The Connection(4)By: Adriana Locke
“It’s probably Kari and Max,” she whispers.
“Cane! We can’t bail on dinner the first night here.”
“Why not? They’re grownups. They can eat without us.”
She twists her head away from me towards the door. “Come in!”
I groan at the southern drawl and lift my head to see Max and Kari standing in the doorway. Max is grinning, knowing he’s interrupted me and obviously enjoying my frustration.
“We are,” Jada smiles. “Let me grab my purse.”
The waitress refills my glass of Moscato. The liquid seems to flow slowly, yet the glass is full before I realize it. I try to remember how many glasses this has been.
Two? Three? Four?
I shrug and thank her, lifting it to my lips again. It’s delicious and smooth, the pink color making me smile. It’s the color of the flowers I showed Kari. Or maybe it’s the alcohol making me smile.
I giggle and nearly choke on the drink.
“You better eat more,” Cane warns, patting me on the back until I stop coughing. “You’ve drank a lot and barely eaten anything.”
“I’m fine.” I compose myself the best I can and smile at my fiancé. The haze sitting over my mind is thick, but even a touch inebriated, I know it’s true.
I am fine.
No, I’m more than fine.
Who would’ve thought Sin City with Cane Alexander, the one man that embodied everything I was avoiding, would’ve made me this deliriously happy?
I watch him try to decide how to respond. It’s his nature to protect me, to be overbearing sometimes. I know he’s having a hard time not jerking the drink out of my hand and, secretly, I love it. I love looking into his eyes and see him try to balance making me happy and him happy. Because I know better than most how easy it is for someone to only think about themselves.
Cane’s tanned skin contrasts with his white dress shirt and his blue eyes glimmer under the restaurant lights. He has his shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbow. His toned forearms make me wish they were wrapped around me, holding me against the abs I know to be rock solid beneath his shirt.
He’s seriously the best looking man I’ve ever seen.
“This is your last glass,” he says, furrowing his brow. He traces his bottom lip with his finger and I watch it skim the surface. It’s just a sexy display. I tighten my thighs, trying to reel myself in. Between the Moscato and the look he’s giving me, I’m a hot mess.
“Oh, Cane. Let her enjoy herself,” Kari interjects, smiling brightly at me. “This is Vegas. You’re supposed to be wild and crazy here.”
“Then get crazy,” he responds, shooting her a warning glance. “Have fuckin’ at it, Kari. But Jada isn’t.”
“I’m right here,” I remind them. They all turn to look at me and I feel like I’m under a spotlight. I feel my cheeks heating under their gazes and I shift in my seat. “What?”
Max chuckles. The timbre of his voice always soothes me in a way. He’s one of my favorite people. He’s kind and dependable . . . and ridiculously handsome, especially in his khaki pants and black polo shirt. “Nothing, Jada,” he smiles. “Are y’all about finished eating?”
A waitress comes by and asks the same thing. We let her take our plates—and my drink, thanks to Cane—and we wait on the check. There’s a small current of uncomfortableness at the table and I can’t place it. I know it’s there, but I can’t quite make sense of it.
Everyone is discussing tomorrow’s plans, but my head is too fuzzy to think about tomorrow. It seems like so far away and so pointless to consider. We are on vacation. I don’t want to think about plans and tomorrows. All I want do is look at my fiancé and think about how lucky I am.
He loves me. He protects me. He would do anything for me.
I glance at my engagement ring and my mind starts swirling. I know I’m a bit tipsy, but maybe that just helps me think without the clutter and doubt I usually have. Because even though I’ve nearly drank my weight in Moscato, I know that the one person that would do anything for me, that wants to marry me, is sitting next to me. And I’ve been putting off marrying him for what? Convenience?
Well, it doesn’t get more convenient than Vegas.
“Hey,” I say rather loudly, causing everyone to stop talking. I giggle at their startled reactions, but look at Cane. “Sorry. That was a little loud. Anyway, I was thinking . . . We’re in Vegas. And I love you. And you love me. And we are getting married anyway. And why don’t we just go get married tonight?”