I tried hard not to watch Kay. I even looked away, pretending not to notice how she barely touched her food or avoided making eye contact with me as soon as she sat down at our table for dinner. But I failed at my attempt to ignore her when she suddenly pushed back her chair and scurried away from the table in a hurry.
Jazzy never took her eyes off of me, her hand slipping underneath the table to squeeze my thigh. I knew better than to think her physical touch was a romantic gesture. Her hand – now resting on my knee – was an indiscreet warning to let me know she was watching. And I’d better behave wisely.
Still… I felt conflicted. Like I had to do something to keep Kay from leaving. Anything.
Before I changed my mind, and before Jazzy's grip became any tighter, I excused myself from the table and headed around the corner toward the double doors just in time to see Kay exit the room. I called out her name, but she ignored me. It only took a few seconds to catch up to her. She bit her bottom lip, trying to hold back the tears in the corners of her eyes.
“You don’t have to go.” I spoke the words out loud trying to convince myself why Kay belonged here, other than the fact that she was Jazzy’s cousin. And definitely not her favorite one at the moment.
“I shouldn’t be here.”
“But you’re family.”
“I shouldn’t be here,” she repeated. I didn’t refute her statement this time.
“Nobody wants me here. Especially not Jazzy.”
“I want you here.” The words tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop them. It was probably the most honest thing I said all night. I hadn’t seen Kay since Jaz and I worked everything out, and honestly, I missed her.
I smiled. “I’m happy to see you again.”
“You want me here to see you get married.”
“Yes. No. I don’t know. I-I just miss you.” We’d grown so close during my short breakup with Jazzy. Our mission trip to Haiti felt like a spiritual connection. One I’d never had with anyone, and undoubtedly would ever find again. And now we were standing here in awkward silence and our newfound friendship in ruins because of my reckless attempt to cross the line. Now I lived with the regret and guilt of trying to kiss her and also not going through with it.
I reached out and grabbed her hand, forgetting where I was in that moment, unconcerned about the consequences. To my surprise, she didn’t let go.
Even though we were standing in a hotel lobby at my engagement party, the moment with Kay felt right. Like it was meant to be all along.
Her mouth transformed into a sad smile. “I wish you and Jaz all the happiness in the world. You deserve it.”
She gave my hand a slight squeeze before she dropped it and backed away. I watched her walk out of the restaurant, an uneasy feeling growing in the pit of my stomach.
I had no choice. I’d already made my decision. Jazzy was waiting for me, probably forming a manhunt to search for my whereabouts. I needed to return back to my big night.
As much as Kay's departure bothered me, I had to let it go.