Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Guy From The Wedding — Chapter 3

Laura's apartment was in no state to be entertaining guests. But this Aidan guy was no guest, she rationalised. Not really, anyway. It's not like she was trying to impress him, not after the way he acted at Sarah's wedding. But even if Laura did overlook that, it's not like she'd made a great first impression herself.

But, goodness, he was something to behold. She didn't expect him to strip down so casually when she asked him for his shirt. He leaned against the back of the couch after checking his pants for spills. Judging by his athletic frame and thick shoulders, he must have been into footy or boxing, one of those sports. And somehow, the relaxed, bleary-eyed post-wedding look on his face made him look even more attractive as he raked his fingers through his short brown hair and shook out the rain.

He looked at her. She casually turned to the washer-dryer, as if she hadn't been staring that whole time. She hit the button and the noise of running water covered up the silence.

"So, Laura, how do you know Sarah?" she asked, waiting just a little longer at the machine to clear the awkward air after almost being caught.

"She's a friend of a friend."

"And you didn't sit with them?"

"No, they couldn't make it. How do you know her?"

"We were neighbours when we were little. I barely know her these days."

Aidan gave her a half-smile, but it could still light up a whole room. "I barely know her at all."

"But you still went?"

His smile faded. He seemed irritated by her question. Laura glanced at the timer on the washing machine. When she turned back to him, he just shrugged folded his arms in front of his toned chest. Clearing her throat, she trundled to the kitchen and began putting away her shopping.

"What were you doing buying all that this late at night?" Aidan asked, moving from the couch to the bar stools on the other side of the kitchen counter.

"I was gonna make pancakes."

"Pancakes? At this hour? You know that'll go straight to your hips."

Laura froze. Did he just say what she thought he said? This was what she gets for trying to be good to people—yet another misogynistic jerk firing off yet another thoughtless hot take. Blueberries in hand, she spun around.

"Excuse me?"

"What?"

"Did you just say 'that'll go straight to your hips'?"

"Yes?"

"You know that's body shaming, right? Do you know what that is?"

"I wasn't body shaming you."

"Uh, yeah, you kind of did."

"If you want to take it that way, it's up to you. But that's not how I meant it."

"Wow, just wow. Maybe it's better you just don't talk anymore while you're waiting. Here—" Laura chucked the berries into the fridge and shut the door hard. She grabbed his phone from the coffee table and handed it to him.

As she turned to walk away, he grabbed her wrist. Her body geared up for a fight, but he let go as soon as he got her attention, holding up an open palm.

"Look, I'm sorry if I offended you, but that's not what I meant at all. It was a joke. I was just making conversation. I thought we could have a laugh."

Laura sized him up. Her temper still ran hot, but if she was being honest, she expected a far worse apology than the wet one he offered. She crossed her arms and nodded.

"Fine. Apology accepted."

Aidan asked if he could go freshen up in the bathroom. Laura told him where to find the spare towels and as she heard the bathroom door close, she flicked the TV on, let out a loud sigh and shook it off.

A laugh, he'd said. Once upon a time, she would have laughed at a comment like that too, and she was still undecided now if that was a good or bad thing.

She flopped on the couch and started typing a message to Bec, but gave up halfway through and tossed her phone back onto the table. She cuddled her legs and a cushion and rested her forehead on her knees.

"Must stop complaining to Bec," she mumbled into the dumpy foam. Over the news, she heard the washer beep and switch over to dryer mode.

Aidan's shirt was ready just before he was. He emerged from the bathroom in a cloud of steam and the fresh smell of soap. Laura rolled her eyes. What kind of guy takes a hot shower in the middle of summer?

Well, this guy was a strange one. He didn't seem like a complete arse—just a two-thirds one at least—but for all she knew, he could have been a bit of a weirdo. She should have known really, given she met him in Sarah Simpson's social network.

As he buttoned up, she went back to the kitchen and began pulling out ingredients. After all this fuss, she was definitely having pancakes tonight.

The rain still bucketed down outside. Without thinking, Laura offered him an umbrella. "Well, you know where I live now, so you can just return it. I'm home all day tomorrow and after 5 on Monday."

But as he left, she silently cursed into the fridge. After all this fuss, she'd forgotten to buy the milk.

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