Jack just chuckles and goes back into the bedroom.
I turn to stare at Erin. My voice is teasingly aghast as I say, “Erin. I am shocked. I can’t believe you let Jack play you—I thought you were smarter than that.”
She clears her throat. “Did you ever consider the possibility that I’m the one who played Jack?”
I touch my jaw thoughtfully because, no, I hadn’t considered that.
Erin continues, “I came here hoping to meet Mr. Right, but he didn’t appear. Jack is cute, and, more important, he was ready, willing, and able. You do the math.”
“But isn’t that going to be weird for you, working in the same office every day? He’s seen your cum face.” I pause. “At least . . . I hope he’s seen your cum face.”
Erin winks. “He’s well acquainted with it.” She sips her coffee. “But, no, it’s not going to be awkward. We’re adults—and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?”
“I guess so.”
Unless you’re Billy Warren. In his case, what happens in Vegas may end up taking 50 percent of his net worth.
With that, Erin goes back to the kitchen, pours a second cup of coffee, and returns to the bedroom Jack retreated to, closing the door behind her.
I shake my head a little. “Wow.”
I’m about to ask Matthew and Dee where Kate is again—but that rhythmic knocking noise starts back up. Do you hear it too?
“What the hell is that noise?”
Like those disturbing twins from The Shining, my best friend and his wife answer in harmony yet again. “Steven and Alexandra.”
The racket does seem to be coming from behind their closed door. “What are they, nailing each other to a cross?”
Matthew mutters, “Something’s getting nailed all right.”
Cautiously, I step toward their door. When I’m inches away, I align my ear with the seam at the hinge. Listening.
“Who’s your daddy, baby? Say it, say my name.”
“Steven, ooohhh, Steven.”
Then the unmistakable sound of a palm slapping ass reaches my ear.
“Ahhh!” I jump back away from the door as if it were an electrified fence. I cover my ears, but it’s too late.
I bend over and brace my hands on my knees, on the verge of actually vomiting. I just hope the villa is stocked with hydrogen peroxide, so I can sterilize my eardrums.
After the desire to upchuck passes, I stand up and address Dee and Matthew. “Screw all this. The only thing I want to know is—where. Is. Kate?”
Delores answers, “I told you, dumbass, she’s in your room. We tucked you two into bed together as soon as we came back last night.”
“I was just in our room! She’s not there!”
Delores shrugs. “Maybe she decided to bail on the wedding—pried open the window and made a break for it.” Then she smiles. “If that’s the case—good on her.”
Matthew pulls Dee’s hair again, but says, “It’s true, Drew; Kate hasn’t left the room—we would’ve seen her.” He turns back to his wife and warns, “If yanking your hair doesn’t get the job done, I’m going to break out the paddle.”
She leans closer and taunts, “Promises, promises.” Then she kisses him, ignoring my dilemma completely. I push my hand through my hair, then turn away and march back to our bedroom.
My eyes scan the bed, but Kate’s not there. Just to be safe, I pick up the blanket and shake it out.
I enter the walk-in closet next to the bedroom door. Though I realize it’s unlikely, I check behind the hanging clothes. Not a sign of Kate to be seen. Then I walk out of the closet and take a few steps around the bed . . .
On the floor, peeking out from the far side of the bed, are five pretty toes. They’re connected to a beautiful foot. My eyes travel from the foot, up the delectable calf, to the exquisite thigh that fits so perfectly around my hip.
Still in last night’s clothes, sound asleep on her side, one leg stretched out, one tucked close to her torso, with folded hands resting under her cheek, like a pillow.
Every cell in my body sighs her name with relief. I stand there for a minute, just watching her—breathing in the sight of her as she slumbers like a kitten in front of a fireplace. The all-encompassing love I have for her, that’s always with me—I feel it more keenly. Because even for just a few minutes, I’d thought I hurt her.
I grab a pillow and the blanket and drop to my knees beside Kate. Then I lie on the makeshift floor bed and gather her tight against me. My chest pillows her head.
She stirs with a moan. “Drew?”
I smooth her hair. “Yeah, baby, it’s me.”
Without lifting her head, she wonders in a drowsy voice, “Why are you on the floor?”
I kiss the top of her head and whisper against her hair, “Because that’s where you are.”
After a pause, she just says, “Oh.”
My hand slides up and down her back, her arm, savoring every touch—enjoying the feel of her next to me. “Did you have fun last night?”
Still lying on my chest, she nods. “Uh-huh.” Then Kate breathes deep and suggests, “Let’s never do anything like this again.”
“I could not agree with that statement more.”
We’re quiet for a few moments. I look up at the ceiling, wanting and needing to get a few more hours of sleep. But I have to tell her one more thing first.
“Kate?” I squeeze her shoulder gently. “Hey, Kate?”
My voice is low, rough with emotion, as I confess, “I really can’t wait to marry you.”
She raises her head and gazes at me with adorable bleary eyes. She smiles. “Yeah . . . me too.”
Kate lays her head back down, and her hand rests right over my heart. I cover her hand with mine, and together we fall back to sleep.
So what have we learned from this story?
First and foremost, bachelor parties?
Once you’re in a committed relationship, going to bars or a strip club without your significant other is just asking for trouble. Whoever started the bachelor-party tradition should be buried alive in a mass grave with the karaoke guy and . . . well . . . I was going to say Billy Warren.
But I guess we can let him live. I’m over it—he’s harmless. He’s also dim-witted, annoying, and . . . decent . . . a stand-up guy, a good friend.