After Jay arrived at the wedding, everything seemed to change. His presence brought a new dynamic to the evening, and I couldn’t help but feel a twitch of insecurity as I noticed the women present couldn’t take their eyes off him. He looked effortlessly handsome in his suit, and I could see why he garnered so much attention. Despite my mixed feelings, we joined our colleagues and enjoyed the delicious food. The spread was a feast for the senses—succulent meats, fresh salads, and an array of traditional Greek dishes that made my mouth water. The flavors were rich and satisfying, and for a while, I managed to push my insecurities aside and enjoy the meal.

The lively music of the bouzouki and drums filled the air, keeping everyone in circles of joy and dancing. The rhythmic beats and infectious melodies created an atmosphere of celebration that was impossible to resist. We watched as guests formed circles, linking arms and moving in synchronized steps, their faces lit with pure happiness. The energy was contagious, and even though Jay and I hadn’t had a chance to dance yet, I felt a thrill just being part of the festivities. Finally, there was a pause from the traditional rhythms, and the music shifted to slower, more romantic tunes. Couples began to pair off and take to the dance floor. I watched as my colleagues and friends swayed to the music, their movements graceful and intimate. I yearned to dance with Jay, but the first two dances came and went without him asking.

I tried to keep my spirits up, reminding myself that we were all here to celebrate Janine and Theodore. But just as the third song began, Jay smiled at me. “Would you like to dance?” he asked, extending his hand.

My heart skipped a beat. “I would love to,” I replied, taking his hand and feeling excited.

We moved to the dance floor, and as Jay gently placed his hand on my waist, I felt like I was stepping into a fantasy story. The music enveloped us, and the world around us seemed to fade away. Jay guided me effortlessly, his movements smooth and confident. I felt light as air, every step perfectly in sync with his.

This felt like a dream, I thought, looking up into his eyes. The world around us seemed to blur, leaving just the two of us in a bubble of enchantment. The music, the lights, the people—it all faded into the background. His eyes, those deep, mesmerizing green eyes, held me captive, and I felt a warmth spread through me. The way he looked at me, with such genuine warmth and affection, made my heart race. I couldn’t believe how perfect this moment was. It was everything I had secretly hoped for, every romantic fantasy I had ever imagined. The gentle pressure of his hand on my waist, the way he guided me effortlessly across the dance floor—it was as if we had been dancing partners for years. I felt light as air, floating on the music and the magic of the night. In this moment, everything felt right. The insecurities and doubts that had plagued me earlier vanished, replaced by a sense of pure joy and connection. I had never felt so close to anyone before, never experienced such an intense, almost electric, chemistry. It was as if the universe had conspired to bring us together in this perfect moment, and I never wanted it to end. I silently thanked fate for this chance to be with him, to share this dance, this fleeting slice of happiness. The rest of the world could wait. Right now, in his arms, I felt safe, cherished, and incredibly lucky. The moment was magical, everything I had longed for. The lights twinkled around us, casting a soft glow on the dance floor, and I felt a connection with Jay that went beyond words.

As the song came to an end, Jay twirled me gracefully, and we both laughed with pure joy. I realized that despite my earlier insecurities, this moment was perfect. It was a dance I had long awaited, a moment of pure enchantment that I would cherish forever. We stepped off the dance floor, still holding hands, and I felt a deep sense of contentment. The night was far from over, but I knew that this dance, this magical moment with Jay, would be the highlight of the entire evening.

As the night progressed, it was time for the bride to throw the bouquet. I wasn’t particularly interested, but I happened to be standing close to the group of single girls eagerly waiting to catch it. The anticipation built as Janine turned her back to the crowd, bouquet in hand. She gave it a few practice swings before tossing it high into the air.

The bouquet sailed through the air in a graceful arc, and one of the girls near me made a sudden sprint, her eyes locked on the bouquet. In her determined dash, she collided with me, knocking me off balance. The world seemed to tilt, and I felt myself falling. I tripped over my own feet and, in my attempt to steady myself, inadvertently pushed a waiter who was carrying a tray of glasses.

Time seemed to slow as the tray tipped and the glasses flew in all directions. The sound of shattering glass filled the room, and suddenly, all eyes were on me. I lay on the floor, stunned and mortified. The festive chatter ceased, replaced by a heavy silence. My heart raced, and I felt a wave of panic and embarrassment wash over me. Breaking glass and plates at a Greek wedding was supposed to be a sign of good luck, but that didn’t make me feel any less mortified by my clumsiness. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I had ruined this perfect day with my misstep. Desperately, I scrambled to my feet, my face burning with shame. I could see Janine and Theodore looking concerned, and my colleagues with expressions ranging from shock to sympathy.

My vision blurred with tears as I pushed open the bathroom door and fled inside, seeking refuge. Inside the bathroom, I leaned against the sink, taking deep, shaky breaths. I looked at myself in the mirror, my makeup slightly smudged and my dress tilted from the fall. I felt a lump form in my throat as the tears I had been holding back began to flow freely as I entered the toilet stall. How could this happen? I thought. I had been so careful, so determined not to make a scene, and yet here I was, causing a spectacle on Janine’s special day. The weight of embarrassment and guilt felt unbearable.

I suddenly heard voices from outside the toilet stall as I stood there, trying to gather my courage. The door to the bathroom opened, and two women walked in, their conversation becoming clearer. At first, I tried to ignore them, but then something they said caught my attention and made my heart stop.

“Did you see Jay tonight?” one of the women asked. “He looks amazing. I was hoping we’d have a chance to talk more, especially after all the time we spent together before the wedding. I thought maybe we could get back together.”

Her words sent a jolt through me. Jay had mentioned an ex before, but I hadn’t realized she would be here tonight.

“I don’t get it,” the other woman replied. “Why is he spending so much time with that colleague of his? You know, the clumsy one who keeps messing things up. She’s not even pretty.”

I felt a lump in my throat as I realized they were talking about me. I pressed my hand to my mouth, trying to stifle a sob. The pain of their words cut deep, and I felt a wave of humiliation wash over me.

“Yeah, I asked him about her,” the first woman continued. “He said they’re just friends at work and nothing is going on. He never planned on anything more.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Jay had always been so kind and supportive, and I had started to think maybe there was something more between us. But hearing him described in this way, and realizing how he saw me—or at least how he had explained me to others—was devastating. The women continued to chat for a few more minutes, their voices filled with casual cruelty. By the time they left, I felt completely shattered. I waited until I was sure they were gone before stepping out of the stall. My reflection in the mirror showed a pale, shaken version of myself. I tried to take deep breaths, but it felt like I couldn’t get enough air. I knew I had to go back out there, but my confidence was gone. Everything I had felt during our magical dance, all the warmth and connection, seemed like a cruel illusion now. I splashed some water on my face and did my best to compose myself.

As I walked out of the bathroom, I felt like a ghost, moving through the celebration but disconnected from it. I scanned the room, trying to see if I could spot the women who had spoken about Jay and me, but there were too many people, and they had already blended back into the crowd. I quickly scanned the surroundings and spotted the exit door. Keeping my head down, I moved swiftly towards it, weaving through the crowd as inconspicuously as possible. My heart pounded in my chest, and my breath came in short, panicked bursts. I needed to get outside, to find some fresh air, to escape this suffocating atmosphere. I spotted Jay across the room, laughing and talking with some of our colleagues. He looked up and saw me, his smile faltering slightly as he noticed my expression. He started to make his way towards me, concern evident on his face, but I couldn’t bear to face him right now. I turned and made my way towards the exit, needing fresh air and a moment alone to process everything I had just heard. I knew I couldn’t stay any longer, either at the wedding or around Jay or worse, around his ex-girlfriend. I had to leave.

Pushing open the exit door, I stepped into the cool night air. The contrast to the warm, crowded reception hall was a relief. I took a few deep breaths, trying to calm my racing thoughts. The sounds of the wedding celebration were muffled now, a distant background to my turmoil. I found a quiet corner away from the main entrance and leaned against the wall, closing my eyes for a moment. The evening breeze brushed against my skin, helping to soothe the anxiety that had built up inside me. I felt a mixture of emotions—hurt, betrayal, and a profound sadness. The night, which had promised so much magic and joy, had turned into a nightmare. I replayed the conversation I had overheard in the bathroom, the cruel words of those women cutting deep. The realization that Jay had dismissed our connection so easily left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I had thought we had something special, but now I wasn’t sure of anything.

As I stood there, trying to gather my thoughts, I knew I had to decide what to do next. I couldn’t avoid Jay forever, especially since we worked together. But for now, I needed this moment of solitude to process everything. The wedding celebration continued inside, a stark contrast to the turmoil I felt within. I took another deep breath, feeling the cool air fill my lungs. I knew that eventually, I would have to face Jay and deal with the fallout of this night. But right now, I needed this time alone, away from the noise and the people, to regain my strength and composure.

I didn’t want to face Jay tonight. The thought of explaining myself, of seeing the concern and maybe even disappointment in his eyes, was too much to bear. I took my phone out of my clutch, my hands trembling slightly as I opened the taxi app. I needed to leave as soon as possible. The sky was darkening, and it looked like it was about to rain. I didn’t have any other way to get home, and I already looked disheveled after all the effort I had put into looking decent for the wedding. My cab was on the way, just five minutes away. I hurriedly made my way to the front of the venue, trying to avoid any familiar faces. The cool night air hit my flushed cheeks, and a slight drizzle started to fall, further dampening my spirits. I stood there, feeling a mix of relief and sadness, waiting for the headlights of my escape. As the cab pulled up, I moved quickly to open the door, eager to get away. But just as I was about to step inside, a hand gently grasped my arm. I turned around to find Jay standing there, his eyes filled with concern.

“Where are you leaving, Bella?” he asked, his voice soft yet filled with worry.

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