“Do you hate me?” I asked nervously.

“Hate you? No, silly. All you said was that you thought he and I would make a good couple. That’s no big deal. It’s not like you said ‘Beth likes you’,” she joked.

“She wants to make out with you.” I laughed.

“She wants to do a lot more than make out with him.” Now she was laughing too.

“Seriously, what’s the big deal? You’re both adults. Neither one of you is really looking for a serious relationship. He would be safe and it could be discreet.”

“And he’s probably got some mad skills in bed,” she added wiggling her eyebrows.

“Why can’t you just spend one great night together and not tell Braden?”

“Well, I’m fairly sure that he would never suggest it; so it would be up to me to make the first move, and even if I did, I’m not sure he would agree. I don’t know. I’ve never really been much of a siren or a femme fatale, or even all that daring. I would have to give it some thought.”

After that we started talking about other things like my writing and her painting, a new exhibit coming to the art museum where she used to work, my job as a prosecutor, and the wedding. Talking to Beth about it didn’t stress me out, though. She was wonderfully supportive. I confessed what effect the anxiety was having on my libido and she thought it was hilarious.

“Poor Adam! He’ll be exhausted before you know it,” she teased.

When I polished off my second martini, I told her about the dining room table and the cranberry sauce. We giggled like crazy and she told me she was horribly jealous because her Thanksgiving dinner hadn’t been nearly as interesting. But then, of course, I was thinking about him again. I had done such a good job up until that point.

Beth picked up on the shift in my mood quickly. We had already been there for almost two hours and had each downed two martinis. There was no shame in leaving at that point. I decided that I really enjoyed hanging out with Beth, though, and if she would just get together with Mark eventually, life would be perfect.

Chapter Eleven

I let myself back into the apartment, tossed the keys on the entry table and hung up my coat. Then I wandered to the living-room and over to a bookshelf. I was planning to just read until Adam got home. What I didn’t realize was that he was already home. There was just one table lamp turned on low and I didn’t see him lying on the sofa; so when he spoke, I jumped about three feet in the air.

“Did you have fun?”

“Jesus, Adam. You startled me.” I let out a deep breath and put my hand over my racing heart. “That’s the second time I’ve encountered you sitting in a dark room when I’ve gone looking for a book.”

I walked over to the sofa and sat down on the edge next to him. He took my hand and started rubbing it with his thumb. Then he sat up and gave me a hot, passionate kiss, his lips moving over mine and his tongue exploring my mouth boldly. When he pulled back, I nearly swooned. “What was that for?” I asked breathlessly.

“I didn’t get to do it the first time,” he said with a smile, reminding me of our almost kiss that night in the cabin in the woods. I sighed. Not only did I love Adam, I think I still had a crush on him too.

“Why are you here?”

“I live here.”

“Why aren’t you still out with Mark, smartass?”

“We had a good time for a while and then I just kept thinking about how much you would like this or how much you would enjoy that. Mark said I was getting mopey.” He laughed.

“That’s why I’m home early too,” I admitted, reaching up and brushing a piece of hair off his forehead. “I think you would like Orient Express. We should go there together.”

“Yeah, that would be good. I was thinking, maybe Mark should date Beth. Then we could all hang out together. Because, you know, it’s all about us.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” I laughed. “Great self-absorbed minds …”

“So, Lily,” he said looking deeply into my eyes. “When do you want to get married?” My heart started pounding harder again. It was the first time Adam had actually brought it up.

“How about right after New Year’s?” I asked impulsively, realizing for the first-time that that’s what I wanted. I fidgeted and bit my bottom lip waiting for his reaction.

“That soon?” he asked, sounding surprised but not displeased. “I can understand how you would be eager to become Mrs. Adam Roth, but are you sure?”

“Is that too soon do you think?”

“Nah, not for me. I’ve been waiting twenty-three years for you, Fruit Roll-Up girl.”

“Me too, green glitter boy.” I paused and looked down at my hands, debating whether or not to confess something. I decided after a moment of reflection that I felt safe. “You know, when we graduated from high school, and you went to BU and I went to Tufts, there would be times when I would be in Boston and I would think I saw you and my pulse would shoot up and I would feel excited. It was never you, though. Stupid, huh?”

It was a small thing that I had confessed, nothing like telling him I had been fantasizing about him the first time I came, but somehow it was even harder to tell him. Sexual attraction was one thing, but admitting that, even then, I had deeper feelings for him made me feel more vulnerable. I kept staring at my fingers, twisting on my lap, wondering if he was imagining me as a pathetic schoolgirl.

“I used to look forward to going to synagogue when I was home on break because I was hoping to see you there. One week, I went twice. My sisters started calling me ‘rabbi’.” I looked up at him and my chest felt tight.

“Why didn’t we just …?”

“It doesn’t matter anymore. Now, we’re getting married and we are going to spend the rest of our lives together, blissfully bickering, bantering and banging.”

“Nice alliteration but we have to survive the wedding first.”

“We can hire that Mr. Jonathan guy and let him and our moms tackle the details. That should make them happy and then we won’t have to worry about it. I don’t care how we do it as long as I’m the groom and you’re the bride.”

“I want us to be involved. It’s our wedding. I refuse to let other people completely plan the most important day of our lives. It may be stressful, but we are going to do this our way. They just get to help.”

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