Now Julie joins Gracie in her laughter. Even more annoyed, I grab the box with the one lone pastry in it and march to the back of the shop.
I don’t stop until I’m at his dumpster and then I peek over my shoulder to make sure no one is looking. I sneak one yummy bite of the pastry, thinking that’s all I’ll have, but one turns into two, and I end up eating all of it. I angrily throw the empty box into his dumpster before I go back inside. Thankfully, the girls have gotten their laughing fit together.
“He’s not a hunk,” I mutter as I pass by them both. “You better not let Jacks hear you calling Tidas that either. He’ll burn this building down.” Then again, maybe I’ll tell Jacks myself and have this problem solved really quick.
“I am thoroughly in love with my Jacks, but I can still scope out a man for my girlfriends,” Julie tosses back at me before she fully thinks that over. “Tell him and I’ll end you,” she quickly adds. “Then again, when he gets jealous…” She fans herself with her hand.
“We’ve all seen what happens when Jacks gets jealous. We went to school with you guys,” Gracie says.
I don’t miss the longing in her voice, probably because I have the same longing inside of me. How can I not? My life is filled with women getting their happily ever after. I’m wondering if I’ll ever get mine.
My parents and even my grandmother who ran this place found their forever when they were young and are still together to this day. People doubted them because they were so young, but they showed everyone, and it wasn't out of spite either. They are all still madly in love, and that’s exactly what I want.
It’s just too bad I don't see that in my future. Especially with knowing everyone around here. I knew when I was in high school no one from here was going to be the one for me. I thought maybe the upside to Mom making me go away to college was that I would fall in love. Nope.
“How is he going to be about the bachelorette party then?” I ask to change the subject from Tidas.
The man already takes up too much of my life. He’s always popping up wherever I am. I don’t need my best friends talking about him too. I’m not sure how they’ve gone this long without bumping into him. God knows I do all the freaking time.
“I haven’t really brought it up,” Julie admits. “He’ll deal.” She waves her hand like it won’t be a thing.
Yeah, we’ll see about that. I’d bet anything he ends up crashing it. I won’t even be mad at him for it. The man is so in love with Julie, and he’s waited a long time to finally get to marry her.
“Are you ready to see what I have for you?” I ask as I dip into the back of the shop to grab the rack I put together for the bride.
“Please. I’m dying to see what you’ve picked out for me.” I pull the rack toward the front and over to the dressing room. I only let one bride in at a time so we have the place all to ourselves. Both Julie and Gracie rush over to the rack.
“Val! Why did you put this on here?” Julie yanks out the dress I’d put at the back of the rack. “This is yours.”
“It’s not mine.” I run my fingers along the soft fabric. Sure I designed it, but it’s not mine. It doesn’t matter that when I designed it, I thought of my own body and how it would fit me.
“It is too. You love this dress. You spent over a month sketching it,” Gracie says, and she’s right. The girls are always flipping through my sketchbooks or designs. I know what they like, and it’s why it was so easy for me to pull dresses for Julie.
This one, however, took me longer to draft. They normally come to me quickly, and I can do a design in a few hours. This one was so different. It was the first one I started when I came back home, and I’d taken my time. Too much time, in fact. It’s why I need to get it out of here. I have a weird obsession with it.
“It’s even more breathtaking in person. I mean, I knew from the sketch it was going to be, but this…” Gracie trails off, at a loss for words, which is a rare thing for her.
“Try it on.” Julie pushes it toward me.
“No! It’s not for me. Julie’s the one getting married.” I push it right back.
“I’m not wearing that dress,” Julie declares. She lets go of it and steps back, giving me no choice but to grab it.