Taking a chance, I look into her eyes and then suddenly they meet mine. I feel shy, and I can’t speak, so all I do is nod as she turns and walks away.
I stand there for a long time, long after she’s gone, and I can’t help but wonder how someone so little could take up so much space in my heart.
“You okay?” Julie nudges me. We all sat down to catch our breath from dancing since we’ve been on the dance floor from almost the second we walked into the bar.
“I’m fine,” I rush to say, realizing I’d drifted off into my thoughts again.
It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I keep thinking about Donovan. He had the prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen. I’m sure that’s not something a man wants to hear, but I can’t help it.
They’re a warm chocolate encased in thick long lashes that I'd kill for. I’d gotten so lost in them that I’d almost missed the deep scar that cut through his eyebrow and down his cheek. Whatever it was narrowly missed his eye, but with how faded it was I knew it had to be a few years old. I’d never admit this out loud because it’s probably terrible, but it only adds to the whole mysterious thing he has going on.
“You want another drink?” Julie nods to my empty martini glass. I’m already feeling pretty good, but this is a bachelorette party.
“Let me get this round.” I hop up from our table at Pretty in Pink and walk toward the bar.
“What can I get you, Gracie?” Charlie calls when he sees me coming. He ignores everyone else waiting for a drink, and I hold up three fingers. He nods, but I shout to get his attention when I see Jacks come through the front door.
“Two.” I nod toward Jacks, making Charlie laugh. I'm pretty sure the staff here had a bet on how long it would take for Jacks to show tonight. I’m glad I didn’t put money down because I would have lost.
I’m actually impressed he held out this long. He’s not even having a bachelor party and rolled his eyes when I asked when his was going to be. Jacks doesn’t want to see any other girls naked. He’s been in love with Julie before any of us even knew what that was.
Growing up with them set the bar crazy high for what I wanted in a relationship. He’s always been so good to not only Julie but to Val and me too since we’re all like sisters. Thankfully I have Val who’s in the same boat as me. She’s been waiting for her knight in shining armor. No one in her family has ever even been divorced, and that’s a whole lot of pressure.
She actually went off to college hoping she might find the one there. Growing up in a small town, there aren’t a ton of options. Plus you might end up with someone who dated or banged your friend. No, thanks. College wasn’t a bad idea since it’s a lot more fish to choose from.
Plus Val is always about doing things by the book. You go to college after high school because that’s what people expect. College was never in the cards for me. I did okay in school but not good enough to get a scholarship, and there was no way I could afford it. Thankfully it wasn't something I’d longed for either. I love Hollow Oak, and I’ve never had a drive to leave until recently.
“Only made you one, and it’s on the house. Chad bought Val a drink.” I look down the bar to see Val surrounded by a few men. I swear that girl has no idea how sexy she is. Tonight, though, she’s showing more skin than normal. She shocked the hell out of me when she walked out in her little black dress. We’re all supposed to wear one tonight, except for Julie. Hers is all white, obviously.
I know Valerie is acting this way because of the new lawyer that has taken up the building next door to her dress shop. He’d stop by while I was there and there was no missing the sparks between the two of them. Val can tell me she thinks he’s a jerk all she likes, but they both have it bad. It was actually only today that I put together that he's Donovan’s brother. I mean, I knew Donovan had a brother since they live next door to each other. They’d both built homes around the same time, but I hadn’t connected the dots all the way through.
Charlie sets my drink down in front of me, and I take a sip as I spot Tidas Combs come through the door like my thoughts conjured him right up. Too bad I can’t do that with his brother. This is the last place Donovan would ever be. Tidas’s eyes search the bar, and I have a feeling I know who he’s looking for. I’m guessing he caught wind that Val was going out tonight.