It Happened One Wedding Page 34

Trish tipped her champagne glass. “Welcome to your thirties.”

Trapped in a sea of married and/or pregnant twentysomethings, and standing next to her best friend who, while thirty-three like her, had the husband, the child, and the whole kit and caboodle, Sidney could practically hear the alarm going off on her biological clock, shrilly blaring away as she searched frantically for a snooze button.

“I’ve been meaning to ask. How’s your dating plan coming along?” Trish asked.

“I’ve gone on eight first dates in two weeks,” Sidney said.

Trish blinked. “Eight? Why didn’t you tell me about any of them?”

“I was waiting to text you with the good news that I was on a second date.”

“None of them worked out?” Trish asked, looking disappointed.

Sidney shook her head. “Not a one.”

“The guys you’re meeting online are that bad?”

“Actually, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how cute some of them are. But they didn’t pass the commitment-readiness test. Something was always off.”

“Such as?”

“Well, let’s see.” Sidney ticked off the list with her fingers. “Leo from last Tuesday was obviously still hung up on his ex. Felix from last Thursday says he’s up for partner at his law firm this December, but isn’t sure he’ll make it.” She pointed at Trish. “Remember, a good candidate should be settled in his career. Then there was Jesse, who I met last Friday for dinner and asked me to go back to his place for a ‘drink’ afterward. That’s moving too fast—it means he’ll exit the relationship just as quickly as he jumped into it. As opposed to Jayden, Saturday’s dinner date, who was off to a promising start and then asked if we could get together again in two weeks, when his work schedule ‘settles down.’ The rules say that’s a big red flag that he’s married to his job.” She paused, trying to remember the rest. “Hmm, who else? Ah, Santiago on Monday. None of his friends are in committed relationships—he says they’re all still in the playing-the-field phase.” She threw Trish a knowing look. “How long before he decides what they’re doing sounds more fun than a relationship? Am I right?” She moved to her other hand, needing more fingers. “Then Wednesday, drinks with Mason. Still lives with his parents. Um, no. Then there was Vince, who I met for dinner last night. The guy stared at my boobs the whole time. Seriously, you would’ve thought I’d sewn eyeballs to my ni**les.”

Trish laughed. “Wait—that’s only seven. I thought you said you went on eight dates.”

“I left out Karl the fireman. We had coffee last Wednesday.”

“What was wrong with him?” Trish asked.

“Nothing. Actually, he was the one guy I liked. But he, uh . . . didn’t e-mail me back after our date.”

“Oh.” Trish thought about that. “Well, obviously he’s a moron then.”

“Obviously.” The quip rolled off Sidney’s tongue, as expected.

Then, out of the blue, it happened.

Hot tears pricked at her eyes.

Mortified, she stepped around the corner and into the dining room.

Trish followed, her expression concerned. “Sid . . .”

“Don’t let Isabelle see,” Sidney said, using the wall to block them. She took a deep breath, shaking her head. “It’s so stupid.” Then she smiled at her friend, embarrassed. “It’s not about the fireman. It’s just . . . everything. Isabelle’s wedding, all these pregnant women, the fact that I can’t even get a second date.” She brushed away her tears. “Three years of my life wasted because I was dumb enough to fall for Brody’s I’m-a-changed-man routine.”

“Dumb enough?” Trish looked her in the eyes. “Sid, you do realize that you didn’t do anything wrong in picking Brody, right? He’s the one who screwed up.”

Sidney said nothing for a moment. Then the doorbell rang, sparing her from having to answer.

Quickly gathering herself, she stepped around the corner and saw Isabelle heading to the front door.

In walked Simon, with Vaughn right behind him.

Sidney rolled her eyes. Just what she needed—this guy.

Simon smiled at the group as Isabelle led him and his brother into the living room. “Ladies, I hope we’re not interrupting.”

“I asked Simon and Vaughn to help transport the gifts to my apartment,” Isabelle explained.

“I don’t mind being used for my muscles. As long as there’s cake in return.” Simon kissed her affectionately on the cheek.

At mention of the word muscles, twenty pairs of female eyes shot to the tall and broad-shouldered Vaughn, who, naturally, looked devilishly gorgeous again, in jeans that hung perfectly on his lean hips and a white collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up around his strong, corded forearms.

Arms that once had pinned Sidney to the grass, as he kissed her senseless.

Ignoring the slightly . . . flustered feeling brought on by the image, she purged the memory from her mind. No point in going there.

Trish turned to Sidney, pointing subtly at Vaughn. “That is Simon’s brother? The one who hit on you?” She went back for a second look. “Criminy is right.”

“Trust me, the glow fades once he speaks,” Sidney grumbled.

As if sensing that she was talking about him, Vaughn’s gaze met hers across the room. He looked her over, taking in her dress and heels. Then he clenched his jaw and turned away to greet his mother.

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