That’s all I had left to question the decision I’d made, and since I was sitting in the Las Vegas airport waiting to get called to board my flight, I had nothing better to do than second-guess myself. Then I’d have nearly five and a half hours to sit on a plane, worrying, beating myself up and listing and re-listing the pros and cons of going back to Philadelphia.
One of the biggest cons, of course, was the main reason I was going and why my last trip back home had been such a disaster. Mother-fucking Reed Stirling. My gorgeous high school crush and older brother to the biggest bitch at St. George. I’d just never thought he’d turn out to be as self-centered and self-important as his sister.
I stuck my hand in my purse and fingered the envelope there, hoping against hope that I’d find a little money left. There wasn’t of course, it had gone to buy this ticket and a few extra groceries. There were only so many times I could eat the same cardboard shit. The reason I’d brought the envelope, however, was because of the promise inside.
Ten thousand dollars.
I’d texted Brock to let him know I’d agreed to be his date to the wedding and he’d sent back a message that had sounded enthusiastic despite the lack of punctuation. He’d told me he’d have a car take me to a hotel where he’d rent me a room, but he still hadn’t mentioned anything about what ‘services’ he was expecting for that payment.
I wasn’t just doing it for the money, although that was a big motivation. The other reason was more personal and a lot more vindictive. I wanted to see the expression on Reed’s face when I walked into his wedding on the arm of his fiancée’s brother. I wanted to watch him squirm, see his face flush with uncertainty. I wanted to see if he could look me in the eye. It might’ve been a bit petty, but after what he’d done to me, he deserved it.
I felt a twinge of guilt. I wasn’t the only person he’d hurt, and if anyone had the right to be angrier than me, it was Britni. She was being pressured into marrying a man she didn’t love, a man she knew didn’t love her. The least he could’ve done was be faithful, and he hadn’t even been able to do that.
I sighed, leaning forward and burying my head in my hands. What was I thinking, taking Brock’s offer? Sure, I was pissed at Reed and wanted to do something that could at least make him uncomfortable. I doubted anything I did could actually hurt him as badly as he’d hurt me. I’d tried telling myself over and over that I’d just gotten caught up in the emotion and that I didn’t really care about him the way I thought I did. I’d almost convinced myself of the lie.
I groaned in frustration, thankful no one was sitting close enough to hear. Was I really any better than him, thinking only of myself? What kind of person showed up at the wedding of a guy she’d fucked just a week before? It was bad enough Britni had to go through with this farce of a marriage. Did I really have to rub it in her face that Reed didn’t want her?
Then again, I countered. He didn’t want me either. Not really. He wanted my body. He wanted to fuck me. He didn’t want me. He wasn’t interested in who I was as a person, just what was under my clothes. In a way, he was worse than the guys who came to the club, because at least they were honest about what they were looking for. Reed was a liar who thought he could buy me off like I was some whore he could pay for sex.
I could just walk away. Pick up my bag and leave. Brock would understand. I could offer to pay him back for the ticket even though he’d told me to keep the money if I didn’t come. I thought about him, how he’d wanted to make things right for something he’d done but had no control over. Reed had just expected me to be grateful for what he could give me and hadn’t even tried to apologize.
I straightened. Why was I beating myself up over this? Brock had asked me to a wedding. Why should I let Reed screw up the chance for me to spend time with a nice guy who actually seemed to like me? I ignored the part of my brain that asked why, if Brock was so nice, had he offered me money for ‘services’?
Maybe he was just a generous guy who understood what it was like for someone to struggle to pay the bills. Even if I was lying to myself and Brock did want me to sleep with him, I hadn’t made any promises. If I did fuck him, it’d be my choice, and not because of money.
I squared my shoulders and told myself I was done trying to talk myself out of going. I’d enjoy my time with Brock and let myself have the guilty pleasure of seeing Reed’s reaction. I wouldn’t spoil anything and I wouldn’t make any expectations of Brock.
“Flight 731 to Philadelphia, will begin boarding in five minutes.” A woman’s cool voice came over the loudspeaker.
I stood and picked up my bag. They hadn’t announced my section, but I wanted to stand. I’d be sitting for hours soon and I didn’t like walking around on planes. I didn’t like flying, actually. As I passed a pair of screaming toddlers, I checked my purse for the sleeping pill Rosa had given me. It’d be my luck to have those two right behind me. I’d never be able to relax on my own under the best of circumstances, and after the past week, I needed to be able to turn my brain off for a while. Besides, I didn’t want to be too tired to appreciate the wedding. I wanted to enjoy every minute of it.