“Are you going to stop acting weird around me or what?”
Finally, he makes eye contact and gives me a small smile. “Sorry. There’s been a lot on my mind lately.”
“I get it. But you’re avoiding me. I don’t like that.”
“I’m not,” he says, taking a bite of chicken.
“You’re a terrible liar. I know you as well as I know your sister,” I remind him.
“Mia and I broke up. That’s all it is.”
My face falls, and I reach my hand over to his and squeeze. He tenses at first, but then relaxes and grips my hand in return.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. If you want to talk about it…” My words are sincere, and I mean it with my full heart. I can’t help but think that this has something to do with me, which would explain why he’s being strange.
“I don’t. Thanks, Court.”
He’s being short, but I understand. Every time they break up he’s standoffish. It’s a part of the cycle.
I suck in a deep breath, and all I can smell is sugar and chocolate chips.
“You should have a cookie. Even if it’s just one.”
“They will make you feel better,” I add.
A smile creeps up on his lips, and that makes me happy to know my best friend is still in there, even though he’s hurting. Once we’re done eating, I pick up our plates and put them in the sink. Drew follows me into the kitchen with his wet hair slicked back, shirtless, with only basketball shorts on and when I glance over I think I stop breathing. The tattoos that cover his body are so damn sexy that I have to push those thoughts I’ve worked so hard to bury away. I see he has a napkin in his hand with three cookies piled high. Before he starts chewing, I warn him.
“They’re actually really bad for you and full of sugar and butter.”
“You little shit,” he teases. “I should’ve known there was no such thing.”
He puts them down, breaks a corner off one and moans as he swallows the little bitty piece down.
My eyes widen, and I tuck my lips into my mouth.
He narrows his eyes at me. “What? You have a look on your face.”
I try not to burst out laughing and shake my head until I completely lose it. “It’s better than sex, huh?”
Drew swallows down what’s in his mouth then glares at me and turns his head quickly. Just like clockwork, it gets all awkward again. Before I say something incriminating, I wash the dishes in the sink and decide to go to bed. It’s even a believable excuse because I’ve been yawning like a grandma for the past twenty minutes.
“Bedtime already?” Drew asks as I turn off the dining room light.
“I’m going to eat five cookies in bed with a big glass of milk and watch Big Brother reruns,” I say walking back into the kitchen.
“You’re kidding, right?”
I turn and look back at him.
“You’re not kidding.” He shakes his head.
“Not one bit,” I say between bites as I’m piling them high on my plate. I pour a big glass of milk and walk to my room and turn on the TV. As I’m lying in bed eating, I text Viola to fill her in before it gets too late.
C: Mia and Drew broke up.
V: I kind of figured they would before the wedding. I just had a feeling.
C: I feel really bad for him. He seems pretty upset this time.
V: Only one way to make him feel better.
C: Best friend & roommate status ruined all that.
V: I’m still holding out hope.
I place the empty plate on my nightstand and pull the blanket up to my waist. Silently I hope he’s going to be okay this time and he doesn’t push the world and me away like usual.
Two days before the wedding…
This week has flown by, and soon my sister will be a married woman to my best friend.
I arrive at the rehearsal dinner on time because there is no way I’m going to be the one to set Viola off. She’s already in her bridezilla mode, and I got the warning text from Travis super early this morning after my shift. Over the years, I’ve seen Viola stressed to her max with school projects and finals, and while she goes into hyper speed mode, she gets emotional. It’s best just to go with the flow.
Our mother is giving everyone instructions while the orchestra warms up. Travis walks up behind me and pats me on the back. He reaches inside his blazer and hands me a wedding ring box. My eyes go wide.
“Don’t lose it. The ring is really in there,” Travis says. Mom is busy breaking the wedding party into couples. Andy, Travis’s cousin, is standing right behind me cracking jokes with Ashley. I’m really happy Travis asked him to be in the wedding party. He’s been a jokester for as long as I can remember. Courtney walks over to me with a big smile on her face, and I must force back all the thoughts that are streaming through my mind.