Faith came sprinting from the arena. “I swear I was watching her. She and Heath were talking and no one was arguing, so I took Freddy to return Winston to the paddock. When I got back, they were both gone.” She laced her fingers behind her head and tried to catch her breath. “I’m sorry.”
“We were just discussing how your brother and Piper have been lying about everything,” Harriet said. “They have been having a fake engagement since the beginning of this mess.”
Faith bit down on her bottom lip.
“You knew,” Harriet said, reading her like a book.
Faith nodded. “But to be fair, I have expressed my dislike for the fake engagement plan from the very beginning. Heath wanted them to get married right away and I fought to stop that.”
“So, on Thanksgiving, you invited everyone here, knowing it was all a ruse? And let us all believe they were a happy couple?” Harriet asked.
Faith threw her hands up. “They weren’t an unhappy couple. I do believe that Sawyer cares for Piper. I think he genuinely wants to coparent.”
“He cares about her,” Piper’s mom repeated. “But does he love her?” She swung her attention to Sawyer. “Do you love her? Do you want to spend the rest of your life with her?”
Piper didn’t want him to answer that. Not right now. Not in front of all these people. She couldn’t take it if he said no.
“Okay, hold on a second. Everyone needs to relax. Whether we decided three months ago, three days ago or three seconds ago, it doesn’t change the fact that we decided to get married,” Piper said. “Everyone is so worried about what’s real and what’s not. We decided without Dad’s influence to get married, and we picked tomorrow as the day to do it. If y’all don’t want to come and celebrate with us, that’s your choice. We are done defending ourselves.”
Piper took Sawyer’s hand and started walking toward the house. “If Dad has been talking to Gretchen this entire time, someone needs to check on Matty.”
“Your silence says it all, Sawyer,” Heath called after them.
Piper refused to turn around. She kept walking and pulled Sawyer right along with her.
“I’m sorry,” he said as they made their way up the porch stairs.
“There’s nothing to be sorry for. I should be apologizing for what my father did.”
“My sister wasn’t wrong.” He stopped her from opening the front door and took her into his arms. “I care about you more than I’ve cared about anyone.”
Care but not love. “Do you still want to get married tomorrow?”
“Do you?” he asked.
She wanted to marry him more than anything. “Of course. My mother may be less supportive, but I feel the same way I did when you asked me.”
“Then I say we don’t change a single thing.”
“You want this? You really want this?”
He smiled and placed a hand on her stomach. “We’re having a baby. We both want to give him the family he deserves. If I didn’t think it could work, I wouldn’t be doing it. You asked me to trust you and I’m doing that. I guess now I need to ask you to trust me.”
Piper wanted to trust him. She wanted to believe he would never regret what they were about to do.
“Trust me, Piper. I say we get married tomorrow no matter who says they object.”
“I trust you. But maybe we should ask the pastor to take that question out of the script,” she suggested.
Hopefully they’d all gotten their objections out of the way. They would find out tomorrow, because this wedding was still on.
“IS THERE A reason that Jason Green told me he’s sorry to hear about our mother’s Alzheimer’s?” Faith asked as she poured herself a cup of coffee the next morning.
“I have no idea,” Sawyer replied.
“He said that Bud Maddox told him that you said Mom lost her mind.”
Sawyer smacked his forehead. He hadn’t realized how what he’d said could have been so misconstrued. Sometimes the town’s gossip train went off the rails.
“I did not tell Bud that she had Alzheimer’s. She told people the whole town was invited to the wedding and I told Bud to let people know that wasn’t true. Maybe when I heard what she did, I offhandedly said something about her being crazy. I didn’t mean it literally.”