Double Major

By: Catherine Gayle

“It is. And I’m having fun. I promise.”

“Good. You should.”

“Nothing’s wrong with Puck?”

My puppy barked in the background, as though he’d heard me say his name. At least that let me know he was alive.

Chris sighed. “Puck is fine. Stop being a worrywart. I was just calling to ask if you wanted the downstairs bedroom set up as a bedroom or if you wanted it to be more like an office.”

Oh. Yeah, so that meant it wasn’t a “something’s wrong” sort of call. It was a “my brothers are growing up before I’m ready for them to do anything remotely like that” sort of call. Before I could wrap my head around what he’d asked, Liam came up behind me and put one arm around my waist, taking the phone with the other.

“Noelle’s supposed to be in the rehearsal right now, so I can answer any questions you have,” he said smoothly into the phone. He kissed the back of my head and spun me around, nudging me back into the chapel with a swat to my backside.

I scowled at him because I was sure I was as red-faced as I’d ever been, but I hurried back down the aisle and got into my original position. At least none of them were staring at me when I returned, and Rachel’s daughter, Maddie, gave me a big grin when I slid back into my spot. The wedding coordinator was still trying to put all members of the wedding party where she wanted us, but at the moment she was working with the groomsmen, so I was in the clear for now. She had her hands on both Babs’s arms and was bodily shifting him into position, and he was blushing as profusely as I’d come to expect from him more often than not.

Katie leaned over so she could whisper in my ear. “Kally seemed really jealous when this chick paired you up with Burnzie for all the wedding stuff.” Kally was what everyone involved with the team called Liam. They all had nicknames for each other. It could be a little confusing at times, but it didn’t take too long to sort it out usually…especially since I knew most of them by their nicknames and not by their real names, anyhow.

Had he really seemed jealous? Liam knew there was no need for anything like that. I didn’t want to be with anyone but him, and the wedding events would only last for a weekend. Besides, it wasn’t as though I was going to be doing much at all with Keith Burns. He was going to escort me out, and we’d stand next to each other at a few points, and I was pretty sure she’d said that we would have to dance together for one dance. That was all. But out of all the members of the wedding party, Burnzie and I were the only two who weren’t already part of a couple that had both halves involved in the wedding. It only made sense to pair us up together.

I tried to brush Katie’s comment away, but it kept niggling at the back of my mind while we went through the rehearsal, which proved to be a whole lot of standing around and waiting for instructions.

A few minutes later, Liam returned to the chapel and took a seat in the back row, next to the Storm’s goaltender Nicklas Ericsson. My focus landed squarely on Liam instead of all the things the wedding coordinator was telling us. Sure enough, when we ran through the way we would be exiting, with me holding onto Burnzie’s arm as we walked down the aisle, I felt Liam’s eyes boring into the pair of us. Katie had been right, even if I didn’t understand why any of this would make Liam jealous.

Not long after that, we finished up with the rehearsal, and we all went to a nearby steak-and-seafood restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. Liam handed my phone back to me as we walked out to our rental car. I dropped it into my purse before reaching for his hand.

“Katie thinks you’re jealous of Burnzie.”

He flashed me an earth-stopping, heart-shattering sort of smile. “Katie’s very perceptive.”

We arrived at the car, and he opened the door for me.

“You know there’s no reason for that.”

He waited for me to sit, then closed my door and went around to the driver’s side. Once he was in his seat, he said, “It’s just that he’s getting all your attention for a couple of days.”

“I wouldn’t say he’s getting all my attention.”

“More of it than I want him to get.” He put the car in reverse and draped his arm over the back of my seat, looking over his shoulder to back out.

“But you’re the only one getting my kisses.”

Liam gave me a heated look and kissed the tip of my nose before shifting into drive.

“What did you tell Chris about the downstairs bedroom?”

“That,” he said silkily, “is a surprise.”

“A surprise, as in they burned the house down and we have to start this whole process all over again? Or a surprise, as in they made it into a shrine to Puck?”

Liam burst out laughing, which brought a smile to my lips, too. “Is that what you want it to be?” he asked. “A room for your dog?”

“Not necessarily.” But now that I thought about it, it wasn’t a horrible idea. Puck was getting bigger every day, quickly outgrowing all the dog beds and other things we’d gotten for him. I was starting to think he might outgrow the backyard of this new house sooner rather than later, and then I didn’t know what we’d do. I might have to take him to the park a lot more than I’d initially expected to. Of course, then maybe I could plan doggie dates with Sara and Jonny’s dog, Buster. That would be nice. “Just tell me. Please,” I begged.