Him (Him & Her #1)


by Carey Heywood

Chapter 1

Present

After closing the refrigerator door, I pause, juice in hand, to look at my brother's wedding invitation. It's held up by a local pizza place's magnet and I've looked at it at least a hundred times. I should probably start packing. I'm normally so good at it, always prepared in advance for whatever trip I'm taking. This time is different, I'm headed home. When I got the save the date card a year ago, I called my brother, the groom. I tried to sell Brian on the idea of a destination wedding. Someplace tropic, Aruba or maybe Cabo. No, his fiancée, Christine was set on Decatur, our hometown. Something about dreaming about getting married in the little white church there and having all of her friends and family with her. Ugh.

There is no getting out of going, kind of a requirement of being a sibling. Plus, Christine, the bride, wants me to be a bridesmaid. At least the bridesmaid dresses are pretty, I picture the pale blue dress hanging in my closet. I take a sip of my drink as I walk into the living room. Our condo has an amazing view of the Rockies from the picture window in the living room. Sawyer has her mat laid out in a patch of sunlight in our living room and is going through a series of yoga poses. I sit on the sofa, waiting for her to finish.

After ending in a final child's pose, she turns to me, her gray blue eyes bright. She rolls up her mat before joining me on the sofa, tucking her legs under her as she sits.

"Dude, have you packed yet?"

"Dude?" I cock my head at her. "You never say dude."

She blushes. Sawyer also never blushes.

I pick up a pillow and throw it at her and laugh. "But I know somebody who does!"

"Don't change the subject." She avoids what I've said altogether. "Packed yet?"

I flop back onto the arm of the sofa. "No, I haven't." I groan. "I don’t want to go."

I know I'm whining, but I really don’t want to go. She stands, holding out her hand to help me off of the sofa, which is laughable considering how much smaller she is than me. "Stop being a wuss." I let her pull me up. "I'll help you pack."

"Fine," I grumble and follow her, my shoulders slumped the whole way to my room.

I tried packing last night and had gotten only as far as pulling down my shiny red rolling suitcase. It still stands, proudly, next to my closet. I lift it and lay it open across my bed. Sawyer buzzes around me, throwing stuff into it.

"I don't think I'll need so many dresses," I argue.

"You never know. Maybe you'll hook up with a groomsman."

I pick up one of the dresses she's flung in my suitcase and neatly refold it. "Unlikely. All but one are married or already have girlfriends."

She smirks, lifting a brow.

"What?" I shrug my shoulders. "I asked Brian last time I talked to him. Even asked him the name of the only single guy, but he had to hang up before he could tell me."

"Why? Were you planning on practicing doodling his name on your binder?"

I roll my eyes. "I don’t do that."

"Right, Sarah. Your last real relationship was in high school. Can you repeat after me? High school." She uses air quotes.

"I've dated," I argue weakly.

She gives me a look like, really?

But I'm gaining speed. "Yeah, remember that guy? What was his name? The one who had the three legged dog."

She nods. "That was a really cute dog. If I remember correctly, you spent more time with Rover than Jeremy. And why do I remember the name of the guy you dated and you don't?"

I look away. "Did not."

She keeps going. "So why did you stop seeing Jeremy?"

I lie. "I forget."

Sawyer's always been able to tell when I lie. "Liar! You stopped seeing him because he flossed! Who does that? Who thinks flossing is a con?" she says in disbelief.

"You know that's not why. It’s not that he flossed. I like that he flossed. It's that he had to tell me every time he was going to go floss. Why? Why did he do that? Was he trying to prove something? Hey, look at me." I wave my hands in the air. "I'm going to go floss now!"

Sawyer throws a pair of socks at my head. "He was a dentist. You are a crazy person."

I turn to pick up the socks from the floor and put them in the inside pocket of my suitcase "He just wasn't for me." I grin, looking up. "I would've kept his dog, though. His name was Tank by the way."

Sawyer brings my bridesmaid dress out of the closet and sets it on top of everything else, folding it in the middle. "I'm worried about you."

I freeze. "Why?"

She shakes her head. "I know you, and I want you to know I am so proud of everything you have accomplished. But."

I raise a brow. "But?"

She takes a deep breath. "But you are using your job as a reason to not cultivate human relationships."

"What? Human relationships? What are you, a robot?"

"Don't argue. Besides, I predate your company. I'm grandfathered or whatever. And, besides me, who do you talk to or hang out with?"

I spin my ring. "I met Jared for lunch, like…"

She laughs. "Sarah, you had lunch with Jared six months ago. We're going out tonight."

"I can't." I groan. "I have to fly out early. I have that lumber yard account to set up before I go home."

"You aren't flying straight home?"

"No." I shrug. "It’s work."

"You need to hire someone else to cut your workload down. This is too much for one person, babe."

"I'm fine. I can do it."

She cuts me off. "Yeah, ‘cause then you couldn't hide behind your job anymore. We're still going out tonight. I'll have you home early."

"Why is this such a big deal?"

"Sarah, when was the last time you had sex?"

"I'm not sleeping with anyone tonight."

"Geez, dude, you need to loosen up."

"Ah ha! You just said dude again."

She waves me off, walking back into my closet and pulling out a green dress. "Go shower and wear this." She sets it on my bed before walking out of my room.

I'm drying my hair when she comes back to check on my progress. Taking my brush from me, she starts playing with my hair. Hair has always been her thing. When I first met her, she had multiple pastel-shaded streaks. I think she's always wished I would let her dye my hair. I, on the other hand, am happy with my brown hair. She braids a chunk of it and pins it like a headband across the top of my head. We head to her car, a Hummer. It always makes me laugh because Sawyer is tiny and her car is huge.