“Alan, come on. You’ve done it for me before.” Glory cajoled the young man standing behind the reservation desk at the restaurant.
“Yeah, but tonight we’re packed,” He looked furtively towards the kitchen door, “and my manager is here.” he hissed between clenched teeth.
“How about this? You can seat someone else with us. We promise to behave.” Glory said, giving her friend a pretty, pouting look. “We’ll even pretend we know them, that we’ve been friends forever.”
“You know my manager would kill me for doing that.” Alan said.
Glory thought for a second. She had promised her sister and cousin the best Pizza Margarita in town and this was it, which was probably why it was packed now that all of the bars were closed. But the table for 8 was sitting empty and she was starting to get a little annoyed at Alan for refusing to seat them there!
“Hi!” Glory said, turning to the woman behind her in line. “How are you? I’m Glory.” She extended her hand in greeting.
“Hi.” the woman said, cautiously taking Glory’s hand. “Kayla.”
“I know you’re probably as hungry as we are, but it seems that all of the smaller tables are occupied.” Glory said, a little melodramatically.
Kayla laughed. “I’ve been listening to you harassing the host here about that.” she said. “We’ve got 3, if that would help.” Kayla looked towards Alan to see if adding their two groups together would do the trick.
“That’s 6, Alan…surely your manager can’t baulk at you seating 6 people at a table for 8. If so, we’ll just have to make friends with another couple in the line.” Glory’s voice was sweet, but Alan could see the impatience in her eyes. He hadn’t been friends with her for all of these years without knowing that that red hair came with a temper.
“Okay, okay!” Alan said, grabbing a handful of menus. “But if I lose my job for this…” he said, leaving all manner of horrible possibilities unspoken as he guided them to their table.
“Mindy will be right with you to take your orders.” Alan said, automatically. “Enjoy your pizza.” He gave Glory one last exasperated look before returning to his station at the door.
It took them just a minute to introduce each other. Kayla was there with her two brothers, who were currently in the washroom, and Glory introduced her sister, Holly, and their cousin, Diana.
“Greg and Lucas should be along soon.” Kayla said, trying to see over the crowd at the door who were blocking her view of the washrooms.
“We were just going to get Pizza Margarita; it’s their specialty here, according to Glory.” Diana said.
“That’s what we’d heard, so why don’t we do that, then we don’t have to wait on the boys.” Kayla said, looking up to catch the eye of the waitress.
“Is everyone drinking beer? The Rickard’s Red pairs very well with Pizza Margarita.” Mindy suggested as they were ordering.
“It really does.” Glory said. “Tell you what. The first round is on me and then if anyone doesn’t like it, there’s no issue.”
Kayla and her brothers were in town only until the next day before they all flew back to LA, where they lived. She was just starting to tell them what she did behind the scenes in the film industry when Glory noticed that her cousin had stopped talking and her eyes had grown twice their normal size.
“Diana, are you okay?” Glory asked, then noticed that Holly had the same look of reverential awe on her face.
Glory and Kayla turned around to see what could have caused that reaction to see a tall, handsome man in a blonde brush-cut walking towards the table.
“That’s Greg Wolfe.” Diana whispered. “He was on that soap opera I love!”
Kayla laughed. She was more than used to this reaction to her famous brothers. “Yeah, that’s my brother. And the guy hiding behind him is Lucas Wolfe.” Kayla was a little surprised by Diana and Holly’s reaction to Greg when Lucas was, by far, the more famous of the two.
Glory could feel her heartbeat start to speed up as Greg stepped out of the way. She turned back to the table to avoid showing her excitement. Lucas had come to her attention as Matt Hunter, super soldier and spy. Lucas had played him five times and each movie was better than the last! She knew that her sister and cousin weren’t into sci-fi or superhero movies, but she’d seen those movies so many times, she could probably recite them!
Glory kept her head down as the two boys took their seats and let Diana and Holly pepper Greg with questions. Greg sat between his two fans and looked up helplessly at Lucas. He usually got to poke fun at his more famous brother when he was the centre of attention. Greg wasn’t used to being in the limelight like this!
Lucas just laughed. This was a refreshing change of pace. He turned to the girl next to him and put his hand out to introduce himself.
“Hi, I’m Lucas.” he said.
“I…um…know.” she stuttered. “I’m Glory.” She turned towards him and took his hand in hers. She glanced up at his face, which was a BIG mistake because she froze! She quickly looked away and squeezed his hand before letting go. She had no idea how long she had held his hand, but she hoped it hadn’t been as long as she thought it had been.
“So, what do you do, Glory?” Lucas asked, cordially, still smiling at the attention that his brother was getting.
But before she could answer, Mindy came by with pints of Rickard’s Red for everyone…everyone except Glory, who was the designated driver that night. For her, Mindy served up a diet Coke.
“What’s this?” Lucas asked, picking up his glass and sniffing it experimentally.
“It’s Rickard’s Red.” Glory said, not daring to look up at him. “It’s great with the pizza.”
“I’m always up for something new.” Lucas said and put his glass to his lips to take a sip
“This is good.” he said. “Thanks.” He raised his glass and touched it to her glass.
“Not drinking tonight?” Lucas asked, noticing that Glory’s glass was full of ice and bubbles.
“I’m the DD; gotta get these ladies home safely.” Glory said with more bravado than she felt.
“Good girl.” Lucas said and turned to talk to Kayla about something.
Once their Pizza Margarita arrived, they fell quiet to eat. Everyone but Glory had been drinking all evening, so the food was welcome.
They had almost killed 4 pizzas and another round of beer, this one on Greg, before Lucas excused himself to the washroom.
Glory had been talking to Kayla about some of the movies that she’d worked on, but when she noticed Diana getting up to use the washroom, she excused herself to follow her.
They chatted about their famous tablemates on the way to the washroom, but fell silent as they saw Lucas coming towards them. As he passed, he put one hand on Glory’s arm and said, “Can I talk to you for a second?”
“Yeah, sure.” she said, nodding at Diana to go on without her.
“Am I that intimidating?” Lucas said with laughter in his voice.
“What?” Glory asked, trying to buy herself some time to think of a reasonable response.
“Come on. You thought I wouldn’t notice? You haven’t looked at me since I sat down.” Lucas said.
“Sorry.” she said, resting her eyes somewhere around his Adam’s apple to avoid looking him in the eye.
“Are you always this shy, or is it just me?” he asked, kindly.
Glory swallowed hard and closed her eyes trying to find the right words to say. Finally, she blurted out, “Look, I’m a big fan and I’m trying not to make a fool of myself in front of you, that’s all.”
Lucas stepped closer to her and it took all of Glory’s willpower to not step back. As he put his finger under her chin to tilt her face up to his, Glory could feel her insides melting.
He is not going to kiss me. That’s just my silly imagination getting away from me. Why would he possibly want to kiss me? He just met me! Glory’s mind was going full speed, but her body felt rooted to the spot!
Lucas closed his eyes as he pressed his lips against hers. They were as soft as they had looked. He ran his tongue softly over them, then he pulled back and kissed her quickly a couple more times before opening his eyes and smiling down at her.
Before he could react, though, Glory reached up and pulled him back down for another kiss. This time, as he pressed his tongue against her lips, she opened to him and let her tongue swirl and twirl against his.
Lucas pulled away, and when he opened his eyes, he was looking into the deepest blue eyes he had ever seen! They were dark like the midnight sky, shot through with violet and green and gold!
He smiled and said, softly, “Oh, there you are.” and put his hand on her cheek.
Glory smiled shyly and covered his hand with hers.
“Better?” he asked.
She nodded and said, “Much. Let me use the washroom and I’ll see you back at the table.”
Lucas nodded and turned to go, but she stopped him by speaking his name for the first time.
“Yes?” he asked, turning back to her.
“Do you kiss all of your fans to make them more comfortable?” she asked.
Lucas smiled at her. “No, just the special ones.” He winked at her and turned back towards the table.
As Glory turned towards the washroom, she couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face. She was a special fan. How did that even happen? But she wasn’t going to argue with him as she could still feel the ghost of his soft lips on hers. She suddenly wished she kept a diary or wrote a blog or something where she could write this down. But she didn’t, so she’d have to keep it in her heart.
When Glory returned to the table, she was much more comfortable with Lucas, talking to him, and even joining his brother in teasing him when a fan came up for an autograph.
Once the pizza was done, they moved outside to give someone in the line-up of people at the door a chance to eat. Besides, Diana had already gotten a text from her husband; this was her first real night out since her daughter, Kelsey, had been born, and Kelsey was up and crying for her mother. Holly’s boyfriend had just texted as well, wondering when she’d be home.
Glory didn’t have any of those ties at that point in time and only an empty apartment awaited her at the end of the evening; not that she minded that. After the end of her last relationship, she was rather enjoying her independence and solitude.
Outside, Lucas called her aside. “Listen, this is going to sound really strange, but we’re just going back up to our hotel room to hang out and play cards. We could use a fourth. These guys have early flights, so they probably won’t even sleep.” He had his hands in his pockets and was looking at her hopefully. “Maybe you could drive Holly and Diana home and come back…?”
It was a strange request! Glory was torn between wanting to stay with Lucas because she feared she’d never see him again if not, and being reasonable and smart and just going home.
“The problem with partying on a Friday night is that my day started at 6 am, so I’m pretty wiped.” Glory said after a moment. “It’s a tempting offer, Lucas, but I think I’m going to have to say no.”
Lucas considered this for a moment. “Then can I get your number? Maybe we can get together another time. I’m flying out at 3 tomorrow, but I may be able to get that changed, if I have something to stay in Toronto for…” He smiled as he let his voice trail off.
So Glory gave him her number, and he sent her a text immediately:
Hey, it’s Lucas. Text me if you change your mind.
Glory looked at the text then back up at him. “I will.” she said, softly.
With so many eyes on them on the street, Glory didn’t expect Lucas to kiss her again, but he leaned in and kissed her quickly before gathering his siblings and heading for their hotel.
“What the hell was that?” Holly asked. “Did he just kiss you? You guys just met!”
“Oh, don’t be such a prude, Holly. It’s Lucas Wolfe…if he hadn’t kissed me, I would have had to kiss him. You know how I feel about him. How many times did I see his last Matt Hunter movie in the theatre?” Glory chastised her sister.
“Yes, but…” Holly started.
“Never mind. He’s flying out tomorrow anyway, so I’ll probably never see him again.” Glory said, as she unlocked the car with the remote. Somehow, saying the words out loud brought tears to her eyes.
“But he did take your number…I saw that.” Diana said. “What did I hear about playing cards?”
Glory sighed. “They’re going back to their hotel room to hang out and play cards until Kayla and Greg have to leave for their flight and he asked me if I wanted to come and be their fourth.” Glory knew she was going to take flack for this.
“Who the hell does he think he is, inviting you up to his hotel room? What a jerk!” Holly said.
“He’s not a jerk…he just asked. It’s not like he even expected me to accept.” Glory said.
“And did you?” Diana asked.
“Of course not!” Gloria said. “I’ve been up since 6 am so I’m not even sure I should be driving, let alone going up to some movie star’s hotel room to party the night away.” Her voice was dismissive, but that little voice in the back of her head was still urging her to accept his invitation.
“Okay, then.” Diana said, clearly not convinced. But they talked amiably on the ride home, dropping off first Holly at her apartment, and then Diana at her house. Once she dropped Diana off and watched her get inside safely, she pulled out her cell phone to look at the text from Lucas again.
No, you should definitely not text him back. That would be ridiculously reckless and stupid, not to mention really needy, she thought as she stared at the words on her phone.
But this is Lucas Wolfe. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to spend time with him, even if it doesn’t go anywhere. It would be foolish to go home, when he obviously wants to spend more time with you, the other little voice in her head said.
She shook her head to try to clear it. She had a little game that she played with herself when she had a tough decision like this to make. When she got up tomorrow morning, which course of action would she regret less? After a few minutes of thought, she took a deep breath and texted Lucas back:
You guys still need a fourth? Just dropped Diana off and I’d love to join you.
It seemed to take forever for his response to come back! Glory thought he might have gone to bed after all, or that he’d changed his mind, or maybe hooked up with someone else on the way to the hotel.
That’s great, Glory! Yes, we still need a fourth. We’re at the Crowne Plaza on Dixon. Text me when you get here…you need a key card to use the elevator after hours.
Glory took a deep breath, not quite believing what she was about to do. Finally, she put the car in gear and said “Geronimo!” under her breath.
The Crowne Plaza was only about 10 minutes away. When she arrived, she sent a quick text to Lucas, and he was waiting for her by the elevators when she got into the lobby.
“Hi,” he said when he saw her, “I’m so glad you changed your mind. Do you play Euchre?” He put his hand on the small of her back before hitting the button for the elevator. Once inside the elevator, he pushed the button for the top floor.
“Yes, I do play Euchre.” Glory said still feeling a little overwhelmed to be in an elevator with him.
“Do you play well, though, because I always seem to lose, so I need a good partner.” Lucas said.
“Well, I’ve been playing since I was about 10 years old, so, yeah, I play pretty well.” she answered with a cocky smile.
“Good…I need to set my siblings back a bit. They’re always teasing me about how bad I am at this.” Lucas said, holding the elevator door open for Glory to precede him into the hall and pointing to the left. “We’re in 1207.” he said.
Kayla and Greg greeted Glory when she came through the door and Glory could see that they were already set up to play Euchre at the dining room table. Lucas took his seat and held his hand up indicating that Glory should sit opposite him.
“Do you want a beer?” Lucas asked. “Or are you still DD? I can send you home in a cab when you’re ready to go.”
“Sure, I’ll have a beer, thanks.” she said. “Playing cards isn’t as much fun sober.” She gave Greg a little smile as he handed her a beer and offered her a glass, which she turned down. “Always been a bottle baby.” she said in explanation.
Kayla handed her the cards to start the deal, so she shuffled them up before dealing them out.
Greg watched her fan the cards and deal them out and said to Lucas, “Leave it to you to pick up a card sharp!”
Lucas just chuckled softly and winked at Glory.
They played several games and Lucas and Glory played well together. At the beginning, Lucas didn’t react to her calls the way she had expected him to, so she pulled him aside and told him some of the protocols that she was used to playing under. After that, they fell into an easy partnership which saw them winning more than losing.
After three games, of which Lucas and Glory took two, Greg called a stop. “You look like you’ve played a lot.” he said to Glory.
“Yeah, whenever we get together in our family, we play cards. Like I told Lucas on the way up, I’ve been playing Euchre since I was 10, but other games since I was much younger.” She had the cards in her hands and she was absently fanning and shuffling them.
“Well, I’m through getting beat at cards, Greg, how about you?” Kayla asked.
“Yeah, I’m going to veg.” Greg said, taking his beer and heading over to the living room.
“Chickens.” Glory said under her breath, loud enough for only Lucas to hear.
He put his head back and laughed. “You are priceless!” he said to Glory and went to grab another beer. He looked at her with a raised eyebrow and held it up to Glory and she smiled and nodded, so he got one for her as well and they went to join his siblings in the living room.
The talk was pretty general at first, but then they started to talk about family stuff. Glory was fading in and out a little bit. It was 5 am, so she’d been up almost 24 hours. She laid her head down on Lucas’ shoulder and he looked down at her, concerned.
“If you’re done, I can get you a cab home,” he said, then he paused, “or you can go and lay down in my bed. It’s a king size, so the 4 of us could sleep in there without ever finding each other.
Glory sat up and took another sip of her beer. “I hate to waste beer.” she said.
Lucas laughed. “I’ll finish it for you.” he said. “Go lay down.”
As Glory got up, Lucas reached up and pulled her down for a kiss, which she returned, before turning towards the door he had indicated.
Once Glory was gone, Kayla said, “You’re going to have sex with her? You just met her?”
“I don’t know, Kayla. Maybe. I certainly want to get to know her better. She’s funny and sweet and her lips are really soft.” he answered, wistfully.
“Be careful, Lucas. You never know what she might want from you.” Greg said. “Remember that girl in Phoenix?”
“Yes, I do remember that girl in Phoenix, Greg. Thanks for reminding me, though, of what an idiot I can be around a pretty girl. But I feel like Glory’s different. Don’t worry, I’ll protect myself.” Lucas took another sip of his beer, emptying it and reached for Glory’s bottle.
“Well, we should get our shit together and get out of here if we’re going to make our flight.” Greg said. They had already packed and their luggage was waiting for them at the door. All they had to do was arrange a cab to the airport, which Kayla called the concierge to do.
Lucas hugged his brother and his sister and said that he’d probably see them in a week or so. He was heading to Boston for a few days, then he had some reshoots to do in Atlanta before he could head back to LA.
As he shut the door behind them, he looked up at his bedroom door. They had adjoining rooms…he could have had her lay down in the other room, but what fun would that be? He picked up his phone and sent a text to his assistant asking her to change his flight from 3 pm to some time on Monday. He really did want to get to know this girl a little bit better.
In the bedroom, he saw that Glory was lying on top of the blankets in her panties and camisole, curled into a fetal position. It wasn’t cold in the room, but she looked like she needed a blanket. Why hadn’t she gotten under the covers?
He went to the closet and pulled down one of the spare blankets and covered her sleeping body. She stretched out under the warmth of the blanket and smiled in her sleep as she rolled over. He stood there for a moment smiling down at her, then he went and brushed his teeth before getting in on the other side of the bed in his boxers.
He was pretty drunk, so he wasn’t sure if he fell asleep quickly or just passed out. He had no idea what time it was when a sudden movement in the bed brought him fully awake.
Glory was sitting bolt upright, looking around the room and exuding fear and uncertainty.
“Glory,” Lucas said, drowsily, “what’s wrong? Are you okay?”
She whipped around to look at who had spoken to her, and once she recognized him, she seemed to relax a little bit.
“Are you okay?” Lucas repeated.
“Just a bad dream, and then I woke up and didn’t know where I was.” she said, rubbing one eye with her fist. “I’m sorry I woke you.”
“Don’t worry about that. Come here.” he said, reaching out to her. She moved in closer to him and he put his hand on her back. “Wow! Your heart is pounding like jackhammer!” He pulled her in next to him and held her close.
Glory stiffened at first as he tried to draw her in close to him, but then relented and put her head on his shoulder, feeling comforted by the arms he had wrapped around her.
“You’re safe here, baby. You’re safe with me.” Lucas whispered, sleepily. “What was your dream about?”
“It’s always the same.” she said. “I’m little and a dragon comes into my room…he’s going to hurt me. Then another dragon comes in and rescues me. The dragons fight and the second dragon wins. There’s blood everywhere and that’s when I wake up.”
“That sounds pretty intense. Do you think you can get back to sleep?” Lucas asked, squeezing her closer.
“I think so.” she said, as she let her eyes close. “Yeah, I can sleep.”
Lucas closed his eyes and turned his head to breathe deeply of the scent in her hair. It was clean with a light scent, probably her shampoo. He smiled at the feel of her in his arms as she adjusted herself next to him, then he settled his mind to sleep.