I walked into the bridal boutique with Loralee and turned to look at her. “Are you sure you didn’t want your moms to come with you for this?”
She smiled. “They got to see me pick the dress. I wanted you to come with me today. I really wish you could’ve been there for the shopping.”
I wished I could’ve been too, but, being so new at the journal, I wasn’t really in a place to ask for special days off. “I think I’m alright with not having to trek to store after store.”
Loralee stuck her tongue out at me. “It wasn’t that many stores.”
“That’s not what Mom said.”
She rolled her eyes and walked over to the fitting room. “You aren’t supposed to tease the bride.”
I took a seat and grinned at her. “I’ll tease you if I want.” I think she started to flip me the bird, but then the seamstress stepped into the hall and beckoned her into the fitting room.
A few minutes later, Loralee came out into the hall, beaming. “Wow,” I said on an exhale. “That dress really is beautiful on you.” Every eye was definitely going to be on her when she said “I do.”
She ran her hands over the form-hugging material. “I feel like I could live in this dress.”
“That would definitely make a statement.”
She snorted softly and twisted in front of the mirror. “I don’t think it needs any alterations at all.”
“I can’t see what you could possibly change.”
She smiled. “Me either.” She disappeared back into the fitting room.
When she reappeared, I got to my feet and started for the door with her. “So, three months until the date, huh?”
“I can’t believe it’s gotten here so fast.” We stepped outside into the chilly afternoon air. The weak winter sun wasn’t doing much to combat the February frost. “It almost doesn’t feel real, you know? Like, most mornings, I wake up and I feel like I should still be getting out of my bed at my parent’s house.”
“I don’t have that problem.” Being that I did live at my mother’s house. “Are you afraid? I mean, marriage changes things, right?”
She shook her head as we walked along the promenade towards the restaurant down the block. “No. I can’t even tell you how right this feels, Nora. It’s like I was made to love him and he was made for me.” She smiled and shook her head. “I know that sounds really sappy.”
“It does, but it’s really sweet, too. I don’t think I’ll ever feel that way about anyone. Honestly, I’m not sure I want to. I don’t think there’s enough room in my life for romance. And it’s just too much trouble for me.” Some people, I thought, were meant to be paired up. But some people, perhaps people like me, just weren’t meant for that.
“Don’t say that, Nor.” Loralee wrapped her arm around my shoulder and squeezed. “It’s really worth it when you find the right person. I just got really, really lucky that I found the right person so early. Your guy is out there.”
“I’ll probably be at work when he shows up then.” I think there was something about people in a couple that made them want all their friends to pair up, too. I was truthfully pretty okay at the idea of spending my life sans romance. Burned once, shame on you. Burned twice, shame on me. Maybe it was cowardly, but I wasn’t interested in taking the risk again. “So, I’m probably moving out soon.”
Loralee’s eyes widened and she came to a stop. “What? Have you found a place?”
I shook my head. “Not yet, but I’m looking.” It wasn’t easy to find a cheap place for both me and Caleb. Most of the cheap apartments were the ones I would never even let Caleb anywhere near. “I’ve been saving most of my money for almost a year now. It’s time I got my own place, stopped living off of my mother.”
“You’re not – “
“Yes,” I said emphatically, “I am.” Mom had done so much for me, and she wouldn’t let me pay her back a penny. I wanted to take away some of her responsibilities, and I wanted to finally be dependent on myself.
“Well, I hope you find a nice place. If you need anything…”
I gave her a look. “Thanks, but no.” I knew that she and Tommy were doing fairly well for themselves, considering they were both so young, but they were also planning on a honeymoon in Isla Paradiso, which wasn’t going to be cheap. And, though Loralee hadn’t mentioned it to me, they were probably going to want to find a new house sooner rather than later. Besides all that, I wasn’t taking handouts from anyone. I could do this on my own.