“I’m not heartbroken. I’m stressed,” I snap, but then soften when my bitchiness makes my friends give me puppy-dog eyes full of sympathy. “Sorry, but there’s a difference.”
Savvy points at me. “There is. And feeling stressed and not heartbroken when your wedding might fall apart should tell you something.” Spinning on her heel, she heads to the kitchen and pulls my martini glasses off the shelf before filling a bowl with ice.
“Did I miss it?” someone calls from the door.
“Is that Stella?” I ask. I swear the stress and worry I’ve been carrying all day lift from my shoulders. My girls are here. My family.
“Of course it is!” Stella strolls into the room in a little white-and-yellow sundress with a flared skirt and bright orange heels. Oversized rock-star sunglasses hold back her red hair. I haven’t seen her for a week, and I swear, my heart swells at the sight of her. She hoists a grocery bag from her shoulder and into the air like an offering when she sinks onto the couch beside me. “I brought the junk food.”
Abbi wanders into the kitchen and peeks under the foil-wrapped lasagna pan cooling on the stove. “Junk food, sugary booze, and lasagna.” She rubs her hands together. “Life is good.”
“Who made lasagna?” Stella asks.
“Julian,” Savvy says. She plops the bowl of ice in the center of the coffee table and positions the glasses around it. “How are you, Stell? How was Jamaica? Full of fun and hot sex?”
“I’m . . . single.” Stella shrugs.
“What?” the rest of us say in unison.
Stella shakes her head. “You know what? Let’s not do me. We can do me another night with another collection of booze and food. Tonight is about Brinley.”
Savvy’s smile falls away. “What happened?”
“Talk to us, Stella,” I say. She was so into this guy that she’d been living with him, even though the commute from Atlanta is a bitch. And suddenly it’s over?
“It’s nothing.” Stella lifts her chin in a familiar stubborn gesture then points at me. “Focus.”
“Well, you look beautifully sun-kissed, whatever else is going on with you, bitch,” Savvy says, waving to the fresh freckles dotted across Stella’s shoulders and cheeks.
“Aww, thanks, baby boo.”
I sag into the couch. Selfishly, I want hours with my girls, but that’s not in the cards tonight. “You guys did all this, and Cami’s going to be home in no time.”
“No, she’s not,” Abbi calls from the kitchen. “My brother’s on his way over. He’s going to take her out for dinner and ice cream with Hope.”
Abbi’s brother, Kace, has been friends with my cousin Smithy since high school. He and Stella’s brother, Dean, are as much family to Cami and me as these girls are. Kace has a four-year-old daughter Cami adores, and this certainly wouldn’t be the first time Cami hung out with them for a couple of hours.
“Thanks, Abbi,” I say, knowing she’s the one who arranged it.
“So that means Kace is going to be here later?” Stella asks, waggling her brows.
“Stella!” Abbi abandons the lasagna to stomp into the living room and wave a finger at her. “He’s still an emotional wreck from his divorce. He’s in no place to be seduced.”
Stella presses a manicured hand to her chest. “I swear, you climb into bed with a guy one time . . .”
Savvy cackles, and I feel even lighter. These girls.
“Lord help us,” Abbi says.
Savvy rolls her eyes and gives Abbi a pointed look. “Kace can handle himself. He’s a big boy.”
“Yeah, he is,” Stella says under her breath.
Savvy guffaws, and I bite back my smile.
Abbi shakes her head and grabs the bottle of vodka from the table. “You drive me to drink, woman,” she mutters, and we all laugh.
I scan the piles of snack food Stella’s pulling from the bag. Doritos, donuts, Milano cookies, and a box of Godiva chocolates. “I’m pretty sure we have enough here for all of us to have an emotional breakdown and still have leftovers.”
Stella kicks off her heels and tucks her feet under her on the couch. “Someone catch me up.”
“What do you want to know?” I’m dreading any kind of recap, because every time we run down the facts on the mess that is my life, I feel like a bigger idiot.
Stella opens the bag of Doritos and passes them to me. “The text from Savvy said, ‘Julian’s being a dick. Marston back in the picture. Intervention in thirty.’”
I turn to glare at Savvy. “Really, Savvy? Intervention?”
Savvy takes the shaker from Abbi and drops ice into it with a clunk. “Seemed appropriate.”
“Weren’t you going to be on vacation until tomorrow?” I ask Stella.
Stella sticks her bottom lip out in a pout. “I left his ass at the resort and flew home early.”
“You left him?” Abbi screeches.
Stella rolls her shoulders back and ignores the question. “So, Julian? Marston? And I’m assuming y’all mean Marston Rowe, as in high-school Marston? As in hotel-mogul Marston?”