7:00 pm – continued
“Hi, girls!” Stacie called out as she jumped out of her car in front of Ashley’s house.
Ashley and June waved back from where they sat on the porch, surrounded by Ashley’s pots of wildflowers. It was a quaint little cottage, perfect for two. As a matter of fact, it had housed both Ashley and June for the past three months, after June had walked in on her fiancé cheating on her. She had immediately moved out and into Ashley’s open arms and spare bedroom. Stacie would have gladly taken June in, but her one bedroom place was just too tiny. Besides, Brant had still been living with her at the time. He had never been fans of her friends, but had tolerated them on the few occasions he’d had to spend time with them.
Both women stood and walked down the four steps from the porch to meet their friend halfway. Just like Stacie, they were dressed for a night out, complete with hair that looked like it had come straight from a salon and short jewel toned dresses that molded to them perfectly, all finished with tall strappy heels.
“Wow,” Ryan said from behind Stacie as the three girls hugged each other. “I feel like I just won the lottery.”
Stacie laughed and pulled away from her friends to link her arm with Ryan’s. She flushed with pleasure as her friends cast admiring glances up and down his body. She knew he looked good, and knew her friends thought he looked good, too. It was, after all, a welcome change from Brant. Stacie’s girl friends had to admit Ryan was pretty cute and they had both spent a precious few weeks nursing crushes on him, but, whenever they saw him, he only had eyes for Stacie. Finally, Stacie seemed to have noticed him, too.
“Girls, this is Ryan. Remember, my next door neighbor? He’s now my new boyfriend.”
Ashley laughed, throwing her head back like she would whenever something really tickled her funny bone. “I guess Brant never came running back, huh?”
That had Ryan and Stacie dissolving into loud laughter, leaving Ashley and June to look on in bewilderment. It took the new couple a few moments to collect themselves and Stacie had to wipe tears from her eyes, she had laughed so hard.
“You won’t believe it,” Stacie said breathlessly as they made their way to her car. “So, Ryan helped me with my trash, and by trash I mean all that junk that reminded me of Brant. I invited him to join me for dinner and I got ready to meet you guys and invited him along. We opened the door and Brant was standing right there, dressed in that suit of his, you know that gray one, and with a huge bouquet of roses. But by then I had, you know, moved on with this cutie pie. Oh, you should have seen his face! It felt so good. I can’t believe I held on to that jerk for so long. He had gone off trying to find the perfect girl and he probably didn’t find anyone or they dumped him. So, he ended up running back to me. Priceless!”
“Sounds like you dodged a huge bullet,” June said from the backseat, peeking her head between Stacie and Ryan. “Good for you!”
Ryan smiled nervously and glanced back at June. “Why do I feel like a piece of meat?”
Stacie smiled while her friends laughed and put a hand on his knee. “Don’t worry about them, Ryan. I think you’re perfect for me and I’m glad we finally found each other on the last day. A little late, but totally worth it.”
His smile relaxed and he placed his hand over hers as she drove towards her cousin’s house.