Cold Feet/C8 Chapter 8
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Cold Feet/C8 Chapter 8
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C8 Chapter 8

VIOLA

I get back to the table and sit down beside Ashley after the new bar limit has been confirmed. She looks at me and smiles.

“You were gone a while,” she smiles knowingly waiting for me to spill the beans.

“I had to sort out the bar limit,” I reply blushing. “I wasn’t with him all the time.”

“Could have fooled me,” Ashley says. Bursting with curiosity, she asks, “What did he want?”

“To get together after the wedding,” I smile.

“Really?” Ashley asks surprised. “He doesn’t take it slow does he?”

I blush again as I think of just how slow we didn’t take it. I shake my head not trusting my voice to answer as I avoid Ashley’s gaze.

“You tart!” she whispers. “You didn’t!”

“Didn’t what?” I ask feigning ignorance but still not looking at her.

“I know you,” Ashley whispers again. “You dirty little girl!” she teases.

I look at her and feign offense. “Get your mind out of the gutter,” I smile.

“C’mon. Tell me, tell me!” she whispers, begging like a little child.

I have worked with Ashley for a long time and we are good friends. She knows me well and I know her well too. I’m enjoying stringing her along.

“We didn’t…” I say and let the thought hang in the air.

“…but?” she prompts.

“I had to come back here for the bar limit but you can call me commando,” I say as I sip my drink.

“Commando?” Ashley asks confused and then it hits her. Her hand flies to her mouth as she realizes what I mean. “Oh my…”

I smile at her and wink. Then her eyes flick to a point above and behind my head and a moment later I hear his voice again.

“Is this seat taken?” he asks.

Of course not, and if it was, it would have become vacant right now just for you, I think before I reply. “No, but I’m guessing it’s about to be.”

“That all depends on whether you’ll permit me to be seated,” he smiles as he waits for permission.

What a gentleman, I think wondering what he’s done with my panties.

“Please be seated,” I say and then add, “You don’t need my permission.”

He pulls the chair out and sits as I look at Ashley. She gives me a quick wink and then excuses herself from the table. I want to ask her to stay but it’s too late.

“Can I steal you from your busy schedule for a few more moments?”

“You may,” I reply.

“I have to say that you’ve truly outdone yourself with the immaculate planning and execution of this wedding. It’s fabulous.” Rick says lightly. His voice is confident. It has an authoritative but kind tone. One that says, I’m in charge and I know what I want. I get what I want too.

I catch the scent of his cologne again. It carries a hint of wood and it’s strong. Not in the sense that he has used too much, the scent is simply strong, powerful, masculine.

“Thank you for the compliment,” I say blushing again. I’m blushing between my thighs and I’m pretty sure he knows it. I squeeze my thighs together and feel how soaked I am. My blush deepens.

“A little birdie told me that you’re one of the top wedding planners in Los Angeles,” he says as he studies me.

“Well, I don’t concern myself with classifications. I simply do the best I can for my clients. They are important and it’s a very special day so they deserve the best.”

“That’s a very noble way of thinking. Very humble too.”

“Thank you,” I blush again. “Do you normally compliment women this much? You do know it works wonders, don’t you? I will add though that you had me under the tree. You don’t need to flatter me more.”

He smiles. “I’m not flattering you. I simply believe in giving credit where credit is due,” he smiles.

“Thank you again,” I incline my head towards him.

He leans closer and lowers his voice. “Can we put our earlier moment aside? There’s something else I want to talk to you about,” he says.

“What about?” I ask surprised.

“Well, you are one of the best at what you do whether you want to admit it or not. I believe I’m also one of the best at what I do and I was thinking that perhaps we could agree to collaborate.”

What? I ask myself. Did he just start to talk business? I start to feel deflated, disappointed. Cloud number nine is suddenly descending fast.

“I’m sure we can talk about collaborating. I have a big network of people already though,” I reply.

“I understand that but I provide a niche service,” he replies. “I doubt you have someone like me on your team. Very few wedding planners do.”

“Okay,” I respond. “What exactly is it that you do?”

Rick smiles and reaches into his jacket. He removes his wallet and takes out a business card. He returns his wallet to his jacket pocket and hands the card to me.

I take it but don’t look at it immediately. I am mesmerized by his moves. They seem so fluid, lithe is the word that comes to mind.

“I’m a lawyer,” Rick says.

His words hit me hard. A lawyer? What on earth…?

My brow furrows in confusion. “Why would I want to collaborate with a lawyer?” I don’t like lawyers for personal reasons and I can’t help the hint of irritation that creeps into my voice when I answer.

“Why?” he smiles and looks at me before continuing, “Well, many couples prefer to have prenups drawn up before they get married. Some even want a last will and testament. I do it all.”

I nod slowly. “Okay, that makes sense.”

“Of course,” he smiles. He sits forward and continues, “That’s just the beginning though.”

“What do you mean by ‘just the beginning’?”

“Well, there’s the divorce later.”

I am sipping my drink when he says it and it goes down the wrong hole. I cough and splutter as I put down the glass. When my coughing fit is done, I take another few sips so my voice can return to normal. “Divorce?” I say a little too loudly and the guests at the next table glance our way. I am disgusted and shocked.

“Yes, divorce,” he repeats.

In an instant, everything that happened between us earlier is wiped out. I feel like I have crossed into an alternate world.

“You do realize that this is one of the most beautiful days a couple will ever have in their lives?”

Rick nods. “Yes. One of the most beautiful days. It doesn’t last forever though. Life happens.”

“So, you assume every marriage is going to end in divorce sooner or later?” I ask incredulously. This time I keep my voice low enough so that the other guests don’t hear.

“Not all of them,” Rick replies. “But let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about. In California alone, divorce rates are estimated to be ten percent higher than the national average.”

“There is a national average for something as bad as divorce?” I ask in disgust.

“Yes. Would you like to guess what the national average is? It’ll make you wonder why ‘till death do us part’ is still being included in couples’ vows.”

“I don’t care to guess,” I reply.

“Well let me enlighten you then. The national average is fifty percent. That means in California it’s…”

“… sixty percent,” I finish in disgust. I feel my anger rising. “You are aware that this is a wedding reception?”

“Of course,” Rick replies. “What is your point?’

I ignore his question. “Are you for real? What have you done with the man who was in the garden a short while ago?”

Rick chuckles. “Cute. He’s right here.”

“What happened to the man who said, when our eyes met, I was drawn to you like a moth to a flame? How can you whisper such romantic things to me while you have such a skewed perception of marriage?”

“It’s not skewed,” he replies. “Aren’t we all entitled to our opinions?”

“Sure, but why don’t you tell me where you see anything between us going if that’s your view of marriage?”

“Aren’t you taking things a bit fast? We haven’t even had our first date and you’re asking about ‘things between us’.

“I’m sorry I gave you the wrong impression then,” I say as I struggle to suppress my anger. “You had an effect on me like no man I have ever known. Despite that my heart was telling me to cautious and I was telling it to shut up. I was throwing caution to the wind because I thought I felt something special with you. I guess I was wrong.”

“I beg to differ. You did feel something special. I felt it too.”

“No. I wasn’t thinking with my heart. I was thinking with the puddle between my legs. Dammit, you drove me wild with desire but that’s where it would end. Lust, desire, passion, sex. That’s all. Isn’t it? A one-night stand.”

Rick shook his head looking disappointed.

I’m on a roll now and I push on. “Do they even know that you’re peddling your services here?”

He studies me for a moment. “Look, perhaps we’re starting off on the wrong foot. All I am saying is that clients need lawyers when they get married and divorced. Just take my perspective of divorce out of it if you don’t like it and think about offering your clients a service they need. I do offer a commission for business introductions.”

“We have started on the wrong foot. Why would I work with someone who has such as skewed attitude towards one of the greatest days in a couple’s life?”

“We are all entitled to our own opinions, aren’t we?” Rick asks calmly. He doesn’t look so confident anymore but he’s not backing down.

“We are. I agree,” I say, sitting forward and looking into Rick’s eyes. I wonder why God makes assholes so attractive. Maybe it’s the only way they stand a chance in life. I want to ask him to give my panties back but I don’t. He’ll probably embarrass me and put them on the table for all to see. “I happen to believe in the beauty and magic of love and the blessedness of every wedding day that I help create for every client. I don’t think of what might happen in the future but you’re positively wishing divorce on couples before they’re even married and my opinion about that, is it’s abhorrent. I prefer to work with like-minded people, something that we, evidently are not.”

Rick sighs. “I’m sorry to hear that. My door’s always open to collaborating if you decide differently. It’s been a pleasure meeting you.” He smiles and winks as he gets up and leaves the table. I watch him go. His ass is perfect and his form is perfect. It’s a pity he’s such an asshole.

Ashley returns with a huge smile on her face. “Wow! He’s such a hunk! Did he ask you out?”

“No. He asked me to collaborate with him.” The disappointment in my voice is clear.

“Collaborate? In what way?”

I push his card over to Ashley. She picks it up and reads it. “Oh,” she says then asks, “Seriously?”

I nod as I try to continue eating my dinner. I’ve lost my appetite. I try not to look his way but find that as luck would have it, every time I look up, my eyes seem to find his.

I push my plate away and get up. “I’m going to check on the team,” I say. I want to be anywhere except where I’m going to meet his eyes again.

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