If Love Were By Design, page 28
“But we have almost five hours.” Colin pointed out.
“Yeah, and three girls. It will take them forever to pick out a wedding dress.” William said. “We should get drinks on the way. Get everything set up, leave to get the rings, come back, get ready and I’ll bet you a hundred bucks we’ll still be dressed before them.”
“I’m not going to drink, anymore. Neither is Kimmy.” Travis responded.
“We already agreed that we want to be as sober as possible.” Kimmy added, “But, I like the ring idea. I want one like Veronica’s except square.”
“So, you want a big ring.” Travis said, smiling. “Okay, hint taken. But I’m nowhere near as rich as William.”
“You know what this means, don’t you?” William asked when they started walking down the street to the first chapel they could find. “It looks like I’m winning the bet.” He smiled. “This means I get to choose the date.”
“Of course, you’re thinking about winning.” Veronica teased him.
“I’m competitive.” William shrugged. “Of course, I’m thinking about it. It means I don’t have to wait five years to marry you, or four, or three, or maybe even two.” He took her hand and squeezed it. Veronica laughed and rolled her eyes.
“We’re getting married, Las Vegas!” Travis yelled as they walked down the sidewalk. Someone nearby yelled an equally loud “Congratulations!” Everyone laughed.
They found a chapel at the end of the strip. They walked in and waited as Travis discussed the details with Elvis (who was going to marry them). When it was time to try on the spare dresses and suits they split up, and the men left to go find a perfect ring (and drinks.)
Kimmy looked through the countless racks of dresses. “Some of them are so beautiful, while others need some serious help.” Kimmy pulled out a dress that was high cut, see–through around the waist and had long–veil like sleeves. “This is ugly. Who designed this?” She looked at the tag. “I can’t even read it. Is that Chinese?” She added, “Even I could do better than this.” It was if her words made her realize what she had said. She looked at Veronica. “This is it. This is what I want to do. I want to design wedding dresses!” Kimmy exclaimed. “It would be perfect. Wedding dresses are over the top—I’m over the top! I’m always thinking flashy, glitzy, glamorous designs and everyone thinks it’s too much. But wedding dresses are supposed to be flowery, sexy, and fabulous.”
“You should do it!” Veronica encouraged her. “Seriously! You should make some sketches, too. Maybe Andrea knows someone who would back you.”
“Even if she doesn’t, I’m determined now.” Kimmy added, “Today is the best day! I made up with my best friend, I joined the mile–high club, I won a butt–load of money, I’m going to pay off my schooling, I was proposed to, I’m getting married, and I finally figured out what I want to do. It can’t get any better.”
Nora laughed. “I can’t believe you just told us you had sex with Travis in a plane. T–M–I, Kimmy.”
“She’s like that.” Veronica explained. “She’s open. You’ll get used to it.” Veronica winked at Kimmy.
“Oh, like you never have.” Kimmy said to Nora with a laugh.
“Actually, I haven’t.” Nora bit a smile before divulging, “But . . . I have in a changing room in a lingerie store.” She laughed and turned red, “I can’t believe I told you that, but it’s true. However, it was a long, long time ago, back when I didn’t want anyone to know I was sleeping with . . . my boyfriend, and we snuck out everywhere. But I was twenty then, and kind of crazy.” Nora laughed. “Okay, really crazy, and stupid. But who isn’t when they’re young and in love.”
“I hope I’m always crazy in love, then.” Kimmy exclaimed.
“Well, if getting married in Vegas on a whim isn’t crazy in love, I don’t know what is, Kim.” Veronica said. They laughed.
“I’m going to try on this dress.” Kimmy went into the dressing room with her dress, and Veronica and Nora continued to look through the large selection. They picked out three more that they thought Kimmy would look nice in. “I want something sleeker.” Kimmy decided after she had tried everything on, and still wasn’t happy.
“I can’t believe we’re helping pick out wedding dresses.” Veronica confessed. She grinned at Nora.
“You’ll be next. And when you do, we should all go pick out dresses again together. Ten bucks says I find the dress for Kimmy.” Nora added, “And when I do, it will be proof I’m good at finding them.”
“You and your brother are the biggest gamblers.” Veronica laughed.
“Yeah? How so?” Nora asked.
“Because William bet me that Kimmy and Travis would marry in Vegas before they were even together a year. I lost another bet to him before that, and it looks like I’m about to lose this one. But I won’t lose our bet! She’s my best friend. I’ll guilt trip her into not taking your choice. Ooh, look at this! It’s going to be the one.” Veronica gloated finding a slim form–fitted dress that had no back and three flowers at the curve of the fabric where the small of Kimmy’s back would be.
“What were the wagers?” Nora asked.
“Ten bucks. And I think I just won.” Veronica paused, “Oh, you mean William’s and my bet. I was going to get a vacation, but now he gets to pick the date.”
“The date when you two get married?” Nora asked to clarify.
“Yeah.” Veronica said.
“That’s brave.” Nora said and laughed. Nora picked out a wedding dress that was tight, had gathered lace at the chest and a long, flowing train—another good choice. They hurled the dresses over the door of Kimmy’s changing room.
“Not really. I’d have to be scared to be brave.” Veronica spoke loudly so Kimmy could hear her teasing, “It’s not like he’s asking me to marry him in Vegas on a whim.”
“You’re jealous!” Kimmy called through the door. “Oh, both of these are more like it, but I like this one better.”
“Which one?” Nora asked quickly.
“The one with the extra lace.” Kimmy said.
“Yes!” Nora cheered. “You owe me ten bucks!” She added, “But I’ll let you buy me a drink and we’ll call it even.”
“Okay.” Veronica said.
Kimmy came out fifteen minutes later, but in the dress Veronica picked out. “Oh, you look beautiful, Kimmy!” Veronica told her. Nora agreed, but asked her what happened to the other dress.
“I tried it on, and wasn’t sure, but then I tried this on. I almost started to cry. Travis will love it.” Kimmy said. She turned so they could see the bare back and the three flowers. “It’s beautiful, right. All it needs is a longer train—a few inches, maybe six. Something small and elegant.”
“You’re right.” Veronica agreed. “And you’re right about making wedding dresses. You’d be perfect at it.”
“Maybe we should all try one on, for fun. I bet William wouldn’t mind seeing you in white.” Kimmy said and grinned.
“No, the last thing I’m going to do is get in a wedding dress and stand next to Colin. The poor guy’s been through enough.” Nora asserted.
“What do you mean, poor Colin?” Kimmy asked.
“He . . . might get the wrong impression . . . I don’t know.” Nora quickly added, “I don’t think I will, though. Besides, I’ve been married and it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not that your marriage won’t be great! It will. I’m sure you’d know by now if he was abusive.”
“Are you saying Devin hit you?” Veronica asked.
“No.” Nora said quickly, too quickly. Kimmy, sensed it too because she called him a nasty name. “No, I’m drunk, and saying things I never would. Don’t tell William, and especially not Colin.”
“You’re in love with Colin!” Kimmy stated.
Nora blinked. “No!”
“Yeah, and I’m not in love with Travis, either.” Kimmy said, smiling.
However, Nora didn’t even twitch a smile in return. “I’m not.” Nora denied it again. “You
“Wow, that was weird.” Kimmy said. “I’ll never bring that up again.” She laughed.
“I don’t understand it myself.” Veronica said and shrugged.
Travis and Kimmy exchanged vows at exactly eleven forty–five so when the clock struck midnight they could kiss. However, they had to wait almost a full minute while staring at each other to kiss to time it right. Elvis sang a song, rather badly, the moment their lips touched. He sang a song that introduced the new Dr. and Mrs. Travis Cooper; it rhymed and it ended with the word “super.” It was so ridiculous that it made everyone, laugh.
“Come here.” William said breaking line after the wedding. “It’s New Year and I want to kiss you.” He embraced her and they shared a long kiss. Then he put his arms around her after tucking her hair behind her ear.
“Well, guys! I think we’ll head back to the hotel.” Travis said. “We’ll probably catch up with you in the morning.”
“Real subtle, Travis.” Nora teased him. “What about you two? We could hit the bar again back at the hotel.”
“I’m not tired, which is surprising because we had to get up so early. But I could stay up a while longer.” Veronica said to William.
“Alright, let’s go to the bar. I’m going to have something to eat. I’m starving.” William said.
The four of them went back to the hotel, and took a booth near one of the televisions. It was still wild and loud inside the bar, and outside was equally crazy. Everyone was out on the town. Everywhere they went the atmosphere was full of mirth. “Come here. I feel like I’ve hardly seen you all night.” William complained and put his arm around her. He kissed her.
“I’m starting to feel like I’m on a couple’s retreat.” Nora groaned. William ignored her and kissed Veronica deeply. “Alright Colin, let’s go get drinks.”
“I want to go upstairs and make love. It’s been more than twenty–eight hours, and ever since we talked about having sex on the plane I’ve wanted you. Let’s go upstairs.” William whispered in her ear.
“We can’t leave them here.” Veronica said. He kissed her again. This time squeezed her thigh. “Let’s stay a half hour, say we’re tired and go. Then it’s not like they’ll get it. Maybe we’ll actually be tired.”
He checked his watch. “A half hour—I can do that.” He drew her in for another kiss not caring they were in a public place. His tongue licked hers. He was quickly changing her mind about wanting to linger.
“Okay, here are your drinks. One cosmopolitan and one rum and coke.” Nora said when she returned to the table with Colin.
“Leave them alone, Nora. Seriously. We can talk. I feel like you’ve been avoiding me all day. Am I that bad?” Colin asked, but didn’t wait for a reply. “We got you some chicken wings and cheese sticks, William.”
“Thanks.” William said. His hand slid up Veronica’s leg from under the table. It was enough to make her jump. She clutched his hand and held it so he couldn’t move it. “How long are my chicken wings going to take because I want to eat, and then we’ll leave in about a half hour. We’re getting tired.”
“What? We got here two seconds ago.” Nora griped. “You know what, I think I’ll go back to my room.”
“Why? Because of what I said at the bar?” Colin interjected.
“It’s late; it’s past midnight. And we’re meeting for breakfast, and I’ll need to sleep off the hangover.” She explained and glared at Colin because of his question. When she left Colin excused himself saying he was in trouble.
“That was easier than I thought.” William said. “Do you want to go?”
“Yeah, my boots are killing me. I want to take them off.” Veronica admitted.
“I’ll meet you up in the room. I’ll be hungry when we’re done so I’ll get the food they ordered to go.” William suggested.
“I can wait with you.” Veronica offered.
“No, if you hurry you can go up with Nora and Colin. I’ll be up before you know it. Save me a spot in bed.” He smiled, kissed her, and then whispered into her ear, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” She replied. She got up, and left him at the table.
Veronica rounded the corner to the elevators when she spotted Nora and Colin. They were both folding their arms and glaring each other down. An elevator door opened so she quickly slipped into it without being seen. William’s idea of her going up with them no longer seemed like a good idea. She pressed the button for the top floor, and as the elevator door was about to close a hand held it. “You know what? I’m sick of you acting like you don’t love me when we both know you do! We aren’t getting any younger, and you know how badly I want you.” Colin said heatedly. He was so upset he didn’t see her standing in the elevator. “I’m not going to let you do that again. You’re not marrying anyone else but me! That should have been us getting married tonight.”
“How come you can’t understand I died that day, Colin? I feel terrible I lost it!” Nora whimpered and sounding close to tears.
Colin reached out to touch her while he pressed on to say, “Then let’s make another baby! I told you a million times . . .”
Veronica coughed. She purposely interrupted them. However, she didn’t look at them. She simply pressed the button for the top floor again to make the doors close. Then she folded her hands and stood against the wall looking at her shoes. No one said a word. The music suddenly seemed as loud as a rock concert, and the awkwardness was obvious. Veronica thought about making a joke to say, “Good song! I like this one!” But Nora began to cry. Colin quickly hugged her. To Veronica’s surprise Nora didn’t resist him, and hugged him back. “It will be okay, Sweetheart. Sweetheart, don’t cry.” He told her softly. He then turned to Veronica and asked, “You won’t tell anyone right, Veronica?”
“Uh, no.” She affirmed quickly. “I hardly know what to make of it, so . . . what would I say?” The door opened to the elevator. Veronica quickly got off.
“We haven’t told anyone.” Nora divulged, stopping her.
“Seriously, you don’t have to explain.” Veronica stressed.
“Yes I do! I don’t want you to tell William. I want to tell you so you understand how much it means to me you don’t ever tell him! You have to know. It happened thirteen years ago. We had a miscarriage when no one even knew we were dating.” Nora explained with tears. “It was the hardest thing, for both of us. At first Colin and I were devastated, but it grew into him resenting me, and me feeling extremely guilty.”
“Don’t tell her that! I never resented you! You didn’t lose the baby on purpose! Sweetheart, how could I be mad at you for that? I was upset you wouldn’t marry me. For me, it was never about the miscarriage! I begged you to marry me for years. You still won’t! You know what though, I am mad; I’m mad that you married another man, when you know I’m beyond desperate to be with you. You married him knowing I still wanted you, and knowing you still wanted me. You slept with another man! How could you do that to me? You have children with another man. Cleo and Claudette should’ve been mine! But, Sweetheart, you are so blind by your own guilt that you can’t believe I still love you, despite the countless times I’ve told you or made love to you. I’m over the miscarriage; I’m just not over you!” Colin confessed. He shook his head trying to keep his raw emotions under control but when it was clear to him he couldn’t, he walked off.
Nora watched him walk down the hall. “Colin, wait!” She yelled and cried. “You can’t walk away!” She ran after him. They continued to argue as he opened his hotel door. She then followed him in as they continued to bicker.
“Wow.” Veronica uttered to herself. “That was intense.”
She was still shaky. She couldn’t imagine how Nora and Colin felt. If she was troubled to the point of feeling jittery
“Poor Colin.” She couldn’t help but say out loud. He had lost more than a baby. From the sound of it he lost Nora as well, and had been painfully trying to win her back ever since. Veronica wondered if Colin’s outburst of telling Nora once and for all how he felt was the first time he said it. Nora looked shocked to see him confront her. There was a mix of fear and guilt on her face after seeing him walk away. From the sound of their yells, their fight was only beginning.
The elevator dinged loudly. It jarred her out of her thoughts. Veronica pulled out her room key, and started for her room. “Veronica.” William said, surprised to see her still in the hallway. “Couldn’t find your key?”
“Um.” She showed it to him, smiled, but said nothing. She didn’t want to lie, but she couldn’t say what happened, either.
“Wow.” William said, hearing Colin and Nora’s muffled shouts through his hotel door. “I don’t even want to know what that’s about. Good thing you missed them, Babe.” He grinned at her, unlocked the door, and they went inside. “I’ll share my cheese sticks with you, if you want. Are you hungry?”
“Yeah.” Veronica said. “I could use the energy before ‘bed’.”
“I was starting to think that very thing.” He acknowledged with grin. He put the bag of food on the table. He took the to–go boxes out as Veronica sat on a chaise lounge chair at the foot of the bed and took off her boots. He watched her, mesmerized. She smiled. He took a bite and smiled, watching her remove her other boot. “You’re beautiful. You have to believe that. After all, I can’t leave you alone in a bar for two seconds without someone hitting on you.”
“You saw that?” She asked.
“No, Colin told me when he congratulated me. He said, ‘Someone was hitting on your fiancée until she flashed him that rock.’ Then he said something funny, but I can’t remember what.” William paused, “I’m still a little drunk, you?”