The Fall Bride - Page 23

“We’re fine.” I glance over into Tidas’s office and see Rebecca’s not at her desk, and the door to Tidas’s office is closed.

He must be on a call or something. Tidas doesn't actually text me much because he prefers to deliver his messages in person. When he texts, it’s dirty, and often while I’m with a client. I’ve even spotted him standing out front while I was in the shop trying to see what my reaction was when he sent one of those dirty texts.

“Fine?” she teases as we cross the street toward the diner. She wants me to give up more details.

“I mean it’s casual. We’re getting to know each other, but it’s nothing serious. I know where Tidas stands on marriage.” At least I think I do. His comments about marriage never lasting that first day I’d met him still linger in my mind.

“And what’s that?”

“To him it’s just a piece of paper.”

“He might change his mind,” Gracie says. She’s always so positive and finds the good in everything.

“Maybe, but I wouldn’t want someone to marry me because they were only trying to make me happy. I want someone to marry me because they want it as badly as I do.” I grab the door to the diner and pull it open.

“You’ll have that one day, Val. If anyone deserves a fairytale wedding, it’s you.” I only give her a smile in response. It’s not that I want some grand wedding. It’s more about the declaration of love and an act of pure devotion.

“I’ll clear that booth for you girls,” Linda says when we step into the full diner. All the tables are taken except one with dirty dishes still on it.

“Oh! I see my friend. We’ll sit with him,” Gracie shouts back to Linda. “It’s Charlie. I was going to set you two up. Remember?”

“Oh crap.” I do remember. I’d actually gotten a text from him the same night Tidas showed up at my house with dinner. I’d completely forgotten and never texted the man back.

“It’s fine. I promise he’s got no hard feelings because you didn’t text him back,” Gracie reassures me as I follow her over to the booth. “Can we sit?”

“Of course.” Charlie stands and gives Gracie a hug. He’s handsome, but there is no sudden spark. With Tidas, I’d felt something from the start, and he’d been a jerk. The chemistry between Tidas and me was undeniable.

“This is Val,” Gracie says by way of introduction.

“I recognize her from the picture you showed me,” Charlie says, giving me a warm smile.

“I’m sorry. I meant to text you back,” I tell him, taking his hand. “Work is busy, and I kind of started dating someone.”

“Lucky man. You didn’t owe me anything.” He motions for me to sit.

“Order me a root beer float and the meatloaf. I’m going to use the bathroom,” Gracie says before she darts off toward the restroom.

“I already put my order in,” Charlie tells me when the waitress comes over. I tell her Gracie’s order and then give her mine.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Rebecca enter the diner. She sends a lovely glare my way as she picks up her to-go bag. I’m sure it’s for her and Tidas. I really can’t stand that woman. I know she has a thing for Tidas, and it irritates the crap out of me.

I keep my mouth shut about it, though. I don’t want Tidas to think I’m some psycho who is super possessive. Though I might be. I try and not let it bother me because at the end of the day if Tidas wanted her he could have her. Also I don’t think Tidas is the cheating type. He’s too blunt and straightforward for that.

“Food will be out shortly.” The waitress brings over our drinks, and Charlie and I make small talk while we wait for Gracie to come back.

“So this guy you started dating,” Charlie says. “Is he the jealous suit-wearing type?”

“What?” I laugh as Charlie looks over my shoulder and his eyes widen.

Turning around, I follow his line of sight to understand his question. I guess someone is free for lunch after all. Though he doesn’t look hungry. He looks straight-up pissed.

Chapter Sixteen


“I thought you had some things to take care of,” Valerie hisses at me as we leave the diner.

“I did, but obviously having lunch with you was more important.”

“I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe you made me sit on your lap the whole time while you scowled at that man.”

“Really? I thought the worst part was me feeding you.”

“That too,” she snaps, and I smile.

“Bye, Val,” I hear Gracie say over my shoulder as I reach for Valerie.

“I think I made my point.” I grab her hand, and when she tries to pull it away, I hold on tighter.

Tags: Alexa Riley Romance
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