NICK: Bee Lauren Taylor?
Just what I needed right before finals—to take days off from school and fly into London to help my brother move his family back home. I wouldn’t have been so irked about doing this had I not been told by a smiley-faced Laney that I was expected to be on the plane. She caught me red-handed leaving Bee’s place.
And what the hell was up with Bee the other morning? It was unlike her to be so emotional. Shit, I didn’t need emotional in a woman. I was young. I didn’t want marriage, I didn’t want kids—though I adored my niece and nephews. I wanted freedom for as long as possible. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with Bee. She was fun, successful, carefree, and independent. These are all desirable traits in a woman. But I don’t want a woman!
“Nick!” Max had to shake me awake from this hellish mood. “What are you daydreaming about?”
“I know who he was daydreaming about.” Laney had that creepy happy mug.
“Who?” Max asked.
“Why do we three end up together at lunch all the time? And what are you doing here at the hospital, Laney?”
“Dad’s seminar is being held in the hospital auditorium.”
“That must work really well for the chief to have his daughter in his class. Don’t your classmates accuse your father of favoritism? I hear you’re the star student there.”
“They would, Nicholas, if I wasn’t the freaking star student in every class!” My cousin and future brother-in-law laughed more at me, than at her statement. She and Bee must have talked because no one called me Nicholas, but Bee.
“I knew you’d be a pain in my ass once you got to med school,” I complained.
“Someone got up on the wrong side of the bed. Was the other side empty this morning? Is that why you’re so pissy?”
“You and Bee still seeing each other?” Max had his signature serious-with-a-hint-of-laughter face.
“Stop speaking for me. Go bug your fiancé.”
“My fiancé is busy trying to conquer this litigious world for the good of the Reid family.”
If Laney wasn’t my cousin, I would have had a choice word or two for her, but I let her snarky remark go. Her bubbly attitude irritated me.
“Are you and Jane coming with us today?” I asked Max, hoping I wouldn’t be stuck listening to Laney babble endlessly about her wedding.
“We are, but we’re not staying in London. We’re moving on to Florence looking for wedding locations.”
“You guys seriously thinking about getting married there?”
“If that is what my beautiful fiancée wants, that is what she’ll get. I don’t give a damn where we get married. I just want to be tied to your sister.” He had that same stupid grin as Laney.
“I’m outta here. You two are sickening to be around. I don’t think I can eat anymore of my lunch.”
“Aw come on, Nicholas. We’ll stop being so happy.” Laney cracked up as soon as she said this, and Max followed suit. I got up and left.
Bee Lauren Taylor. Shorter, heavier, and more opinionated than the women I prefer to date, but beautiful in her own right. She looked like a Taylor with the wavy brown hair and unusual colored eyes, but she had a flavor all her own.
Being a child of a young mother and an older father, Bee was raised to be independent and not a rule follower. She wasn’t necessarily a rule breaker, but she didn’t see the need to walk the same path as most women. Out of high school, she chose to go to design school rather than a traditional four-year university. She’d been working in the garment industry since she was sixteen and didn’t have any qualms about setting up her own studio and shop out of the loft she owned. I respected all she’d accomplished in her short almost thirty years of life. She was a hell of a woman!
But that didn’t make her the woman for me. I just wanted to have fun with her and if she didn’t like where we were, which was nowhere, then even these casual meetings would have to end.
I packed a small duffle bag for this long weekend and chauffeured my sister, Max, Laney and Bee to the airport.
“Explain to me why I had to be a part of this trip?” I asked, still wondering how Bee and I ended up on this itinerary.
“Then, please explain to me, Laney Reid, how I ended up on this trip since I’m not a Reid and I’ve got more work than time to finish your gifts for the wedding!” I couldn’t tell whether Bee was pissed to be here or she was pissed with me for the way we ended the other day.
“You want to answer?” My sister turned it over to Laney.
“Nicholas.” Laney said this with her creepy smile. “Your mom asked for two more sets of hands to come and help with the twins. Your parents and Emily have been busily packing while Jake is wrapping up his work.”
“And?” Bee and I asked simultaneously.
“And since Jane and Max are going to be in Florence, and Donovan and I need to catch-up, you two have been selected to watch the twins.”
“What the hell?” We both yelled at Laney.
“Um…I think they need us to board the plane. Let’s talk more later.” Laney finished this sentence five feet away from us.
I was going to kill my cousin. She was now telling us that we were to babysit the entire weekend. I’d rather pack and move a grand piano, than take charge of those active toddlers. They would run me ragged.
“What’s going through your mind right now?” I asked Bee while taking her bag and carrying it up to the plane.
“I’m thinking Laney won’t live to see her fiancé in London in twelve hours.” Bee answered with an evil smile. I loved this side of Bee.
“And I’m thinking we’ve got to get her and Donovan back for tricking us into misery this weekend. Get on the plane. Let’s get drunk and come up with a plan or two to make them suffer,” I added.
Uncharacteristically, Bee grabbed my face and kissed me before we got on the plane. Up until now, we’d never even sat next to each other or admitted to anything but a casual acquaintance. However, this kiss was something else. “I love the way your devious mind works. Let’s give them hell, Nicholas!”
London with Bee? Why the hell not!