Sophie relaxes back into her chair, but I realize for the first time that her reaction is slightly melodramatic. I wonder if her hormones are doing this to her.
After the pedicures we move to the nail stations to have our hands done. Through the whole thing, the conversation seems to center on children and family. I’m not sure who’s guiding the conversation, as it seems to flow naturally, but the topic fills me with both hope and longing. I can’t help but remember how good Collins was with his younger brothers. It fills me with a happy thought for our future.
Just as we’re finishing up drying our nails, the door opens and in walks a man, his arms loaded with long stem, red roses. “Mia Monroe,” he says over his bundle. Shocked I look at Kylie and Sophie. Collins knew I would be out with them today, but I never told him which salon we were going to. Sophie looks sufficiently guilty. She must have clued him in.
With difficulty I accept the bundle of flowers, finding a card inside.
I’ve got something special planned for tonight. Go with Sophie to Colton’s to get ready. I’ll meet you there later.
I look up at Sophie and notice that the guilt on her face has grown.
“How long have you known about this?” I ask her.
“I plead the fifth,” she says, laughing.
I narrow my eyes at her. “Do you know what he has planned?”
“It’s a surprise. And I’m pregnant, so don’t get any ideas about trying to torture it out of me.” She cradles her stomach with one arm.
We say goodbye to Kylie who has to pick up Max from a playdate, then the delivery guy helps me load the roses into my car and I follow Sophie over to her and Colton’s house.
We pull into the circle drive up front and head inside and up to the second floor. She leads me into a guest suite and has me take a seat at the dressing table. As I settle in I can’t help but get excited watching Sophie rush about. She darts into the small walk-in closet, only to reemerge with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a silk, lavender dress hanging over the other.
“Put this on,” she says, hanging the dress on the closet door, then turning her attention to the bottle of champagne.
The dress is beautiful. It’s long and flowing, and yet the cut is simple. I skim my fingers along the fabric. It’s so smooth, and my absolute favorite shade of purple. I pull off my tank top and shorts and pull the dress on, noticing as I zip it up that it fits like a glove.
“How does he know my dress size?” I ask as I step in front of the mirror, admiring how well it hugs my every curve.
Sophie hands me a glass of champagne, and looks with me at my reflection in the mirror. A single strap wraps around my neck, allowing for a modest v-neck front. The back is low, looping down almost to my waistline.
“Perfect,” Sophie says. “It’s the perfect Mia dress.”
She’s right. I turn in the mirror, admiring myself. “How did he know?”
There’s a knock at the door, and Sophie winks at me before rushing to answer it.
I continue to stare at my reflection in the mirror, still amazed at how much I love the dress with its long flowing skirt.
“You can set up over here.” Sophie’s voice pulls my attention to where she’s letting in two women I’ve never seen before who are loaded up with cases that look like toolboxes.
“What is this?” I ask. Now I know Collins has gone overboard.
“This is Nicole and Stella. They’re doing your hair and makeup for tonight.”
My mouth drops open. “I don’t believe it,” I say. “Collins has lost it. I know how to do my own makeup and hair.”
“Humor him tonight. He said he wanted to pamper you this once. Just let him have his way.” Sophie says.
I smile. “I guess I don’t have a choice. What Collins wants, Collins gets.” I sit down in an exaggerated huff at the dressing table. Yet it’s hard not to sit up straight and feel the rush of excitement that Collins put all this thought and care into something for me.
I take a sip of my champagne and watch as the stylist sets up her equipment around me.
“Right, I’ll see you in a bit,” Sophie says by the door.
“Where are you going?” I ask.
“I have to get ready, too.” She smiles and then slips out, shutting the door behind her.
I’m sitting in Colton's library, having a drink with my brothers at a time I thought would be filled with anticipation. Instead, I find our conversation is giving me a headache. I swirl the liquor in my glass, wondering if I’m making a mistake. Everything about this has felt right, but their reactions are making me question myself.
“So you've planned an entire wedding, and you never even asked her to marry you?” Pace asks, chuckling at me from behind his fist, like this is the goddamn funniest thing he’s ever heard.
Colton stares at me, wide-eyed in a rare display of bewilderment, waiting for me to answer. As if he hasn’t been here with me the last few weeks helping me plan the whole damn thing.
“Basically,” I say. I'd asked her twenty years ago. That counts, right? I orchestrated her outing with the girls, and have caterers’ and designers downstairs readying Colton’s house as we speak.
“You’ve gone all bat-shit crazy on us, haven’t you,” Colton says, snapping out of his stony silence.
“I gave her my word when we were ten years old. I'm just making good on my promise,” I say.