Part 2020 – The Red Envelope Hostess Strikes Out With Robin.

Robin held onto Sarah’s hand as they entered the Red Envelope. He sniffed the air.

There was no trace of Ambrose’s distinctive scent.

“Darn! It looks like we beat him here. This is gonna be plenty awkward, surrounded by all sorts of people we ain’t e’en been properly innerduced to yet.” He shrugged. “But I guess it ain’t gonna be no different than joinin’ a cast. Fake it till you freakin’ make it.”

The hostess eyed him up as she strolled over to them. “Well, hello.” She smoothed the rippled edges of her close-fitting red and gold brocade dress. “How may I help you?”

“We’re here for the Smith weddin’ reception.”

She smiled. “Of course, you are, Mr…?”

“Hastings. Robin Hastings and she’s my guest.”

“Guest. Not daughter?”

“Duh. Ain’t got a wife. How could I have a daughter?”

She laughed. “Very easily.” She eyed him up again. Only this time her gaze lingered and loitered over certain areas.

“Uh-huh. Well, tough on you. I ain’t into chicks.”

Her gaze shot up to his face. She blinked quickly. “I don’t understand what that means.”

“Huh? How ain’t you gettin’ that? Means I like guys.”

She stared blankly at him.

“Means I think guys are my pipin’ cup of hot tea. I ain’t gonna get more graphic than that. Don’t wanna scandalize the young company.”

“Wait. I do know you! You are that strange wild man who chugged down a whole cup of sake in one gulp.”

“Uhhh?”

“Well.” She huffed. “That explains so much.”

“Wha?”

“Come. I’ll lead you to your party.”

What the freakin’ heck just happened?

***

Ambrose smiled as Barbara tried to fix her hairstyle. “You should just leave it as is. Make everyone wonder what exactly happened on the way here.” He moved closer to her and whispered in her ear, “Or you could just…take it all down.”

She exhaled a soft, “Ohh.”

He kissed the rim of her ear. “I could help you with that.”

“You make that sound so tempting.”

He chuckled. “I’ve had years of practice.”

She lowered her hands and smiled at him. “I can’t imagine you had to practice too hard. You’re young and very handsome. You have a warm, seductive voice that could make a grocery list sound like an open invitation.”

He laughed at that.

“And you’re an excellent dancer.”

“I’m also an insecure mess. I always had insecurity issues, but Rebecca’s rejection stung me deep. I didn’t think anyone could love me. Even when I was with Maria, I doubted her. I never really believed that she would choose me over her father’s wishes. I mean—” He scoffed. “—she had to become a ghost in order for us to be together. And even then, she was a ghost. I couldn’t touch her. She couldn’t touch me.” He shrugged. “I always believed that I’d be in the losing end of every relationship.”

“It will not be that way for us.”

He looked at her in wonder. “I know. You married me. Despite all of our ups and downs, you stayed with me. You said yes when I proposed. You wanted to marry me. And you did. You married me.”

“And I would gladly do it again.” She kissed him and his hands found their way back into her hair, further untidying her hairstyle.

And she let him.

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