“No!” I take a breath. Calm the fuck down, Brinley. “I mean, with us running into each other. I thought this was what I wanted, but I’m totally unprepared for everything I’m feeling.” I shove the pills back into my purse. I know they’d help, but they make me sleepy, and even as panicked as I’m feeling, I don’t want to miss the little time I get with Marston.
“How were you supposed to know we’d run into him? You can’t prepare for that.”
I unlatch the door and let it swing open. “It wasn’t a coincidence. I knew he’d be here.”
She frowns. “How?”
I look around the bathroom and realize we’re catching the attention of the women around us. While they’re strangers who probably don’t care about my drama beyond a passing curiosity, I’m a private person and hate the idea of them listening. “It doesn’t matter how, but let’s just say if fate brought us together tonight, I nudged it along.”
Savvy cocks her head to the side and studies me. “You still have feelings for him.”
“Of course I do. Does anyone really get over their first love?”
Her smile is gentle, but she nods. “Yeah. Yeah, sweetie, most people do.”
Grimacing, I turn and lean against the side of the stall. “What am I doing?”
“Panicking in a Las Vegas club bathroom while a sexy-as-sin man waits for you at his private table. A sexy man, by the way, who looks as if he’d like to read your skin like braille. With his tongue.”
I cut my eyes to her, scowling. “That’s rather specific.”
She shrugs. “You asked.” She looks around then steps into the stall with me, pulling the door shut behind her and throwing the lock. “You know he’s probably sitting there thinking you have a husband back home. The way you exited that conversation was conspicuous as hell.”
I wince. “I know. I wasn’t ready to talk about Cami, and I panicked.”
“Is this about her? Or is it about Julian?”
Neither. Both? I chew on my bottom lip because I can’t deny that Julian’s proposition is what had me looking up Marston to begin with. “I don’t want to make a terrible mistake.”
“Do you hear yourself? That’s your red flag. Tell Julian thanks, but no thanks.” She pulls her phone from her purse. “Want me to do it? I can text him now.”
My eyes flick up to meet hers. “I meant tonight. With Marston. I wanted to see him, but being this close to him makes me feel like my world has spun off its axis—or like someone has yanked the reins to my future out of my hands.”
“Would that be so terrible? Maybe you need a break. You work so damn hard and do everything for everyone else. Take tonight—just one night—to really enjoy yourself.”
“I’m not sure a wild night of sex with my ex will solve any of my problems.”
“It can’t hurt.” She tosses her long hair over her shoulder and smirks. “I’d also like to point out that I said nothing about sex. That was all you.”
I ignore this. “I won’t apologize for caring about what happens to The Orchid and to everyone who works there.”
“We’ll all manage.” She puts a hand on each of my shoulders and squeezes gently. “Quit trying to fix everything. Trust that sometimes things work out, and even when they don’t, the sun still rises. These shoulders carry enough without piling on everyone else’s problems.”
I drag in a deep breath and exhale slowly. My life might feel like it’s on the precipice of disaster, but at least I have the best friends.
Savvy must take my deep breath as a sign that I’m pulling it together, because she smiles. “When you nudged fate along, what were you hoping for?”
“I was hoping seeing him would make it easier to decide what happens next.” I shake my head. “I think it might just be making it harder, though.”
She pulls me into a hug and whispers, “The night’s not over yet.”
* * *
When we walk back to the table—or hobble, in my case—Alec and Marston haven’t just gotten us drinks. They’ve ordered food—a lot of food. Soft pretzels, sushi rolls, and a charcuterie board fill the table. I know Marston said he’d feed me, but I didn’t expect a buffet.
“I wasn’t sure what you liked,” Marston says. “There are other options if nothing here appeals to you. This was just what they could bring out right away.”
Savvy looks at me and raises a brow. I’m not a mind reader, but I don’t have to be to know what she’s thinking: Fuck that man silly.
“I’m going to dance. You drink,” she says. She takes Alec’s hand and tugs him out of the booth. “Come on, pretty boy. I don’t like dancing alone.” As she saunters away, she throws a wink over her shoulder.