Sucked Into Love(4)

By: Rochelle Paige


Cee-Cee had come up with plenty of crazy adventures for us in the past, but I never thought I’d hear her beg me to be a fake bachelorette. “You’re going to throw a pretend party?”

“Oh, it will be real enough. It’s just that everyone there will think we’re celebrating your last night as a single woman when we’re really scoping out the place and enjoying our first time to hang out now that we live in the same city again.”

“You do know you’re crazy right?” I asked. “I’m a horrible liar.”

“You won’t have to do a thing except dress the part, drink free shots, and have loads of fun,” she promised.

When she put it like that, she made it sound so reasonable. This was why she always got her way. She was so darn persuasive when she wanted to be. And persistent. Which was just about all the time.

“Fine, but if someone asks hard questions about my fiancé or our wedding, you better be there to answer them.”

“Woohoo! I knew I could count on you,” she crowed. “I’ll be there in an hour to pick you up.”

“Help me get ready, you mean,” I teased.

“That too,” she agreed before hanging up.



****



By the time Cee-Cee made it to my house, I’d brought all my stuff inside and unpacked. It was very strange to be back in a room I’d last decorated when I was a preteen. I hoped that I got the job so I could move out soon. With my dad avoiding me like this, it would be a good thing to have space of my own. Besides which, I was an adult, so it was time for me to move out now that I’d graduated from college.

Luckily, I’d also grabbed a quick shower and dried my hair because it had been a long drive. The idea of hitting a club after having been in the car all day without cleaning up grossed me out. Seeing as Cee-Cee was the world’s least patient person, odds were heavily against her waiting around while I took one after she got here.

“Jo-Jo!” she squealed before wrapping me into a big hug. “Damn, I missed having you around. Why did you want to stay in school an extra three years again?”

“Gah! Enough with that dreadful nickname,” I grumbled as I hugged her back tight. This was the kind of warm welcome I’d so desperately needed but hadn’t gotten from my dad. “And you know I didn’t really want to stay in school for so long, but I would never get a job working with athletes without a graduate degree.”

“I know, I know. But at least you’re done now and ready to take on a bunch of overgrown lugs as soon as they hire you to work for the Cavaliers,” she offered.

“Overgrown lugs?” I asked, raising my eyebrows in inquiry, since it was very unlike her to say. She’d always gone for the athletic guys back in school, so it was weird hearing her talk like that.

“There’s this guy,” Cee-Cee started. “Hot. I met him last weekend and there was just something there. It was different than any other guy I’ve met before. I don’t know how to explain what happened.”

“And?” I wanted her to continue because what she’d said hadn’t explained her sarcasm.

“And nothing. He’d be perfect for me…except he’s younger.”

“So you didn’t want to rob the cradle?” I teased and then immediately felt guilty when I saw tears well up in her pretty, green eyes. I was stunned as one slid down her cheek. Cee-Cee rarely cried, and I wasn’t sure what to think. “I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

She swept the lone tear away and offered me a small smile. “It’s not even that. He’s only a few years younger than I am, and I’d have no problem with the age difference except that it means he isn’t ready for a real relationship and I am.”

“Isn’t it a little soon to write him off if you just met him last weekend?”

“I’m not going to make time for a guy like that and I certainly shouldn’t be crying over him. Not after spending only a handful of hours hanging out with him. It just hurt that he spent the whole night flirting with me and making me feel like I was the only woman in a crowded bar. And then I found him with his arms wrapped around someone else when I came out of the bathroom,” she explained. “It doesn’t really matter. I’ll probably never see him again, and twenty-two-year-old athletes aren’t exactly known for being monogamous anyway.”