I have another chapter of The Wedding Kiss below for you!! Have you read the first chapter? If not, here you go!
Fearless King came to me when I thought back to all those crushes I had back when I was in high school. Those first stomach flutters and sweaty palms what happens when you both grow up?
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I think my jaw hit the floor the second Liv opened the hotel room door. Fucking thigh highs! Was she trying to kill me? Or maybe just get me killed? She opened it in that short robe and anyone could have been in the hallway.
Clenching my fists, I went for a walk in the garden at the back of the hotel. The light fabric of the robe hadn’t done anything to hide the shape of her legs and her curves. Since when did she get curves? Oh I know, a couple of summers ago. That was when her crush on me became something more, something I couldn’t just ignore, but I was not going to go for a high school senior. My skin crawled with that idea.
It seemed the time and distance I’d put between us hadn’t done anything to stop the pull I felt to her. She wasn’t even nineteen yet. I squeezed my eyes shut and paced for a bit. In a few more hours, I’d be walking down the aisle with Liv on my arm.
We’d be expected to dance as part of the wedding party. My hands itched to wrap around her waist and guide her across the dance floor. Let my hand drift down to the small of her back as she smiled up at me and I dipped my head—And those were exactly the kinds of thoughts I shouldn’t have been having about her. There shouldn’t be any touching or longing or a driving need to be within five feet of her.
I stared up into the sky. If only she’d stayed the kid sister we’d all let tag along growing up, but she hadn’t. She wasn’t Olive Oil anymore. I called her that to try to push back what was right in front of my face. To stop myself from thinking about her like I knew I shouldn’t.
“Dude, what the hell are you doing out here smelling the roses for? We need to get into our suits and get these pictures taken.” Colm came up behind me and practically jumped on my shoulders. “You can’t leave me alone up there with those wedding people. I’m getting a little worried. They are about five seconds from putting rollers in Heath’s hair.”
I followed Colm up to the hotel suite trying not to think about how I’d been thinking of his kid sister a little while ago. Only she wasn’t a kid anymore, and that was the whole problem.
“Ford!” Declan said as I walked in the door. A flash went off as the wedding photographer circled him and the rest of the guys.
“You’re always off disappearing, man.” Heath fiddled with his cufflinks and ran his fingers through his long blond hair. The stylists hovered around him, trying to get their hands on his hair.
“What did she say about the earrings?” Declan messed with his tie in the mirror, flipping it over and over in an unending loop that never resulted in an actual knot. Colm walked over to him and with a few flicks of his wrists a perfect knot sat in the middle of Declan’s collar.
The photographer was having a field day with this stuff. If I wasn’t partially blinded by the end of the night I’d be shocked. Of course Colm would know how to tie a bow tie without needing to go through an hour of videos tutorials.
He was used to the high-end life. So was Liv.
“Well...” Declan turned to me now that he was finished fighting with his tie.
I snapped out of my daze. “Sorry, she wasn’t there. I gave them to Liv. She liked the note though, nice touch.”
“We’ll see if Mak actually wears them.” He grimaced.
Colm worked his way down the line of guys tying our ties. We slipped on our shoes, ready to head out into the garden for some more groomsman pics. A sharp knock on the door out in the front room of the suite and a shout from the hallway had all our heads turning to the doorway.
“She’s coming in. We tried to talk her out of it, but she was adamant. Close your eyes, Declan!”
“Mak?!” Declan shouted before Heath jumped on him, slapping his hands over his eyes as the door to the suite flew open. A flurry of white and bright blue came tumbling into the room. Mak’s strawberry blonde hair was done up in an intricate hairdo,and her veil trailed down her back. She held the back of her dress up. It wasn’t one of those big poofy things. It was simple and classic, just like Mak.
Surrounding her, the bridesmaids rushed forward in their blue dresses flowed around them as they tried to get in front of Mak. But we all knew, there was no stopping her when she put her mind to something. Back in high school, there’d been no doubts that she’d always come out on top, which was why she was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”
“I got a 244!” The happiness vibrated off her.
“What?! Heath get your hands off my eyes. I can keep them closed.” Declan pushed Heath away and opened his arms.
Mak leapt into them and showered his face with kisses. The earrings I’d entrusted to Liv dangled from her ears. There was nothing but huge smiles in the entire room. There wasn’t a question in our minds about these two getting married. Their love was palpable. Flashes from the brides and grooms side of photographers threatened to blind us all as they captured the moment.
I couldn’t help it. I’d tried not to, but my gaze locked onto Liv. She stood beside the rest of the bridesmaids with tears shining in her eyes. The makeup artist with a toolbelt of every color make up in the world wrapped around her waist raced in after them and doled out tissues for everyone. Liv might have been wearing the same dress as everyone else, but it wasn’t them I couldn’t take my eyes off of. It was her. Especially since I knew what was under the floor-length rich, blue fabric.
“Can someone tell me what the hell all this means?” Heath piped up asking the question most of us were thinking. He glanced between the two of them making out, the bridesmaids and the makeup artist who looked ready to keel over at the probably smudged makeup from Declan mauling Mak.
Mak slid down Declan’s body and planted her feet back on the floor. “Step 1 is the exam you take after your first two years of med school.” Happy tears glittered in Mak’s eyes. She threaded her fingers through Declan’s with a smile, the widest I’d ever seen.
“It helps determine what kind of placements you can get for residency, what specialty you can go into, and where you might be placed.”
“This score means she can have her pick of any specialty and any placement she wants.” Declan finished the thought for her. I didn’t know if I’d ever get used to them being so close. They’d have an ongoing battle back and forth in high school. Colm and I got to see each other all the time, but I hadn’t gotten to see as much of the rest of the guys as I’d liked.
Maybe if the transfer went through like they’d be talking about, I’d have more of a chance to get used to it, since I’d be living so close. Closer to Liv. I shook my head and banished that idea from my mind. Couldn’t think like that.
“Which means I can choose to stay in Philly and go into pediatric oncology. Declan don’t peek.” She brushed away a tear from the corner of her eye. The makeup artist leapt into action, nearly knocking everyone over to get her a tissue.
Declan lifted their joined hands to his lips and pressed them to the back of her hand. With everything that happened with her brother, it was understandable why that specialty would be so important to her. He ran his other hand along the side of her face and up to her ear. His grin got even wider.
“You’re wearing the earrings.” He rested his forehead against hers.
“With that note and a little cajoling from Olivia, I figured I didn’t really have a choice. Well played, Mr. McAvoy. Well played.”
My gaze darted over to Liv. She’d broken off from the rest of the bridesmaids who stood in the doorway. “Come on, Mak. We’ve got to get you ready for your big entrance.”
Mak let out a big sigh. “Are you sure we can’t just do the whole courthouse thing? I can throw on some jeans and a t-shirt.”
“Is this the same Makenna Halstead who wore a bun every single day of high school?” Declan playfully smacked her ass.
“What can I say? You’re rubbing off on me.” She smacked him back and let herself be pulled away by her crew.
Liv brought up the rear of the group and she peered over her shoulder at me. In a little while longer, I’d be able to wrap my arms around her and stare into her eyes on the dance floor. Her lips parted and the plump, pinkness made my heart race.
Her light brown eyes caught the reds and oranges of the setting sun perfectly. It was like the day started and ended in her gaze. She held mine, and it took my breath away.
A pair of hands landed on my shoulders. “You ready to walk my sister down the aisle?” Colm squeezed my shoulders and gave me a smack with a big smile on his face. Guilt slammed into my stomach. He’d kill me if he knew the things I’d just been thinking about her. “Liv, don’t worry. Ford won’t step on your toes during the dance.”
“I don’t doubt that.” She darted out of the room after the rest of the bridesmaids.
“I’m thinking of having Liv come with us to Fiji.” Colm straightened his tie in the mirror. My fake smile dropped. Liv in a bikini in Fiji? “Dude, it’s not that big of a deal. She won’t cramp our style. You went white as a ghost.”
I cleared my throat. “I don’t think it would be a good idea.
“Why not?” He spun around.
“Come on everyone, we need to get down there. The guests are getting restless, and there’s only so much longer we can hold off the paparazzi out there.” One of the wedding planners pushed his finger against his ear piece and started shooing us out of the hotel suite.
“We got to stick together, man. All the rest of the guys have fallen. It’s just to two of us left now.” He squeezed my shoulder. “You’ve got to help me keep the guys away from Liv tonight. I can’t believe that dress Mak has them in. Your soon to be wife is trying to corrupt my baby sister.” Colm yelled out to Declan as we piled into the elevator.
“Who do you think helped pick out the dresses?” Declan smirked.
The look on Colm’s face was one of abject horror. This was why he could never know, and I could never cross that line. She’d always be Olive Oil to him. The twelve-year-old who stood between us at their parents funeral and cried into my shoulder as Colm stood at the end of the gravesite in shock.
He trusted me with the one person he had left in the world, and I couldn’t break that trust.
The next chapter of The Wedding Kiss will be here for you next week!