Richie and Howie were waiting for Sarah in the restaurant bar and when she spotted them, she rushed into Howie’s arms.
“God, I’ve missed you,” she whispered in his ear
“It’s okay, baby. We’ll finish it off tonight at dinner.” Howie set Sarah back to look at what she was wearing. It was a long, black dress with a boat-neck line. The sleeves were long and fitted at the wrist but were open on the outside. “WOW!! You look absolutely hot.”
“I had to make it look good….like I really was going to meet Richie for a night of seduction,” she purred as she ran her fingers through Howie’s hair. Then she stepped away to Richie to give him a quick hug and kiss. “Hey, sweetheart.”
“Hey, beautiful! You look absolutely edible,” praised Richie. “Sure you don’t wanna sneak away?”
“Umm, a very tempting offer but I think I’ll pass,” smiled Sarah as she moved back into Howie’s arms. “What are we going to do for Nick and Becca?”
Before Howie could answer though, Sarah’s cell phone rang.
“It’s Kevin,” she announced as she looked at the caller ID. “Hey, Kev! What’s up?......Oh my god! He actually CALLED you?....No, we’re just fine….We’re playing a joke, mostly on Nick….We’ll explain later….Love you too, ‘Boo’.”
As Sarah hung up, Howie asked, “Nick called Kevin?”
“Yep! He laughed when I told him it was a joke. Okay, what’s our next move?”
“We’re all going to be at the table waiting for them like nothing ever happened. Let’s go on now,” said Howie handing Sarah a drink he’d ordered for her.
With his arm around her waist, Howie led Sarah to their table and held her chair for her. He sat on one side of her and Richie on the other and as the threesome waited for the others, they laughed about the whole situation.
The first to join them was Jesse. Raoul escorted her to the table and let Howie and Sarah know that Ilse was going to stay in the room with the twins and Garrett. Jesse decided that she wanted to sit next to her Papi so she climbed into the chair beside him. Jon was the next to join them. That left Nick and Becca. Eight-thirty came and went and Howie began to wonder if they were going to show up.
Leaning to Sarah, Howie asked, “Did you see Nick when you left?”
“Yeah,” she said hesitantly.
“I…uh….told him that he and Becca could pack their stuff and get out.”
“Weellll! I was having a hard time keeping a straight face! I had to do something!”
Howie shook his head with a small smirk. “It’s okay.”
“You don’t think Kevin told him we were playing a joke on him, do you?”
“I doubt it. He’s all for playing jokes on Nick.”
Richie had the best view of the door and nudged Sarah, “Here they come.”
As Nick and Becca approached the table, their expression revealed the utter confusion they were feeling seeing Sarah and Richie sitting at the table and Howie’s arm around Sarah.
“What’s going on?” demanded Nick as he held Becca’s chair.
“What do you mean, Nicky?” asked Sarah sweetly as she leaned against Howie.
Becca smiled realizing what was going on but Nick was still having difficulty comprehending. “You…..Richie…..suckfest! Howie…..left!” he stammered.
A grin spread from ear to ear, his eyes crinkling with merriment, as Howie said, “Got ‘cha, Nick!”
“Nick, it was all a joke!” laughed Sarah. “Payback for all the times you interrupted us.”
“You mean…you and Howie aren’t splitting up?”
“Not hardly,” laughed Howie.
“I don’t get it.”
“You guys really ticked me off even THINKING I’d leave Howie. Yeah, I like Richie, and yes, I even fantasize about him and that kiss was to die for but we’re just friends….like Kevin and AJ. Richie is helping me with my dreams….just like Howie and Kevin and AJ…..and you.”
“So who’s idea was it?” asked Becca as she took a sip of water.
“Sarah started it this afternoon. She sent me a text telling me what was going on and I told her to go ahead. The idea for Richie to kiss her and ask her to meet him in his room though was my idea.”
“Where did you go when you left?” asked Nick.
“Richie’s room to just hang out. I took my stuff to get ready for dinner and his card key since he’d given it to Sarah.”
Shaking his head, Nick said, “I never would have thought you had it in you, ‘D’…..Sarah, yes…..but….dayum, Howie….you put the icing on the cake with getting Richie to kiss her. Do NOT scare me like that again! I thought you two really were calling it quits!”
“Don’t interrupt us any more!” countered Howie. “THINK about what time you’re calling us!”
“And do NOT EVER think a friend is trying to steal me from Howie,” added Sarah.
Richie asked, “What took you two so long to get here?”
“Well….we…..I had called Kevin and he called back to say Sarah hadn’t answered when he’d called her so I….went to your room.”
Sarah laughed, “You thought we were…..Nick, you’re a pig!”
Nick blushed even more as he said, “I’m sorry.”
“Just for the record, as much as I find Sarah extremely sexy, I DO respect her relationship with Howie and I’d never interfere,” said Richie.
The rest of dinner was relaxed conversation, friends enjoying friends.
Chapter 105 Index