Alex did not know what to say. Kelly said, “I am not eating this cake alone,” and gave him a piece.
All Alex could get out was a soft, “hey.”
Trying not to sound nearly as nervous as she was Kelly said, “I picked out the cake so I can tell you it is worth every calorie.”
Again not able to get an entire sentence out he said, “I bet.”
Kelly blurted out, “so I am glad you are here.”
Alex looked at her and said with a smile, “that’s good.”
“I did not know you were coming until 5 minutes before the ceremony but that is for me to take up with Emily later.”
Alex threw his head back and said “oh wow, sorry. awkward pause You look amazing.”
“Thanks, it was a beautiful ceremony.”
“Yes and your speech was perfect.”
Smiling Kelly said, “I stole a line or two.”
“I know but it worked. Don’t let me keep you from your cake.”
With a mouth full she said, “don’t worry you won’t.”
Alex laughed. She could tell he was not sure what to do or say.
Kelly looked right at him and said, “so here are the rules.”
Alex gave a confused, “OK.”
Kelly held out the bottle of champagne and said, “we say nothing about the past, if either of us does then they have to take a drink. We only speak of the present and future.”
Still confused Alex said, “so it’s a drinking game?”
“Call it what you want.” He could tell she was in her happy place, but if that made her civil then it was fine by him.
Kelly wiped her mouth and said, “I will start, do you love the cake?”
Alex shook his head and said, “yes I do.”
“OK now it’s your turn.”
After a long pause and still sounding confused and shy Alex said, “how are you?”
With a big smile Kelly said, “at this very moment I am wonderful. For my turn I choose the same question, how are you?”
Looking right into her eyes he said, “at this moment I could not be better. My turn OK, so are you still with the same company.”
Kelly had a skeptical look and said, “hmmm…..you need to drink.”
He sat up straight and said, “why?”
“Because that references the past.”
He said, “whatever you say.”
With a chuckle Kelly said, “I will answer it though, yes I am.”
“Are you still in DC?”
Alex said, “drink because that is exactly what I did.”
Kelly said with a big smile, “I wanted a drink anyway.”
“Since you asked so nicely, yes I am still in DC.”
Alex said, “Where are they going on their honey moon?”
Kelly said, “some island I think.”
She said, “who do you think will win the super bowl this year?”
Alex had a perplexed look and said, “what?”
“I could not think of a question,” she said with a shrug and took a drink.
Alex was trying to figure out a way to ask about her health but he could not think of a way plus he wanted to play it cool.
After another awkward silence Kelly said, “you can loosen up, I am not going to freak out or anything. You keep looking at me like I am a crazy person.”
“You’re not crazy.”
Taking a bite of her cake Kelly said, “well actually I am.”
Alex Laughed and said, “I don’t want to keep you, thanks for coming over.”
Kelly said, “it’s been a long time, believe it or not it is great to see you.”
Just then Brian came over and put his arms around both of them and said, “oh, yeah that is more like it,” and put his finger in Kelly’s cake.
Kelly said, “watch it,” and kissed him on the cheek.
Brian said to Alex, “I see you have met my second wife Kelly.”
Kelly rolled her eyes. Brian held up the bottle they had been drinking out of and said, “classy Kel, real classy.”
Kelly said, “we were playing a drinking game.”
Alex did not say much then he blurted out, “dude nice wedding.”
Kelly said. “I will let you two nerds catch up, my shoes are on that dance floor and ran off.”
Brian sat down where she had been sitting. He said, “man, it’s good to see you how is everything?”
Alex said, “its good.”
Brian said, “well you look great. Awkward seeing her?”
Alex said, “yes and no. She seems to be doing great.”
“She is. I see why you wanted to keep her around, she is as cool as they come.”
Reluctantly Alex said, “so she is OK?”
Brian said, “yeah she is, she is like a sister. How is the job, are you still doing working on that crap ass health care reform?”
With a smile Alex said, “you know it. Still working at L&E?”
Brian said enough of the bull shit, “she is single but she is happy. I will never admit to saying this, but she is still waiting for you, no one can live up to you, trust me half of San Francisco has tried. She has been through a lot so if you are not going for the gold don’t bother.”
Alex said, “I don’t think we should go there, it seems like we might be in an OK place.”
Brian said, “true, but is that ever going to be enough? awkward pause So listen, we never had this conversation.”
Just then Emily came over and hugged Alex from behind and kissed him on the cheek. “Well aren’t you a sight for sore eyes.” She went and sat on Brian’s lap.
Alex said, “you are stunning.”
“Thanks. What are you two talking about?”
Brian said, “just catching up.”
Not buying that for a second she said, “I saw Kelly over here.”
Alex said, “yeah she seems great.”
With a chuckle Emily said, “she is the best. Is she drunk?”
Alex said, “well she is not completely sober.”
“Well, her plan was to stay sober but that went out the window,” Emily said with a shitty grin.
Emily told Brian he was dancing with her. Brian said, “and already it starts,” and they went to the dance.
Alex went over to the bar and started talking with a buddy and he looked over and could see Kelly in her very slimming black dress. He was so afraid to mess this up, she did not seem to despise him anymore and maybe that was enough, why push it?
Brian’s brother kept dragging Kelly to the dance floor and she was pretty certain he was feeling her up. She looked over at Alex who was back at his table and mouthed “save me.”
He laughed. About a half hour later Kelly was in the foyer outside the bathrooms sitting on a couch with one of the other bridesmaids. He rolled over and said, “I had no idea you were such a dance floor diva.”
Kelly said, “please and um thanks for the help.”
“You looked like you were having fun.”
While looking at him like he was crazy she said, “that depends how you define fun.” Kelly introduced Alex to the other bridesmaid; she said he went to law school with Brian and Emily.
The other bridesmaid excused herself and Alex said with a quizzical look, “yeah I am the guy they went to school with was easier than saying old friend. “
She said, “oh whatever, like she needed be burdened with our drama.”
Alex laughed and said, “true statement. So questions?”
Kelly said, “sure but steer clear from the past.”
Taking a sip from his beer he said, “I get that, just so I know because I don’t want to cause any drama trust me. How do I rate with you?”
Kelly said looking confused, “rate?”
Smiling he said “as friend, an acquaintance, a guy at a wedding?”
“Oh god Alex you are such a pain in the ass.”
“I am a pain in the ass, that is all I needed to know, so really I can only go up from there.”
Kelly hit his leg and said, “come on your buying me a drink and I am going to the cookie table.”
He followed her and she said, “get me whatever I am destined to be sick at some point.”
Kelly went over to the dessert table and grabbed a plate of cookies and went outside.
Alex was not far behind, she sat down and he gave her a beer, she said, “well that’s original.”
Kelly gave him a cookie, he said, “this is like a dream for you.”
“Well I have to admit I am having a great time,” and nudged him with her elbow.
As Kelly leaned forward and he got a glimpse of her chest and wondered what she had gone through.
She said, “so it’s been two years since we last talked and we are really struggling.”
“Well your rules are tough.”
“Ok ask whatever you want, I will suspend the rules just this once.”
“Wow it’s my lucky day. So Kelly, seriously do you still hate me?”
“Do you think I hate you?”
“I am hopeful but my record with you is not that good.”
“I never hated you, god I don’t think I hate anyone. I needed time Alex, and with you just a call away, I could not do what I needed to do.”
He said, “are you done?”
With a chuckle Kelly said, “yeah I think I am.”
After an awkward pause Kelly said what was really on her mind, “so have you met her yet?”
Tilting his head to the side he said, “who?”
“You know your one and only, the one.”
Nervously while looking at his hands he said, “I think I met her a few years ago, but I messed it up big time.”
With a smile and also not making eye contact Kelly said, “that is a shame.”
“So same question back at you?”
Still smiling she said, “a long time ago I thought I had but turns out I was wrong, I am on the prowl though.” “I am surprised someone has not snatched you up.”
Looking at her drink she said, “I don’t know maybe I am not snatch up material.”
“I beg to differ,” Alex said with a soft tone.
Needing to change the subject Kelly said lightly, “so anyway you look great, you must be still working out like crazy.” As his arms were much more defined and she could see that through a shirt.
He said, “I have gotten back into shape.”
Kelly said, “and how has that been?”
“Great I guess.”
She touched his arm and said, “yeah I think it suits you,” with a smile.
Alex blushed and said, “you are the only person that can make me blush.”
“Oh please Alex.”
“Are you are still running?”
“Yeah, not like a I use to, but I still try to get out a few times a week.
“Well that is a change.”
“Well, I got a life and now running is just part of it.”
“That makes sense,” Alex said while taking a drink.
Again changing the subject Kelly asked, “so how is your family?”
With a huge smile Alex pulled out his phone and said, “well I am an uncle my brother and Amy had a baby boy last winter.
“Alex well he is just adorable.”
“He is a great baby and my parents are over the top.”
“That is awesome, now if I knew where my purse was I would show you a picture of the girls. Mia goes to kindergarten this year. She is so pretty and Katie is so fun.”
Feeling much more confident he went right for the thing that was driving him crazy, “so how is your health.”
Coughing as she was shocked at how he just blurted that out, “that sounds like I am terminally ill.”
“Sorry, I could not think of a cool way to ask.”
“Everything is good knock on wood,” and knocked on his chair.
“That’s great Kelly.”
“I still have to have the surgery but I keep putting it off, I need to just do it.”
With a serious tone Alex said, “what surgery?”
“I forget that you don’t know all the gorrey details. They wanted me to have a complete mastectomy and I have just mastered putting it off. I am not afraid or anything, I am just being silly. I will do it, its not like I don’t already have implants really nothing would change for me.”
“Are they worried that it might come back?”
“No but if I do it, it lowers my risk factor to almost nothing.”
“Kelly, that sounds like a no brainer to me.”
“I know. Your turn how is your health.”
“Not much changes there, wish it did but it doesn’t.”
Kelly said looking off into the distance, “this conversation is way too serious.”
Kelly said, “lets go we are doing a shot.” She ordered two lemon drops and winced.
She said, “here is to us.”
Alex said, “definitely,” and they drank it.
Kelly looked at him and said, “well that should lighten the mood.” She ordered them two beers, he rolled over to his table, she sat down and said hello to the few people that were there.
Out of nowhere Kevin came over and said, “hey Alex, what’s up?”
Alex shook his hand and said, “same shit.”
Kevin looked at Kelly and said, “tell me you two are together.”
Kelly shook her head and said, “actually this is the first time we have talked since, well you remember that night.”
Kevin said, “yes I do. Wow, that is crazy. See ya late Kel and Alex nice seeing you.”
When he walked away Alex looked at Kelly and said, “what was that?”
“Shit Alex, I keep forgetting the things you know and don’t know. The night of my little let’s call it break down, I was with Kevin.”
With a super confused look on his face he said, “you and Kevin?”
“Yeah we dated for a couple months.”
“Someone had told me they thought they saw you together but I could not see how that could happen.”
“Well it did and we broke up that night as he said he was not taking second place to you. That is when I freaked out and realized I needed to move on. I liked him but honestly it was missing something.”
Taking a sip of his beer and looking across the room Alex said, “so you date a lot I imagine?”
“I guess but lots of dead ends, lots of dead ends.”
Kelly quickly said “and that is funny because…...”
“I am sorry Kelly its just you and Kevin Maloney I can’t get my head around that.”
“Yeah so why is that so funny?”
“Kelly he is an absolute dick.”
“Alex that is a terrible thing to say, he is not.”
“Trust me, I know how he is with girls.”
“Whatever, he was nice to me that too was a long time ago.”
“I feel like I am getting a crash course in the last 2 or 3 years of your life.”
Trying to lighten the mood Kelly said, “well the test is coming.”
Taking a drink of her beer she said, “how about you, have you dated anyone I went to school with.”
“I can say with certainty no.”
“Has some lucky girl tied you down.”
“You know better, same old story good friends but when I want to up the ante they step back.”
“Honestly, I figured you would have some little petite lawyer thing hanging on your every word and be either married or engaged.”
“That’s funny the last couple girls have been shorter girls.”
“I always thought I was too tall for you.”
“How do you figure?”
“You did not know it but I wore a lot of flats I would not tower over you.”
Alex laughed and said, “I thought it was because your feet were horrendous.”
“Thanks Alex, tell me what you really think.”
“Kelly, with very little exception pretty much anyone is going to tower over me,” and pointed to the wheel of his chair.”
Kelly rolled her eyes and took a drink.
Just then Emily called her over to do a shot and Kelly said “gotta go duty calls.”
Kelly did another shot and went on the dance floor with Emily and a few of the girls. A slow song came on and Brian asked Kelly to dance, and she was touched. While they were dancing he said, “Kelly you know I adore you right?”
“Yeah I do.”
“I want you to be happy,” you know that right?”
“You know what you are doing right?”
Kelly took a deep breath and said, “no I don’t.”
Brian said, “he is perfect for you and you have been looking for him for two years, here he is with a big bow around his neck.”
“He does not want me, not after all this time.”
“Kelly, right now he is watching us and wishing so badly that he could be me.”
“He has feelings for me I am sure but Brian I was so nasty to him.”
“Kelly, I just want you to be happy that is all.”
Kelly put her head on his shoulder and said, “sweet Jesus Emily is a lucky girl, you are a horses ass but I love you,” and kissed his cheek and yelled for Emily to come get him before she stole him and wiped a tear from her eye.
The three of them danced for a minute. She wondered if he was watching, so she turned around to where she thought he was and sure enough he was sitting there watching her. She walked off the dance floor looked at him across the room and shrugged her shoulders and he came over, her heart was pounding.
Alex said “I can’t twirl you around the dance floor.”
Softly Kelly said, “you can.”
“Not the way you deserve.”
Firmly Kelly responded, “I don’t feel bad for you.”
With a chuckle Alex said, “I know you don’t, that is one of the 8 million reasons I still am in love with you.”
“Is that so?” Kelly said blushing. She had the tiniest tear in her eye, she said, “I want to say it but,” with an awkward pause.
Alex interrupted and said, “you don’t have to, I know.”
“No you don’t Alex you can’t begin to know.”
Throwing his head back and shaking his head he said, “I do know, too much time, I remember the speech.”
“Shut up, that is not what I wanted to say.” There was a long pause.
“Kelly you don’t have to say anything.”
“Good because I just can’t I want to but at this second I can’t.”
Alex put his hand out and she grabbed it, he kissed her hand and said, “you don’t have to say a thing.”
Kelly thought about running away, but she did not want to be that girl. She looked him in the eye and said “baby steps.”
All Alex said was, “you got it.” Then after yet another long awkward pause Alex said, “I want to stand up and hug you so badly.”
Kelly leaned over and hugged him her head was in the nook of his neck and he smelled amazing, he felt even better. She had no idea what was going on, but she was not going to run.
Alex pulled her to his lap and she said, “your signature move.”
“Only for you.”
Looking in his eyes she said, “it’s got to be slow.”
They were throwing the bouquet, which was good because Kelly felt overwhelmed. She did not catch the bouquet and really did not try. Emily grabbed her and said, “what’s going on Kel?”
Kelly said, “hell if I know but I am not going to run away from it.”
Emily hugged her and said, “you have grown up haven’t you?”
With a huge mischievous smile Kelly said, “me never.”
Kelly went to the ladies room, annoyed because seriously where was her purse. She needed some touching up. When she left the bathroom the bridal party was doing one last shot before Emily and Brian took off. So being the good maid of honor that she was, she did her shot and hugged them and said she loved them both.
Emily told Kelly the limo was going to drive her home.
Kelly said, “that’s great if I could only find my freaking purse.”
“Kelly its in the limo.”
Kelly said with a smile, “you think?”
Kelly turned around, and went to sit down outside and take her shoes off for a second. She had not seen Alex for a while and she thought that was good because she needed a second to take it all in. She was getting tired or the ridiculous amount of alcohol she consumed was catching up with her. A few minutes later he rolled up beside her. Kelly said, “hey,” with a shy smile.
Alex simply said, “you OK?”
“Yeah, big day.”
Alex said, “yeah I have been sitting for a long time, it’s just about time for a big old spasm. So I was wondering if I could ask you out?”
Kelly said with a chuckle, “what?”
With a shitty grin Alex said, “turns out I am going to be in town for a few days and I would love to take you out on a date.”
“Yeah, I know a great Mexican place I think you would like.”
Kelly smiled with ease, and leaned over and kissed him on the lips.
Alex pulled away and said, “I know you don’t know me very well and this is very forward.”
Kelly interrupted and she said, “Alex shut up,” and they kissed again.
Kelly grabbed his hand and stood up and said, “I think it’s time to go.”
“Kelly, are you sure?”
“I have never been more certain.”
Alex said, “well you are not driving.”
“No, Emily took care of me and well consequently us.”
“Just let me tell Nick.”
“OK I will be in the foyer.”
Alex came back a few minutes later and she was just coming out of the bathroom. She nodded her head for him to head towards the door. When they got there, Alex said, “Kelly this is not baby steps.”
Kelly not wanting another drawn out conversation said, “shut up.”
“OK, you are the boss.”
“Now Alex that is more like it.” She did not want to talk anymore. Kelly took him over to the bridal limo.
“You think you can get in her?”
“Kelly if I had to walk to be with you tonight I think I could.”
Kelly kissed his forehead. The driver came around and said, “what can I do for you sir?”
Kelly climbed in and figured she would let them figure it out, and she yelled, “there it is.”
Alex said, “what?”
“My purse I have been looking for it all night.”
A few minutes later he was in, she said, “that was not so easy.”
“True but it was worth it.”
“I see you are still good with the lines.”
He said, “they are not lines.” Kelly sat next to him and put her hand in his lap, she said, “don’t take this the wrong way but I want to do very little talking tonight. I am not in right state of mind and frankly I am not in the mood.”
Brushing the hair away from her face Alex said. “I agree, not tonight. “ She told the driver her address. The ride was going to be at least a half hour. She was so tired and drunk.
Kelly took a long look in his eyes still not believing he was actually there with her. She laid her head on his shoulder and he took a deep breath and said, “feels like home.”
Alex had not felt so sure about something since the first time he laid eyes on her. He just hoped she could let go of the past. Not talking about it and letting it go are two different things. He decided to live in the moment. Alex had no idea what the night would bring. They pulled up to her building and he gently kissed her head as she was out, he thought she might even be drooling. She did not flinch he said, “Kelly you are home.” He kissed her again and said, “come on Kelly let’s get you to bed.”
Kelly sat up slowly and said, “wow, I was out.”
With a huge smile Alex said, “yes you were.”
The driver helped Alex get out, Kelly followed and said, “were you ever here?”
With a skeptical look he said, “yes just for a few minutes.”
Opening the door Kelly said, “oh yeah. So I think you should be able to get around in here.”
Alex grabbed her hand and said, “Kelly I will be fine.”
After a long awkward pause he said, “do you want me to go, I can have Nick pick me up. Really Kelly, I don’t want to push things.”
“No Alex, please stay, please,” with a small voice.
“I am so tired.”
Alex said, “well then let’s get you to bed.”
She started to undress, he watched her almost unable to say or do anything, he just watched her. Kelly took her dress off and asked for his help with the zipper. She was in her bra and underwear and walked into the bathroom in a few minutes she was back she opened a drawer and pulled out one of his old t-shirts and put it on.
Completely overwhelmed and feeling like he had just won the lottery. She kissed him gently. Kelly looked as perfect as he remembered, so perfect and the fact that she still had his shirt meant everything. She crawled into bed and said, “take your time, I am not going anywhere.” He knew she would fall asleep, and that was OK he in no way wanted to over step. Alex went into the bathroom, privately he let a few tears loose, he was happy but scared, he loved her so much and this might be his one last change. He came out and got into bed next to her; it was surreal almost felt like time had stood still. She was sound asleep and he slept better than he had in years.