This month, the prompt is…
Three more days of this.
Here we go….
“To Lizzy and Darryl. Enjoy your last few days of bachelorhood because before this long weekend is up, you’ll be chained together by the bonds of marriage.”
Bailey Harrington groaned inwardly at her uncle’s toast, downing the entire glass of champagne in one, long pull as everyone cheered her sister’s impending wedding. She stopped one of the waiters as he dodged past her, grabbing another flute off the tray before giving him a sweet smile. The man arched a brow, looking as if he was considering taking the glass back, before shrugging then continuing through the crowd.
That’s right. Keep on moving.
How anyone was going to get through this event without a blood alcohol level of ninety proof was a mystery to her. Especially when they were all essentially trapped in the overly priced venue for the weekend. Her heart skipped at the thought.
Three. More. Days—of this.
Of obscene happiness and people gushing over how great they couple looked together. Of how lucky her sister was to have found a guy like Darryl. Smart. Kind. Grounded.
Bailey sighed, taking another long drink. It wasn’t that she wasn’t happy for her sister—she was. Immensely. Lizzy deserved to be happy. To be blissfully ignorant to everyone and everything around her. She was the bride. The centre of attention. Her entire job was to smile.
Bailey just didn’t understand what her sister saw in her future husband. Not that he was a bad guy. Chartered accountant. Respectable member of the local country club. Accomplished sailer—he was everything her parents had every hoped their daughters would find in a spouse. But he was just so damn…safe. It didn’t help that Bailey was basically the exact opposite of everyone else here. The proverbial black sheep of the family. Not that she cared. She’d known from the first time her dad had let her ride in the company helicopter that she’d been born to fly.
Of course, choosing to join the Coast Guard hadn’t been what her father had envisioned. He’d happily encouraged her to follow her dreams when he’d believed she’d be working for him. Taking over as his company’s corporate pilot. That support had stopped when she’d signed up. Harrington’s didn’t serve, plain and simple. They were supposed to be above that. They drove the economy, not machines, and definitely not into dangerous situations.
Tension wove through her shoulders, sending a dull ache through her back. If she was this stressed out after only a few hours, how the hell was she going to survive the weekend? Survive the sideways glances and hushed conversations that stopped whenever she got close. There was no doubt in her mind that every guest mulling about the old mansion was measuring her up. And it didn’t take a genius to know they all found her lacking.
Bailey finished off the drink, scanning the crowd for the next round, when a glass appeared in front of her. She frowned, glancing to her left, only to inhale sharply. Stunning blue eyes gazed back at her, a bemused smile capturing his lips.
He quirked one eyebrow, holding the glass out to her. “I’m pretty sure the staff has been told to cut you off before you drink through tomorrow’s bottles, as well.”
Bailey smirked, accepting the drink before purposely downing half of it. “Alex.”
He chuckled. “Hello, Bailey.”
She forced herself to swallow past the thick feeling in her throat. How had she missed that Alex Fontain was on the guest list? She tipped the glass toward him. “Thanks, by the way.”
“You might want to slow down.”
“Not if my parents want to avoid bloodshed.” She glared at Alex’s frown. “Please, they have enough alcohol stockpiled away to throw a dozen parties. I’m merely helping them get rid of some of it.”
“Is that what this is? Because it looks more like you drowning your feelings in bubbly.”
She cocked her brow, taking a step back as she crossed her arms, careful not to spill her drink. “Do I want to know what you’re doing here? Or did Hell really freeze over because I’m pretty damn sure that was the only way you were ever returning.”
“Freak blizzard. And for the record, I was twenty-three at the time. I’d like to think I’ve matured in the ten years I’ve been gone.”
She shrugged, gulping down the last of the liquor. “Shame. You might have been the one silver lining in this entire weekend. The only other person brave enough to ditch some of these parties and find something fun to do.”
“Always the adrenaline junkie. Glad some things never change.”
“You obviously did.”
And in all the right ways.
Bailey bit her bottom lip before the words sprang free. The last thing she needed was for the arrogant ass to see that, even after a decade, he could still make her feel breathless with nothing more than a smile or the sound of his gravely voice. But damn, of all the scenarios she’d run over in her head, bumping into Alex Fontain hadn’t even made the list. Not when he’d stormed out of her father’s office shouting that he’d rather die than spend another minute helping her father’s overly privileged clients beat the system. From what she’d heard, Alex had joined the military and finally made his way into JAG.
Which explained the muscles pressing against his shirt and the army-regulation haircut. All of which only made the man look even sexier than he had been ten years ago. Any hint of boyhood long gone.
Alex smiled, a flash of white amidst pink lips. “I’ll take that to be a good thing.”
“Guess that’s yet to be determined.” She glanced at the happy couple as the moved onto the dance floor. “So did Lizzy invite you just to spite my dad?”
“She swears it wasn’t but…”
“That’s definitely her style. Though, I’m surprised you actually came.”
“I wasn’t going to but then she called me.” He kicked at the floor. “I can cross-examine generals but your sister puts on the waterworks and I can’t say no.”
“You fell for the tears? Christ, Alex, are you five?”
“Sue me for being compassionate.”
“I believe the word you’re looking for is gullible.” She grinned at his glare. “You do realize you’re stuck here, right? Until they open those gates on Monday.”
Alex let his gaze drift the length of her before he finally focused on her face. “Guess that means we might have a chance to try something foolish, after all.” He leaned in, his spicy breath ruffling the hairs around her neck. “We could start by ditching this dinner party. Full moon’s rising. Bet it would look like diamonds on the water.”
Bailey moistened her lips. “Think you could acquire a bottle of something strong and two glasses?”
He winked at her. “I’m a Marine, sweetheart. I’ll do one better and get us some food to go with it. Wait here.”
Bailey watched him strike off, the sudden fluttering in her stomach catching her by surprise. She looked around, smiling. Three more days of this, might not be quite the epic tragedy she’d first thought. Of course, she hadn’t made any regrets just yet.
And that’s it for me. Go check out the other ladies…