alexis morgan



Alexis Morgan
© 2024.

alexis morgan

Abby backed up to get a better view of the four dresses hanging side by side in the fitting room. "They all fit fine, so I can't use that as a way to whittle down my choices."

Mrs. Blackston moved up on Abby's right to study the dresses. "If you want my opinion on those four, I'd go with the blue lace. The color is gorgeous on you, and it's a classic design that will never go out of style."

Her mother joined the discussion. "I like that one, as well. The cream lace is also lovely. The other two are okay, but they aren't as good as the others."

When Abby nodded to the fitting room assistant, she immediately removed the two rejects from the rack. Short of flipping a coin, Abby wasn't sure how to decide which dress would be the right one. "Maybe I should look through the collection one more time."

Instead, her mother took charge. "Stay here. I'll be right back."

When she returned, Abby's pulse went into overdrive. "Mom, we rejected that one. It's way over my budget."

But it was the real reason that none of the other dresses were speaking to her. It was mid length, coming to several inches below her knees. The sleeves were long and fitted with a cut out at the top of the shoulders. The color was a soft rose, the style elegant, and she LOVED it. If she'd checked the price tag first, she would have never even tried it on.

Her mother practically shoved it into Abby's hands. "It might be over your budget, but it's not over mine. We all saw how you lit up when you tried this one on. If you want it, we'll get it."

Abby closed her eyes, trying and failing to resist the temptation. Besides costing way too much money, she and Tripp had agreed to keep things simple.

As if sensing the direction of Abby's thoughts, Tripp's mom stepped closer. "You've already told everyone not to buy gifts, Abby. If they insist on wanting to do something to honor your day, you and Tripp suggested they should donate to a charity in your names. Please allow yourself this one extravagance. It will make your mother happy to know she did something to make the day extra special for you."

Blinking back tears, Abby nodded as she first hugged Mrs. Blackston and then her own mother. "Thanks, Mom. I love it."

With that decided, they moved onto the next item on their agenda. "Okay, ladies, now we need to find dresses for the two of you."

Her mother rubbed her hands together, looking excited by the prospect. She smiled at the assistant. "What do you have for the mothers of the bride and groom?"

The woman smiled. "Have a seat ladies while I switch gears here. I'll have a bunch of choices ready for you in a few minutes."

With her own choice made, Abby could relax and watch as the moms chose their own outfits. The only downside of the day was that Bridey hadn't felt up to joining them in person. Abby sent her a text and a picture of the dress. Wish you were here, but a decision has been made! Mom and Mrs. Blackston are about to start trying on dresses next.

Her phone pinged within seconds. Wow! It's perfect! Tripp is going to be dazzled! So happy for you, my friend. When the three of you get done, stop at the shop for coffee and gooey butter cake. I made it special for you."

We'll be there!

The assistant was back already. "Okay, ladies, here we go."

Abby opened a bottle of water and prepared to watch the fashion show.


Tripp turned to face Gage and Owen. "It still fits."

Gage shook his head. "Why do you sound surprised? You still run at least five miles every day, and you work out at the university weight room twice a week. You're as physically fit as you were the day you left the army. Of course your uniform fits."

Owen echoed Gage's assessment. "You'd still make a good poster boy for the army. It's pretty disgusting if you ask me."

"I didn't ask you. You're just jealous because the spook squad you used to work for didn't have cool uniforms." Tripp started unbuttoning his uniform jacket. "So should I go with the uniform or the suit? It's probably not too late to rent a tux."

His father joined the conversation. "Wear the uniform."

"Okay, I will." He handed the jacket to his dad. "So, Gage, what are you going to wear? Your uniform or your suit?"

"I let my daughter decide. Sydney voted for the uniform. Evidently she was sure that's what you'd be wearing. What about you, Owen?"

Owen didn't look happy as he pointed toward Tripp. "You and Abby started off saying the wedding was going to be casual, so I was going to wear my new Hawaiian shirt. It's mostly navy blue with multicolored parrots all over it. Now her mother is making me show up in a suit. Something about it going better with the dress she'll be wearing and look better in the pictures. You're lucky I like you, Tripp. I hate dressing up."

Tripp's dad laughed. "You're not the only one, but I'm on the hook for a new suit myself. Evidently when my wife and Abby's mother took her shopping for a dress, they decided they needed something fancy themselves."

It was hard not to feel a little guilty about that, but there wasn't much Tripp could do about it. Besides, he knew Owen and his dad well enough to know they weren't really all that upset about having to dress up for the occasion. Anything that would make their ladies happy was generally okay with them.

He ducked into the bedroom to change back into jeans and a T-shirt. When he came back out, he asked, "Okay, so we have all of our fashion decisions made, what else do we need to do today?"

His father whipped out a list. "You've verified the reservations for your honeymoon trip. We also verified the liquor order, and that the deejay has the playlist you sent him. I talked to that guy Seth at the bakery, and he said all of the desserts would be delivered to the park. Owen has the barbecue stuff well in hand. The tents, tables, and chairs will be delivered the night before, and the veterans' group will be there to get it all set up."

He folded up the list and stuck it back in his pocket. "So unless something else has come up since you gave me the list, we're done."

"Thanks, Dad, for keeping track of everything. Normally, I'm pretty good at organizing stuff, but my brain doesn't seem to be running on all cylinders this week."

That had all three of his companions laughing at him. Gage clapped him on the shoulder. "Could be because you're trying to pull together a huge wedding in a matter of days."

He wasn't wrong about that. "This is nuts, isn't it? We should have just eloped."

His dad shook his head. "That would have been simpler, but it would have disappointed a whole lot of people who really want to celebrate the occasion with the two of you. Besides, I'm not sure your mother would have forgiven you, and that woman can carry a mean grudge."

Owen snickered. "I'm betting she and Phoebe would have tracked you down and dragged you back to town to do the wedding right. At least this way, you and Abby are having some say about how it all plays out."

Tripp glanced at Gage, waiting to see if his friend was going to weigh in on the subject. "You would end up married either way, but they're right. You and Abby have a lot of people who care about you. Years from now, you'll look back and be glad you did it right, no matter how insane the run up is. Now, let's head for the bar and shoot a few games of pool. I'm thinking I might have a better chance of beating you since your brain is mush right now."

"Bring it on, buddy. I'll still clean your clock at the pool table, but lunch is on me today."

His father surprised him with his next question. "Should we call Gil and his brother?"

"Why not? Their shop is just down the road from the bar. Might as well make a bachelor's party of it."