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"You look beautiful," I said.

"Thank you. I'm so damned nervous. You'd think I'd never done this before."

"Isn't every bride nervous?"

"I suppose so," Wendy said. "Your wedding will be here soon enough."

"Three years. That's an eternity."

"That day will be here before you know it." Wendy touched up her makeup one last time. "Okay, let's get this done before I pass out."

I let the justice of the peace know we were ready as well as Wendy's sister Veronica, who was in charge of the backyard wedding. Dad's job was to monitor the caterers and make sure the tent was set up. The ceremony was taking place along the lake with pictures to follow and the reception at our house.

The weather cooperated. The sun shone high in the sky and a light breeze made a warm day more tolerable. At Wendy's insistence, we walked the ten minutes to the lake where about forty guests were seated. The pre-recorded music started and I went first down the aisle. Wendy's sister followed, then Wendy. She stood next to Grandpa and the ceremony began.

I stole a glance at Zach, dressed in a suit and sitting in the third row, a smile on his face. He winked at me and I smiled back. Then I looked at Dad. The last few months had been different. We didn't talk as often and a part of me hadn't got past the whole thing with Genie. Yes, I'd forgiven him, but it was always there and we both knew it. Even Zach's relationship with Dad had an edge to it. The once constant respect and politeness had given way to the occasional snarky remark directed Dad's way. I couldn't blame him. He directed that same snark in Genie's direction as well, at least the few times I'd been around her. His tolerance level for both of them was short, but like me, he'd mostly moved on.

I often wondered if New York hadn't come at the perfect time. In a few short months we'd be gone and I was sad leaving Dad behind, but knowing that he was pretty resourceful at finding female company, I didn't worry about him so much. Besides, Zach and I agreed to come home for all major holidays. The distance might heal all the wounds, or at least I hoped it would.

Then I thought of Genie. The few times Ben had spoken about her, his face lit up. I only hoped that she felt the same way about him. While I hadn't one hundred percent forgiven her, we were talking again. Ironically enough, she asked me if I would mind the four of us hanging out. I couldn't imagine what an evening with the four of us would be like other than a total disaster. But at the end of the day, I wanted her to be happy too.

But like Dad, I kept her at a careful distance. Trust was gone, but I didn't hate her. I may have hated what she and Dad did, but dwelling on the past was something I wasn't going to do. If nothing else, my experience with Bianca and Meredith taught me that. I'd lost two months with the man I loved for lingering on the past and more than twenty years with a mother I never allowed myself to get to know.

And about Meredith . . . Grandpa and Wendy had invited her, my little brothers and Cam. We were far from your typical mother and daughter, but we were getting closer. I talked to her once a week and we met for coffee or lunch when time permitted. She had us over for dinner a few times and I finally met Cam and my two little brothers. They thought it was cool to have a big sister. Me? Cool? Then again, I had a way with kids. I told them I'd teach them to play tennis and Zach was kind enough to offer up the Walker tennis courts. My brothers Tyson and Nathan loved Zach as well and asked him if he'd ever met the President.

"Just once," Zach said.

"Super cool," Tyson said. "Did you get his autograph?"

"No, but I have a picture with him."

"You do!"

"The First Lady too."

"Holy crap," Nathan said. "Maybe one day I can meet him."

"Next time he's in Minnesota, maybe we can arrange something."

"We're going to meet the freaking President."

"Don't get ahead of yourself," I warned. "Zach said maybe."

That made their day. They ran back to Meredith and Cam to tell them the news.

"You better deliver," I said. "Come to think of it, I want to meet the President too."

Zach put his arm around me pulling me close. "Maybe you already have," he said with a sly smile.

Zach Walker, President? Emma Andrews, First Lady? Nah.

Finally, my eyes fell on another pair of guests. Who would have thought that I'd be at the same function as Bianca Smythe? Yup, Jake had taken her back. It was probably inevitable, especially after I'd put in a good word for her. And when Jake had asked if he could bring her to the wedding, Ron, Grandpa, Wendy, Dad and Zach asked me if I'd be okay with it. Why not? If Jake wanted to hitch his horse to the ball and chain that was Bianca, who was I to stop him? Besides, they loved each other. Who was I to get in the way of love?

I turned my attention back to Wendy and Grandpa. To think, less than two summers ago I'd been in Pine Falls, working at the shop, no friends and no idea what I wanted to do with my future. Now I had friends, Wendy, my mom, Zach—and I was going to New York to embark on new adventures.

I asked Zach once what would have become of us had we not met at Brett's cabin.

"We still would have found each other," he replied. "It was inevitable."

I suppose it didn't matter how we found each other, because we did. And I was never going to let him go.

This Much Is True (the sequel to The Senator's Son)Where stories live. Discover now