“Where’s Dad?” I ask as I watch Mom pull a packet of coffee from the back of the cupboard.
“He’s gone for a run, sweetie,” she says matter-of- factly before throwing me a smile. Mom’s got a great game face. If I’d not overheard her conversation, I’d have no clue she was just upset.
“Okay, I have an idea, and I want you to just trust me, so grab your things and come with me. We’re going out.”
Mom looks a little bewildered by my cryptic request before she shrugs and grins. “Fine, lead the way, Emily.”
We climb into her car and I scroll through my phone until I find the address of the nearest bridal store. I locate one three miles away and begin inputting it into the GPS. Mom looks at the address, and I can see the gears in her head turning as she tries to work out the address and wonders what would have me dragging her out the house for. She’s a good sport and doesn’t seem too put out that I’m refusing to tell her what it is we’re doing as we make the short journey.
A few minutes roll by before we pull up outside Dana’s Bridal Boutique, and the GPS signals that we’ve reached our destination on the left. Mom looks at me questioningly and I give her a rueful smile. There’s only a bakery, coffee shop and the bridal store on this small stretch of road.
“I overheard you and Dad talking this morning.” She still looks confused so I point to the Bridal Boutique. She covers her mouth with her hand as she leans back into her seat, her eyes crinkling as realization dawns. “You were talking about the fact that you should go first, and that you’ll never see me in my wedding dress, or be there with me at the delivery of your first grandchild. Well, there’s little I can do about an immaculate conception,” I shrug, “but this,” I point to the store again. “This I can do.”
I watch as a million different emotions wage war behind her sapphire eyes before she admits defeat, closes them tightly and slumps forward resting her elbows on her knees and her head in her hands. I watch quietly as she holds a finger up to me, signaling she needs a minute. When she finally opens them again, they’re glassy but she seems to have recovered her composure enough to step outside the car. I don’t know what to make of the situation, and honestly, I’m regretting my decision as I climb out and round the car. Maybe this was a stupid idea and is too much for her. Hell, maybe it’s too much for me. I’m about to apologize and tell her so when she finally speaks.
“You really are something kind of wonderful, Emily,” she says before ambushing me in a fiercely tight hug. I sigh and feel a little of the tension drain from my shoulders, like someone’s just turned on an invisible faucet to ease some of the pressure.
“I’m sorry you heard that conversation. I was just having a weak moment. We don’t have to do this,” she whispers into my hair and squeezes before pushing me back to see my face.
“I’m glad I did hear, and I want to do this. Is that weird?” I answer, and it’s the truth. I am glad I overheard their conversation. I hate that she feels like she needs to be strong one hundred percent of the time for me. It’s not healthy.
“It’s not weird at all, Emily.”
“Good. Okay, enough of this.” I square my shoulders. “Let’s get in there and go play dress up.”
I genuinely thought that I knew what to expect with this book. I have read the other two books in the series (which I heartily recommend to you), and I knew Emily’s place in that story.
What I got when I read this book was completely unexpected. Rarely have I had the privilege of reading a book which is so well written, so beautifully poignant, and with characters I really cared about. This prequel is something special.
This is a tear jerker. There is no getting away from that. I will happily reveal to you that the author got me squarely in the feels with this one. Tissues at the ready people. You’re gonna need them.