Sasha felt David’s eyes on her as she took a step into the crowd celebrating Douglas and Louise’s wedding. She knew David was heading her way, but she wanted to draw out the anticipation before he could connect with her. She saw Franny and moved to position herself near her imagined rival for David’s attentions, as if to draw out the contrasts.
Leo, as always, intervened. He smiled at Sasha, reached out a hand in welcome. “You must be a friend of Louise’s?” he asked, not making any connection between the lovely young woman in black and Kassandra’s stories. “The ceremony was wonderful, wasn’t it. Ah, tonight would be such a night to fall in love.”
Franny turned toward them, did not register recognition either, smiled, and turned back to conversing with Allison and Douglas.
Sasha shook Leo’s hand. “No, I’m here with Kassandra, actually,” she said, a little loudly, knowing David had drawn close enough to overhear. “An old friend.”
“Oh, well, old friends are the best,” Leo said. “Did you get something to eat? There’s so much food here, and it’s all amazing.”
“Thank you, I’m fine,” Sasha said. “I should really find Kassandra. Check in with my date, you know.” Again, the message was for David. Let him wonder, just a little.
And let him compare her to Franny, who wore a flowing top with blue birds on it, over a long stretchy skirt, and looked, to Sasha’s eyes, a little dowdy. Dowdy. Now there’s a good old-fashioned word, she thought, suitable for this small-town crowd.
Leo turned to Franny at that moment, taking her hand in his, with such tenderness that Sasha nearly allowed her plan to be derailed.
Is that love, then, that tenderness toward someone who didn’t travel out of the county to purchase her dress, whose hair is falling out of place, whose cheeks are flushed only with excitement? Sasha shook the thought away, squared her shoulders, and turned to David.