Chapter 27 - It's Too Often

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Mia genuinely loved weddings. She adored them. The atmosphere, the romance. The different bits and hints of the couple's tastes incorporated into table arrangements, flowers, the sheer color motifs. It was the kind of chapter in her life that she had dreamt of rarely, but looked forward to nonetheless.

If that was what her future had in store.

Waiting in the car that was bound for the reception, Mia rested her hands on the skirt of her olive green wrap dress. She glanced at the church outside as the crowd thinned. Clusters of guests hurried to the line of vehicles parked nearby. The newlyweds—whom Richard couldn't stop quietly gushing over during the ceremony—had left minutes ago, with white confetti caught in their hair and wide smiles stretched across their faces.

The car door to Mia's left opened suddenly, and the rush of wind caused the hem of her dress to sway. Her knee was now exposed, but she didn't mind it.

"Sorry," Richard said, noticing the change. He sunk into the seat, which Mia felt as the leather dipped down. "You ready?"

"I'm hungry," she admitted shyly as her stomach growled.

He chuckled. "Yes, that's exactly what I meant. I'm starting to think you only joined me for the food."

"You are very very correct." Her giggle lasted a few seconds, but ended when she felt her right temple begin to pulse. She closed her eyes, but maintained a weak smile as she leaned back against the headrest.

Richard stared at her, jerking back slightly when the car veered forward. He noticed how dry her face looked despite the light layer of makeup, and he knew that it could have been due to their early flight. But he also suspected her shenanigans late last night to be the main culprit.

"Still hungover?" he asked.

Her mouth watered from dehydration, and she had to swallow down bits of saliva every now and then to forget about how much vomit she had deposited into the airport loo hours before. She nodded and fluttered her eyelids open.

"It is one thing to be hungover, and it's another thing to be hungover, hungry, and jet lagged."

"You can't possibly be jet lagged," Richard argued. "It wasn't even a two-hour flight."

She frowned, then pouted. Mia batted her lashes at him in dramatics, trying express how helpless she felt. "I'm hungry—"

"Don't be fussy, Amelia."

Richard put on a dark pair of aviator sunglasses when he teasingly warned her, allowing the filter to relax his vision. Mia looked at his kilt one more time, noticing the garment shake as they maneuvered through steep bumps on the road. She pinched the fabric and rubbed it between her thumb and index finger.

"Classic. I've seen this before," she commented. "Ain't this your dad's tartan?"

"We wear the same one, don't you remember?"

"No."

Richard switched into a playful tone. He shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head as he said, "Goodness, just because I don't have a family tartan. I guess it doesn't make mine memorable."

"Hush," Mia responded with a hefty exhale. It ended in a short laugh. "That isn't my fault. I've already told you plenty of times to try and register one. Mine goes back centuries."

"Maybe when we—" He felt a tickle in his throat and coughed it off. There was something he wanted to suggest, but didn't dare bring up or say aloud. He continued, "When I start my own family."

Richard hoped Mia wouldn't notice, but she did. She had been noticing his inklings more than usual, and she didn't want to blame it on the kiss from the photoshoot. However, she couldn't help it; deep inside, she pointed fingers at it furiously—at the event that unexpectedly turned her personal life into a snake pit.

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