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Kalen stared at the invitation in his hand. Then he glanced at the outside of the envelope. It still said "Kalen Price and Guest." For a second he thought one of the jerks at The Guild was playing a stupid joke on him, but he couldn't fool himself for long. This was the real thing.
Maggie Gronick and Devon Ruger
request the honor of your presence at their wedding
Fifth of May, 2006
at four o'clock in the afternoon
A separate card announced a reception at a well-known Mexican restaurant in Chicago.
If he'd been a fire mage, the fancy card would have been ash. But soggy paper didn't give the same satisfaction. He dropped the invite on his kitchen table, next to the junk mail, and turned to the fridge.
Which was, of course, empty. He'd taken five successive missions from The Guild and three other agencies worldwide, coming home for no more than two days in between. He'd almost managed to stop thinking about Maggie, about their one time together, and what he could have done differently.
He took the lone beer from the shelf and popped it open, slumping into a chair to stare at the invitation some more. Like it might change.
So it was over. Any hope he might have had was gone. Or would be, on May fifth. He fingered the white satin ribbon that trailed from the top of the card. It reminded him of that day in his hotel suite. Maggie's white silk robe, his white silk pants, the white silk sheets they hadn't even touched. The whole thing had been a huge mistake. Before that day, he'd liked Maggie, had been attracted to her. Had wondered how they would be together. After he'd had an opportunity tomake love to her, all of that had flared into something more powerful. She'd been so responsive to him. He'd hoped, for a few minutes, that the rumors of her bonding hadn't been true, or that she wanted to break the bond. He didn't know what would have made her go back to Devon when she'd so clearly not wanted him. Had remorse driven her back to him? Fear? Maybe she just loved him. But then, Kalen didn't understand why she'd invite him to her wedding. She wasn't the type to rub someone's loss in their face.
A shockwave ran through him. She had reasons for sending the invitation. The fifth of May wasn't that far away, but it wasn't here yet. If he'd taken that mission from Le Faucon, he wouldn't have seen it in time at all. But he was tired. He'd gotten home just in time. And maybe Maggie wasn't as certain as she seemed.
He got up and went to pack.
Posted August 15, 2010
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