“Sorry, Mia.” Jimmie said from beside me.
Crossing my arms, I looked up at him and smiled. “No, it’s fine. As long as he has good time, that’s all that matters.” Sighing, I looked over at Marcus, who was surrounded by a few more men with shot glasses. “As long as he behaves too.” I knew how Marcus could sometimes turn into a sloppy drunk as I recalled our unpleasant encounter at Club21 with Boston Barbie.
Jimmie placed his hand on my shoulder. “I’m usually the first person that’s against Marcus drinking, but trust me. He’s been doing well with it.” He shrugged and averted his stare toward Marcus as well. “And we really had fun hanging out.” I simply nodded with a bright smile. It was nice to hear that they enjoyed themselves together. After a few minutes, I went toward the bar that was set up for the night and grabbed another martini.
Within the next hour, I was approached by a few family members and friends of the DeLucas. The party was going well, and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome. Marcus and I barely had time to look at each other, but I expected that when his house was flooded with over eighty guests. Feeling more at ease, I settled onto a bar stool and continued to sip my drink. That was when I saw Jeremy approaching me. His lips curled into a small grin, but I could tell from the look in his eyes that there was something troubling him.
“Hey,” he said, reaching in and tapping a kiss on my cheek.
With both brows pinned together, I studied him, “Hey. Everything okay?” I searched behind his shoulder. “Where’s Megan?”
Jeremy averted his eyes as he sank into the stool beside me. “I’m not sure. She’ll probably show up though.” Raising a finger at the bartender, he ordered himself a shot and a bottle of beer.
“What happened, Jeremy?” He didn’t answer me, but instead waited patiently for his drinks. After the bartender placed his drinks on the table, Jeremy downed his shot and chugged the beer. “Jeremy?”
He ordered another beer and then turned to face me, annoyed by my continued badgering.
“She found out about us.”
Taken aback, it took me a few seconds to collect my thoughts. “What do you mean us?”
He grabbed the new beer and took a long pull but kept his eyes remained on me. “She knows that we slept together . . . several times.”
“What?” My heart began to race. This could not be happening. “How did it come up?”
He shook his head. “I don’t even know. First, she asked about my past relationships, and then she asked playfully if you and I had ever hooked up, and it just slipped. I wasn’t sure if you had told her, and I wanted to be honest.”
I tried to think of words to comfort him. I knew Jeremy was beginning to develop strong feelings for my cousin, and that information could ruin them as a couple. As I placed my hand on his shoulder, I caught sight of Megan. She was stunning in a red mini cocktail dress. The light brown waves of her hair framed her face beautifully. Her eyes were usually hazel with a hint of yellow in them, but her golden and brown eye shadow caused her eyes to have more of a green sparkle. She stood tall with her shoulders straight as she waved her hand awkwardly at me. A tiny smile formed on her lips.
Taking in a deep breath, I leaned into Jeremy. “Megan is here. I’m going to have a talk with her. Everything will be okay.”
He couldn’t help himself as he twirled around in the stool and stared at her. His brows kneaded together as his eyes stared at her with so much passion. His body slightly jerked as he stopped himself from moving toward her. Megan looked away, ran a shaky hand through her hair, and let out a breath. I patted Jeremy’s shoulder one last time to assure that I would take care of it, and moved my way toward Megan. Every step I took, I began to come up with several scenarios of how it might play out.
I wrapped my arms around her when I reached her and pulled her into a tight hug. “You look so beautiful, Megan.”
Her arms returned the gesture as she hugged me even tighter. “You do too, as always.” Her voice cracked a bit.
“Let’s go out back where it’s quieter so we can talk. Okay?” I asked. We broke from our embrace after she nodded and walked toward the back yard side by side with our arms interlocked with one another.
As we stepped out onto the cobblestone patio, the cool breeze whipped through us, giving me a slight chill. There were a few guests in the tent where the band and tables were set up. Others were lurking around the patio, drinking or smoking cigars as they laughed and enjoyed the party.
Spotting an empty corner, I nodded my head towards a seating area. Megan led the way and then sat down on one of the wicker chairs. I took a seat across from her, crossed my legs, and leaned in, placing my elbow on my knee.
Megan leaned back into the chair as she crossed her arms, and turned her head to study a group of men that were laughing on the other end of the patio. “I guess he told you.” She had finally spoken in a low tone.
“Not much, but he did, in fact, say that he told you about him and me.”
A mocking laugh escaped her lips. “More like it slipped.” She paused, shook her head, and then turned her chin to fully look at me. “You know, Mia, the fact that the two of you slept together doesn’t bother me. Well, it does a little, but I know it happened before I came along. I think what bothers me the most is that, despite all of the women he’s been with, the last person I thought I ever had to compete with was you.”
It was shocking to hear her say that. I leaned in closer. “There’s no competition, Megan. None. Jeremy and my relationship can be a bit difficult for others to understand. When we slept together, it was after Michael’s death, during a time that I felt so much sadness and loneliness.” I forced a smile. “Jeremy even said he kicks himself in the ass for allowing it to go as far as it did, because I was so vulnerable. Don’t get me wrong. He did not take advantage of me, but I just wanted to forget about the pain, and at the time, I thought that was the only way to go about it.” Closing my eyes, I took in a deep breath, and after exhaling, I opened my lids. “Now, thinking back on it, it was dumb, wasn’t it?”
“No, it’s not dumb. I understand. I also see how close you two are. He opens up to you more than he does to me. I wonder if he’ll ever be like that way with me.”
Scooting toward the edge of my seat, I reached and placed my hand on her knee in a way to comfort her. “Don’t you see how special you are to him? I’ve never seen him react towards any woman the way he has with you. He truly cares about you, Megan. He’s frightened. That’s all. Jeremy has issues with commitment. I think it might have to do with dealing with his parents’ divorce at a young age. He’s afraid if he lets all of his feelings out that they might get ripped away from him.”