Between diaper changes and constantly picking up toys, Courtney’s dragged me to wedding vendor events, dress fittings, cake tastings, and worse of them all, shoe shopping. I don’t mean metaphorically, but has dragged me out of the house, pushed me into the car, and held my hand as we walked into my last dress fitting.

“As my maid of honor, I expect you to keep all carbs away from me until the wedding. Got it?” I say as the bridal stylist laces me up. “It’ll be a miracle if my boobs can squeeze into this.”

Officially unable to breathe, the stylist gets me in my dress. It’s not over-the-top glam like Courtney tried to make me wear, but sweet and simple. A strapless sweetheart neckline, embroidered bodice, and lace skirt. If I even look at a cheeseburger, I will bust out of this thing, but the moment I tried it on, I knew it was the dress I’d be wearing when I stood in front of Travis King to say, “I do.”

“Oh, you look so beautiful,” my mother gushes, dabbing a tissue under her eyes. Ginny is sitting on her lap as James sleeps in his car seat next to her feet. She loves being a grandma, even if she refuses to be called one.

“You think so? It looks okay?” I ask, chewing on my lower lip. All I can think about is the stretch marks on my boobs and the dark circles under my eyes. “I feel like a whale,” I pout.

“Nothing a good facial and vagina steam can’t fix,” Courtney assures me, cheerfully. My face turns red as the stylist looks away, pretending she doesn’t exist right now.

“Court!” I scold, frowning. “Don’t make me laugh. I’ll pop a button.”

“There are no buttons,” she deadpans.

I flash her a pointed look, and she laughs.

“Do you want to try it on with your veil?” the stylist asks, and I nod with an eager smile. The veil is my favorite accessory— a gorgeous lace that reaches my ankles but also doubles as a headband. I plan to take it off after pictures and wear only the headband piece for the reception.

“Don’t forget the shoes,” Courtney says as she grabs them out of the box. My feet swelled up during my last trimester, so shoe shopping was a nightmare. I ended up finding a pair of lace, peep toe heels, and best of all, they’re super comfortable. However, I did size up, so I basically look like Big Foot.

Once I’m completely put together with jewelry, shoes, veil and all, I step on the pedestal and look at myself in the mirrors. I hardly recognize the woman who stares back at me. Showered, hair brushed, and even a little makeup on today, versus the sporty-spice look I’ve managed to nail.

Watching everyone’s reactions in the mirror, I see Courtney snapping pictures of me and smiling as her fingers fly over the screen. Except she’s not smiling about me. She’s smiling about something else.

“Who are you sending those pictures to?” I ask, knowing she’s up to something.

“Just Drew. I told him I’d give him a preview of your dress.”

“He’s not going to care what my dress looks like, Court.”

“Yes, he does! He told me so.”

Rolling my eyes, I mutter, “Doubt it.” But she’s too involved on her phone to notice. Ever since she and Drew became roommates, they text nonstop like a pair of teenage girls. She swears up and down that they’re only friends, which I actually believe, considering Drew isn’t one to sleep around, but Courtney is the one I’m most worried about. Her crush has only deepened over the years, and Drew has shown absolutely zero interest in anything more than a platonic friendship. In fact, sometimes I wonder if Drew even realizes she has a vagina. He treats her like one of the guys, or rather, as another sister. She claims to be over it, but I know better. I see the way she looks at him. I see how giddy she gets when he responds to her text messages, and I see the hope in her eyes, that one day he’ll stop seeing her as his little sister’s best friend.

Once the fitting is over, and I’ve managed to peel myself out of my Spanx, we meet up with Travis and Drew for a late lunch. My parents are over the moon about Travis and me finally getting married, and they love being grandparents but hate that we didn’t move closer to them. I’m more than fine with it, considering my mother is just as bad as Courtney on the wedding planning details. Sometimes I wonder whose wedding it actually is.

“There’s my gorgeous bride-to-be,” Travis says with a beaming smile. He engulfs Ginny and me in a hug and then grabs James’ car seat from my aching arm. “How’d everything go?”

Tags: Kennedy Fox The Checkmate Duet Erotic