Chapter One

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Planning my wedding was supposed to be fun, or so I thought. I stared at the model on the coffee-ring stained cover of last month's Bride magazine, and sighed. Her easy smile seemed to mock me, and the dress she modeled was pretty but not for me. No matter how many dresses I tried, nothing felt perfect. With a heavy heart, I left the magazine on the table and stared absently at the line of customers waiting to place their order.

Truth be told, having nightmares over my own wedding should have been the first sign that things weren't okay. White ruffles, lace and silk were now anxiety triggers for me.

A part of me wanted to call the wedding off but Sam, my fiancé, was everything anyone could ask for. Handsome. Successful. Charming and funny. One of the lead dentists in Los Angeles. We'd had fun over the last two years of dating, but I still wasn't sure if he was The One.

Things took a nasty turn once he proposed—for me, at least. I started having nightmares and panic attacks over the silliest things, like choosing the wedding stationary. But Sam didn't seem to have any issues with getting married whatsoever. In fact, he said he left the wedding planning all to me because, apparently, letting me choose everything would make me happy. Nothing was further from the truth...

"How long is Sonya going to take?" I mumbled to myself, sliding my finger along my phone screen to check the time. I'd been waiting for my stepsister for over thirty minutes. The only reason I kept waiting was because I didn't want to confront her mother alone. Tina, her mother, was trying too hard to please me. It was overwhelming. Especially since she arranged a meeting with a renowned Italian wedding-dress designer. One that I didn't know but Sonya was excited to meet.

On cue, Sonya entered the coffee shop. Her long black hair matched her tight black dress and her red Tori shoes complemented the whole look. I had to admit that she exuded confidence, something I seemed to lack more and more lately.

She approached my table with a wide smile. I tried not to glare at her. Much, that is. "You're late, Sonya."

She shrugged. "Marco, my stylist, took his time. It was worth it, see?" She placed her newly manicured nails in front of me. I fought the urge to roll my eyes.

Think happy thoughts, Emily, think happy thoughts.

Unfortunately, I needed Sonya's company right now. I didn't want to jeopardize the meeting with her mother.

She picked up a magazine from the nearest shelf. The British flag from the front cover made my stomach sink. Crap. I forgot to email my mother's wedding invitation.

"We might need to stop at the post office so I can send my mother's invitation before I forget again." I had been meaning to send it over the last two weeks but kept forgetting. Good thing I had the invitation in my car.

Sonya flipped the page. "You haven't sent it? My mother would be the first to get one if it was my wedding."

My eyes turned to slits. Sonya knew my mother was a touchy subject. I had the worst relationship with my mother, that was if a once-in-a-blue-moon call could be considered a "relationship" to begin with. I never knew why, but one day she decided she didn't want to be married to my father anymore. She packed her things and left without a word.

Sonya looked up from the magazine, her eyes sharpening for a second before she continued to read. "Have you read? The Prince of England broke up with his girlfriend."

Count to ten, I said to myself. "And that's important, why?"

"Because he's hot and single, and anyone with two eyes would be an idiot if she didn't want to mingle with him. We should visit your mother. You can give her the invitation, and I can dazzle the prince while we're there!"

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