“What crawled up her ass and died?” Donny asks with my plate of shrimp in his hand as we walk toward our table.
“Bad lip fillers?” I somehow crack a smile, but my heart hurts. I shouldn’t feel betrayed because Hayden doesn’t owe me anything, but he knows how horrible she was toward me in high school. Thanks to Donny’s Facebook stalking, I had a warning, but it doesn’t hurt any less to actually see them together in person. The way she snaked her arm around him and pulled him closer made me sick. Sure, a lot of time has passed since we broke up, but she’s the last person on earth I ever expected him to date, and seeing her nasty hands on him makes me want to vomit. All the bad memories from my teenage years flooded back when I heard her awful voice. Bitch.
“Well regardless, she’s not aging well. Unfortunately for her, Snapchat filters aren’t a thing in real life. I knew she touched up her photos. I could tell by the perfect complexion and full lips. So fake.” Donny leans against the table and slides the plate of shrimp toward me.
“Ironically, I’m not hungry anymore.” I glance around the room, trying not to make eye contact with him because he can see straight through me.
He grabs a shrimp and wiggles it in my face. “Oh come on. You love these little bastards.”
It doesn’t take much to convince me. “Fine,” I say, swiping it from his fingers. It tastes heavenly, so I help myself to another.
He chuckles and grabs a mini sausage. “Sometimes size does matter.”
I snort. “I think I need a stronger drink.” I finish the vodka tonic and continue eating.
“I’m on it.” Donny walks toward the bar like it’s a runway, and it makes me snicker because he really gives no fucks about any of the people’s opinions in this room. For the most part, I don’t either. Except for Hayden’s.
For years, I thought about what it’d be like to see him again, but this feels like something from my worst nightmares, especially since he’s with that witch. I wish a house would fall on her and the Munchkins would come out to celebrate with me.
Donny soon arrives with a tall glass, and I’m excited to see the colorful liquid and umbrella.
“The bartender totally wants me. I watched him pour a little extra rum in both. Helped that I told him to make something just like me—dangerous and delicious.” He chuckles, handing over my beautiful pink beverage, and takes a drink of his own.
I take a sip. “Oh my God. This is so strong and fruity.”
“Yep, I’m pretty much all those things too.” Donny drinks half of it as if he’s in a hurry to go back and visit the bartender. Soon, both glasses are empty, but all the worry I had fifteen minutes ago is practically gone. I pop a mini quiche in my mouth and listen to Donny go on about this bartender.
“I’m parched,” he whines, then pulls me by my arm toward the bar.
The alcohol courses through my system, and I hold on to him as we wait in line. Whatever Hottie McHot Bartender made us, I want another or five. I’m hoping enough of these tasty drinks will erase the thoughts of Hayden with Veronica.
We patiently wait in line, and I can’t help but notice how the low lights really sets the mood. I smile at the random chatter as soft music fills the background, and I’m so thankful Donny is my sidekick tonight because seeing Hayden again without him would’ve ended in the self-pity lane right out the hotel doors.
I turn and scan the room while he orders us another round, and my eyes land on Hayden chatting with someone and I realize it’s his little brother, Hunter. I almost didn’t recognize him, but his smile hasn’t changed over the years. It takes me a moment to remember how old he was then—twelve or thirteen. Time has passed so quickly.
For a moment, I can’t seem to take my eyes off Hayden in that suit that hugs him in all the right places. His hair is messy on top, and I can tell he’s laughing at something. Veronica is nowhere around, and for the first time tonight, Hayden looks happy. Above all things, that’s all I’ve ever wanted for him—true happiness.
As if he felt my gaze, he turns, and his eyes meet mine. The room stills, and all I can hear is the sound of my beating heart. It’s almost as if everything around us disappears when he smiles at me. I swallow hard, hurry and turn around, and try to squeeze myself in Donny and the bartender’s flirty conversation, whose name I learn is William. The alcohol only encourages my obnoxiousness, but I desperately need the distraction.