“Do you realize you haven’t made a single decision about this wedding on your own?” She finally pulls her eyes off the hottie behind me to give me her attention. “What does that tell you?”
“If it were true, it would tell me that I’m not a big wedding person, but it’s not true. I’ve made all kinds of choices. That’s why I need you now. I have decision fatigue.” I slide the paperwork across the table until it’s in front of her. “Please.”
She folds her arms and flashes me her easy smile. “One decision. Name one decision you’ve made yourself.”
“I don’t know. They all blur together.” She stares harder, and I throw up my hands. “Fine. The venue. I chose to have the wedding at the Chapel Valley Church.”
She grunts. “That doesn’t count. Your mom said, and I quote, ‘If you get married anywhere but our family church, you’ll be dishonoring your dead grandmother.’”
“It was still my choice,” I say, but I know it’s a lame defense. I don’t care about this wedding. In fact, the part I’m looking forward to the most is the part when it’s over.
Tossing her long, dark hair over her shoulder, Abbi grabs her martini glass and licks the sugar off the rim before taking a sip. “Try again.”
Lemon drop martinis are historically our girls’ night favorites, but I’ve been cut off for the next two months. I nearly salivate at the sight of hers, but the trainer my mom hired has me on a strict diet until the wedding. This means no booze, which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but since wedding planning involves extra time with my family, it’s been torture. “I picked out my dress.”
“You tried on half a dozen dresses and agreed to buy the one your bridal party cooed over the most.”
Trying to pretend it’s vodka, I take a long pull on my iced water—I haven’t hit today’s eighty-ounce quota anyway. In truth, I hated dress shopping. When I was younger, I imagined what it’d be like to wear a white dress and say vows to the man of my dreams. I haven’t idealized weddings or marriage since I found myself knocked up and alone at seventeen.
“You didn’t choose the invitations or the reception location. You didn’t choose the flowers or even the song you’re using for your first dance,” Abbi says. She doesn’t say, “You didn’t even choose your groom,” but it’s at the root of this conversation. It’s the elephant in the room. My big secret, known only to two of my closest friends. “Can you think of something you truly chose on your own?”
I chose to invite Marston. And holy hell, I still can’t believe I did that. Wedding planning has made me lose my mind. There’s no other explanation for it. But after we looked over the hundreds of invitations from the calligrapher and approved them, I snagged a couple. “For my memory box,” I told my mom, and she had to wipe away tears. I did put one in my memory box. The other I carefully addressed to Marston Rowe, president and co-founder of Rowe and Hayes, International. I dropped it in the mailbox myself.
If Savvy and Abbi knew about that little moment of insanity, they’d say it was a cry for help. Savvy already thinks I’m nuts for walking away from Marston after the night we spent together in Vegas. I’d prefer to think of that night as a gift to my younger self—the one who kissed the new boy after knowing him for minutes, the one who stripped down to her underwear and swam in the cold October water of Lake Blackledge with him, the one who believed maybe her life could be her own.
I don’t know what I expected Marston to do when he opened the invitation, but he should’ve gotten it by now, and I haven’t heard a word. Maybe he burned it.
I’m being dramatic. “Okay,” I concede. “I’m not into making wedding plans. I’ll admit it, but let’s not pretend this is a bad omen. If anything, it makes my life easier. You and I both know Mom will veto anything she doesn’t agree with. It’s better if I’m not too emotionally attached to any choice.”
“Or to the groom,” Abbi mumbles behind her glass.
I glare. “Say what?”
“Huh?” She takes a dainty sip then looks over my shoulder again. “Oh, hell. Mr. Hottie is coming this way. Lord help us.”
“Have at him, girl.”
“I’m afraid I’m already taken.”
The familiar deep voice has me spinning in my chair and looking right into the eyes of Marston Rowe.
“Marston.” I don’t say his name so much as breathe it. When his lips quirk up in response, his dark eyes scanning my face again and again, I feel transported back in time. To high school, when my loving housekeeper’s orphan nephew was the biggest act of rebellion I’d ever managed, and the only thing I could think about. I think of stolen moments in the woods, at the lake, of dancing together outside the senior prom. I think of six months ago when I went looking for him in Vegas. I went to that club because I wanted to see him again, yes. And because . . . because I was lonely and panicking about the future, and I knew he’d wash that all away.