Rush had set the date for our wedding. He’d given me one week. I didn’t even try to argue. The determination in his eyes had told me there was no point. I was more than ready to marry the man but I got the feeling he was worried that I would back out. Especially after what happened at his dad’s with Nan.
We would be getting married twelve days before Christmas. The plan was to spend Christmas and New Year’s at home together then leave New Year’s day to go on an extended honeymoon. He had been torn between wanting to take me all over the world and not wanting to make me travel too much. He was worried about keeping me rested. Which was also making wedding preparations difficult. In the end, I had convinced him that staying in his penthouse in Manhattan was what I wanted to do. I had never been to New York so it would be an adventure for me. We would also have the comfort of his home there and my obstetrician was going to set me up with one there to check on me while I was away.
Luckily, Rush had the money to make this wedding happen fast and still be beautiful. I’d wanted things simple and I’d wanted to get married here at our house. Surprisingly, simple took a lot of preparation too. I wouldn’t have been able to pull any of it off without Bethy’s help. Jimmy had been a lot of help too but he and Bethy had almost killed each other more than once. They were fighting for who was in control.
Rush had hired Henrietta to come stay with us for the entire week before the wedding. Seeing Henrietta go into the pantry each night to go to her room under the stairs always made me smile. I had fond memories of that room.
When the doorbell rang after breakfast I had jumped up and hurried to get it. I was expecting my dad and Captain today. Tonight was the wedding rehearsal and I needed Dad here to practice walking me down the aisle. Jerking the door open I was surprised to find Dean and Harlow instead. I hadn’t expected them until tomorrow.
“Surprise, we’re here a day early. I didn’t want to miss any festivities,” Dean said with a smirk and walked inside the house carrying his bag and letting Harlow carry hers as she walked in quietly behind him. “Where’s my boy?” Dean asked looking around.
“Rush left this morning to pick up tuxes with Grant,” I explained. “They’ll be back soon. Come on up and I’ll show you to your room, Harlow. Dean, I assume you know where yours is.”
“Yeah, I’ll go up to mine in a few. I need a drink and some sunshine.”
I smiled over at Harlow. “I picked out my favorite room for you. It has the best view. Used to be my room,” I told her.
“Thank you. I hate to take up one of the best rooms though. I’ll gladly take the smallest one. I know you have family coming in too,” she said and paused on the top step.
“My dad and my… um… my brother live on old fishing boats. Trust me when I tell you that the smallest room we have here will be all they desire. I want you to enjoy this room. It’s farther away from everyone too. So you’ll have more privacy.”
Harlow smiled shyly and nodded. I led her back to the room I’d stayed in very briefly before I’d moved up stairs.
“Was the flight good?” I asked when I really wanted to ask how things were at home.
“It was nice. I watched Pride and Prejudice again. Made the trip go by quicker.”
“I love that movie,” I admitted. “So, how are things at home? With Nan gone?” Rush hadn’t brought up Nan once since we’d been home. I knew she wasn’t invited to the wedding and it made me feel so guilty. But the fear that she would make a scene and ruin our wedding was real.
“Quiet again. Dad does his thing. I do mine. Dean does his. They’ll be going on tour in a couple of months and it will be really quiet.”
I felt sad for her. She didn’t have anyone really. Living in that big house with a father like Kiro had to be lonely. Then with him gone just her being there. That was no life at all. Money couldn’t buy you everything. Harlow was proof of that.
“Why don’t you have Kiro buy you a house here? It’s beautiful here and there are people our age everywhere. Cute guys,” I flashed her a teasing smile. As perfect as Harlow looked appearance-wise I couldn’t imagine her with a guy. She was so shy. How would she ever open up to one and get to know him?
“I can’t ask Dad that. I’m at UCLA on a full ride scholarship. He would have to pay for my tuition if I went somewhere else. And I do get out and go to my classes,” she trailed off. I knew from being there that although she went to her classes she had no friends.
“I think he can afford it,” I assured her.
She shrugged but didn’t reply. I wasn’t going to badger her now. Maybe later. “I need to go get dressed. I have a salon appointment for a manicure and pedicure in an hour. You wanna come?”
She shook her head. “No, thank you. I think I’ll just take a nap. We left so early and I didn’t sleep any on the plane.”
Nodding, I took that as my cue to leave her alone.
It was late in the afternoon when my dad and Captain arrived. I was just finishing up getting ready for the rehearsal and the party that followed. We were having a wedding party in the ballroom at the Club. I hadn’t wanted a bachelorette party and Rush hadn’t wanted me to have one either. He’d been worried about where Bethy might take me. Then when Grant had brought up the bachelor party he had quickly shot that idea down. This was our alternative. We decided to party together with all of our friends. Woods had gladly supplied the ballroom for us and had his kitchen staff catering it.
The rehearsal was in thirty minutes and people would start arriving soon. Rush walked down the stairs in a pair of tan slacks and a white linen shirt and my heart missed more than one beat. He was beautiful. His hair was styled in a messy look. The white shirt made his silver eyes look brighter and his skin darker.
“You’re gorgeous,” I breathed as he came to a stop at the bottom of the steps.
“Hey, that’s my line,” he teased pulling me to him and pressing a kiss to my lips. “You’re breathtaking,” he replied.
“Mmmm, so are you,” I murmured against his lips.