Run, Girl (If You Can) - Chapter 540 - The Single Losers' Table

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 19:18:08]
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The Hale brothers watched their sister feed her new husband bites of cake without much of an appetite. They were happy for her—of course they were—but felt an odd sense of loss.


Logan plopped down at their table with his own slice of cake and sighed, noticing where they were staring. "Family gatherings are going to be fifty times mushier now that Violet loves Noah back. Those two really know how to make a guy feel single."


All of them could agree with that. Oliver was considering biting the bullet and asking out his neighbor as soon as he got back to Massachusetts. He had never been on a date before because he had always preferred machinery to women but Cindy was both pretty and funny so he figured it was worth a shot.


"Ah, don\'t be like that Logan! I think they\'re cute," Elsa said.


Their table had quickly become a gathering place for the children of Aaron and his former shareholders. Natalie Griffith and her brother Damien were off at another table with their significant others and Jonathan Clark, who was a good friend of theirs.


Liam was off flirting with a ballerina and his younger brother Alex and Macie Clark were hanging out with some of Noah\'s karate students since they were still in high school. But everyone else was here eating cake with people they knew instead of mingling properly like the single losers they were.


"That\'s because you\'re a girl," Logan said dismissively. "It\'s different if you\'re a guy."


Elsa rolled her eyes. "Whatever. You can go ahead and rain on everyone\'s parade if you want to. I happen to think Violet and Noah are perfect for each other."


"No one\'s disputing that," Lila pointed out. "I called it happening ages ago."


Nathan laughed and waved a forkful of cake around. "We all did. Those two have been velcroed to each other\'s sides since before I was born."


"Since before any of you were born," Kaleb said a bit sourly. "It\'s like they were tailor made for each other."


Lila jokingly patted his hand to make him feel better and he blushed. She looked awfully pretty today in her bridesmaid dress. He had never noticed that before. His blush grew worse when he remembered how Violet had teased him about going for either Lila or Elsa.


Elsa was Nathan\'s age but Lila was only a couple of years younger than him. Since he was usually hanging out with the newlyweds at group activities growing up he hadn\'t spent a lot of one-on-one time with her. She had trailed after the older kids for a while but after getting ignored too many times she tended to stick with Liam, Logan, and Oliver.


She had been on the periphery of most major family events in his life. Since the Hales didn\'t have any extended family, the Clarks, Quinns, Singletons, and Griffiths had ended up filling that role.


Lila had been at a lot of barbecues, beach trips, dinners, and birthday parties growing up but Kaleb didn\'t have much of an impression of her. He might have to ask Oliver more about her later and survive the inevitable ribbing that followed.


"Maybe I should try dating too," Nathan said with a yawn.


Elsa scoffed at that. "You\'re too immature to date anyone! Try growing up a little first."


He stuck his tongue out at her in retaliation, effectively proving her point. Conversation and joking around flowed naturally at this table because of everyone\'s familiarity with each other.


Kaleb sighed. He really was happy for his sister and friend. They belonged together. But more and more lately he felt like there would never be a person like that for him. He was too famous; women only wanted to be with him for the bragging rights.


Once the cake was eaten, the bouquet and garter tosses were up next. Most of Violet\'s ballerina friends, Elsa, Lila, and some of Noah\'s cousins eagerly grouped up to see who would catch it.


The bouquet landed right in Lila\'s open arms and her face lit up. She shook it above her head victoriously, which made Kaleb\'s stomach flip flop for some reason.


When it was time for the garter toss, Noah accidentally flung it directly into Kaleb\'s face. He was beet red since the scrap of lacy fabric had been around his sister\'s thigh less than a minute ago. Too weird!


"Well now you two have to dance together," someone yelled out.


Apparently it was a tradition for the people who caught the bouquet and garter to share a slow dance. Kaleb was a bit awkward about it but Lila didn\'t seem to have a problem so off they went, joined on the dance floor by a bunch of other couples.


He cleared his throat uncomfortably. "So…what have you been up to lately?"


Lila laughed at his attempt at conversation. "Still working the same dead end PR job, still living with my parents to save on rent, and still single. You?"


"I\'ve been subjected to death by wedding planning since coming home when baseball season ended. But I\'m going to Sweden in a few weeks to see my mom take home one of the most prestigious awards ever, so that\'s cool I guess."


She tilted her head curiously. "What do you normally do during the off-season?"


Kaleb shrugged. "Take trips with friends if I can find anyone willing to go. Reconnect with people here. Play a lot of video games with Nate and third wheel with the lovebirds. Not much, honestly."


Lila pursed her lips. "Then why have you never tried to reconnect with me? I\'ve hardly seen you since you went off to college."


He blinked at her in surprise. He hadn\'t bothered because they weren\'t particularly close. Not that he was particularly close with any of the people he usually went out with but still… It sounded almost like she was put out about that.


"I didn\'t know you wanted to," Kaleb said honestly. "Sorry about that. Do you want to go do something fun next weekend?"


"Fun like what?"


"There\'s a group of people I went to high school with that frequently do escape rooms…you\'re welcome to join us." Lila didn\'t seemed satisfied based on the look on her face so he amended his statement. "Or we could get dinner or something. Or both! Whatever you want."


She smiled at him as the song ended and dropped her hands away. "Both sounds good. I can tell you all about my terrible job and you can tell me about life in Detroit and on the road."


Kaleb liked the sound of that. When they returned to the single losers\' table he felt much more lighthearted than before.


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