the idea, and I reluctantly hand my phone over to him. I place my arm around Veronica’s shoulder, and we smile.
“You should totally post this on Facebook.” Before I can interfere, Hunter opens the app and immediately shares it to my wall and tags Veronica before handing my phone back. “Thought you needed some help,” he says just loud enough for me to hear. I’m two seconds from slapping the smirk off his face.
Before we walk into where the ceremony is being held, Veronica stops and looks over at me. “Ready?” She holds me a little tighter.
“Yep.” I give her a smile and lead her inside. I’m halfway surprised to see almost every seat taken, but the three of us manage to find an empty row in the back. Veronica sits first, and I’m sandwiched between her and Hunter, who’s already busy flirting with a woman sitting across the room.
“Do you know who she is?” he leans over and asks.
I shake my head. “No clue.”
“Hmm. Might need to get her number.”
Just as I open my mouth, I’m immediately pulled away when Veronica places her hand on my inner thigh. I turn and look at her and all she does is smirk at me and inch closer. It becomes crystal clear to her that we’ll need to have a talk after tonight so she knows where I stand. Luckily, Timothy, a guy from our high school notices me and walks over. I stand, thankful for the distraction, and shake his hand.
“Hey, man. Been a long time,” I tell him.
“Yeah, it has been. You still living here?” he asks. “Oh hey, Veronica.”
She smiles at him and gives a friendly wave, and I can see it in his eyes that he thinks we’re together. Before I can introduce her as my friend, the orchestra starts playing.
“Better get to my seat. We should catch up later,” Timothy says.
I nod and sit while he walks to his seat.
“I don’t remember him,” Veronica whispers, and I know it’s because he wasn’t a popular guy in school. She only knew those who ran in her social circle and had very little concern for anyone else.
I shrug. “He’s a super nice guy. I liked him a lot,” I whisper because I notice the groom and best man standing at the altar. Soon, the bridesmaids and groomsmen are walking down the aisle, and they’re quickly followed by Lena and her father. Everyone stands as the “Bridal Chorus” plays, and as she passes us, I find myself smiling. She’s a stunning bride.
The ceremony finishes quickly, and I can tell how in love they are by the way they look at each other. It gives me hope that maybe one day I’ll find a love like that again.
After the pastor pronounces them man and wife, and they kiss and skip down the aisle, the hoard of people all try to rush out of the room to the reception next door in the ballroom. I follow Hunter as he makes a path for us because cocktail hour is starting.
Veronica takes me by surprise when she grabs my hand and squeezes it in hers as if we’d been doing it for years. This whole situation is becoming more awkward with each passing minute. I carefully remove my hand from hers and hold the door open, hoping she takes the hint.
Hunter gestures toward an empty bar top table, and we walk toward it. “Would you like a drink?” I ask Veronica, spotting the bar.
“Sure. Red wine, please.”
I nod and look at Hunter.
“Tequila. Double. Thanks,” he orders, glancing around the room. I’m sure he’s searching for the brunette he was eye fucking during the ceremony.
The line for the cash bar is already long as hell, but I gladly wait, grab our drinks, then deliver them back to our table. Hunter happily takes his, and Veronica immediately sips her wine. I notice the appetizer table and decide to grab some finger foods before I start drinking. Plus, by the way Veronica keeps staring at me, I need some distance from her.
When I walk over to the tables against the wall and see a brunette piling shrimp high on her plate, it makes me chuckle. By the looks of it, she’s clearing the entire thing, which I find humorous.
Stepping up beside her, I tell her how we must’ve had the same idea except she beat me to it. The moment she turns and looks up at me, my heart lodges in my throat and the shock of seeing her again is evident on my face. It’s been ten years, and she’s never looked more beautiful.