I’m disappointed because our time together has been so limited, but… I understand. Of course.

She thanks me with more emojis.

“Who’s that?” Ivy asks. “Did you finally meet someone special?”

I want to go with my gut…but I temper my response until Calla and I have talked about this. She’s everything I’ve wanted. Instinct tells me that. But I don’t know how she feels.

I shrug. “Maybe. We’ll see.”

“Tell me about her.”

“When there’s something to tell.”

Ivy nods. “Fair enough. What do you know about this woman Dad is mixed up with?”

Her question makes me grimace. “Not much. He’s been tight-lipped.” Mostly because I think he doesn’t want his kids butting into his life. “She’s divorced and has a grown daughter, who’s going to be her maid of honor today. I think he said she’s from Orange County. He says she’s so kind and outgoing—exactly what he needs.”

My father has always been a brooder, so I come by the propensity naturally. And he needs someone with the kind of zest for life that will bring him out of his cave.

Ivy looks as confused as I feel. “How long has he known her?”

“He was vague. A couple of months is my best guess.”

My sister shakes her head. “I hope this isn’t a giant cluster.”

“Same. But all we can do is be supportive.”

“I guess.” Ivy doesn’t sound any more convinced than I am.

The trek to the far reaches of the hotel seems to take forever. When we arrive, I peek inside. It’s already set up for the upcoming wedding I still object to. Several standing arrangements of roses line the back and flank the rows of padded benches. White petals have been strewn along the softly geometric runner bisecting the chapel. At the front, a more elaborate flower arrangement livens up the otherwise plain cream-colored, low-ceilinged space.

We’re escorted to a small room in the back for the groom and his attendants. I check my watch. The ceremony starts in thirty minutes.

“You sure about this woman?” I say to my dad as my sisters mill around before Lacey drags Ivy into her selfie.

“Yeah.”

And now that I look at him, I don’t remember the last time I saw him this happy. It was definitely before Mom’s prolonged illness and death. Maybe I need to be less suspicious. Dad isn’t easily duped. He’s always been even-tempered and even-handed. It might really be possible to fall in love quickly.

I know because I’m doing it now.

“All right, then. Let’s get you married.”

Dad smiles, then pats his pocket until he produces the ring box and hands it to me. “Thanks for standing up with me.”

“My pleasure.” I pocket the ring. “I’m sorry Jett can’t be here.”

His face clouds over. “I am, too. But Lacey is going to loop him in on FaceTime, so he’ll be here virtually.”

Despite the fact it will be very late for him? “Great.”

Dad rubs his hands together. “I’ve been really self-absorbed this weekend. You doing okay?”

I nod and debate the wisdom of opening my mouth…but I don’t much like that my father hid his romance from us until it was serious. I can’t do the same and then bitch, especially when this thing with Calla is moving so fast.

“Really good, actually. I might have met someone.”

He looks taken aback. Then he smiles. “Someone serious?”

“It’s looking that way.”

“When do I get to meet her?”

“Soon.”

“Why didn’t you bring her with you this weekend?”

I give him a self-deprecating smile. “Actually, we just met last night.”

Dad raises a brow at me. “You mean after you browbeat me about falling in love too fast?”

“Yeah. Ironic, isn’t it?”

“Karma is a bitch.” He laughs. “You think you’re in love with her?”

“It’s definitely feeling that way. You don’t think I’m crazy?”

“A few months ago, I would have. Not now.” That makes him laugh again. “Tell me about her.”

“Her name is—”

“Excuse me.” An impeccably dressed man in his forties approaches with hands clasped and a cautious smile. “My name is Michael, and I’m the wedding coordinator here. We only have a few minutes before the ceremony starts. I’ve just settled the bride and her family into their dressing room. Do you need anything?”

“I’ll let you handle this.” I clap my father on the back, leaving him to finish the last-minute details with Michael, and head over to my sisters.

“Hey.” Lacey grabs me and ropes me into a sibling selfie.

We chat for a few minutes. Then it’s time for the ladies to head into the chapel, so they meander out to take their seats in the padded pews.

“Ready?”

My dad nods. “Very. But this conversation isn’t over. I want to hear all about your girl soon.”

I smile. “You got it.”

Then Michael motions us to take our places at the altar, so I file out, Dad right behind me. While we’re waiting, I observe my father. He isn’t nervous at all. He’s dead sure about this woman. He knows.


Tags: Shayla Black Romance
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