“Hello there, sugarplum.” Harriet came down the stairs wearing a bright red dress and a wide-brimmed red church hat with red feathers and a giant flower on the side. “Why don’t we take a walk down to the Cup and Spoon Diner and you can buy me a coffee while we chat.”
“We don’t have to leave on account of her,” Sawyer said, waving a hand in Gretchen’s direction. “I am not afraid to say what I have to say with her standing right there.”
“He’s not like me at all, Harriet,” Gretchen said with obvious sarcasm. “He’s got no angst.”
“You don’t need to get him any more fired up than he already is,” Harriet chided.
“I’m getting married,” Sawyer announced.
Harriet didn’t flinch. “I know. I’m happy for you.”
“I’m not,” Gretchen threw out.
“Hush,” Harriet said. “Are you here to officially ask me to do the flowers? Because you know I will. It would be my honor and it will be my gift.”
“I’m getting married in two days,” he said dropping the real bomb. “I need to know if you think we can use the flowers from the bus to make some bouquets and centerpieces.”
“Are you nuts?” Gretchen shouted as Harriet’s jaw dropped. “What are you thinking? You can’t marry that girl in two days. This is not the 1950s. You don’t have to have a shotgun wedding because someone tells you to. You can raise a child together without being married.”
“Oh, because that worked out real well for you, didn’t it?” Sawyer said. “You were a big help to Dad all those years. Oh, wait. That was Harriet. My bad.” He turned back to Harriet. “What do you think? Can you make it work?”
“I don’t see why not,” she replied, having regained her composure.
“Great. Feel free to stop by anytime to repurpose the flowers however you see fit. The bus is at the farm. It’s going to be a small wedding. Only family and close friends. I don’t think you’ll need to make more than two bouquets and a couple centerpieces.”
“I’ll make it work.”
“Gretchen is not invited, in case you were wondering. She’s neither family nor a friend,” he added.
“You know what’s a great reason to get married, Harriet?” Gretchen said. “To spite the mother who abandoned you. Don’t you think?”
Sawyer refused to engage with her. Maybe there was the tiniest shred of truth in her accusation, but he didn’t care. He had enough good reasons to marry Piper. One bad one wouldn’t spoil everything. Plus, Gretchen was like a cancer; he didn’t want to feed her malignance. With nothing but a goodbye for Harriet, he was out the door.
* * *
PIPER STRUGGLED WITH the zipper on the dress she’d found at Hugo’s, the only department store in Grass Lake. They’d had one white dress in the maternity section. One. Piper began to question if it was even acceptable for her to wear white. It was obvious she and Sawyer had done things out of order.
“Faith, could I get your help?” she asked through the door.
Faith had reluctantly agreed to take Piper shopping. Not that she’d said she didn’t want to go; the look on her face had given her hesitation away.
“Sure,” Faith answered. Piper opened the door to let her in the tiny dressing room.
Faith got the stubborn zipper up in one try. The white lace dress was knee-length and had a simple scoop neckline and short cap sleeves. The empire waist was elastic, most likely to accommodate a growing belly. It wasn’t Piper’s dream wedding dress by any means, but it fit.
“That looks nice,” Faith said without much gusto.
“I always pictured myself in something with a long train and detailed beading. I also imagined my dress would accentuate these curves—” she ran her hands down her sides “—not this curve.” She pointed at her baby bump.
“I tried on what felt like a hundred dresses before I found the right one,” Faith said.
Dean and Faith were getting married this summer. Piper hoped Faith didn’t resent the fact that Sawyer was doing it first. “I don’t have that kind of time. This one will have to do,” she said. “Unzip me?”