02 – Sunshine & Rainbows – ClaraThe Wedding Lottery
I hate flying. The seats are too small. People are rude. Worst of all, I sweat. No matter how hard I try to keep dry and not get nervous, by the end of the flight I look as though I took a shower with my clothes on.
Today is no different, but I am determined to not let my best friend down. She gets me, like no one else does, and I refuse to let something like social anxiety keep me from getting on an airplane.
I struggle as I make my way to baggage claim. This airport is huge. I thought DFW was massive, but JFK is insane. By the time I find the carousel my plane will unload on, I’m out of breath and sweating more.
I pull my phone up and return it to normal mode.
OMG! I can’t wait! See you tonight! 😉
BTW best man, Tobias, is picking you up. 💪🌶😠
I roll my eyes. Of course, she couldn’t be bothered to pick me up. I wish she hadn’t asked someone to get me. I would have just gotten a car. Based on her over-use of emojis I dread the beefcake she claims Tobias to be.
My two massive suitcases come tumbling down the belt and I squeeze by the people hovering around the carousel, “’Excuse me,” I drawl as I muscle each one off the belt. Buying the hard shells with omni-directional rollers was the best investments I ever made.
Where is this beefcake? Have a pic?
I’m not about to waste time walking all over Hell’s half-acre if my ride is nearby. Does she even realize how anxious meeting this guy makes me? I mean, I’m not ugly. I love my strawberry blond hair. I have good skin and am curvy, not fat. My measurements are the definition of Goddess… during the Renaissance. Sure, being five foot nine has its disadvantages, but that just means I need a tall drink of water with a sweet face and a kind heart.
Then his picture comes up on the screen
“Well, shit,” I grumble.
The photo is at the weirdest angle, and I am going to kill my friend for this. He’s smoking hot without an ounce of fat on him anywhere. I’m guessing her fiancé took this picture at her request. He’s facing away from the camera, naked as the day he was born. His ass is pure perfection. I bet you could bounce a quarter off it.
Not helpful. Face?
I roll my eyes and shake my head. When his smoldering gaze appears on my screen, I bite my lip. He has perfectly coiffed dark hair, and an intense stare match with the emojis Veronica sent me. I get she is trying to get me over my break-up, but really? This guy is way out of my league.
I inhale and exhale sharply, pushing out any negative thoughts floating in my head. Not wanting to show how I really feel, I plaster a smile on my face and begin the hunt for the mysterious Tobias. When I spot him standing near the exit, a scowl on his face, I pause. The lady’s room is only a few feet away. I still have time to run and hide.
“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” I mutter to myself. “He’s just a man. A smoking hot, bend you over the table kind of man, but still… just a man.”
“Why hello there!” I chirp loud and proud to cover up how afraid I am he’s going to think I’m a hideous chode. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I pull him into a hug after closing the distance like we’ve been friends forever, and keep him in it for longer than is appropriate.
Damn, he smells good too. I’m going to murder Roni. But maybe after I’m done hugging this man.
“Uh… Hi,” he lightly pats my back as he disentangles himself from me.
“Hi! I’m Clara. I’m the maid of honor. Thank you so much for picking me up. I really could have gotten a cab. But I appreciate it. Oh, Darlin’, I can get my bags,” spoken at a mile a minute without taking a breath.
“Uh-huh,” he says as he takes the suitcases.
“Where are you staying, Clara?”
“You are Tobias, right?” I bite my lip. He looks irritated by the way he keeps glaring at me.
“Yes,” he grumbles.
“Mind if I see some ID?” I ask nervously. “I mean. You could just have somehow heard Tobias and murdered him to kidnap me, or something.” My cheeks flame red, but I’m not about to get into a car with a total stranger. Even if I did just get a decent look at his beautiful assets.
He rolls his eyes and fishes out his phone, tapping it to show me a picture of him with my best friend’s fiancé at the gym. I giggle at the pure testosterone, bro-mode stance of them flexing their awfully gorgeous muscles. I dramatically sigh and bite against my lower lip. “So, darlin’. There’s a thing called Photoshop where you can, uh…make all kinds o’ pretty pictures.”
The dead pan look he gives me, makes me want to crawl inside one of my suitcases. “If you think I faked this picture, what makes you think I didn’t fake my ID?”
I frown as I watch him swipe on his phone until the all-too-familiar sound of Face Time chirps.
“Toby!” My best friend squeals and he winces.
“Tell her I’m not going to kill her.” He turns the phone to face me.