“Do you want to go?” I ask, when her eyes meet mine.

“I’m always down for a drink.” She grins, and I smile back then look at Ellie.

“We’re down. I just need to send Dillon a text to let him know what’s going on.”

“I’ll send Jax a text too and let him know to come pick up Hope.”

“You’re coming, right?” I ask, looking at Kim, and she shrugs.

“Sure, sounds good to me.”

“Awesome,” I mutter, pulling out my cell phone so I can send a quick text to Dillon and let him know what the plan is. Getting his reply text, less than a minute later, I smile.

No doing anything you wouldn’t do with me watching!!! Call when you get there, and then when you need to be picked up. Jax has someone keeping an eye on you guys, and he’ll follow you to the bar.

“Who does Jax have watching us?” I ask Ellie, and she shrugs.

“I have no idea. He never mentioned it to me. Did Dillon say someone is watching us?”


“Hmm, no clue,” she mutters, putting on lip-gloss.

“Why do we need someone watching us?” Cara questions, and I inwardly groan. I don’t want her to think she has anything to worry about or that I’m crazy.

“My brother is overprotective of Ellie and Hope, and you know Dillon’s crazy,” I answer, and she nods like ‘Oh yeah, I totally get it my mans the same way,’ then pulls her hands out from under the nail dryer and dangles them before Hope, who smiles brightly.

“What do you think?”

“They’re beautiful, and now we match.” Hope claps, holding her hands out next to Cara’s, giggling, and I grin at them.

“Go get your bag from the back, baby girl. Daddy will be here to get you in a few minutes,” Ellie says, and Hope pouts.

“Can’t I come with you?”

“Sorry, no, but I bet Daddy will take you out for ice cream if you ask him.”

“Yay! Ice cream!” she yells happily before skipping to the back of the salon, then coming out a few minutes later with a bright pink glitter backpack.

“You’re done,” Kim says, and I turn my head to look at myself in the mirror and smile.

“Like always, it’s perfect. I wish you could be with me everyday when I get ready for work.”

“Oh please, you always look perfect.” She waves me off while putting away her curlers and things. “I didn’t spray it, since you have the stitches, but with the serum the curls should hold through tomorrow, and before you know it, your hair they had to shave off will grow back. But for now, I blended it in so it will grow a little better.”

“Thank you.” I stand and give her a hug. She didn’t do my color, but she did trim my ends and wash my hair for me, which is what I really wanted since I’m scared to wash it myself after seeing a video of a person with infected stitches.

“Now, lets go have a drink.” She takes off her smock and tucks it away then grabs her purse. Once we are outside, Ellie hands Hope off to Jax then proceeds to make out with him—barf—before taking my hand and leading me down the street to the bar at the end of the block.

As soon as we get inside, I freeze. “What the hell?” I breathe, seeing my cousins and friends all gathered around two long tables in the back of the bar.

“Surprise!” July smiles, giving me a hug. “I know tomorrow is your party, but since we are all in town, we decided to get together tonight.”

“Do not fricking cry,” Michelle mutters, pulling me in for a hug. “I so wanted to call and warn you, but June said she’d kick my ass, and it would look really bad if a pregnant woman beat me up,” she whispers.

“Whatever.” June grins, giving me a hug before stepping away to allow April, December, and May to come forward and hug me too.

“I didn’t know you were in town,” I choke, fighting back tears as Nalia steps toward me.

“Did you really think I would miss this?” She grins, wrapping her arms around me tightly.

“I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too,” she whispers, and then Willow and Harmony both tackle us at the same time, rocking us from side to side.

“We are so happy for you.”

“Thank you.” I smile at both of them, and then feel my jaw drop when I look past them.

“Hanna.” I stare at my cousin, who I haven’t seen in forever, in disbelief.

“The one and only.” She holds out her arms, and I run toward her, throwing my arms around her and then leaning back to look at her.

“I thought you were in Paris.”

“I was, but I couldn’t miss this. So I took a flight last night and got in this morning.”

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