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What Happens in San Jose

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"All right, everyone, that's all for tonight," Claire Allen said to her singles group from her perch on the little dais in the front of Cuppa Java. The fifteen people in the chairs in front of her began to gather their purses, hats, and light jackets that were still a requirement of late April in Chicago. "And don't forget next Friday's meeting is canceled. I'll be out of town."

Trevor, naturally, perked up at that, leaning forward on his customary stool in the back. "Really? Somewhere interesting, I hope. Tropical, with cabana boys and overpriced fruity drinks?"

"California," she said, hoping against hope that that would be the end of it.

"All of those could still apply."

"San Jose."

A low moan of sympathy came from the departing group members. Trevor winced, but persevered. "Get the right hotel..."

"It's a high school reunion, okay? No cabana boys, no fruity drinks." Although if she were lucky, someone might spike the punch.

"You sound excited," Trevor observed dryly.

Since Mike and Nick were lingering in the door, Claire said, "It'll be nice to see everyone." She gathered her things and started walking toward the door that was slowly closing behind the last of the group members.

"And?" Trevor appeared beside her, in that slightly creepy way he had, while she was distracted by trying to snap her purse closed and step off the dais.

"And what, Trevor? I haven't seen most of these people for fifteen years. It'll be interesting to see what happened to them."

"Fifteen years," he said sagely was they walked toward the door. "Starting to feel the pressure of time's fell hand?"

She rolled her eyes. "No. It's just..." No. She wasn't going to give him ammunition.

"Just...?" They reached the doors, and he paused. Against her better judgment, so did she.

Claire jutted her chin and opened her mouth, assuming something scathing and perfect would trip off her tongue as it so often did in Trevor Hale's presence. When nothing came, she dropped her head.

"The fifteenth reunion is when everyone brings their spouse and their perfect chubby babies and adorable toddlers. Everyone's going to be talking about kindergarten and diapers and daycare, and I'm not." She bit her lip. "Not that I want to, necessarily, at least right now, but..."

Even though she'd known in the back of her mind that it had been coming for months, the breakup with Alex a few weeks ago still stung. They'd lasted more than a year, but the miles between Chicago and New York had stretched them to the breaking point.

Trevor screwed his face up. "Diapers and daycare. Sounds rom..." He paused.

Oh, no no no no no, things always went straight to hell when he got that gleam in his eye; she had to derail whatever train of thought his delusional brain was barreling down right now

"The fifteen-year reunion, when the stress of crying babies and toilet training toddlers has shattered the marriages that weren't meant to last, and now the refugees are taking a second look at the computer class nerds who turned into Microsoft tycoons. Why didn't I think of it before? Claire, you have to take me with you!"

She pointed her finger as accusingly as possible. "Trevor. Absolutely not." For good measure, she poked him in the chest.

"Come on! I travel well. Like wine in an amphora."

She could just imagine Trevor on a plane. He'd bounce so hard off the walls that the flight attendants would push him out an emergency exit as an act of mercy.

"And I want to see California."

Her head jerked in a double-take. "You do?" Greece, Rome; these were places she could imagine Trevor wanting to visit. Not California.

"Sunshine, beaches, women in very small bikinis. What's not to love?"

Ah. There it was.

"And I hear there's a nice rose garden in San Jose."

For the second time in as many minutes, she looked at him in surprise. "You've heard of it?" Was this yet another sexual pun she just wasn't picking up on, her innuendo receptors having been completely burned out by prolonged exposure to Trevor Hale? "It's not very well-known outside the area."

He tapped the side of his forehead. "Omniscience, baby."

"Right," she rejoined automatically, but the neurons were sparking in her brain. Did Trevor's knowledge of the Municipal Rose Garden indicate something about his past? Could he have spent time in San Jose, or even come from there, have family that still lived there? If so, would going there spark a breakthrough?

"It's at the Fontaine Hotel. You're on your own for finding a flight," she said, and swept through the door. Trevor's stuttered "What? You want—I can come?" was music to her ears.

* * *

Shockingly enough, Claire made it through the entire flight without once wanting to wrap her hands around Trevor's neck and squeeze, an event which she put down to him being seated on the opposite end of the plane from her. From the lack of shouts, sobbing, or worrisome laughter at his end of the plane, she could only assume he'd behaved himself.

Still, flying always tired her, and she was off her game when they walked into the vast lobby of the Fontaine. A gaggle of her high school friends were lounging on some of the overstuffed couches near the door. A couple of them had babies in their arms; still others had toddlers in their laps or playing on the floor nearby. Spouses were tucked into the group here and there.

Lisa Martinez squealed upon catching sight of Claire, and suddenly all six of the women surrounded her, each hugging her in turn and saying in voices that were a little too loud, perhaps from the cocktail glasses that littered the coffee table near their seats, how good it was to see her.

Claire truly was pleased to see them again; it had been a long time since she'd been out to California, and most of her friends had moved as well, scattering across the country in their twenties trailing jobs and boyfriends and adventure. She just thought the reunion might have been even sweeter if she'd had a chance to put down her suitcase and visit the bathroom.

Spying Trevor, who hung almost awkwardly at the back of the group, Amy Foster exclaimed, "Claire! You didn't tell us you were bringing someone!"

She was just tired and distracted enough to let Trevor speak first. He grabbed her left hand and pulled her close to him as he said, "Sweetheart! You didn't tell them about our engagement?"

The lobby, huge as it was, echoed with the shrieks and squeals of her friends. Claire's eyes couldn't roll far enough. "Guys, it's not—" she started just as Lisa tugged her hand out of Trevor's and said, "Look at her ring!"

Her horrified "What?" was drowned out by the shrieks and squeals of her friends. Trevor, entirely too guileless, beamed at the other women and—Claire was certain—deliberately avoided meeting her eyes. She looked down and, to her shock, found a small gold ring with a rather gaudy, almost certainly fake, clear stone set in it on the third finger of her left hand. Trevor had slipped it on like magic while he was holding her hand, so skillfully that she'd never even felt it.

"We were hoping you'd found someone," Susan Bishop babbled. "After last time, when you brought that guy from your grad program who just happened to be going to a conference out here, we were about to give up hope."

Claire bristled. She and Paul had both been attending the conference, thank you very much, and the fact that the reunion happened to be in the same city at the same time was pure coincidence. He just came with her to the Saturday night dance because he was...would nice or bored sound more pathetic in that sentence?

And it would it sound even worse to admit that this year, she'd brought her patient with her? Or, well, friend...but friend who also happened to be a patient?

While she was contemplating that, her friends took turns admiring the ring, and she realized that the moment to tell them it wasn't true was lost.

Whatever he was up to, Trevor was going to pay.

After the obligatory cooing over the babies, she finally begged off from her friends so that she and Trevor could check into their room. Which of course would be two rooms, two very separate rooms, that they wouldn't allow anyone to figure out they weren't sharing.

At least, that was the plan until the young clerk asked her, "And will it just be the two room cards?"

For a moment she wondered why she would need two key cards, and then she realized he thought Trevor was with her. "Just the one," she said firmly. "We're not together."

"I see. And what name is your reservation under, sir?"

Trevor bit his lip. "About that..."

Claire looked at him in disbelief. "I told you about this two weeks ago!" He shrugged, looking as sheepish as possible for him. "He needs a room," she told the clerk. "Preferably one at the other end of the hotel from me."

The clerk cringed. "About that..."

"What?"

"There's a convention in town," he explained apologetically. "Computers. We don't have any rooms left."

"Nothing?" He shook his head. She glanced at Trevor. "You couldn't stuff him in a closet or something?"

"Hey!"

"I could see if any other hotels in the area have a room left..." the clerk offered unenthusiastically.

Trevor tugged on Claire's arm. Grudgingly, she followed him a few steps away, hopefully out of earshot of the clerk, who was trying and failing not to look like he was eavesdropping.

"Gonna look a little odd if your fiance is staying in an entirely different hotel, isn't it?"

"You are not my fiance."

"Your friends don't know that."

Claire blew out a breath that was more a growl than a sigh. She marched back to the desk. "Two key cards, please."

With obvious relief, the clerk pushed a piece of paper at her. "Sign here."

* * *

Of course the room only had one bed.

"You get the floor," Claire said after a moment, and walked in to set her suitcase against the dresser.

"What?" Trevor squawked. "This bed is huge! It's the size of a football field! Look at it!" He ran over to the bed and jumped on it, landing on his back and splaying his arms and legs. True, they didn't even come close to reaching the sides. That didn't mean she was sharing the bed with Trevor Hale.

"I got it," Trevor said. He stood up and whipped the comforter out from under the small mountain of pillows at the head of the bed before flinging it to the floor. Taking pillows in both hands, he quickly lined them up down the length of the bed. He dusted his hands off when he was finished. "See? A regular wall of Jericho."

She raised an eyebrow. "You're making Biblical references? Isn't that sacrilegious or something?"

"One, what's sacrilegious about relatively recent, albeit incredibly bloodthirsty, history? And two, have you really never seen It Happened One Night?"

She thought for a second, and the reference came to her. "If you're comparing yourself to Clark Gable, you're even more delusional than I thought."

"Maybe I'm comparing you to Clark Gable."

She moved to cross her arms, and as she did the ring he'd put on her finger glinted in the lamplight. "Why?"

"Do birds suddenly appear every time you're near?"

She rolled her eyes. "Why did you tell all my friends we're engaged? How did you sneak this"—she waved her left hand—"onto my finger? Where did you even get it? It can't be real."

He gave her a satisfied smile. "Props guy on Sunset and Vaughn owed me a favor. Nice, isn't it? Only the best cubic zirconia."

She waited.

Finally he crumbled. "I just...after what you said about this being the reunion where everyone brings their spouses and babies, and after what happened with you and Alex, I wanted you to have something to brag about to them."

"Oh, you mean aside from a successful practice, a newspaper column read by thousands of people, awards and accolades from the hospital board..."

"Yeah," he said quietly.

He would think of himself as someone to brag about catching, but she softened nonetheless. In his own twisted way, he was being rather sweet.

Which, while not unheard of, wasn't really Trevor Hale's modus operandi. "Why do I feel like this is part of some kind of scheme?"

He held out a placating hand. "No schemes. I promise. This is a totally scheme-free weekend, at least where you're concerned."

"And where I'm not concerned?"

"You're not concerned, so why would you care?"

Not caring sounded nice. So very, very nice.

"If you get arrested, you're on your own for bail."

* * *

"So," Amy asked once they rejoined the group downstairs, "how did you meet?"

Claire shot a worried look at Trevor. She could hardly tell them he was her patient, but she couldn't think of a lie that sounded legitimate.

"I'm a bartender," he said. "I meet people. I met Claire." He grinned at her. "Right, sweetcheeks?"

It took all her willpower not to slap him. "Right, pumpkin," she gritted out.

If it was obvious how much she wanted to strangle him, her friends didn't seem to care, glancing curiously at each other as they were.

"A bartender? Wow," Lisa said. "That's...not really what I would've pictured you going for in high school." Tactful as always, Lisa was.

"People change."

"I guess so."

"All right, so you met in a bar," Amy said. "What happened?"

Claire looked expectantly at Trevor. He'd gotten them into this; he could damn well make something up. Hopefully it wouldn't be too embarrassing.

"We argued about the Greek gods. Ended up talking all night. By dawn I knew I wanted to spend forever with her."

He kept his eyes on her while he was speaking, a slow smile creeping across his face, and her heart stuttered. If she hadn't known he was lying through his teeth...

"Claire took more convincing," he said, turning back to the rest of the group.

"Of course she did," Susan said.

“Remember the first time we went dancing?”

Claire blinked. "On Jack's—"

"Birthday? Right." She had been about to say grave. "That was the moment you fell for me."

"No, it wasn't."

He furrowed his brow. "Sequestered for jury duty over Christmas?"

"Definitely not."

"Well, how did he convince you?" Amy asked.

Claire's mind raced. She was a terrible liar, and unfortunately she knew it. She was going to kill Trevor at the next opportunity. "Just...by being himself, I guess. He kinda wore me down."

"Good thing, too. The neighbors were threatening legal action by the tenth time I showed up holding a boombox outside your bedroom window."

Claire decided that now was a really good time to coo at Susan's baby girl, who was yawning in sufficiently adorable fashion to warrant it. The subject thus changed, they spent the rest of the afternoon reminiscing, catching up, and greeting other members of their class arriving at the hotel.

Sitting next to Amy, Claire felt rather than saw her tense at one arrival in particular. "Jake!" she called to a tall, dark-haired man. When he looked their way, she started to wave with her whole arm, before it shrank back toward her body, leaving only her fingers wiggling limply. "Hi," she said shyly as he approached.

Jake Hunter smiled at all of them, his perfect teeth set off by a handsome cleft chin and dark eyes. "Hi. Amy, right?"

Amy nodded. "I was the manager for the basketball team for a couple of years. Remember?"

Claire saw Lisa roll her eyes and mouth something, probably unkind, to her husband.

"Oh, wow. Yeah, I remember. You filled in on drills when someone was sick. I always wondered how someone so short could still make so many baskets. You were good!"

He started to take a seat on the other side of their little group, but Trevor said, "You can squeeze in here." He put his arm around Claire's shoulders and pulled her eagerly against his side, making a small space for Jake between her and Amy on their couch. Jake gave them a slightly perplexed look, but took the offered seat, to Amy's obvious terror mixed with delight.

Trevor kept his arm around Claire's shoulders, much to her dismay. Despite how she shrugged and twitched enough to make an observer think she'd suddenly developed Tourette's, it remained firmly across her back, his fingers squeezing her shoulder every time she tried to dislodge him. Eventually she had to give up. Grumbling silently to herself, she relaxed against him, which at least made a little more room on the crowded couch. And he was...not unpleasant to be tucked up next to. He was as solid as he looked, the exact opposite of Alex's lanky frame. He was warm, very pleasant against the over-air-conditioned hotel air. Comfortable. She didn't even move when he started playing with the ends of her hair.

At dinnertime, they decamped to a nearby restaurant, where Trevor miraculously remained on his best behavior. It probably had something to do with the fact that Jake and Amy were still hitting it off without any further encouragement from him, a fact which Claire wasn't pleased about at all. The moment they returned to their room—early, after apologies from the many parents about toddler bedtimes—she put her hands on her hips and stared Trevor down.

"Whatever you're planning with Amy and Jake, stop."

"Looks to me like they're doing pretty good all by themselves," he said, flopping on what she guessed would be his side of the bed—and that was something she really didn't want to think about. "Anyway, I thought you weren't caring."

"Amy was my best friend in high school. I don't want to see her get hurt, and she will with Jake."

"Were we watching the same two people tonight?"

She sat on the edge of the bed. "He was a real jerk in high school. He had half the cheerleading squad in tears because he'd date one, then move on to the next for as long as he could keep both of them in the dark. Then he'd start it all over again."

"People change."

"Not this one."

"Says you."

"Haven't you caused enough trouble already on this trip?"

He rolled over and raised himself up on his elbow. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, please. The only saving grace about this whole fake engagement situation is that we're two thousand miles away from anyone who could mention it to the board of directors at the hospital. You really want to get transferred to Dr. Frechette?"

He shuddered.

"Just please promise me you won't encourage them."

"Might be a little late for that." He winced.

"What? Why? What did you do?"

"I might have slipped a note into Jake's pocket with Amy's room number and a bit of encouragement."

"Trevor!"

"She told me she wanted to do it, she just didn't have the guts!"

"Maybe it was a gut feeling that it was a bad idea!" Claire stood up and headed for the door. "It's still early. I can stop this."

"I dunno, she had some pretty detailed plans for what she'd do if she did invite—"

The door slammed in his face. Claire marched down the hall to Amy's room. Unfortunately, Trevor caught up to her mere moments later. "Really, she—" he started, before they arrived at Amy's door to hear unmistakable noises that told Claire she was much too late to stop whatever was going to happen between the two of them.

She faced Trevor. "Not a word."

Trevor finally seemed to catch on to what was good for him, and they returned to their room and got ready for bed largely in silence. There weren't even any smartass comments about the boring cotton pajama set she'd brought with her, nor did he argue about the lion's share of blankets she took. She knew it was too good to last, though, and indeed the moment she turned out the light, his voice floated over the mound of pillows between them. "Wonder if there are any trumpet players in this hotel."

"Go to sleep, Trevor."

The last thing she heard from him before she fell asleep was a quiet trumpet call.

* * *

The next morning there was no talking to Amy—she was far too far gone about Jake—so Claire took Trevor to various San Jose landmarks, hoping it would spark a memory or at least some recognition.

Nothing did. Not one single thing. Unless his memories of San Jose were all actually of Milpitas, then it was another dead end.

When they returned to the hotel a couple of hours before the dance that was the centerpiece of the reunion, Trevor, perhaps sensing her frustration, professed a desire to check out the hotel bartender's skills. Claire planned to go up to their room and sulk, but on the way to the elevator, she ran into Matt.

Matt, the boy she'd crushed on for two years during high school, who if it was possible had grown even more handsome in the intervening fifteen years. He'd been funny, popular, smart, and completely oblivious to Claire.

And now he was talking to her.

Suddenly Claire felt a lot less like sulking.

At least, she did until he said, "I heard you got engaged."

"Oh. Right."

"Too bad." Her head jerked up from where her gaze had fallen to the floor. "I was hoping I might get to ask you to the dance tonight."

"Really?" Oh, she was going to kill Trevor.

"Yeah. You know, it's funny, I remember wanting to ask you to the prom senior year, but you were so intimidating..."

"Me? Intimidating?"

He shrugged, ducking his head with a half-smile that half made her swoon. "I think because you hung out with Lisa."

"Ah."

"All history now, though, I guess."

Before she could think, words tumbled from her mouth. "Oh, well, you know, this engagement...I'm not a hundred percent sure about it."

Some of the light went out of Matt's blue eyes. "You'd get engaged to someone you aren't sure about? I didn't think you were like that."

She was going to kill Trevor slowly and enjoy every single second of it. Every one.

The conversation was obviously over after that, and Claire extricated herself as gracefully as possible and ran for the elevator. She was the only one to make the trip up four stories, and she used the time to squeeze her eyes shut and take several deep breaths.

Somewhat composed, she exited the elevator on her floor only to find Amy standing outside her door, trails of mascara down her cheeks and tears still pooling in her eyes.

"Amy, what happened? Here, come inside."

"Oh, Claire," Amy fairly wailed as Claire fumbled with her keycard. "I really thought it was finally coming true."

"What was?" Claire asked, somewhat distractedly, as she finally got the door open. She ushered Amy into the room and sat with her on the bed. Thank God housekeeping had come in this morning and put back all the pillows.

"Jake! You know how much I wanted him in high school. And after last night..." She sighed. "I went down to the hotel's business center to check in on work, just for a minute, and I thought while I was there I'd see if Jake's biotech company had a website. Mostly I was thinking we might want to acquire it. Anyway, they do, and they have a biography of him on there." She sniffled. "Claire, he's married!"

Of course he was. Of course he was. "He's as much of a bastard as he was in high school." She pulled Amy into a hug.

"I know," Amy mumbled into her shoulder. "I just...I really thought he'd changed."

Claire held her for a while longer before saying, half to herself, "This is all Trevor's fault."

Amy pulled back slightly to look at her. "What? No, it's not."

"If he hadn't put that note in Jake's pocket..."

"Oh, that," Amy scoffed. "He only did what I wanted to do myself. Don't blame Trevor for any of this. I came to the reunion wanting to make this mistake. He maybe nudged things along, but I would've found a way without him."

"Trust me, things would've been different if he hadn't interfered."

Amy smiled, finally. "Don't be mad at him. He only wanted to help me out."

"He does that. A lot of times it ends like this."

Amy squeezed her shoulder. "You're lucky to have him. You're so suited for each other."

"We are?" Claire couldn't imagine someone less suited for her than Trevor.

"You both want to help people be happy. In different ways, but..." She smiled again. "You both have good souls."

"Oh."

"And he's obviously crazy about you."

"What?" Claire laughed.

"He is! He looks at you like you're...everything."

Everything keeping him from chemical castration and worse at the hands of Ian Frechette, perhaps. "He's crazy, all right," she muttered.

"I'm glad you found him." Amy stood up. "I'm sure you need to get ready for tonight, so I'm going to go back to my room."

"Aren't you coming?"

She winced. "I think I'd probably commit murder if I did. And anyway, I'm not sure I'm ready to show my face around everyone else. Probably lots of people have met his wife, he's still local."

"Okay. If you're sure. But you can always hang out with me if you change your mind—I'll keep you from homicide charges."

"Thanks."

Amy left, and Claire dug in her suitcase for the dress she'd brought for tonight. It was pale lavender with small crystals dotted around the bodice, a little low cut but not terribly daring, with a full skirt that ended at her knees. She'd bought it for the reunion because all her other party dresses reminded her of Alex.

She shucked her jeans and blouse, and had just started to unhook her bra so she could replace it with a strapless one when Trevor walked in.

She shrieked. Slightly. Then as she turned her back to him, trying to hold up her bra with one hand and grope for her dress, her shirt, a towel, anything with the other, she snapped, "Why don't you ever knock?"

"Well, in this particular case it's because I have a key. But now that I know what might be waiting on the other side of a door, I'm afraid you've conditioned me never to knock, Pavlov."

Claire peeked over her shoulder and saw him blatantly staring at her. "Turn around. Turn around!" Finally, and with obvious reluctance, he did, and she gathered up her clothes and sprinted to the bathroom.

When she emerged several minutes later, she found he'd changed into a suit. It was the one he'd worn to his hearing with the competency board, probably the only one he owned, but she was still kind of impressed.

His hands dropped from his tie when he saw her, the half-finished knot unraveling. For a moment, he seemed incapable of speech—something she hadn't thought was possible—before he finally said, softly and appreciatively, "Wow."

"You like it?"

"I love it. You look great, Claire."

Her stomach fluttered. "Thanks."

They smiled at each other for a moment, rather shyly, before Trevor said, "State line's only a few hours away. Both of us dressed up like this, we could hop over and make things official."

Claire actually felt something snap inside her. "What would you do if I agreed?"

"Huh?"

"If I said yes, what would you do? Assuming I was willing to throw my entire professional life away, of course, which I'm not, but let's pretend." He stared at her, his mouth open slightly, as her rant picked up steam. "You keep saying you aren't supposed to have sex with mortals. Not much of a marriage if it's unconsumated, is it? The Catholic church annuls marriages for that."

For once, there was no smart remark, no glib reply. He just kept staring at her, his eyes wide and startled.

"I didn't think you'd have an answer."

She picked up her purse and left.

* * *

Almost as soon as she got to the hotel ballroom, Jake found her. "Have you seen Amy?" he asked. More fool him.

"You mean I have I seen the crying mess she turned into when she found out about your wife?" He blanched. "This is a new low even for you, Jake. What's it going to take for you to keep it in your pants?"

"Wait," he said. Claire blew out a breath and shifted her weight impatiently. "I'm not married."

"Oh, please."

"No, wait a minute! It's the company website, isn't it? It still says I'm married to Shelly. We divorced last year. We haven't even lived in the same house for almost two years. I asked our web tech to change it, but it's the VP's daughter, and she's busy with school..."

"You realize how flimsy that sounds?"

"Swear to God." He put his hand on his heart. "I can show you the divorce decree as soon as the courthouse opens on Monday."

Claire stared him down. "Why'd you get divorced?" If he was lying, maybe she could catch him in it.

His shoulders slumped. "Ironically enough, she cheated on me." At Claire's surprised look, he said, "The company needed a lot of work when we were just starting, and I wasn't home much. It was only supposed to be temporary, but I guess it wasn't temporary enough for her." He stared at his shoes. "It made me realize what an asshole I was in high school, that's for sure."

"Why didn't you tell Amy?"

"We weren't doing a lot of talking last night. Or this morning. Or..."

She held up a hand. "I get it."

"And I didn't want to scare her off. I know it's early and maybe too fast, but I want this to turn into something. I feel like I might finally be good enough for her."

If he was making his story up, he was doing a damn good job of it. "Go up to her room and tell her, then. Someone around here should stop lying."

He gave her a confused look, but turned tail and headed for the elevator with haste. Claire, meanwhile, headed for the bar.

Fifteen minutes later, Trevor found her tucked away at a table in the a dim corner, a glass of white wine in her hand and a slightly better mood starting to take hold.

He took a seat beside her, gingerly, as if afraid she was going to dismember him. Magnanimously, she let him live.

"They didn't walk like that, you know." He put his arms out to his front and back, each angled at the elbow and wrist, as the Bangles went into another chorus of "Walk Like an Egyptian."

She narrowed her eyes and thought idly of smashing her glass over his head.

"I came to apologize," he said, as if reading her mind.

"Really? What for? Shall I make a list?"

He winced. "For telling everyone we were engaged. It wasn't my best decision." His spine straightened. "I really did just want to make you happy for a couple days."

She let him twist in the wind for a moment before she said, "Apology accepted. Next time, try asking first."

His eyes glinted in the low light. "I will. I will definitely ask you." He took a breath. "And I want to apologize for helping Amy get together with Jake. I still don't really understand what you have against him, but she's your friend. I shouldn't have interfered."

"You're right. You shouldn't have. But actually, it all worked out for the best." She told him all that had transpired in the last hour.

"I knew I should've brought my beads! That would've been..." He caught her gaze. "Totally not satisfying at all to see."

"Right."

He stood up and held out his hand. "Shall we continue our charade of being happily attached at the hip out on the dance floor?"

"I suppose."

They stepped on to the floor just as the Bangles faded out. Next out of the speakers were the first cheesy strains of that Spandau Ballet song that had been so popular her junior year.

She couldn't very well back out of slow dancing with the man she was supposedly going to marry, and with a slight sigh she put her hands on his shoulders and leaned in. Trevor placed his hands on her back, one a bit lower than would be looked at kindly by the Illinois medical licensing board, but what the hell. It was probably the part of this whole weekend that was least likely to get her in trouble.

"Lisa's about to turn green over there," Trevor murmured in her ear as they swayed together. He spun them so she could see the other woman, who was sitting at a table alone and watching them with what did look very much like unconcealed envy. Claire remembered her saying something about how her husband didn't dance. She felt a slight twinge of guilt, but not enough to stop her from leaning just a bit closer to Trevor.

Maybe something about this weekend could be salvaged after all.

"Not that I'm suggesting anything should come from it, but in the interest of verisimilitude, we could go off in a corner and make out."

Or maybe not.

"Shut up and dance, Trevor."