Eleven

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Are you guys ready for a huge chapter? I don't think you are. Enjoy!

Also, happy August! I can't believe we're halfway through the year already!

***

The meal was delicious, and it didn't take long to shovel three courses into my mouth, as well as a couple of glasses of champagne, to wash it down, of course. Not because the champagne was to die for.

James laid a gentle hand on my thigh under the table, as a waiter poured me a third glass of bubbly, and he squeezed it a little, in almost a warning. I watched as the golden liquid entered the glass, stunned by how talented the waiters were to make it look so graceful, and not once did it fizz over. Fascinating.

Goddammit, I knew that last glass was a bad idea.

"Is that your third glass?" James questioned. It didn't come across as accusatory, which is why I placed my hand over his and squeezed it to calm him down prematurely. I happily sent him a smile and a nod, with slightly glassy eyes. He chuckled in response. "Okay, but don't you think you should slow down after that one? You don't want a sore head when you're walking down the aisle tomorrow."

"I know," I laughed. If my mental commentary on the skill of the waiters was anything to go by, I was already starting to feel the effects. But I didn't want to tell him that; that was admitting defeat. Though let's face it, he already knew. "You know what bubbles do to me. I guess I will slow down after this one... For you."

James smiled and placed a delicate kiss on my forehead.

After that, I paid close attention to the after-dinner mint, and it's pretty packaging before me, if only to distract me from the drink, or lack thereof. I had blocked out everything around me, and only the odd conversation and one-liners stuck out.

"Did you get your dress back from the tailor's?" My mother was asking James' mother.

"Oh yes," she smiled. "I picked it up today, and it is perfect, thank god. Considering the amount of money I spent on it, I shouldn't expect anything less. I couldn't imagine turning up to the church tomorrow in anything less than a designer label. What would everyone else say?"

Okay, now was the time to tune out of that conversation. As much as I loved mine and James' family, I didn't get the memo that designer clothes were of great importance in life. I was more than happy to let them have that view, so long as they weren't imposing it on me.

Not feeling particularly chatty, I didn't want to participate in any conversation myself. After eating so many courses, I was happily ready to drift off into a food coma. I also didn't want to say something embarrassing if the alcohol in my system had its way, so staying quiet was the better option. I looked around the table and wondered whose conversation I could eavesdrop on next. That wasn't an inappropriate thing, was it? They were all talking loud enough so people could hear them, anyway.

My eyes landed on my bridesmaids, and Gloria gave me a tight-lipped, yet encouraging smile. It appeared she was also a little out of her depth, but judging from the surrounding laughter, she was taking it in her stride. I almost felt a sense of pride in her, as if she were my little sister. Jared and Jennifer had their heads close together as if they were conspiring with one another.

I moved my attention away rather quickly after that.

"So, big day tomorrow," Nick - James' best man - said to him, thus bringing my attention back to where it started. "Are we ready?"

"Oh, of course!" James exclaimed. He casually placed an arm on the back of my chair, and he squeezed my shoulder, showing that he had figured I was listening. "I've never been more ready for anything in my life."

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