Wild With You(2)

By: Layla Hagen


"They don't build anything small in that neighborhood, and I like it."

We went back and forth over several ideas, and as soon as we finished the chicken, I bid Amber and Matt goodbye.

The phone call about the swap was a waste of time, so I scrolled through my e-mails during the conversation. One from Amber popped up in my inbox, titled Best Man's Duties.

The list was mercilessly long, but she'd inserted a wicked grin at the very end, along with the comment, Don't worry. I think you'll get away with doing just about half of those.

I had a feeling this wedding was going to bring me trouble.





Chapter Two




Lori

On most days, I loved my job. Today, I had a case of triple zillas on my hands: the bridezilla, her mother, and mother-in-law. The three women had been in my office for more than an hour, shouting, crying, and shouting some more.

"Ladies, why don't we take a small break? I can make us some coffee, and I have an excellent cheesecake in the fridge."

"I'd love some coffee and cake," the bride said. I dashed out of the meeting room as soon as the other women nodded in agreement. I hoped the sweet treat would soften my zillas, or this wedding would end up with three color schemes. By the time I returned with the coffees and the cake, they’d calmed down somewhat.

There was still tension in the air, and the break went by in a loaded silence, but after the plates and cups were emptied, the conversation was more civil. I was pretty sure cheesecake could bring about world peace. Still, half an hour later, it became clear we wouldn't decide on the color scheme today.

"I made notes of all the wishes expressed today. I will e-mail the three of you a list of suggestions taking everything into account, and we can go from there."

In my experience, seeing their options laid out for them helped people decide quicker. Plus, if the three zillas didn't leave soon, I'd be late for my next appointment. My brother Jace had asked me to squeeze in a meeting with his boss and two friends of his who were about to get married, and I didn't want to make Jace look bad by showing up late.

"That sounds like a plan," the bride said. The two other women rose from their seats first, thanking me for the cake and coffee, then making a beeline for the door.

"Thank you for being on my side," she said once we were alone. "I know they want the best for me, but they're driving me nuts."

"It will all work out," I promised.

After they left, I drafted the e-mail, summarizing our discussion and making suggestions. Even though I was cutting it close for the next meeting, I wanted to write this while everything was still fresh in my mind.

Before leaving, I checked my appearance. My shoulder-length blonde hair was as unruly as ever, despite the product I'd smeared in it this morning. I tried to tame it some more, but neither my fingers nor the comb did much. With a sigh, I quickly maneuvered it into a thick braid. It was the only style that kept it under control. My outfit was as professional as could be: knee-length dark blue dress with a conservative, round neckline. I'd paired it with nude pumps.

Our meeting point was a coffee shop near Griffith Park. Despite having an office, most clients preferred to meet on location or in coffee shops close to their workplace. My office served more as storage for the wedding and party supplies. Even I got together with my three assistants mostly somewhere in the city.

Luckily, traffic was on my side, so I had time to stop by one of my favorite food trucks, which was three blocks away from the park. Despite the cheesecake, I was starving. I hadn't eaten anything else today, and I wanted some sustenance before the meeting. As a rule, I never ate when I met with clients, even if they did. Since it was early afternoon, there was no line.

"Hi! I'll have a hummus sandwich with falafel, please."

The vendor, Declan had only started working here last week, as a stand-in for the owner, who was on vacation.

"Hey, I remember you. You were here last week too."

"It's one of my favorite food trucks. I stop by any time I'm in the neighborhood."

He prepared my order in no time, and when he handed it to me, he said, "I hope this isn't too forward, but I'd love to take you out."

Okay. I hadn't been expecting that.

"Wow, Declan. I'm flattered... but I can’t."

He nodded curtly. "Right, of course. Had to try though. Hope it won't stop you from returning."

"Are you kidding? These sandwiches are to die for."

I was so hungry I finished my sandwich within minutes. Declan had seemed like a nice guy, and he was attractive enough, but I already had someone I liked to call the most important man in my life: my seven-year-old boy.

I looked Matt and Amber up on Facebook on my way to the coffee shop, so I could put faces to the names. Then I ignored some friend requests from random men. I had no idea if it was a single woman issue, or a single mom issue, but they were getting out of control. I hadn’t even posted my relationship status.