It’s because we made it happen.
And this summer, I’m marrying him.
The First Epilogue
I was right.
My mom loves Dean.
All my sisters do too. Emma, Carrie, and Sarah. They’re all here in New York for a June wedding.
We’ll meet them in Central Park later.
For now, I’m getting ready at our home with my guy. My fiancé. The other groom.
We’re not doing the whole don’t see each other before the ceremony thing. That’s not our style.
Our style is this—he wears a tailored dark-blue suit. Mine is lighter blue. I fasten his tie. He knots mine.
And then I step back and take a look at the man who’s going to be my husband. “You clean up well, Dean Collins.”
“Same to you, James Fitzgerald.”
“Picture time,” I say, holding up my phone in the living room as I snap a selfie on our wedding day. I show it to him.
“Keeping it. Definitely keeping it,” he says.
And we head to the park in a limo together. We walk in together. And we meet our families together.
That’s how we walk down the aisle, which is really the stone walkway at Bethesda Terrace. Hand in hand, my mom on one side, his dad on the other, then it’s just us at the front with a justice of the peace.
Everyone I care about is here. Everyone he cares about is here too. All his friends from London, Naveen and Anya, Taron and his fiancé, Maeve and Sam, and Dean’s father and his girlfriend, Penny.
My friends from New York, who are now our friends.
Most of my teammates too.
Everyone we love.
But I only have eyes for one person.
“Do you, James Fitzgerald, take this man to be your husband?” the justice of the peace asks on a warm summer day as the sun shines brightly above us.
I say the easiest words ever. “I do.”
“And do you, Dean Collins, take this man to be your husband?”
The guy I love madly, beyond anything, more than anyone else in the whole universe, locks his eyes with mine and makes me the happiest man in the world when he says, “I do.”
And then I kiss the groom.
Something I plan to do every day for the rest of my life.
A few weeks ago
After I close one evening in May, I survey the pool table in a corner of The Magpie, the one I decided to get because it reminds me of Dean, as if a little piece of my friend is still here.
I can hear him in my head, assessing the guys, deciding which one’ll tempt me tonight.
One of the benefits of the game Dean and I played was that it kept me from jumping into a bad choice. And I’ve made some. Plenty of guys seem good on paper and then turn out to be total wastes of time.
Take Jeremy, the best and worst of them. Went to Cambridge, nabbed a fancy law degree, dressed like James Bond. He wrote poetry on the side and would read it to me while we sat on the balcony.
It was perfect. Except, of course, for how he was doing private poetry readings for some other woman at the same time.
But that’s all in the past, because I’ve found the perfect relationship. I pour my soul into this one, and in return, it just gets better and better. It’s a lot of work, but The Magpie will never let me down.
I find the flyer for the tasting event on my desk. The Bars and Wineries of London tasting tomorrow. While there I’ll have the chance to talk up what I love.
Makes missing my best friend a little bit easier.
The next morning, I’m one of the first to arrive at the event hotel, dressed in leggings and a casual top, with my dress and heels packed in a bag.
I start hanging up the faux flowers and lights I picked out for the booth, and then I grab the glassware and liquor bottles for our sample cocktail.
“Look who didn’t tell me she’d be here.” The deep baritone voice sends a spark along my skin. I turn to find Sam’s dark eyes glinting at me, paired with his sexy, crooked grin, like gin and vermouth.
“Sam, you sneaky man. I could say the same—why didn’t you tell me you were going to be here? I saw you a couple of weeks ago, and you never mentioned it.”
“A man’s got to have some mystery,” he says.
“Well, your secret’s out of the bag now. Good to see you.”
That’s the truth. It’s no hardship to be looking at his fabulous face. With a strong jaw, smoldering eyes, and just the right amount of scruff, he’s always been easy on the eyes. Plus, his sexy American accent just does it for me.
Not that I gave him a second thought until recently. When I first met him a few years ago, he was married, which established him firmly in the “just mates” column.