“I have to jump in the shower.” Wren pushes herself into a standing position. “Got a job at one. A bunch of little old ladies going out for a late lunch on Madison Avenue. They’re the cutest. I’m adopting them all because you can never have enough rich Mimis and Nanas.”
Wren winks and stops at the edge of the kitchen counter, collecting the mile-high stack of bridal magazines that have been sitting there, untouched, for two weeks. I’m not sure if she’s nervous about marrying Chauncey or just unenthused, but she hasn’t been half the bridezilla I thought she’d be.
“When are we going to shop for dresses?” I ask. “You know, some of those places need months to make a wedding gown.”
I still think she’s crazy for wanting to get married the first weekend in December because it typically snows by then, but she’s always wanted a winter-y wedding.
“Soon.” She gives me a tired smile.
“That’s what you said two months ago.”
“We’re thinking of maybe just doing the courthouse thing,” she says, leaning against the hallway wall. Her arms are folded across her chest, clutching the magazines. An image of a chocolate-haired bride carrying a bouquet of blue hydrangeas peeks through. She looks like Wren.
“What? No.” I pout, moving toward her, placing my hand on hers. “This is your first wedding. His too. You have to make it special.”
“Weddings are expensive,” she says. “You spend all that money and then what if it doesn’t work out? And you just blew a year’s salary on cake and champagne and flowers.”
“Is that what this is about?” My voice is quiet and my eyes are locked in hers.
“Maybe?” She bites her lip and shrugs her left shoulder. “You don’t know what it’s like being a single mom. I have to make every dollar count, and I can’t be spending Enzo’s school tuition on Moet and Chandon.”
“This is your wedding, we’re talking about,” I say. “Your first and last and only.”
“We have no way of knowing that.”
“Do you love him?”
“More than anything in the world?”
“Slightly less than Enzo, but yes.”
I roll my eyes. “Then marry him and don’t worry about the rest.”
Wren is quiet, stuck inside her own thoughts as she tends to do sometimes.
“Glam2Go is doing well,” I remind her. “We’ve made three times more money this year than we did last, and it’s only June. You can afford a nice wedding. And you know Mom will cry if you tell her you’re doing the courthouse thing. You don’t want to make Mom cry, do you?”
“Mom cries at the drop of a hat.” Wren breaks into a bitter smile. “Must be where Enzo gets it from.”
“That’s absolutely where Enzo gets it from.”
Wren stands, her shoulders tight and expression stoic. “Are you sure I’m doing the right thing, marrying him?”
My brows angle. I’ve never heard Wren doubt her relationship with Chauncey yet, and they’ve been together almost three years now. Sure, he’s arguably boring compared to the other men she’s dated, but in my opinion, that’s the best thing about him. He’s safe and boring and kind and sweet and most importantly, the antidote to Lorenzo, who really did a number on her heart several years ago.
“Chauncey’s a great guy,” I say, slipping my arms around her and lingering in the scent of her expensive shampoo. The woman will clip coupons left and right to buy groceries, but heaven help her if she doesn’t have her favorite salon shampoo. “He’s going to be an awesome husband, and he loves Enzo so much. Everything else is secondary.”
I let her go, and she thanks me with a quick nod, disappearing into her room. A minute later, I hear the spray of her shower. Heading into my suite, I strip out of my work clothes and pull on some stretchy black leggings, a hot pink sports bra, and a gray runner’s tank top. Pulling my hair back, I wrap it into a small bun and head to the bathroom to scrub the makeup off my face.
When I return, I spot a text from Topaz on my phone, asking me to call her.
“Everything went well,” I say when she answers.
“Oh, thank God,” she says. “We just landed at JFK and it’s a madhouse. Now we’re trying to get home. I’ll be back at work tomorrow for sure. Thanks so much for covering for me. I owe you.”
“Of course,” I say. “Glad you made it home.”
“Me too. Lunch soon? Friday?”
I hang up with Topaz and collapse onto my bed. I’m not used to getting up this early these days, and I’ve got a client booking tonight at six. Some woman on the Upper East Side has a date with some man she met on a dating app, and she wants to look her best.
Rolling to my side, I spot the journal resting on the lower shelf of my nightstand. I reach for it and drag it closer, flipping it open to a page in the middle.
Maybe I’m not easy to love. Maybe I’m not worthy of her love. But it doesn’t change the fact that I love her. I can’t help if I love her more than I should. I’ve tried to stop. But trying to fall out of the woman who puts the fire into your soul is for cowards. I’ll never stop loving her. I’d rather die.
I page ahead to a section I’d read many times before.
The night of their engagement party, there was something off about her. She clung to his arm the whole night, smiling and nodding and flashing her ring to anyone who asked to see it. And I stayed back, watching her from the bar and realizing I’d never wanted anything so badly in my life, wondering if this was going to be the end of us once and for all. Her eyes, like two wild violets, sparked to life the second they found mine from across the room, and my God, I couldn’t breathe. She offered a fleeting, bittersweet smile as her jet-black hair curtained her face, hiding the heart-shaped mouth I live to kiss, and when she glanced up a second time, she wasn’t looking at me anymore. She was looking at him. I lived a thousand lives, all of them with her, in the seconds our eyes caught. And my heart broke a thousand times over the moment she turned to him and smiled. But all was not lost, because I realized, in the seconds that passed, that her smile was for me.