When Lightning Strikes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 8 (v.1)

Submitted: December 17, 2011

Reads: 659

Comments: 15

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 17, 2011

A A A

A A A

“So tell me again why you’re ditching a trip to rock climbing for your sister?”

I rubbed my forehead and sighed. This was harder than I thought. “Aubrey likes to plan early,” was the only way I could explain.

“That’s pretty damn early,” I heard Lorelei grumble. That wasn’t surprising to hear from her though, because she was known for forgetting about assignments and procrastinating. Then, she cleared her throat and her voice went back to a normal volume. “Alright, Ruby and I will let you off since we know how your sister is.”

With a playful roll of my eyes, I thanked them and hung up. Now I needed to get ready for today’s agenda, so I took a quick shower and changed into some fresh clothes. I chose a sundress, wore a white lace vest over the top, slipped on my silver sandals and spritzed on some perfume that Ruby had bought me.

By the time I reached downstairs, everyone was eating breakfast, including Jason. I had a mini heart attack because I hadn’t expected him to be coming, which was quite stupid of me since he was the bridegroom.

“Good morning, Gracie.” Aubrey’s voice sounded like bell chimes, as it floated across from the other side of the dining table. Now why couldn’t I have a voice like that? Mine was soft and definitely not powerful at all. “All ready?”

“She hasn’t even eaten yet!” Jason nudged his fiancée as he hissed that, and then turned to me with a bright smile. “Morning, Gracie. We meet once again.”

I took a seat across from him and nodded my head in agreement. “We sure do!"

Aubrey sighed and drummed her French manicured nails on the table. “Well, go on and eat then.”

Due to my sister’s slight annoyance, I tried to waffle down my breakfast as quick as I could. Instead, I ended up being slapped on the head from dad.

“Ow!” I exclaimed. “What was that for?!”

“You’re going to choke on your food if you keep doing that, Cece,” he sung. He looked smug and I had the feeling that he was secretly getting some revenge on me for going behind his back and dating ‘a French boy’. After Vince had gone back to his apartment that he shared with his Aunt, dad hadn’t stopped pestering me.

I heard Jason murmur questioningly, “Cece?”

“Dad’s pet name for her,” Aubrey muttered.

By the time the three of us piled into Jason’s car, it was ten o’ clock. Today we were going to find a nice outfit for Jason, collect the invitations, buy some decorations and order the cake … all for the engagement party. I had no idea why Aubrey wanted me here when it was supposed to be their party. I felt like a third wheeler.

Our first stop turned out to be the bakery in the next town. It was a little one, with different coloured cupcakes painted all over the walls.

“Cute isn’t it?” Jason said. “This is the sort of wallpaper Delilah would want in her bedroom."

“Then give it to her!” I ordered playfully.

We were then silenced by a presence that we both did not want. The bell rang, signifying that another customer had come into the store.

“Jason, it’s nice to see you again.”

I watched as he smiled tightly. “You too, Michelle.”

Something which made me relieved was the fact that she didn’t throw herself at Jason. She actually seemed to despise him a little, if I didn’t know better.

The owner of the bakery came out from the kitchen to greet us and give us a large album to look through, which showed photographs of all their cakes they sold. We looked through many beautiful ones, but all four of us ended up liking different ones. I had a silly smile over a cake with frangipanis around the border; Jason preferred the simple chocolate mud cake with vanilla stars, Michelle cooed over the tiered stand of cupcakes and Aubrey was satisfied in her choice of an intricate black and white chiffon cake with delicate icing and an edible flower on the top.

I had to admit, I was very impressed with her choice, but it was too elegant for me. But it was Aubrey and Jason’s engagement party, not mine.

“I love it Jason. It’s perfect don’t you think?”

“Well, it’s not really me …”

Michelle gave him the stink eye. “Are you really going to deny your wife-to-be the right to choose the cake, Jason? Now that’s not you.”

My jaw dropped. Was that why she was here? To send Jason on a guilt trip and persuade him to agree with Aubrey? I wouldn’t be surprised, because everyone knew that like my sister, Michelle had a way with words – she had been the captain of the debating team in high school and prided herself on winning nearly every single heat.

Jason narrowed his eyes at his fiancée’s maid of honour, but seeing the hopeful look on Aubrey’s face made him calm down considerably. “It’s a beautiful cake, Bree.”

Bree? I chuckled.

“I knew you would come around.” My sister patted his hand, and then turned to the owner of the shop, who was still standing beside her and bouncing on her heels. “We’d like cake number 32 please.”

While Aubrey went over the details with her, the rest of us walked outside and waited by the car. It was so quiet that I decided to distract myself from the awkwardness, by watching passer-by’s.

“Ugh, this is so dreary.”

Both Jason and I watched as she marched off, not one bit dejected that Michelle didn’t want to be near us. Actually, it seemed like she brought all the tension away with her.

“Thank god,” I heard him mumble.

I couldn’t help it. A giggle rose from my throat before I could stop myself. “I’m guessing you don’t like her very much?”

His eyes darted, as if he was scared of someone eavesdropping on our conversation. “Don’t tell Aubrey, but she’s just so … haughty.”

“I wouldn’t dream of telling her!” I assured him. Imagine how she would take it! I wouldn’t be surprised if she sent both her fiancé and best friend off for a counselling session to sort out their problems. “Aubrey wouldn’t be very pleased at all.”

“I wouldn’t be pleased about what?”

Jason and I jumped in our seats, surprised to find the person we were just talking about was standing right beside us.

“You wouldn’t be very pleased if we … drove off without you,” Jason improvised quickly. “Gracie and I were just tired of waiting.”

Aubrey took his hand. “It wasn’t that long of a wait.”

After placing the cake order, we headed to an apartment complex. Only my sister headed inside to collect the invitations and when she came back beaming, it meant that they were perfect. Throughout the rest of the ride, I flipped through the thick cream cards to see who the guests were, while the engaged couple quietly quarrelled on what colour shirt Jason should wear to the party.

By lunchtime, we managed to find Jason a dress shirt, and after thinking about what to eat for lunch, we all decided on Thai food. I was excited because I hadn’t eaten Pad Thai in a very long time.

Once the four of us were offered a table in the cramped but cosy restaurant, a waiter descended upon us to hand us the menus. I bit back my laugh as I saw Michelle deep in thought, probably over which foods were low in calories.

“Oh, these prawn and chicken dumplings look excellent,” I heard Aubrey murmur. She then turned to the waiter. “I’d like this one please.”

Jason cleared his throat. “The spicy chicken curry for me.”

After a moment’s pause, Michelle authoritatively placed her order. “A green mango salad, thank you.”

The waiter scribbled it down and when he turned to me, his eyes widened. “And what it’s going to be for the lovely lady here?”

Our small table was full of mixed reactions. I flushed from the sudden attention, Michelle’s alabaster complexion turned green, and Aubrey narrowed her eyes at the waiter, scanning him from head to toe, trying to find any flaws. Maybe she didn’t like the fact that a foolish man like him was hitting on a taken girl. Jason’s eyes simply darted between us, as if he was trying to figure out if we knew each other.

Still pink from the compliment, I managed to find my voice. “I’d like a chicken Pad Thai, please.”

If you didn’t count the loud noises coming from the kitchen and the talk of the customers, you’d think it was deadly quiet. No one said a thing until the waiter pushed the double doors to the chef’s kitchen.

“Well, it looks like all the men are coming after Gracie now,” Aubrey commented. I felt a little bit offended, since it seemed like she was suggesting that no guys talked to me at all.

Jason seemed confused, but decided to remain silent.

Michelle on the other hand, ignored Aubrey completely and voiced her thoughts aloud. “I don’t think Gracie should look too much into it. He might be homosexual.”

Resentment shook through me. I couldn’t speak. I wanted to point out that when she had seen him from across the room, she had perked up. I wanted to point out that she was jealous that I was the one who received a compliment. I wanted to point out that not everything was about her.

But instead, Jason did that all for me.

“Michelle, it’s not like she was the only one who was interested.” He half scoffed, half laughed. “It was obvious you were too, with the way you were looking at him. I doubt he’s homosexual either, because you if look at him now, you’ll see that he’s not.”

Both Michelle and I turned in our seats to see what Jason had pointed out and sure enough, the waiter was still sneaking peeks at me. My body heated up again and I looked away. I wasn’t interested in him. Vince had already captured my heart.

From beside me, Michelle made a ‘harrumph’ noise of anger. Jason seemed to enjoy it.

Lunch consisted of mostly the two other girls chatting about locations for the honeymoon. All I heard were classy and romantic places such as the French Riviera, Monte Carlo and Santorini in Greece.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see the groom-to-be squirming uncomfortably in his chair. I felt sorry for him, especially with what the girl next to me was saying.

“We’ll have to head over to Victoria’s Secret to buy some new lace ones. Satin too,” Michelle said with a sly smile.

Seriously? Why did she have to talk about this in front of Jason and me?!

Jason and I finished our meal early, but that was because we weren’t talking as much as the other two were. So we decided to start our own conversation. It didn’t last long however, because suddenly, Aubrey suggested we should get going.

Once we walked out of the restaurant, Aubrey turned to us and announced, “Michelle and I are going to a store where they sell balloons.”

I had the feeling they were going to head to Victoria’s too, but I kept that opinion to myself and clarified, “Like party balloons?”

I was confused. My sister wasn’t the type of person to hang up multi-coloured balloons at her engagement party. Gosh, that would look like a kid’s birthday if she did!

She looked offended that I would think that. “No! We’re going to pick up some ivory and lavender ones!”

“Ohh.” I watched as she took out a notepad out of her bag and gave it to Jason. “Now Michelle and I are going to collect some other things, but these are what the both of you are getting. See you soon!”

With my jaw dropped, I stared at my sister walking away. “How did I not see this coming?”

Jason laughed at my reaction and looked down at the list. “Well, we’ve got to buy serviettes, plastic bowls, plates and cutlery … and also tablecloth and CD’s for the music.”

“Well let’s go and find some CD’s then.” I pointed to a nice-looking music store across the road. “Since there’s a shop right over there.”

We looked both ways before hurriedly running across the road. Upon reaching the other side, we laughed at how stupid we looked, not caring about the strange looks we were getting from passer-by’s. It was as if we had been running for our lives!

Picking out CD’s was hard. Jason and I discovered we both liked the same sort of music, but we knew Aubrey wouldn’t appreciate it very much.

“How about 50 love songs?” I pointed out a red one with hearts decorated on the cover. “Or Shania Twain?”

Jason shuddered. “Let’s just keep looking.”

I pouted and stacked the CD back where it belonged. “Should we find slow love songs or happy, upbeat music?”

My curious gaze turned towards Jason, who looked like he was in deep thought. “I think we should go with the latter. We want everyone to be smiling right? It’s a celebration party, not a funeral.”

In the end, we chose ones which had a compilation of songs. ‘Party Hits’ and ‘Head Over Heels’ had a promising track list.

“I’ll pay for it,” Jason immediately said, as we both reached the counter.

I shoved his wallet away and protested, “No, its fine! I will!”

“I’m being a gentleman here, Gracie,” he sung in a teasing tone.

“Well maybe I don’t need one."

Aww!” Both our heads snapped up to look at the girl behind the cashier, who was beaming at us. “You two make such a cute couple!”

Bewildered, I stared at her. She thought we were a couple?! My cheeks flushed and from the corner of my eye, I could see Jason’s blue eyes bulging out of its sockets.

“Oh no, we’re not-”

“Nothing’s going on between-”

The girl laughed, waving off our objections. “Oh I’ve heard that all before!” She then turned to look at the cash register, where she tore off the receipt. “So that will be eighteen dollars!”

We both blinked from the sudden change and slowly looked at each other. In the end, Jason was faster and quickly shoved his credit card into the cashier’s hand. We waited a few seconds for her to put the CD’s in a small purple gift bag before walking out.

As soon as we stepped onto the pavement, I frowned. “You do know that was cheating, right?”

He laughed at my absurd accusation. “But there’s no rules, is there?”

I innocently shrugged. “Do you want to have rules?”

“If we had rules, then you would blame me for cheating all the time,” Jason pointed out in a matter-of-factly tone. “So no, I don’t want any rules.” Then, in a lower voice, he added, “I’m tired of any sort of restriction.”

Although what he said would urge someone to ask questions, I didn’t want to pry, so I decided to change the topic. “Oh look! Should we check in Costco to see if they have what we need?”

Jason agreed, so we both went inside and scanned the warehouse to find the right shelf. In the end, we did and he started to pile boxes of plastic cutlery, plates and bowls into the trolley he was pushing.
“Shouldn’t we go for another colour?” I asked hesitantly. White plastic plates didn’t look as nice as the grey ones, or the red …

His confused eyes lifted up to meet mine. “Aren’t they the same?”

I shrugged and started to lightly tap on the boxes of coloured sporks. “Well I just think that for an engagement party, normal white plastic looks a bit … cheap?” When I saw Jason frown, I quickly went on. “You know, Aubrey’s going to make the place look spectacular, and these would ruin it, don’t you think?”

He smiled and I found myself staring at a dimple which I hadn’t noticed before. Guys with dimples were cute. Wait, I wasn’t saying that Jason in particular was cute, I just – what am I saying? I couldn’t believe I just slightly bagged out my sister’s fiancé. Jason was definitely a fine man, with his golden brown hair, genuine smile and white teeth. Straight white teeth too! Wow, he really was perfect – looks and personality wise for Aubrey. She was definitely lucky …

“Gracie?”

Mmm? My eyes sharply snapped up to Jason’s and when I realised I had been standing there in the middle of the aisle motionless and staring at him, I blushed, probably a deep shade of pink. It didn’t help that my skin was creamy.

“Gracie, are you ok?”

My grip on the box tightened and I avoided his eyes. “Yes! Yes, of course!”

“Uh, alright then.” Jason leaned forward and surveyed the different colours. “Well how about we take this colour then? Blue?”

I peered at it. “You mean sky blue?”

“Blue, sky blue … same thing!” Jason shook his head, amused. “Why is it that girls always have to specify a colour?”

A frown made its way onto my face. “Don’t you think that’s generalising?” I pointed out. “I never thought a guy like you would do that!”

Jason looked slightly offended, but playful since he knew I was half-kidding. “What exactly do you mean by that?”

“Not every girl thinks like that,” I explained. “It’s like saying that all guys … are jerks.”

He chuckled as he loaded some boxes into the trolley. “But that statement there is true.”

Affronted, I opposed. Look at Vince – he was the epitome of perfection. “Not all guys are jerks.”

“Why are you defending a different gender?” Jason asked, as he gave me a funny look.

Flustered, I spluttered, “Tell you what? Let’s call a truce and stop arguing.”

He studied me for a moment, making me nervous, then grinned. “Well aren’t you the peacemaker.”

Chagrined, I replied, “Ha-ha, very funny.”

“I never took you for a sarcastic one either,” he mused.

I smiled. What he said was true – I was never really one for sarcasm, but Jason just seemed to bring out a more witty side of me. How strange … “It’s not my fault that you make me say weird things, now is it?”

Jason’s rich laughter rang in my ears. “You are one funny girl, Gracie.”

Once we finished paying for everything, we headed outside to find Aubrey and Michelle waiting by the car. They were carrying bags full of who knew what and I smiled when I spotted a Victoria’s Secret bag clutched tightly in my sister's hand.

As soon as she spotted us, she gave us a warm smile. She looked like a gentle doll with her brown locks blowing in the wind and her perfect complexion. “Hey! Did the both of you have fun?”

Jason slipped an arm around her waist and dropped a kiss on her head. “Yeah, we did.”

I nodded. “I completely approve of having Jason as a brother-in-law.”

Aubrey met my eyes and we shared a look of happiness. “Thank you Gracie,” she replied. “I really mean it.”

I leaned forward to hug her. This time it was my time to agree with my sister’s choice of beau. “Not a problem, sis.”

alt

Aubrey's choice of cake!

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