Max fills the silence, babbling for us both: "I don't know what's going on with him. One minute he was fine. And then we talked last night. We went barhopping, you know? Somewhere between the shots of Patrón, I said some foolish things. It went sideways from there. I'm sorry. So damn sorry."
The anguish in his voice snags my attention, gives me a hook to sink my psyche into. He's apologizing for something rather than consoling me, which doesn't make sense. I slip out of his arms and back away. "What do you mean you said some foolish things?"
He drops his chin and stares at the floor. "Honestly, I don't remember all that much. I was drunk."
I skirt around him so I'm not blinded by the sunlight streaming in from the arched bay window—the better to see this fuckery. Oh, the cloudless sky chafes, too; wasting perfect wedding-day weather should be a petty crime punishable by at least a few days' jail time. "How'd he tell you? Did you speak to him face-to-face?"
"He sent a text," Max says softly, the floor still the object of his undivided attention.
"Let me see it," I demand.
His head shoots up at the command. For a few seconds, we do nothing but stare at each other. He flares his nostrils. I...don't. His gaze darts to my lips, which part of their own volition—until I realize what I'm doing and snap my mouth shut.
My body temperature rises, and I'm tempted to tug at the lace on my arms and chest. I feel itchy all over, as if millions of fire ants are marching across my skin to the tune of Beyoncé's "Formation." I mentally push away the discomfort and hold out my hand. "I need to see what he wrote." When he doesn't budge, I add, "Please."
Max blows out a long breath, then reaches into the back pocket of his jeans, pulls out his phone, and taps on the screen. "Here."
With my lips pursed in concentration, I read the jumble of sentences confirming that I, Lina Santos, a twenty-five-year-old up-and-coming wedding planner to DC professionals, am officially a jilted bride. Wow. Okay. Just. Yeah. I couldn't be more off-brand if I tried.
Still studying Andrew's text, I narrow my eyes on the sentence that annoys me the most: Thanks to you, I can see the truth now.
Oh, really? And what truth did you help my fiancé see, Max? Hmm? God, I can just imagine those two talking crap about me in some grimy pub. Makes me want to scream.
I shove the phone back into his hand. "So to sum up: You and Andrew got shit-faced last night, chatted about something you claim not to remember, based on that conversation he's decided not to marry me, and he doesn't have the decency to tell me any of this himself."
Max is slow to agree, but eventually he nods. "That's the sense I get, yes."
"He's a dick," I say flatly.
"I won't argue with that," Max replies, the beginnings of a smile daring to appear at the corners of his trash-talking mouth.
"And you're an asshole."
His face sours, but I refuse to give a rat's ass about his feelings. Whatever nonsense he spouted off last night convinced my fiancé to tank our wedding. I'd been 'so close' to marrying the right man for me, and a single drunken conversation derailed everything.
I straighten and grab my own phone off the dressing table, sending out an SOS to my mother, aunts, and cousins:
ME: Eu preciso de vocês agora.
Telling them I need them now will get their attention; doing so in Portuguese will get them here within seconds. In the meantime, I scowl at the worst best man I could have ever asked for. "Max, do me a favor, will you?"
He takes a step in my direction, his eyes pleading for forgiveness. "Anything."
"Get. The fuck. Out."