Worth Any Cost

Page 19

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She frowned. "You guys aren't arguing about it, are you? I don't mean to pry. I…" She shook her head.
"No, it's okay. I know it's common to argue about weddings."
She nodded. "I was going to say, you two do remarkably well for how busy you both are. It would just be criminal if on top of all that you had the perfect relationship, too. I guess there always has to be bumps in the road. I honestly don't know how you two make it work so well. You're studying all day and all weekend long, and he's off on business trips or working eighteen-hour days."
"We have our little tricks. We steal a lot of moments. Lots of text flirting."
"Ohh. Sexting. Jordan loves that." She laughed.
I grimaced. Figured he would. And I could have lived a lifetime without knowing that about him.
"Adam actually forbids sexting because of the security risk. But flirting's okay. We also do video calls when he's out of town. We're always in touch."
April made a face. "How boring. I guess computer nerds are paranoid about that kind of stuff."
Probably with good reason.
"We do fine most of the time. Lately, though, he's been a total stress case, and I don't think it's all about the wedding."
She blinked at me. "I wonder if it's something going on at work, because Jordan is the same way."
I sat back a moment, closing the magazine and remembering the few times that Jordan had been brought up Adam had stiffly changed the subject or made a cryptic-and not often kind-remark. And that weird display a few weeks before, when Adam had stormed off to a dinner meeting without even caring Jordan was coming, too. "Are they not getting along, do you think?"
Her eyes widened. "Adam and Jordan? I-" She looked off into the distance as if thinking. "They haven't gotten together outside of work in quite some time. They don't run together anymore. I figured it's because of all the new projects they've got going now that they are flush with stock market cash."
"Work stress probably has a lot to do with it but…I don't know. I'm getting a weird vibe from both of them."
"I can ask my dad if he's noticed anything when I see him next weekend. Only problem is that Dad is notoriously close-mouthed about work. But since it's about Jordan, I might be able to wheedle something out of him."
I propped my elbow on the back of the couch, resting my chin in my hand. "Maybe we both need to suck it up and ask the men themselves."
"I think I'd rather eat a peanut butter and mustard sandwich."
I grinned. "I'd rather gargle with hot sauce."
"I'd rather take his surfboard out at high tide after a tropical storm."
And the conversation ended there, with us laughing and thinking of things we'd rather do than get between two man-babies having an emo standoff.
After that, we moved on to more important matters…like how I would be wearing my hair. What shoes and jewelry would best compliment the gown?
All that girly stuff.
Later I tossed that stack of magazines into the passenger seat of my car and went to study at the university library for most of the afternoon before landing over at Heath and Kat's place after dinnertime.
Heath greeted me, stone-faced and silent, as Kat squeezed her way out the door, deserting me almost immediately. Minutes later, she sent me a text. Sorry, I can't even with him right now. I think he really needs to talk to you alone.
From that small bit, I surmised they weren't seeing eye to eye.
Was it in the air or something?
I frowned as Heath led me wordlessly over to his computer and logged it into Dragon Epoch.
"You need to see this," he said when I asked him what he was doing.
Fragged, his mercenary, was located in the newbie zone-that same old city gate where most characters in Yondareth begin their adventuring life.
"Check out this new character next to General SylvenWood."
"The Town Crier?" I bent over his shoulder to get a better look at the monitor. "What the hell is that? Is this for a special holiday event or something?"
"No, wait. Check out what happens when you hail him.." Heath maneuvered his character to stand before the Town Crier.

Fragged says, "Hail, Town Crier."
Town Criers says, "The high lord of all the land is about to be wed. His lucky bride? The princess Emma."

Huh… I read the screen again and then turned back to Heath. "How'd you find this?"
"It hasn't been advertised yet. It wasn't as hard to uncover as the goddamn secret quest we did last year. I have a feeling it's been implemented and won't be publicized till the next official update. Check this out-once I follow the dialogue chain, he offers me a quest."

Town Crier has offered Fragged: Lord Sisyphus's Wedding Quest.

I straightened. "Wait, Lord Sisyphus. That's Adam's public game persona."
Heath turned to watch me closely. "Yeah, and he's getting married, right? To 'Princess Emma'…"
My mouth dropped in shock. "He put a special wedding quest into the game? He didn't even tell me about this. Do you think he meant it as a surprise?"
Heath shrugged exaggeratedly. "No idea. He's full of them…surprises, I mean."
I mock-glared at him. "Is that some kind of warning?"
Heath shook his head emphatically. "Oh no, you don't. No Bridezilla McColdFeet that he can blame on me. I mean…he's secretive."
I folded my arms over my chest. "Since when is that news? I still have no idea where we are going on our honeymoon."
"How do you know what to pack for? Bikini or ski suit or city walking shoes?"
"He's having our shopper take care of it and pack for both of us." I rolled my eyes, and he muttered something about first-world problems.
"He's really into the wedding." Heath rubbed his jaw, thinking. "Kind of playing the bride part, huh? Damn. I still say it's a waste and a shame that he's not into men."
I stretched my back, the muscles tired and sore. "He likes boobies too much." I patted my chest. "Mine, to be specific."

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