Her father stepped closer and put his hand across her shoulders, giving her a squeeze. “You’re going to be a beautiful bride.”
The next few hours went by in a haze. She checked on Lily, whose cottage was within walking distance, then dressed for dinner. Everyone was to meet at the main building.
Although she had brought her finest dress for the occasion, Sara worried that it might not be good enough. However, when she opened the closet in her room she found three dresses, including accessories, hanging there. A note was attached to one. “These are for you. Pick what you like and enjoy.”
Her mother-in-law-to-be had thought of everything.
Sara was grateful for the dresses. She chose a classic blue shift and paired it with blue and white shoes. She pulled her hair up to one side with a pin she’d brought from home. Satisfied with how she looked, she and her father rode a golf cart up to the main lodge.
Grant was at the entrance, waiting for them. She was thankful. Somehow he gave her strength. He had to know how nervous she was about all of this. Did he feel the same way?
Her father went in ahead of them.
“You look gorgeous tonight.” Grant stood close but didn’t touch her.
Unsure, she looked at him. “Thank you. You do too.” That was an understatement. He looked magnificent.
Dressed in a navy suit that almost matched her dress, a crisp white shirt and a navy, green and yellow striped tie, he was breathtaking. In another world at another time she would have pinched herself for being so lucky as to have him as a husband.
“Shall we go in?” Grant offered his arm.
Accepting it, she said, “I guess so.”
He placed his hand over hers, his touch reassuring.
It was a small group that greeted them when they entered the lodge. Her father, the nanny, holding Lily, Leon and a lady who was dressed impeccably in what had to have been the latest designer fashion. Grant’s mother. She and Grant shared the same eye color and bearing. Sara looked for more similarities but found none. Grant was evidently the spitting image of his father. What must he think each morning when he looked in the mirror?
The woman stepped forward. “Hello. I’m Clarisse Smythe. It’s nice to meet you.” Her smile seemed genuine. Would she be wearing the same one if she knew this wedding was a sham?
Sara returned a smile, hoping it showed more warmth than she felt. “Hello. It’s nice to meet you too. Thank you for the lovely dresses. My wedding gown is perfect.”
Clarisse gave her an air kiss to the cheek. “I’m glad you like them. Grant gave me a number of suggestions and I went with them.”
Shocked, she looked at Grant. How could he possibly know her that well in the few short weeks they’d been living together? Or had he been around women so much that he just knew what one liked? She suspected it was the latter.
What did she really know about him? Since this wasn’t a real marriage would he be seeing other women after they were married? Would he care if she went out? Heaven help her, she was in a mess. One she was confident would end with her distraught.
Grant said something but she missed it. “What?”
“They’re waiting to serve dinner.” He took her hand.
She held on. There was security there. What would it be like to have that in her life all the time? To have Grant? That was one road of thought she best not travel.
The next few hours went by in a blur of smiles and conversations that later she couldn’t remember having. Kim arrived just before the meal. She gave Sara a huge hug.
All evening Grant continually touched her as if he were a real groom that couldn’t get enough of his bride. But she knew better. When she’d agreed to marry Grant she’d not imagined everything seeming so...so normal.
“I would like to make a toast,” Grant’s mother was saying, “to the woman who finally captured my son’s heart.”
Sara was grateful for the dim lights hiding the heat on her face.
Everyone lifted their glasses. It took her a moment to join them. Grant leaned over and whispered, “Hang in there,” before he kissed her temple.
When dinner was over he walked her to the cart that would take her to her cottage for her last night as a single woman. At least for a while.
“Sleep well, Sara. See you in the morning.”
She gave him a wry smile.
Before she went to bed she walked over to check on Lily. She was sleeping soundly and the nanny promised to call if Lily became unhappy. How was she ever going to give up the little girl? But that was the plan. Just as it had been before. She couldn’t run this time.