"…billionaire investment mogul Luke Alder was spotted last night, around 2 a.m., exiting the world-famous Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas, with a mystery woman on his arm. The couple looked happy, and appeared to have just gotten married. How will Luke, who has previously been named as "America"s most eligible bachelor", break the news to his legions of devoted fans" Stick with us for"."
I tune out the rest of the presenter"s spiel, because I"ve just noticed who the "mystery woman" is on this apparent billionaire"s arm, grinning like a loon.
My blood runs cold in my veins, and I feel like vomiting.
"Does thing thing have DVR"!" I yell at Claire. Forgetting my throbbing head for a second, I lurch forward and wrestle the remote from her hands, rewinding the footage.
Yep, still me. I look a little wild-eyed and crazy, and definitely a little unsteady on my feet. Not surprising considering that I"d had enough to drink to forget I"d married a complete stranger.
"Oh my God," I groan, sinking back into the fluffy pillows. "This can"t be real. It just can"t. What in the name of all that is holy have I done""
Claire is grinning at me like this is just the best thing ever. "I know, right" It"s amazing! Honestly, I didn"t think you had it in you, Tess. You"ve always been one of those dependable friends, you know" Someone that I know isn"t going to do something crazy and wild and unpredictable. But this" This is just delicious."
I"m on the verge of tears. What are my parents going to say" How can I even face them" If this guy is a big enough deal to be appearing on TV, they might have already heard the news.
"Claire, please. This is a crisis. You can"t just go around marrying strangers in Vegas."
She laughs. "But, don"t you see"! This is Vegas, baby! You can just marry a stranger…and you did!"
She glances back at the screen, the image of me and my new husband frozen in time.
"And, to be honest, it"s goddamn Luke Alder. Holy shit, girl! The dude is hot as hell and richer than God."
A sly look comes over her face, and she grins at me.
"So, uh . . . I don"t want to pry or anything, you know me, but . . . how was the wedding night" Did you two lovebirds consummate your marriage, if you know what I mean""
Her eyes are shining and she"s just having the best time.
At least one of us is.
"I don"t even want to think about""
My voice trails off as more fuzzy memories of the night enter unbidden into my mind. Of limbs tangled together in the dark, of soft lips crushing mine in a passionate embrace. A man with a rock-hard body, built like a brick wall. Arms bulging, abs chiseled from stone. And a huge".
So that"s why I"m kind of sore down there too, huh" Well this just keeps getting better and better.
I howl in anguish and pull the covers back up over my head. Everything had been going so well. I finally got the job I wanted, finally got some semblance of security and a plan to move my life forward, and now I"ve gone and done this.
I feel Claire come and sit next to me.
"Hey, Tessa babe, it"ll be OK. All you need to do is get the marriage annulled, forget it ever happened, and move on with your life. People do it all the time."
Her voice is a little more sympathetic now, and I emerge from under the covers, peeking up at her.
"Really"" I sniff. "Is it as easy as that" I can just sign some forms or something and make this all go away""
She shrugs. "I"m not a lawyer, but that"s how it happens on TV shows isn"t it" You just go down to the county courthouse or something."
She isn"t exactly inspiring confidence in me with her expert legal knowledge, but there is probably some truth to what she said.
Claire stands and strides over to the windows and pulls the curtains open. The full glare of the desert sun streams in, searing a hole in my head. I dart back under the covers again until Claire strips them off of me.
"C"mon, lazy! We only have a couple more days until you need to fly home, and we can"t let something like a silly, little shotgun wedding throw a spanner in the works! Get up, get yourself cleaned up, and we"ll order some breakfast. And maybe a couple Bloody Marys. Everything looks a little better after a Bloody Mary."
The thought of alcohol is almost enough to make me hurl on its own, but she"s right. I"m not going to get anything accomplished by laying here feeling sorry for myself all day. Once I"m showered and feel a little more human, I"ll be able to handle this.