Stealing the Groom

By: Sonya Weiss

She shrugged away from his touch. “No. I’m stealing you for your own good. Now will you please cooperate?”

Chad’s brows lowered but he didn’t back away from the dividing window. “And exactly what are your plans for me? You do have plans, don’t you? Or is this another one of your infamous fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants moments?”

“I have plans.” Amelia let slide his reference to past escapades and carefully negotiated around an eighteen-wheeler.

“Care to enlighten me?”

“No.” Chad didn’t need to know her plans for him. Not yet.

Honestly, he could be a little uptight without a plan.

The car phone shrilled and Amelia’s heart beat faster. She’d known he wouldn’t have his cell with him for the ceremony, but she’d forgotten about the phone in the car.

As if sensing her thoughts, Chad met her gaze again, one eyebrow lifted in a question. “Am I allowed to answer the phone? Just wanted to check since I haven’t studied Groomnapping 101.”

Amelia bit her lip. The truth was, other than grabbing Chad and having a place to retreat for the night to gain more time to talk him into his senses, she hadn’t thought this nab-a-groom through as well as she should have.

Her grandfather and Chad’s grandfather were best friends. No doubt they’d both be ready to kill her once they learned what she’d done.

She’d let panic overrule her common sense. All she’d thought about as she’d tossed and turned last night was preventing Chad from making a huge mistake.

Huge? Ha! With Claire as his wife, it was more like an astronomical mistake. She’d known Chad’s fiancée back in high school, and Claire had a reputation among the other girls as the Queen of Mean. A reputation she’d rightly deserved.

Not that any of the boys ever saw it.

Now that they were both adults, Amelia tried to reason that maybe Claire had grown up, that perhaps high school Claire had seen the error of her ways and changed her behavior.

But she simply did not trust that the Queen of Mean had undergone a personality transplant.

The phone quit ringing but restarted immediately after it had stopped.

“This might be Claire. I should let her know what’s going on. No doubt everyone is freaking out right now.” Chad prompted, jerking his head toward the phone. “I’ll talk to her.”

When Amelia heard him lift the phone in the back, she reacted. She pressed the button on the front console to end the call and put the phone on lock.

“What the hell are you doing?” Chad demanded as he looked from the phone in his hand to her.

“I know you might be a little confused as to why I interrupted your wedding.” She took a deep breath, wanting to make him understand her desperation.

“A little confused? That’s the understatement of the century.” Chad slammed the phone down. “Everyone is going to wonder what the hell happened to me. What if they think I’ve been in a wreck getting to the church? Or if this might actually be a real kidnapping?”

She thought of Ann. And the disbelieving look on the chauffeur’s face when she’d jumped into the limo and sped off.

“I think everyone is well aware of the fact that you’re not going to make it today.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I instructed Ann to let everyone know we’d run off together once we were long gone.”

“Dammit, Amelia.” He stared at her hard for a few moments, then said, “This damn monkey suit is uncomfortable.” He inserted a finger in the collar to loosen his tie. Then he slowly pulled the strip of cloth from around his neck and tossed it aside. He removed the tuxedo jacket, folded it carefully, smoothed out the wrinkles, and placed it on the back seat beside him. “I hope you brought a change of clothes for me. I’d like to at least get comfortable.”

“Ah, no.”

“Dammit, Ame, how many times have I told you if you want to succeed in any endeavor, you have to have a workable plan?” He shook his head in disbelief.

“Dammit, Chad,” she mimicked, “some of us don’t live by spreadsheets, day planners and by-the-minute schedules.”

“Because some of us prefer chaos,” he shot back.

“Not chaos. But rather, unscripted life.”

“Without a plan, failure is inevitable.”

“I got you, didn’t I?” She couldn’t prevent the smugness in her voice. Besides, she had a plan. Kind of. She just wasn’t going to blurt it all out to him yet.

“Yes, you did. But you forgot about risks that could ultimately derail you.” He held up his hand and counted each statement on his fingers. “Number one, before you locked down the phone, I could have called the police. You didn’t even think about that, and I doubt they would have been as lenient with you as I have.”

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