Out of Her League(4)

By: Samantha Wayland


Eventually he had to blink, didn’t he?

Callum, the useless jerk, was doing nothing to end the stand-off. He was still staring at his brother like he’d never seen him before, head cocked to one side, eyes almost as wide and horrified as Lachlan’s. She considered kicking him again.

“Mass Ave,” Lachlan said, apropos of nothing.

“Pardon?”

“It’s called Mass Ave. That’s what people call that road. The one you’re going to live on. In Cambridge.”

“Okay, um, that’s great. Great information. Thank you.” Now she was stuttering. It was like Lachlan was a social skill black hole, sucking the ability to make small talk right out of her.

“You’re welcome,” he said sincerely.

Okay, well, this had been a nice, if totally ill-conceived idea, but she was done. She wasn’t going to keep torturing this guy. It was starting to hurt to look at him. She wanted to put her hand over his eyes and force him to blink.

“Callum, I think Rupert needs you,” she said, nodding to where Callum’s smiling groom was paying absolutely zero attention to them.

“What?” Callum’s head whipped around, homing in on Rupert instantly. “Excuse me.”

Callum ran off. Which had been her plan exactly, except the idiot flew across the room to his husband’s side and didn’t take her with him.

Honestly, what was the matter with these men?

She smiled kindly at Lachlan, whose mouth was still just sort of hanging open. She’d had a lot of people react to meeting her a lot of different ways over the years, but this was definitely a first. The longer the silence stretched, the more nauseated he appeared.

“Well, it was very nice to meet you. I guess I’ll see you soon,” Michaela said, taking a slow step back.

“What?”

“In Cambridge,” she reminded him. “Perhaps we’ll run into each other on campus. Though I’ll be at the law school. I don’t think that’s on the same campus as your office and classes.”

“No.”

Right. No. Well, maybe that was for the best.





Lachlan watched Michaela’s retreating back, his stomach a jumble of knots that had been twisting tighter and tighter for the past five minutes. That had gone even worse than he’d expected. Awesome.

He briefly considered pulling his sgian-dubh—the ceremonial knife in his right sock—and stabbing himself in the eye with it.

“So, that looked painful.”

Lachlan jumped, then turned to see Rhian smiling at him with some combination of sympathy and amusement. “That was excruciating.”

“Nice. But just think, now that you’ve gotten one of the most famous and famously beautiful women in the world out of the way, maybe everyone else will be easier?”

Lachlan let out a bark of laughter, wincing at how bitter it sounded. “I doubt it.”

“Come on,” Rhian said, tipping his head toward the bar. “I see a glass of scotch with your name on it.”

“Funny, I see the whole bottle.”

He didn’t, in the end, drink the whole bottle. Getting loaded just because he’d humiliated himself wasn’t really his style. Also, he’d be drunk all the damn time if it were. No, becoming even more introverted and tucking himself further and further into the shadows at the corners of the tent was more his speed.

Rhian didn’t let him get away with it as much as he might have unchecked, but no one really gave him a hard time. His family didn’t understand him, but they loved him and accepted that he would always be the odd duck in these situations. Rhian, sadly, accepted nothing of the sort. Lachlan was oddly grateful and resentful about that. At least with Rhian prodding him along, all of Lachlan’s aunts got another spin around the dance floor.

Whenever Rhian allowed it or was sufficiently distracted, Lachlan ducked into a quiet spot to watch the party rage around him. He did enjoy seeing his family so happy, the kids running around and the older guests huddle up with their tea and coffee to catch up on years of life. Most of the very few people on earth he felt completely comfortable sitting and talking to were there. It made it bearable.

A flash of color and a bright laugh drew his eyes, again, to Michaela.

He didn’t think he was imagining the way that, if she stood still long enough, everyone near her seemed to shift, slowly turning to revolve around her. Or that she was, at some level, aware of that, given the way she rarely stopped moving long enough to let it happen, and if she did, it was to deflect attention back to where it belonged—on Rupert and Callum.

She obviously adored them both, and their children, whose hands were often found clasped in hers. She danced with them, or other members of Lachlan’s family, all night. And no one else.

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