“So you need that pink wedding dress?” She bumps my shoulder with hers.
“You know, I think I’d wear anything as long as I got to marry that man.”
“You going to be this cheesy all the time now?”
“Are you going to keep bringing up cheese when you know I’m hungry?”
“Hey, I’m the pregnant one.” Mal jumps off the island suddenly. “I am the only pregnant one, right? Or are you and the Captain wrapping it up?”
I bite my lip, not sure what to say because I have no idea if I am or not. I hadn’t given it much thought before now. I can’t really think at all when Captain gets his hands on me.
Mal starts jumping around excitedly, and I can’t help but join in.
* * *
STANDING IN FRONT of the long mirror, I look myself over. My auburn hair is swept to the side and pinned with wavy curls over one shoulder. Mallory chose a deep blue color for me to wear as a bridesmaid because she said it matches my eyes perfectly. She’s right, of course, and I look amazing. The halter neckline is silky, with a dark blue lace trim. The dress is fitted until it gets to my knees, flowing out slightly in a mermaid style. I look like I’m about to walk a red carpet, not walk down the aisle to watch my best friend get married.
“Perfect,” I hear Mallory say from behind me, and I turn to look at her.
“I could say the same thing.” I take in her white dress, and love how amazing she looks.
Her dress is off the shoulder, with long lace sleeves. Her dark hair is up, exposing her beautiful neck and collarbone. Her dress is fitted to the waist and then flares out a little. The bottom of it is lace, and when she takes a step, her pink glittery heels peek out.
“You just had to have the pink, didn’t you?” I ask, laughing.
She shrugs a shoulder, like of course she did, and comes to the mirror beside me. “We look amazing,” she says excitedly. “I can’t believe we pulled this off in a month.”
Oz wanted Mallory to have everything she ever dreamed of, and with enough money, you can have that in four weeks or less.
She rubs her belly. She doesn’t look pregnant, but I think she keeps sticking it out deliberately, trying to give the appearance.
I twist a piece of my hair so it’s perfect and check my dress again. I can’t wait for Captain to see me in this thing. He’s probably going to want to rip it off me the second he does, but I’ll enjoy teasing him in the meantime.
“So. There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you,” Mallory says, turning to me.
“What? There better be crab cakes at this reception. You promised.” I put my hand on my hips, getting fired up again. She said I could pick what I wanted, without argument.
She smiles at me, and it’s a little wicked. Suddenly I’m wary.
“So today isn’t just my wedding day.” She grabs a bouquet of bloodred roses from the side table and hands it to me. “It’s our wedding day.”
I take the flowers and look at her quizzically. “You mean ours as in you and Miles?”
“No. Ours as in you and me are the brides, and we are both marrying our men today. Surprise, Paige! It’s a double wedding!”
She sings the word wedding like somehow it will soften the blow.
“What?” I say, dropping my voice. “I didn’t agree to this. Captain and I said we were going to work it out after yours. That we didn’t need to plan some big…some big thing!” I half shout, and Mallory only smiles more.
“It’s cute you think I haven’t been planning this with Captain since the beginning. Why else do you think he went to see the wedding planner with me every time I went?” She grabs my upper arms and leans in. “Remember that time you lied to me for four years and pretended to be my friend? Payback is a bitch, Paige, and you owe me. Big time.”
She steps back, and I stare at her in utter shock. What the fuck just happened? I’m getting married?
“Captain and I knew you needed a little push, so here you go. You can thank me later for doing all the work for you.” She winks and turns, grabbing her own pink bouquet. Then she puts her arm in mine and leads me out of the room.
“Mallory, I can’t do this.” I tug on her, but somehow she’s got a superhuman grip on my arm. “Let me go.”
“What are you afraid of, Paige?” She looks in my eyes, and I can see she doesn’t have a hint of worry or doubt. She’s calm and smiling, like it’s her wedding day and nothing can go wrong. “On the other side of those doors is the man you love, waiting to make you his forever. Think about that for a second.”