The Wedding Date(8)

By: Jasmine Guillory


“I know you do. Sorry for the early-morning meeting, but the boss gets on a plane to San Diego at eleven, and we’ve got to . . .”

She waved her hand, stopping him.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You did bring me doughnuts, didn’t you?”

He grinned.

“I did not bring you doughnuts; I brought doughnuts for your boss, the mayor, who should not eat doughnuts but loves them almost as much as you.”

She pulled a few files out of her bag and grabbed her laptop and the coffee, and they walked toward the conference room.

“Yes, yes, but did you—”

“Yes, I saved a glazed with rainbow sprinkles for you. What are you, a six-year-old girl? You’re the mayor’s chief of staff. You should be eating a chocolate croissant or fresh fruit and granola or something.”

“Six was a wonderful time in my life. I try to keep it alive at all costs, thank you very much,” she said. “Have I ever told you that you look just like a black Clark Kent?”

Theo adjusted his glasses.

“Yes, every time you’re trying to sweet-talk me into being your cheerleader. I’ve got your back during this meeting; no need to butter me up.” He frowned at her. “Today, that is.”

She grinned at him and snagged her doughnut, just as the mayor and his secretary walked into the room.

“Why, exactly, are we here this early, Theodore?” Mayor Emmitt boomed out, before investigating the pink doughnut box.

“You have a trip to San Diego scheduled for the climate change conference this afternoon, and so—”

“Yes, yes, I know, let’s get on with it. Alexa, what’s this thing about delinquent teenagers?”

She locked eyes with Theo, took a long sip of her coffee, and flipped open her laptop.

“Well, sir . . .”

An hour later, she finally managed the second bite of her doughnut as the mayor walked out the door on the way to his next meeting.

“Lex, you know how he is. It’ll take a little time.” Theo handed her the now-lukewarm coffee as they got up to walk to their offices.

She shrugged and tried to smile.

“I know. Thanks for the support in there.”

“Anytime. Did you talk to your sister about this last night? You said before that you thought she might have some ideas for you.”

Alexa shook her head. She’d almost brought it up a few times, but each time she’d gotten too nervous to say anything.

“It wasn’t the right time, Theo. We were celebrating, and . . . anyway, it wasn’t the right time.” She changed the subject. “How was your hot date last night?”

He rolled his eyes.

“Most boring date I’ve ever been on. That woman and I had nothing to talk about. Buy you more coffee and I’ll give you the highlights, such as they were?”

She fought back a yawn.

“Definitely.”

Alexa checked her phone when she and Theo got back from their coffee run. A text from Olivia about her hangover; a few from her best friend, Maddie, about the book they’d both been reading; and one from an unfamiliar 310 number.

2 things: 1) we’re still on for tonight, yes? 2) what’s your last name?

Elevator guy. Tonight. Oh dear God. That hadn’t been some sort of alcohol-induced hallucination?

Shit. A rehearsal dinner and a wedding at the last minute? What was she going to wear?

Yes. Monroe. And if I’m coming to this thing, I need some details about when/where/etc.

“Etc.” meant “What the hell am I supposed to wear???” but she supposed she couldn’t text that to a guy, let alone one she didn’t even know.

Rehearsal dinner @7 at Beretta in the Mission. Wedding @6 tomorrow at some church, reception at the hotel. Btw I told Josh you’re my new girlfriend, just fyi.

She stared at the phone for two full minutes. His new girlfriend? She had to pretend to be his girlfriend?

I had too much alcohol last night for this.

She had a reply almost immediately.

You and your sister celebrated her partnership in style, I see. Did she enjoy my cheese?

She couldn’t help but laugh.

It was HER cheese, and yes, she loved it. Why did you need to know my last name?

She reached for her coffee cup and took a gulp. Thank God she’d gotten the largest size they had.

1) I should probably know my girlfriend’s last name, right? 2) Josh asked for it for the place cards.

She looked up at the knock on her door.

“I was going to check to see if you needed coffee, but I see you’re all set,” her assistant, Sloane, said.

She almost asked Sloane to get her a pastry before she remembered she still had a doughnut sitting on her desk. She took a bite of it. Maybe the sugar would help her figure out exactly why she was going on a fake date with a strange guy tonight.