“Where are you going?” she asks.
“I don’t know.” My eyes fix on the duffel bag in the corner, packed for our honeymoon in the Bahamas. A week at the beach with my new husband. It was going to be so romantic.
I need to get out of here, but my car is at my mother-in-law’s.
She isn’t going to be your mother-in-law anymore.
“I need to borrow your car,” I blurt.
“What? Sure, okay. Anything you want.”
“Don’t call me.” I throw the duffel bag over my shoulder and run down the stairs right past Marcus.
I’m pulling out of the parking lot when Marcus returns to the front of the building. He doesn’t come after me. He lifts a hand in a helpless wave. Asshole.
Where am I going?
The only thing that sounds more depressing than going on my honeymoon alone is staying here, so I drive to the airport. Screw Marcus. Screw Veronica. I’m going to the beach.
When I get to the airline counter, I clutch my purse with shaking hands and paste on a smile for the attendant. “I need to see about changing my flight.”
“Sure. May I see your ID?”
I stare at the purse in my hands and freeze. Because I don’t have my purse. I have Veronica’s. And Veronica’s ID.
“Ma’am? Your ID, please?” The chipper attendant cocks her head as she waits for me to hand over my identification.
I have Veronica’s purse. My purse is back at the ceremony site. With all those decorations I spent months preparing, and all those people who have talked about me behind my back most of my life.
“Ma’am, you’ll need a photo ID to fly today,” the attendant says.
Didn’t Veronica say she was supposed to fly to Michigan tonight? I pull her wallet from her purse and slide over her identification. “I don’t remember when my flight leaves.”
The woman taps something into the computer. She looks at Veronica’s picture then at me and nods, satisfied. “It leaves in two hours. Would you like to upgrade to business class for your flight to Grand Rapids?”
Grand Rapids, Michigan. I don’t even know what they have in Grand Rapids. I’ve never left Alabama. But anything is better than staying here.
I pull Veronica’s credit card from her wallet and pass it over to the attendant. “I’d love to.”
Six hours later…
“God, you’re hot.”
“God, I am.” I wave my hand in front of my face. “They sure do have the heat cranked up, don’t they?”
The guy smiles and steps closer to my stool. He’s good-looking by conventional standards—a strong jaw, a big smile, and thick blond hair parted to the side. He leans in so close that I can smell the whiskey on his breath. “Can I confess something?”
I tilt my head to the side, and the whole bar spins. Tequila is so fun. Why don’t I drink it all the time? “Confess what? I’m not a priest.”
“It’s not that kind of confession.” John—I think he said his name was John, but maybe it’s Judas. My sister’s name should be Judas. How could she betray me like that? How could she walk down the aisle at my wedding carrying my fiancé’s baby?
“I can’t stop thinking about getting inside you,” John says, snapping me out of my thoughts. He lowers his head so his lips sweep my ear. “It’s going to feel so good.”
That escalated quickly.
I giggle because his mouth on my ear tickles, then I giggle again because this is so ridiculous. Look at me, sitting here on my wedding night in a strange bar, in a town I’ve never heard of, and a guy I met less than ten minutes ago just whispered something dirtier than anything Marcus has ever said to me. Then I giggle more, because it feels good and if I stop laughing . . .
I’m afraid of what happens if I stop laughing.
“You like the sound of that?” He pulls back enough for me to see his smile.
My giggle turns to a snort. “Nope.” I wave to the bartender for another drink. Since I started drinking, I stopped caring so much about where I’m supposed to be right now, and I really, really don’t want to care right now. About anything, but especially not the things I can’t let myself think about.
My wedding night. The Plaza Hotel. Marcus.
I need more tequila.
“No?” John frowns at me, as if I’m a complex puzzle.
I reach for my drink but frown when I find it empty. I wave to the bartender again before turning to face John. “You’re awfully nice, John, but I don’t think we’re on the same page.”
He takes my hand in his and squeezes. “Then let me read to you.”
I look around to see if anyone else heard what he just said—because gag—and catch the eye of a tall, dark-haired man standing a few feet behind John. I flash him a smile, but he doesn’t seem to share my amusement.