“I don’t think Mom would let me skip this even if I wanted to.” I smile, taking the glass of wine he holds out to me. Then I give him a hug.
“You look beautiful, honey.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I whisper and then lean against Kai when he pulls me back into his side.
“Kai.” My dad smiles, shakes Kai’s hand, and then hands him the beer. “You’re going to need that,” my dad tells him.
Kai’s lips tilt up as he mutters, “Thanks.”
“I’m going to go find your mom. I’ll see you soon,” Dad says and walks off into the crowd.
I take a sip of wine and look around then up at Kai. “It’s going to be a long night.”
“Tell me about it,” he mumbles as his eyes drop to my breasts.
I can’t help the laugh that escapes, and I lean up to kiss his cheek. It doesn’t take long after that for everyone to notice that we have arrived, and they begin to come up and offer congratulations to us. It feels like we stand in the same spot forever, only having a moment’s break when my mom brings the photographer over to snap a few pictures of us. When I notice a lull in the crowd and see that Kai is caught up talking with a group of people I don’t know, I tell that I’ll be back and make a quick escape to the bathroom. Inside the house, there are people everywhere, and there are long lines at both the bathrooms, so I make my way to our bedroom and quickly use the restroom there then head back outside.
“Would you like a glass of wine?” one of the servers asks, stepping in front of me.
I debate for a moment then decide yes and take the glass from his tray, giving him a quiet thank-you before I take a sip. I start back towards Kai then detour when I spot his mom, waiting until she is done talking to the person in front of her before telling her quietly, “Thank you for doing this for us.”
She turns to face me and her eyes go soft as she runs her down my cheek. “I should be thanking you. As a mom, you always want what’s best for your kids, and I’ve been worried for a few years that Kai was not going to find someone worthy of him. I’m glad he found you,” she whispers, and I feel tears begin to fill my eyes. “No crying,” she chides, leaning forward and giving me a hug while accidently knocking the drink out of my hand.
“It’s fine.” I smile as she apologizes.
“Thank God I didn’t spill that on your dress.” she mumbles, picking up the plastic glass and handing it to a passing waiter. “You go find your husband while I go and get you another glass of wine.”
“Maybe that was a sign that I shouldn’t have any more wine,” I laugh, and her face goes soft again.
“You remind me so much of her,” she says faintly then looks around.
I know this is making her uncomfortable, but I still have a lot of questions to ask her about my parents. Just…now isn’t the time or the place.
“I’m going to go find Kai, but I would like for us to have lunch when my mom leaves. If that’s okay?” I question, placing a hand on my stomach when it begins to turn.
“I would enjoy that. We’ll work out the details later. Just go enjoy your night.”
She smiles then walks off as a wave of dizziness hits me. I brush it off and take a deep breath then head towards Kai.
When I reach his side, his eyes come to me and a small smile lights his face before he leans down and presses a kiss to my lips.
“Missed you,” he mutters against my mouth.
As I start to reply, I feel like I might faint.
I look up into his blurry face and everything tilts as I fall against his chest.
“What the fuck?” he growls, and I feel myself being lifted then carried.
I hear commotion going on around me, and I want to ask what happened, but everything goes black.
The sound of beeping off in the distance begins to grate on my nerves. When I finally get one eye open, I can tell I’m in Kai’s and my room.
“Turn off the alarm,” I croak, and my hand goes to my throat when I feel it burn. I try to sit up, and suddenly, strong arms are stopping me.
“Easy,” Kai’s rough voice commands.
I look at him, and there are dark circles under his eyes and he looks like he hasn’t slept in days. My mind reels as I try to remember anything at all.
“What happened?” I ask as he helps me sit back against the headboard before reaching across me and grabbing a glass of water from the bedside table. When I lift my hands to take the glass from him, I notice an IV.
I look at Kai and try to understand what’s going on, and he just shakes his head and lifts the cup closer to my mouth. I feel tears sting my nose as I take the glass from him and hold it between my shaky hands. I slowly take a sip of water and look around the room. Everything looks the same, except there is now an IV stand and a large machine next to the bed, which I instantly recognize as where the beeping is coming from.
“I’m sorry,” Kai says, and my gaze goes back to him.
“What happened?” I repeat through the pain in my throat.
“You were poisoned.” He rubs the back of his neck. “It was a small amount, but still enough to make you very sick.”
“Oh, God,” I breathe.
“They pumped your stomach. That’s why your throat is so sore. The doctor assured me it would get better after a few days.”
“How?” I whisper, still in shock.
“Mom said you had a glass of wine at the party, and it wasn’t one that anyone recalls giving you.” He rubs the bridge of his nose. “She said she accidently knocked it out of your hand when it was still full.”
“I had a sip.”
“That’s what we figured. Do you remember anything about the waiter who gave it to you?”
“No.” I shake my head, not recalling anything about him. “There were so many people there.”
“I know.” He sounds angry as he shakes his head.
“Are you okay?” I whisper when he doesn’t look at me.
“Fine. Just glad you’re awake.” He leans in and places a kiss on my cheek. “Why don’t you lie back down and I’ll get your parents.”
“My parents?” I ask.
“They’ve been worried they wouldn’t get to see you awake before they left, and I wanted to be able to talk to you, tell you what was going on before you had visitors,” he mutters, and I can tell from his demeanor and tone that he is exhausted.