Sucked Into Love(3)

By: Rochelle Paige

“I think we lost track of our conversation somewhere. What was the favor you wanted to ask me?”

“Soooooo,” she drawled. “There’s this nightclub downtown.”

“Of course there is,” I said.

“The Box,” she continued. “It’s the hottest place in town, and I have the chance to pitch to the owner next week.”

“You want me to go to a club called The Box?” I snickered.

“Josie,” she huffed. “Get your mind out of the gutter. That’s my job. The guy used to play hockey.”

The light bulb went off in my head as I got the play on words. “That’s actually pretty clever since I’m sure most people’s thoughts drift down the same path I took.”

“Nah. He’s famous enough around town that they know what he meant when he picked the name. The newspapers are always running stories about him because he owns a bunch of bars and restaurants and played here in town before he got injured,” she explained.

Her words stirred sympathy inside me. On the surface, it seemed like the man she’d described and I had nothing in common. I was a newly graduated physical therapist looking for a job and he was the rich playboy with the world in the palm of his hand. But I knew the agony he must have felt when his hockey career was sidelined because of an injury. It was heartening to think that he had turned his loss into a hospitality empire while I’d turned mine into a mission to help other hockey players so they didn’t suffer the same fate. In a way, it made me feel connected to him.

“And that’s why you’ve just got to do it,” Cee-Cee continued, and I realized that I’d completely missed what she was asking me to do while my mind had drifted.

“Sorry,” I apologized. “Can you repeat that?”

Cee-Cee growled at me in frustration. “Weren’t you listening at all?” she complained. “I have the chance to pitch to his nightclub for the firm. It’s unheard of for someone as new as I am to get this chance, especially since his club is the it place right now. But he’s looking to grow his bachelorette party business and my boss figured I’m the closest thing to the target market on this one, so he’s giving me a chance.”

“That’s wonderful news,” I congratulated her. “But I don’t get how I can help you with your pitch.”

“I need to get a better feel for what the experience is like at the club,” she explained.

I felt a moment’s relief that she was just asking me to go out for a night on the town with her. “Oh, sure. Let’s plan on going there tomorrow night then?”

“You really need to learn to pay closer attention when I’m talking,” Cee-Cee grumbled.

“So you don’t want me to go to the club with you?” I wanted to know, confused by what I could have possibly missed.

“Yes, but it needs to be tonight,” she clarified. “And for a bachelorette party.”

“Who’s getting married?” I asked, hoping that it at least was someone I knew.

Her moment of silence should have warned me that I wasn’t going to like the answer. “You are.”

“What?!” I shrieked. “I’m not getting married!”

“Not married married. I just need you to be the bachelorette for the party,” she replied, but her response didn’t make any sense to me.

“I don’t get it,” I said. “You want me to come to a bachelorette party you are throwing at the hottest nightclub downtown. And I’m the guest of honor? So you’ll be better prepared to pitch your company’s services to the owner?”

“Yes, exactly,” she agreed.

“But that’s just crazy.”

Cee-Cee sighed deeply. “Let me make this easier for you. Are you my best friend in the whole wide world?”

“You know I am.”

“And do you want me to do well at my job?” she asked.

“Absolutely,” I answered, even knowing that she was about to back me into a corner just like she always did.

“Then please, please, please help me,” she begged. “The only way I’m going to feel prepared for this presentation is if I get an inside peek into what it’s like to be at a bachelorette party at The Box. And I can’t do that without a bachelorette. Since I don’t happen to have one lying around, I need you to help me out here. Please.”