Chapter 8

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"Gwyn, enough is enough. You need to tell him how you feel."

Gwyn sank further into the dark corner of the pub where she and Sandy had met. She lifted her gaze from the coffee she'd ordered in lieu of the drink she'd wanted, having decided on the drive over that alcohol might not be the most appropriate solution after all.

"Tell him what?" she asked her friend. "That I'm dreading what's supposed to be one of the happiest days in my life? That I want all of this"—she waved her hand in a vague gesture over her head—"to just go away? We're less than three weeks out, Sandy. Gareth's parents arrive the day after tomorrow, we have two hundred people flying in from all over the world, and he's already spent a king's ransom on the event. What am I supposed to say?" She waved her hand again. "I've changed my mind? Cancel the whole thing?"

Sandy scraped a handful of bright red hair back and cradled her forehead in one hand, elbow resting on the table. "You should have spoken up at the beginning. This is your wedding, too, you know. If you'd told him how you felt, that you wanted something small—"


Her friend sighed. "I know, I know. I'm not helping. But damn it, Gwyn, I hate seeing you so miserable."

"I'm not miserable," Gwyn denied. Then she made a face. "At least, not entirely. There are still good things about it. I'm marrying the man I love, and the kids are all hugely excited about everything...and there's always the honeymoon to look forward to..."

"And you shouldn't have to try so hard to convince me. Or yourself." Sandy scowled. "I could throttle that Angela woman. She'll be at the wedding, right? So I can tell her what I think of her?"

Despite herself, Gwyn felt the corners of her lips twitch at the thought of stature-challenged Sandy going toe-to-toe with the svelte, L.A.-sophisticated Angela—and at the certainty poor Angela wouldn't stand a chance. But she shook her head.

"No, you can't tell her what you think of her. She was only doing her job."

"Making your life hell is her job?"

"Keeping Gareth's career on track is her job, and part of that is about public relations. His wedding is a huge deal for his fans, and that makes it a big deal for the studios. They're—"

"His wedding?" Sandy interrupted, her eyebrows disappearing into the bangs above them. "Don't you mean our wedding?"


"You said his wedding is a huge deal, but it's not just his, Gwyn, it's yours, too. Angela should never have put this kind of pressure on you. And Gareth shouldn't have let her."

"Gareth isn't to blame, I am. And I'm not even sure blame is the right word. What Angela said made sense to me at the time. It still makes sense."

"And you're still miserable."

Gwyn sighed. "Only because I'm being an idiot about the whole thing, I expect. I mean, really, what the heck is my problem? I'm being given every woman's dream of a fantasy wedding, and all I'm doing is complaining."

"Having the paparazzi pop into your dress fitting is hardly my idea of good time."

"Well, maybe not that part. But all the rest of it..."

Sandy leaned forward and took one of Gwyn's hands into both her own. "All the rest of it may be some other woman's fantasy, Gwyn, but it's not yours. You've been pushed into Angela and Celeste's idea of what this wedding should be."

"I haven't been pushed, really..." Gwyn demurred.

"Fine. Strongly guided, then." Sandy scowled. "However you phrase it doesn't change the fact you're not getting the wedding you want. The wedding you deserve. And as much as I like Gareth, I still think he should have seen what was happening and stood up for you more."

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