Daisy could not immediately answer Chris because she was couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face. She knew it was killing him because she wasn’t answering but she was utterly giddy with what he had said. She tried to pull herself together and make herself sound composed and reflective.
“I can give it a chance, Chris. To be completely fair and honest, I want it to work, I’m just nervous, that’s all.”
“You need more confidence in yourself, I’ll have to work on that with you. But, I need to ask, seriously, there is no shrine is there?”
“No, we had to dismantle the statue we built due to code violations and we just haven’t had time to put a new one together.” This time she waited for him to respond, he didn’t. The silence was almost deafening. “I’m kidding, for the love of God, there is no shrine or statue to you in town, in my yard, in my basement, or in my closet.”
He let out a heavy sigh, “Oh, thank God! I was seriously hoping you and Scott were teasing the other day but I never know and I didn’t want to be caught off guard or anything.”
“Oh, you are gullible. Hey, how in the hell did you know where to send flowers when I never told you where I live or the name of my store?”
“I asked Kevin’s assistant, Amanda, for help. She had your address from the contest so I knew what town you lived in and I prayed there was a flower shop and that they knew you and would be willing to help me out.”
“Wow! You really went all out, that is some serious detective work, Mr. Evans.”
“Yeah, well don’t be too impressed because it was Robert’s idea. He said he was sick of me moping around like a lovesick puppy and that I needed to either get over it or do something about it. He suggested getting your information from Amanda when I began whining about how I had no way of getting ahold of you since your phone was turned off.”
“I guess they all hate me because I am ruining the tour?”
“No, on the contrary. Robert adores you and has told me if I do anything remotely stupid and hurt you that he will make me suffer. Anthony thought you were really a sweet girl and is still impressed with the amount of liquor you can drink and wants me to keep you around for entertainment value, alone.”
“I have one rule for our new, whatever we are calling this,” Daisy started to say but Chris interrupted her.
“It is a relationship Daisy, we are going to call this a relationship. We won’t define what the relationship is at the moment but you need to say it,” Chris chided.
“Fine, our relationship,” she actually struggled to say it, “A rule we have to have is that you need to fill in the blanks about the reception and what happened when I started drinking with you.”
“You mean you don’t remember?”
“No, I don’t,” she quietly answered, “Please tell me I didn’t do anything foolish?”
“Do you think dancing on the bar is foolish?” Chris’ voice was steady and Daisy could not tell if he was serious or if he was kidding. Since he gave nothing away in his voice, she couldn’t respond, she was dead silent. He loved it, “Do you think giving Jeremy Renner a lap dance was foolish?”
Daisy could feel her face starting to flush. While she wouldn’t think these were things she would do, she also had no idea how much she had to drink so she could not, with any certainty, say she didn’t do it. “Um, please tell me that I did not do those things, Chris.”
“Hey, Daisy, baby, I gotta go, they are ready for the next set of interviews. I will call you later, I promise. Bye, doll,” and with that, Chris quickly hung up the phone. He immediately burst out laughing and started walking over towards Robert and Jeremy.
“Dorito is smiling, which means he got the girl on the phone and worked everything out,” Robert surmised as Chris approached. “Although, what has you laughing so hard right now?”
“I did talk to Daisy and we were able to work everything out. She doesn’t remember the reception, I mean after she started drinking, she doesn’t remember anything.”
“Oh, really? And you decided to have a little fun with that?”
“Well yeah, come on, wouldn’t you? I told her that she gave Renner a lap dance and she danced on the bar.”
“Wait! Don’t pull me into your twisted little game!” Jeremy said with mock indignation.
“I’ll tell her the truth later, but this will serve her right for making me worry for two damn days while she had her phone turned off.”
The guys continued their conversation as they began making their way towards the press room for the next round of interviews.
Daisy hung up the phone and sat in silence for a moment, trying to pull herself together and maintain composure so she could go back out to the store. She stood up, grabbed her phone and opened the door. She noticed that Melody had cleaned up the mess from lunch and had started using the steamer to get the wrinkles out of one of the new dresses that was hanging nearby. When Melody heard the door open, she turned the steamer off and headed back to the counter to get the update.
“Daisy, are you okay? You are white as a ghost girl, are you going to be sick?”
“I’m going to be okay. I think I was gone longer than five minutes so I am really sorry.”
“Did you and Chris work everything out?”
“Yeah, we did and we are officially in a relationship. Don’t get overly excited we aren’t defining what type of relationship but we are going to talk and text and get to know one another and see what happens.”
“How very, adult of you both,” Melody said and then started laughing, “So, you’re ghost white because you’re dating a superhero or what?”
“No, I’m ghost white because my superhero told me that at the reception when I was drinking and I can’t remember what I did – well, it seems I danced on the bar and gave a lap dance to Jeremy Renner!”
Melody tried to keep a straight face but it was no use, she burst out laughing, “Oh he has to be kidding because there is no way you could do a lap dance – you don’t have the rhythm for it.”
“Oh thanks, Melody! Not, I wouldn’t do it because I am not that kind of girl but because I don’t have the skill set?”
Melody was still having a hard time controlling her laughter, “Honey, I honestly think he has to be yanking your chain. I have a feeling there is no way, no matter how drunk you were, that you would do something that crazy and not remember it.”
Daisy tried to shake it off and let it go. But it kept eating away at her and she would just hold off and talk to him about it later. Once she got Melody’s laughter under control, the two ladies worked on the inventory in the store. Melody had decided to just spend the rest of the day there with her because it was more fun than the café. Plus it was a nice change of pace. They had very little foot traffic in the store but they did get several calls to book gown fittings. Those were the days that Daisy looked forward to the most; helping women find that special dress that they wanted to wear when they walked down the aisle to say, ‘I do.’
It was finally 6 pm and time to close up for the night. Melody locked up and pulled down the shade on the front door. She turned on the soft lights in the big picture window that illuminated the new wedding dress that had just been delivered while she had been out. Daisy had worked to put the display together in the afternoon so it could be showcased in the window.
She broke down the boxes and took them out to the dumpster and had the shop back in shape and was ready to head home. She didn’t feel like cooking so she ran through a drive-thru window; not healthy eating but she didn’t care. She had just walked into the house and settled into her oversized recliner when her phone rang – it was Chris.
“I didn’t catch you at a bad time did I? I have no idea of the time difference right now,” he rambled.
“I just got home from work and was going to eat a cheeseburger and fries, so you have perfect timing,” she said back to him, a smile in her voice that she was sure he could hear.
“By all means, eat, I don’t mind. So, how was your first day back at work?”
“Not many customers but I had this guy on the phone, he was so needy and emotional. Really set the tone for the day, he has a sexy voice on the phone, though, I have to give him that.”
“Needy and emotional, huh? Well, most likely some woman is the cause of that. You know they are the root of all problems, right?”
“Good thing you’re not that needy and emotional because we might have problems,” Daisy started giggling like she was a teenager. She was finding it easier to banter with Chris even though just hours earlier there was drama regarding their existence of any relationship between them.
Daisy asked about the press and Chris gave details about where he was and the incessant interviews where they are answering the same questions over and over again. He loved that people were able to finally see this movie and they were immensely proud of it, but he hated doing the interviews and being asked the same questions over and over in different languages.
Daisy had agreed that when he was starting to feel stressed, no matter the time of day, he should just start texting her and she would respond back. She would do her best to help calm him down or make him laugh, whatever he might need. They talked about his anxiety issues and what triggers he had and what worked best in terms of helping him cope.
“You know, everyone thinks I drink heavily and I am drunk in interviews,” Chris whispered.
“It’s the medication isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I don’t actually like taking it and I try to avoid it. But sometimes, well, sometimes this whole thing is all too overwhelming.”
“Which is why you meditate, right?”
“Are you sure you don’t have a shrine?”
“No, no shrine but I have read articles on you. I may, or may not, have found you somewhat attractive in the past.”
Chris sat up straight when he heard her acknowledge this, “So when Scott was teasing you about having a crush. Was he pretty close, Daisy?”
“I plead the fifth, Mr. Evans.” She snorted back at him.
“Did you just snort at me? Holy crap, you have a crush on me and you snort when you laugh. I have hit the girlfriend jackpot!” Chris declared, wondering if she would make a comment to him using the ‘g-word’ since they had said their relationship was undefined earlier.
“I never confirmed or denied that I have or had a crush on you. Your brother said that in a mocking tone and if memory serves, Mr. Evans, he accused you of having a crush on me as well.”
“Yes, he did and I fully admit that I have a crush on you. So, there!”
“Oh,” she wasn’t really expecting him to own up to it, “Fine, I have a crush on you and I did not miss you slipping in the g-word, Chris. And, for the record, I am not going to argue with your use of it.”
“Does that mean you will call me your boyfriend?”
“I guess if I have to,” she said in a sing-song voice, playing along with him. “Chris, please tell me that you were teasing me earlier about dancing on the bar and giving Jeremy a lap dance. I have been worried about that all day.”
“You really don’t remember that night?”
“I just know I woke up in my hotel room and didn’t remember getting there. I checked to see if I was alone, if I was dressed, and if my clothes were on the right way.”
Chris was laughing heartily and she could just imagine that he was clutching his chest and doubled over. “Oh sweetie, you were very drunk and it was my fault. The more you drank, the easier it was for you to have a conversation. You weren’t as nervous or shy and your eyes sparkled – you were having fun. After three or four, I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to stand so I walked you over to a table and we sat and talked. Nothing personal, we talked movies and music and sports. I know you hate the Patriots.”
“Yeah, that might be a problem for our relationship.”
“You sat very close to me when Mackie and his wife, Sebastian and his girlfriend and Scarlett and her husband joined us. You let me put my arm around you and you even put your head on my shoulder. It was sweet and we did dance when the music was playing and the crowd had thinned. Slow dance, you didn’t dirty dance, lap dance or strip for anyone. We did exchange phone numbers and you asked me to join you at Disney and when I took you to the car, so George could drive you back, you kissed me and told me you loved me.”
The blood in her veins ran ice cold because suddenly that came back to her. She remembered standing near the car, her arms around his neck and kissing him good night and telling him she loved him. “Oh my God, I even propositioned you that night, I remember,” she said with her voice so faint and full of embarrassment and disdain for herself.
“You did and I didn’t take you seriously because I knew you had been drinking and honestly, I was wicked drunk, too. I think George would have killed me if I even considered it. He took you back to the hotel and helped you get to your room.”
“How in the world could you even look at me the next day? I guess I was lucky I didn’t remember because there is no way I would have gone to Disney with you had I remembered any of that.”