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“They asked if they could play at the party tonight. My mother was thrilled that I was able to find a band at the last minute.” He winked.
Over the next hour, more and more people started arriving. Alexander introduced Olivia to his relatives, as well as several family friends. A few people seemed to look at her awkwardly, almost as if they were silently questioning Alexander. Olivia couldn’t help but feel that he wasn’t being entirely truthful about something. She thought they were past that but, now, she wasn’t too sure.
“Come on, Libby,” Kiera said, waking Olivia from her unsettled thoughts. “Let’s go dance. I’m stealing your girl, Alex.”
“Enjoy it while you can, Kiera!” Alexander said, brushing his lips against Olivia’s temple before Kiera dragged her away.
They made their way through the party guests mingling on the enormous lawn, soon finding Melanie and Bridget. Kiera pulled her deep red hair back and started to move to the rhythm of an Allen Stone tune the guys were playing, the rest of the girls soon joining in.
“So, I’m thinking bachelorette in Vegas. You game?” Kiera asked above the music.
“We haven’t even set a date yet. It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m getting married.”
“Oh!” Melanie squealed. “I’m just so excited!” The tall, skinny blonde jumped up and down animatedly.
“And don’t even say you’re picking someone else for your Maid of Honor because I’ll make a scene right here in front of everyone,” Kiera joked.
“Of course I want you to be my Maid of Honor,” she responded. “I think I’m going to keep the wedding party small, though. Just you, Bridget, and Melanie.” She smiled affectionately at her other two best friends who were brimming with enthusiasm. “I’m not really close to anyone else. Well, not close enough that I’d want them standing by my side on the most important day of my life.”
“Awww, Libby,” Kiera exclaimed, hugging her and nearly spilling both of their drinks. “I love you, too, bitch.”
“So, what’s the deal with you and Tyler?” Olivia asked Melanie, wanting to change the subject. She nodded toward the younger version of Alexander as he stood by the bar, discreetly checking out Melanie.
“Oh, when they’re together, he can’t keep his eyes off her,” Bridget explained, grinning. “But neither one of them will make the first move and ask the other one out.”
“Shut up, guys! He’s just so flippin’ hot!” Melanie exclaimed.
“Mel!” Kiera shouted. “So are you. He’s probably intimidated. Make the first move. Sometimes you have to. I had to make the first move with Jack!”
Bridget looked at Kiera, a questioning look on her face.
“Oh, I mean Mo, but Libby’s the only one who calls him Mo. Well, I guess now you guys, too.” Kiera rolled her eyes.
“Come on, Mel. Go talk to him,” Olivia said, nudging her friend toward the bar.
“If you don’t, I’ll drag him over here so you have to talk to him,” Kiera said. She almost felt guilty, forcing her. She remembered how she felt talking to guys when she was only twenty-one.
“Fine. Fine. I’m going.” She stormed off and the girls giggled a little as they watched their friend nervously interact with Tyler.
They continued to dance the night away, Olivia thinking how drastically different her life seemed from just twenty-four hours ago. Every so often, she would find Alexander in deep conversation with an old friend or neighbor, but their eyes would always meet. No matter who he was talking to, he always seemed to keep an eye on her. For once, she was happy about that. She felt truly loved.
“Thanks everyone,” Mo said into the microphone after playing for a few hours. “Can I just get your attention, please?”
Olivia looked around at the party guests as servers walked through the backyard carrying trays of champagne and distributing them to everyone. Alexander walked up next to her, snaking his arm around her waist.
“Miss me, love?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
“Of course,” she responded, planting a gentle kiss on his lips. “How did your mother put this together today?”
“You have no idea how easy it is to do something like this if you’re willing to throw money at people,” he laughed. “And my darling mother can be very persuasive.”
“I see that.”
Alexander grabbed two glasses of champagne, handing one to her before they turned their attention back to the stage.
“We’re all here to celebrate the engagement of my good friend, Olivia Adler, to Alexander Burnham,” Mo continued. “I’ve known Livvy since she was a freshman at Boston College and, to be honest, I never thought I would see this day. Livvy’s not the easiest person to get along with.”
Olivia pinched Kiera, her face turning red as she listened to the crowd roar with laughter. “He better not think this is a fucking roast,” she hissed quietly.
“He wouldn’t. Don’t worry.” She gave her a reassuring look.
“Olivia was always sort of an enigma when she was in college,” Mo reminisced. “She worked as a bartender at this bar called Scotch, where we all had the pleasure of meeting her. Guys would fawn over her and she would send them packing with their proverbial tails between their legs, never letting anyone get close to her.
“But, eventually, she let me and Kiera in and, of course, the rest of the band here. Although we may all have had our disagreements in the past, that doesn’t mean we love each other any less.”
Olivia listened to his words and didn’t cringe when he said the word “love”. She finally realized that she had begun to love people again. She loved Kiera and Mo, and she loved Alexander more than she thought her heart was capable of. Love no longer scared her.
Mo looked over at Olivia as she stood in Alexander’s embrace. A smile spread across his face, reaching his dark eyes, and he thought back to all the drama of the past several months. “Something changed in Olivia after she met Alex. She lost some of her edge, in a good way. She slowly began to let him into her life, and she finally realized how truly special it is when you find your soul mate.” He raised his champagne glass. “I’m so happy for you, baby girl.” He faced the audience. “To Alexander and Olivia!”