My Wicked Virgin

Page 48

As they got closer, she realized that not only were Anya, Kira, and Lucia there, but also Mrs. Florentine.
In her sixties, the co-owner of Club Wicked wore a lovely pink dress that fit her slender frame perfectly. Her stylish white leather belt complimented her pearls and brought out her tan. With her silver hair swept back into a perfect French twist and her makeup on point, she was beautiful despite the wrinkles and lines that came from having lived a full life. Another of those depressing pangs hit Sunny as she realized that getting old, that earning those laugh lines and gray hairs, was a privilege she might never get to experience.
“Sunny!” Kira spotted her first and stood from the table.
The mint green and black dress the other woman wore flared about her tiny waist as she quickly stood and gave Sunny a hug. She was passed from woman to woman, their excited chatter soothing her jagged nerves. After they were all seated, Mrs. Florentine reached over and gave Sunny’s hand a pat.
“I am thrilled for you, darling. You gave that man quite a chase. While it was entertaining to watch, I’m so happy that you’re finally together.”
Swallowing hard, Sunny grabbed her glass of water and tried to drink away the lump in her throat.
After she was more in control of herself, she put the pretty cut crystal glass down and smiled at Mrs. Florentine. “Thank you.”
Lucia, dressed in a deep cranberry halter dress that showed off her pretty diamond pendant necklace, giggled. “A little dehydrated? You must have gotten a lot of exercise last night.”
More giggles erupted as the women began to tease her about the ‘strenuous activities’ that Hawk had put her through while they drank mimosas.
By the time the food arrived, Sunny found herself a little tipsy and actually hungry for the first time in what felt like forever.
“So,” Anya asked as she attacked her strawberry covered crepes, “Where are you getting married? Will I need a passport? A dressy bikini?”
The eggs benedict that she’d been enjoying seemed to turn to glue in Sunny’s mouth. “Um, I don’t know.”
The women all stilled.
“You don’t know?” Kira asked with wide eyes.
“Is it a surprise wedding?” Lucia asked with smile. “My event planning company has done a few of those. They were really cool.”
“No, I mean…” Sunny struggled for a way to explain things without saying too much. “We haven’t really talked about it.”
Kira frowned. “You haven’t talked about how you’re going to get married in a few days?”
“Uh, no.”
More uncomfortable silence was broken by Lucia’s sweet voice. “Well, if you need any help, I’m more than happy to hook you up. It’s short notice, but I promise you—me and my staff can whip up anything you want. Just tell me the wedding you’ve always dreamed of, and I’ll make it happen.”
The wedding she’d always dreamed of included her father, alive and well, giving her away. In her fantasies, her mother would help Sunny shop for a wedding gown—Lisa would be a mother who wasn’t addicted to drugs, who would be overjoyed that her daughter was getting married. And in her dreams, she’d never imagined that her husband might attend her funeral less than a week after getting married.
To her shame, she started to cry.
Quickly grabbing the linen napkin, she pushed back from the table as her friends all asked if she was okay. “I have to use the restroom. I’ll be right back.” When they started to stand anyway, she said, “No, please. Just-just stay here. I need a second.”
Aware of the groups of women watching as she quickly fled from the room, Sunny rounded her shoulders and wished she could disappear.
Thank God she was familiar with the layout of the club, because she knew where the closest quiet room was.
The small, discreet spaces known as the alcoves were scattered throughout the club. They provided comfortable, peaceful spots for people who needed alone time. The club and all the decadent pleasures it offered could get overwhelming at times, so these spaces gave people a place to retreat. At this time of day, the alcoves were usually unoccupied, and she was glad to see the sheer curtains hung open.
After entering the small, dome-shaped room, she pulled the curtains shut behind her, indicating the room was in use.
She barely paid attention to the soft comfort of the large, circular, deep purple couch taking up the majority of the room. Pulling a velvet throw pillow into her lap, she pressed it to her mouth to muffle her sobs. She couldn’t get the image out of her head of Hawk weeping over her coffin as it was lowered into the ground. Agony exploded inside of her as she begged God to please let her live. To please keep her whole and safe.
“Sunny,” came a familiar, older woman’s voice, followed by a pair of soft arms holding her. “Oh, darling, what’s going on?”