Redemption (Forgiven Series)(7)By: Rebecca Brooke
“Excuse me, everyone,” I yelled over the noise. When everyone stopped talking and turned to look at me I continued. “Caleb just texted me. They’re valeting the car now and they should be here in a few minutes.”
The room was deathly silent as everyone watched the doors intently, waiting for Angie to step through. A few minutes later it opened.
“SURPRISE!” everyone yelled.
Angie’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh my God.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw her and while I should’ve been focused on Angie since this was her party, I found my attention straying. I didn’t even know her name, yet, as I waited for Angie to make it to me, I kept my eyes on the girl across the room.
Angie walked up to me and I pulled her in close, tucking her under my arm and giving her a squeeze. “Happy Birthday.”
“Thank you,” she said kissing me on the cheek.
Angie and Caleb made their way around the room to greet all of their guests. I spent the next couple of hours trying to talk to her, but every time I had a clear shot someone stopped me—mostly Andrew trying to figure out how to save his screwed up relationship with Emily. Finally, I got a moment alone and looked over to Caleb, who still hadn’t popped the question. He looked nervous as hell, and I felt a little bad for him. Grabbing two beers from the bar I went over to give him a pep talk.
I walked up behind him and slapped him on the back before giving him the beer.
“Hey, man, you look like you’re gonna puke.”
He turned to look at me before taking a sip of his beer. “Thanks a lot, asshole,” he grumbled.
Glancing over to where Angie was standing, I noticed that the brunette was standing with her group. I gave myself a mental shake. I needed to focus. “Did you tell any of them your plans?”
He shook his head. “No, I didn’t even tell Mom and Dad.”
“I can’t believe you’re ready to take the plunge. Don’t you want to see what else is out there?”
He turned to look at me. “There will never be anyone like Angie. She is the most incredible woman I have ever met. She stayed with me even at my lowest, and I can’t imagine my life without her.”
I still didn’t think I would ever find a girl who would love me the way Angie loved Caleb, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to look for her either.
I smiled at him. “I know. Just don’t forget it.”
He clasped me on the shoulder. “I won’t. I better claim the birthday girl for a dance.”
“Good luck,” I offered with a wink.
He shook my hand and pulled me into a hug, “Thanks for everything. We would never have made it here without you.”
That’s for sure. Caleb had almost lost Angie because of his stupid idea about what he deserved. I patted him on the back. “Always, man.”
My attention turned back to the group around Angie. “Who’s the brunette standing next to Em?” I asked.
Caleb followed my line of sight before saying, “That’s Lauren, a friend of Angie’s.”
“I think I may need to go introduce myself—”
Caleb stopped me. “She’s a friend of Angie’s, please don’t screw around with her. Remember, we all have to live together.”
Damn it. All I wanted was to bury myself inside this girl and forget the real world for a little while. Maybe I should just ask her to dance and see where it leads, I thought to myself. “All right, I’ll behave myself. But I’m still asking her to dance.”
Caleb walked over to the DJ and I took the opportunity to go and introduce myself to Lauren. I noticed her watching me. She tried to look away and pretend to be absorbed in the conversation, but I wasn’t fooled. Maybe I was going to get lucky tonight after all.
I decided to let Emily make the introductions and then ask her to dance, where I’d hit her with the full force of my charm. I walked up and stood next to Emily. “Hey, Em, having fun?”
She looked over at me with a huge smile on her face. “Absolutely! This night couldn’t have turned out any better.”
She had no idea how wrong she was. Giving her a pointed look, I turned to glance at Lauren and back to her.