A/N: It feels so good to just binge and post everything I have so far! lol Now I need to get writing!
I stood in front of the mirror, fussing with my hair and make up. Shirley would be here any minute so we could go dress shopping. It was ridiculous, but I was nervous. I had been ever since Carter and I set a firm date – September 6th. In just shy of two months, we would be getting married. Weren’t the stomach butterflies supposed to take up residence a little closer to the actual date?
Carter came upstairs from the basement – finally, all the work was done down there – and slid his arms around me. “Stop fussing. You look beautiful, as always.”
I turned and leaned up to kiss his cheek. “Thank you, charmer.” Though I was the last person to change my hair much, I’d wanted something that looked a little nicer today so I could get a better idea of how I’d look on the big day. I’d even fussed with make up, which I was not wont to do.
When the doorbell rang, I looked up at Carter a little wild-eyed. He laughed softly and kissed me. “Relax, Haddie. Breathe. You’re just dress shopping.” He nudged me towards the door. “I’ll see you later.”
“Right. Later.” I nodded decisively and went to the door. It would be no problem. Find a dress, buy it, come home.
“Maybe we should just go back to that last boutique,” I said as Shirley and I walked into yet another store. “That last dress really was beautiful.”
Shirley shook her head. “You don’t buy a wedding dress until it’s the dress. We’ll find you something. Magnolia Promenade is the best place for shopping.”
“I had better be,” I groused. It was a good hour’s drive away from Willow Creek.
Shirley pulled me over to a mannequin. “Oh, this is gorgeous. What do you think, Hads?”
I looked at the gown, worrying my lower lip. There was no denying that it was beautiful, but I wasn’t sure if it was me. “I’ll try it on if you like it.”
My sister gave me a bland look. “You’re really not grasping the concept of wedding dress shopping, are you?”
I sighed. “I’m sorry. I just can’t stop thinking.”
“Oh, no, she’s thinking again. I’ve told you, that’s a dangerous habit.”
I huffed. “Shirley, I’m serious.”
Shirley sat down on a sofa and motioned me to join her. “Okay, serious. What’s wrong?”
I looked around at all of the beautiful gowns on mannequins and hanging on racks. It was intimidating, not just the prospect of shopping for a gown, but also the whole idea of being married again. “What if things change? After the wedding. When Carter and I are really married. What if everything between us changes?”
“This sounds like a familiar tune. Where have I heard it before? Oh, that’s right,” Shirley said teasingly, “It was when he brought up moving in together. You always do this, Hadley. You worry yourself to death. Change doesn’t equate catastrophe, you know.”
“I know!” I sighed and leaned my head on her shoulder. “I need help.”
She wrapped her arm around my shoulder and squeezed. “No, you don’t. You just need to relax. You and Carter love each other. You’re already practically married. Now you’re going to celebrate that with everyone.”
I stayed quiet for a minute. “I miss Mom and Dad.”
“Me too.” Shirley leaned her head against mine. “But they’re watching, you know?”
I nodded and sniffed back the threatening tears. I cleared my throat. “Okay, come on. Let’s get me into another dress.”
Shirley smiled and got up. “You don’t have to tell me twice. Maybe we should put you in the biggest ball gown we can find?”
I rolled my eyes at her. “Don’t be ridiculous.” I went to another mannequin. “Do you think I should try to find something that isn’t white?”
“I think you should find a gown you love. If it’s white or pink or yellow, it doesn’t matter. Besides, if a lesbian can wear white for her wedding, a divorcee can.”
I laughed. “I don’t think it works like that, but okay.”
We tried on dress after dress. I wasn’t sure how many it actually was, but the sales associate just kept bringing more gowns whenever I shook my head that no, this one wasn’t the one.
“Oh, Watcher,” Shirley laughed when I stepped out in one of the latest ones.
I snorted, looking down at myself. “I could fit a whole circus under here.”
We both shook our heads. Definitely not the one.
“Oh, I like that one.”
I shook my head. “Too much tulle.” The top was okay, but then the bottom just went crazy, in my opinion.
I smoothed my hands down the sides of the latest gown. “This one is gorgeous except…”
“What’s wrong with this one? You look amazing!”
I bit my lower lip. “It just seems too busy at the top. It’s so fancy. Do you really love it?”
Shirley rolled her eyes at me. “It’s not up to me to love it. Next.”
I came out in another dress. Shirley took one look at my face and called, “Next!”
I sighed as I got myself into another dress. I was beginning to think I would never find “the” dress. And then…
I looked at myself in the changing room mirror. This was it. Tears welled in my eyes as I imagined walking down the aisle to Carter in this dress. Oh, Watcher, yes, this was it.
A/N: I think you all know what’s next. 😉