Chapter 18 – The Dorchester

Nick glanced over at Brittany as the two of them walked through Heathrow Airport, one month later.

She had a distant look on her face as she glanced around and wheeled her small suitcase behind her. The two of them had packed light – after all, they were only going to be in London for a couple of days. The wedding was on the Saturday, which was two days away, giving them that evening and the full day to recover from any jet lag and explore the city. They had planned to leave the Sunday afterwards.

Nick wondered what she was thinking about as they walked through the busy terminal, on their way to find a car to take them to the hotel. He didn’t know any details of what they’d be doing – he’d let Brittany take care of all the travel plans for the two of them.

“Where are we headed, anyway?” Nick asked her, once they were seated in the car that had been waiting for them.

“The Dorchester,” Brittany said, looking down at her phone.

Nick gaped at her. “The Dorchester? That’s a fucking nice hotel.”

Brittany gave him a look. “Yeah,” she said, not really knowing what he was getting at. Of course Liam and Danielle were going to get married at a luxury hotel.

“No,” Nick said seriously. “It’s a fucking expensive as hell hotel.”

Brittany eyed him. “Way to be a penny pincher, Nick. I’m paying for your room, remember?”

He shrugged. It wasn’t the cost that bothered him, so much as the luxury that went along with it. He’d never been one for grand mansions or hotels – he liked to keep it simple. Going to an ultra nice hotel and having to act posh for two days wasn’t exactly his idea of fun.

Then again, nothing about this trip was his idea of fun. And he figured he should have expected as much.

I’ve never even stayed in that hotel,” he told her.

She squinted at him, not quite sure what he was getting at. “Okay? So?”

He shrugged and was reminded of Brian and Leighanne’s wedding. It had been the epitome of everything he’d hated about weddings, complete with the couple throwing money around just because they could. He began to realize he didn’t know anything about what Brittany’s life had been like when she’d been right in the thick of it with this group.

It made him slightly insecure.

“What kind of money do these guys have to throw around that they’re staying there?”

Brittany rolled her eyes. For being a celebrity, Nick had always been judgemental of people who had a lot of money and used it. “It’s a wedding, Nick. They don’t stay in these kinds of places all the time.”

Nick shrugged. He didn’t care that they didn’t stay in these sorts of fancy hotels all the time. As far as he was concerned, the other group was a bunch of snobby rich kids that flaunted all of their money. He knew he was somewhat projecting his twenty-year-old self’s hatred of Brian’s wedding onto them, but he couldn’t really care less.

“What’s with you?” Brittany asked him with annoyance. “Why are you being so negative about this?”

He looked at her. The fact that she didn’t seem to mind – and even seemed excited about the fact that they were staying in a fancy hotel scared him. Like this was the world she was really supposed to be in. Not spending time with him in the states living in a condo in LA.

It worried him that as soon as she stepped back into this world she’d want to go back to it. And as much as he hated to admit it, the thought of that killed him.

“Nothing,” he said finally. “I’m just not a fan of weddings.”

She sighed. “Well, get into it, because we’re here now, and there’s no way you’re bailing on me.”

He forced himself to smile at her. She was right – there was no way he was going to bail. He didn’t want to leave her alone at the wedding. He didn’t want her to be uncomfortable, and he certainly didn’t want to risk losing her.

Perhaps deciding to come with her to the wedding was the best choice he could have made.

***

When they arrived at the hotel, Brittany promptly went over to the front desk to check in, leaving Nick standing awkwardly in the hallway with their bags.

He looked around.

It really was a posh hotel. And he felt horribly out of place. As he watched Brittany talk to the desk clerk, he couldn’t help but notice that she looked as though she fit right in. Then again, she’d always been a girly girl, looking fashionable and cute was her thing.

Nick couldn’t help but smirk a little at the irony of the situation. Here he was, thinking about how much she looked like she belonged in London, and the entire reason he was with her was because she’d been so violently against moving there.

As Nick took in the atmosphere of the fancy hotel, he noticed a girl walking down the large staircase. She waved, obviously recognizing him. He’d never met her before in his life, but of course, he was used to people knowing who he was.

She walked over to him and glanced in Brittany’s direction. Then Nick figured it out.

This must have been Danielle.

“You guys made it,” she said, smiling at him. “She’s checking in, I suppose?” she asked, looking up at him.

“Yeah,” Nick said, shifting uncomfortably.

“Oh, sorry,” she laughed. “I haven’t introduced myself. I’m Danielle.”

She held out her hand for him to shake, and Nick accepted. “Nick.”

“Right,” Danielle beamed. “It’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve heard so many things,” she laughed a little.

Nick wondered what Brittany could have possibly told this girl about him. But before he could respond, Brittany came bouncing over to them.

“Dani!” she squealed, pulling her friend in for a hug. “It’s so good to see you! Congratulations!” she grinned.

Danielle laughed. “Thanks. It’s good to see you too. It’s been too long.”

“Way too long,” Brittany agreed. “So I know you sent me a picture, but let me see your ring.”

Danielle held out her hand for Brittany to look at. The younger girl leaned down to get a closer look. “It’s gorgeous,” she said. “Liam did good… though that’s not surprising.”

“I know,” Danielle said, pulling the ring off her finger. “And look,” she said, pointing to the inside of it. It held the inscription 6-11-2010.

“That’s the day you guys met, right?” Brittany asked.

“Yeah,” Danielle said, putting the ring back on her finger.

Nick had to use every ounce of his being to not roll his eyes. What was with these kids and their engraved jewelry?

“Where is he, anyway?” Brittany asked, glancing around.

Danielle shrugged. “He’s upstairs with some of the groomsmen. You could go up there and say hi if you want.”

Nick glanced at Brittany. He knew he was going to have to see them all at the wedding, but going up to the room and hanging around with them awkwardly wasn’t exactly something he wanted to do. Not in the least.

“Uh,” Brittany said, shifting uncomfortably. “Is the best man up there?” she asked.

Danielle bit her lip. “Yeah… well, when I said groomsmen, I really meant that he’s the only one up there with him,” she said sheepishly.

Brittany shook her head slightly. “Just the two of them?”

“Yeah,” Danielle said, rolling her eyes a little. “You know how it is. He’s gotta get his time in before I take Liam away from him forever,” she quoted with a laugh.

“I’ll pass then, somehow I doubt he wants to see me,” Brittany said.

Danielle just shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t think that’s necessarily true. He was asking if you were coming.”

But Brittany just sighed a little. Even if Niall was okay with seeing her, she wasn’t sure she particularly wanted to go upstairs and play nice. Especially not with Nick standing right next to her. She glanced up at him, but he just gave her a look.

Even if he wasn’t saying so, it was obvious he didn’t want to go up there and greet them. And Brittany was completely fine with that. “I think we’re just going to go up to our rooms. Tell Liam I said hi and congratulations and that I’ll see him on Saturday.”

Danielle sighed, but seemed to accept that. “I will… I’ve got a meeting with the caterer, so I’d best get going. See you guys later.”

“Bye Dani,” Brittany waved to her friend as she left the hotel. She turned to Nick and handed him his room key. “Here.”

He took it from her, and glanced down at it.

“What?” Brittany asked, noticing the look on Nick’s face.

“Nothing,” he said, looking over at her as they made their way into the elevator to go up to their rooms.

“Come on, spit it out.”

Nick sighed. “Fine. I can’t believe the stupid ring was engraved.”

Try as she might, Brittany was unable to contain her laughter as they entered the elevator. “I knew you would fixate on that.”

“That’s because it’s stupid.”

She shrugged, pressing the button to take them up to the 15th floor. “I thought it was cute.”

“Of course you did,” Nick said, rolling his eyes.

“Lighten up Nick,” Brittany said, shaking her head a little. “It’s not like you’re the one getting married. You don’t have to be so cranky. So let’s go to our rooms, get changed and go explore London.”

Nick sighed. Brittany was right – he wasn’t the one getting married. All he had to do was get through this weekend, and then they would be back on a plane, back to the states, and back to their normal lives.

The fact that Brittany seemed to be so relaxed about the whole thing bothered him, even though he knew it shouldn’t have. She didn’t seem to be worried about seeing everyone from her past. In fact she was taking it all in stride. Like it was any other wedding.

Though, she had neglected to go up to the room and see the boys.

That was a good sign, right? It meant that she would have rather spent time with him. Again, he chastised himself for being so jealous and juvenile.

But when he looked at her, and felt that tugging in his chest, he realized that there was a reason for it. However much he tried to deny it to himself.

“You’re right,” he said finally. “Let’s get ready, and then I’m going to take you to my favourite restaurant here.”

She eyed him cautiously. “It’s not Nando’s is it? Because I have to tell you, I really hate that place.”

“No…” he said, not knowing what she was talking about. “I’ve never even been there. We’re going to Four Seasons. It’s Chinese. You’ll love it.”

Brittany breathed a sigh of relief as the elevator hit their floor and the door opened. “Thank God,” she muttered, then looked up at Nick with a grin as they walked down the hall to their rooms. “Chinese sounds great, let me get ready and we’ll go.”

Nick watched as she disappeared into her own room and smiled to himself. Posh wedding or no posh wedding, he was determined to enjoy the rest of the time he and Brittany had together in London.

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