He’d seen Haley happy before. She was happy and excited often, trying to face the world with an almost childlike wonder over things as simple as going to the movies or a good deal on a book. But he’d never seen her this excited. Her friends were coming to visit, her best friends from college, her “ring sisters” as she called them. She hadn’t seen any of them in the last three years since she moved away. She had spent the last sixteen months trying to coordinate a time when all four of them could afford to lose a week’s work to “complete and utter unproductiveness” as she called it. The finally managed to find a week that worked, and it was finally here.
He’d seen her act a little crazy before, and a bit unrestrained, but there had been nothing like what she was here. Normally, she bounced on the balls of her feet, but now she was literally jumping up and down, feet leaving the ground completely, using his shoulder as support as they waited as close as they could to the arriving flights’ gate.
“You’re going to scare people.” He laughed.
“Don’t care,” She responded with a come what may grin. “What time is it, hm? What time?”
“Any minute now. Patience is a virtue.” He put a hand on her should and held her on the ground long enough for him to plant a kiss on her forehead without her bouncing up and giving him a swollen lip.
“I’ve never claimed to be virtuous,” she whispered roguishly and then started jumping again, really putting the pressure on his shoulder so that she could see over the heads of people who were starting to pour out the gates.
He knew he saw the right group of girls when Haley let out a half laugh half cry and took off running. She tackled the smallest (other than herself) girl in a hug, and overbalanced her and her luggage, sending both of them toppling to the ground. As the taller two went to help them up, they were pulled down to the ground as well so that all four women were rolling around on the ground in the middle of the airport, laughing like children. He heard someone ‘tsk’ and mutter, but he couldn’t help but smile anyway.
He approached the group, and in the well-practiced movements of someone who had to pick her up once or twice before, extracted Haley from her friends and lifted her back to her feet. He offered a hand to her friends as well, and once everyone was back on their feet he laughed. “Let’s try to get out of the airport at least before someone calls the cops on us, yes? I would hate for you to have to spend your reunion in jail.”
“Aw—you’d come bail us out, wouldn’t you?” The tall blonde on asked, batting her eyes in a way that could only be a joke and not an actual attempt to flirt—he hoped.
“Nah. He’d leave us there and enjoy a nice quiet week all on his own,” Haley answered for him. “Guys, this is Andrew. Andrew, this is Kaelyn, Konnie, and Sofia.” Haley indicated to the shorter one, the tall blonde, and the tall brunette in turn. Andrew shook each of their hands.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you all,” Andrew responded automatically.
“Don’t speak too soon,” Sofia teased.
“Let me rephrase. It’s good to put faces to the names.” Andrew grinned.
“He’s quick,” Kaelyn nodded approvingly. Andrew realized he was being sized up by all three women, and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. He knew this was going to happen, he just hadn’t expected them all to be quite so blunt about it.
“Nope. Nu-uh. I don’t believe it.” Konnie decided, “Way too good-looking to be dating her.”
“Konnie!” Kaelyn scolded, and sofa shook her head.
“Nope. Look at him. He’s beautiful, and exactly her type. She’s not that lucky and I don’t think Haley would have the balls to ask him out.” Konnie continued regardless.
“Well, I asked her out so—“ Andrew tried to interject, but Konnie ignored him.
“My money is on a friend she paid to pretend or traded in a series of favors for a week of acting like her boyfriend,” Konnie concluded.
Haley turned to Andrew with a smile. “My friends are gems, huh?”
“Diamonds. Although I suppose, I better make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth, huh?” Andrew grabbed Haley and pulled her into a kiss that would almost be considered indecent for a public place. When he let her go and take a step back, Kaelyn and Sofia were catcalling and Konnie was just staring at them with her mouth slightly open.
“Oh my,” Haley said in spite of herself then literally gave herself a little shake before turning back to her girlfriends. “Well, ladies, if we’re done questioning my relationships, shall we head back to my place? I’m sure you all could use some food and a post plane shower.”
Everyone nodded in agreement, and Kaelyn and Sofia took over steering Konnie out towards the parking garage while they waited for her to regain her senses.
“So this is going to be an interesting week, huh?” Andrew asked, putting an arm around Haley’s shoulders as they walked. He looked over to see her smile, the last time he saw her smile like that was the first time he told her he loved her.
“It’s going to be a fun week. And Interesting? To say the least.”
He smiled back at her. “Brilliant. Let’s go introduce the old friends to the new ones.”