“I fixed that problem.”
“I doubt your fix will meet her approval. If I were her, I would have broken my contract with you and found someone with more experience.”
“Who would have charged her triple what I’m charging her,” Mia snapped. “Lila White knows exactly what she’s doing, Mom. And so do I. Her reunion will be beautiful.” She hoped that was true.
“Well, it’s a shame how you’ve triple-booked yourself this weekend. There’s no way any of your clients are getting the service they expected.”
“All of them are perfectly satisfied.”
“We’ll see about that.”
“Yes, we’ll see. Mom, is there a reason you’re here?” It certainly wasn’t to lend a helping hand, or to be a cheerleader.
“Rumor has it you and that Luke Matheson have been spending time together again. Is he going to marry you or just keep dangling the possibility in front of you so you keep putting out?”
“Mom!” Mia took in a shaky breath. She couldn’t take this anymore. Wouldn’t take it. “I need you to leave. Right now.”
“No buts. Don’t come back, don’t call, don’t do anything until you’re ready to be on my side for once.” She strode to the door and held it open until Enid huffed and left the room. Out in the hall, she turned on Mia.
“You should be ashamed for talking to your mother like that.”
“No, Mom. You’re the one who should be ashamed.” Mia herded her downstairs and out onto the front porch, then slammed the door.
The next morning Mia was still shaking with anger over the incident, but she promised herself she wouldn’t let her mother’s remarks get under her skin. Still, when Morgan and Claire walked into the VFW hall where she and several of Tracey’s friends were decorating for Tracey’s wedding, Mia held her breath until Morgan exclaimed in surprised tones, “Oh, it’s… beautiful!”
“Is it? I can’t even be sure anymore, I’m so nervous,” Mia said. Tracey’s wedding started in six hours and she’d been up since dawn to get everything ready. She’d rented long, white drapes and white and fuchsia buntings from the party rental company that they had used to cover the plain hall’s walls and make it more festive. The rented tables were set up, covered with tablecloths and surrounded by white rented chairs, all of which would be moved to the Cruz ranch tonight for Cab and Rose’s wedding tomorrow. The floral arrangements were ready to go, but Mia wouldn’t put those out until the last minute. Fila and Camila had hired extra help for the day, too, so the catering should be on track.
“I have to give you credit,” Claire said. “I didn’t think you could do it, Mia. Someone so young and inexperienced? I’m surprised how good it all looks.”
Mia wasn’t sure whether to feel complimented or insulted. “Thank you.” She decided to feel complimented. “And thanks for stopping by.”
“We wanted to know if you needed help, but it looks like you’ve got everything under control.”
She did. Tracey’s friends had been a world of help, and Mia had planned everything down to the last detail. She was sure she’d hit a snag or two during the course of the wedding, but she was determined she’d pull it off.
If only her feet didn’t hurt so badly. And her back.
“I think I have a handle on it all. Thanks, though.”
Twelve hours later, the wedding was over, the cleaning crew had the VFW Hall mostly restored to normal, and Buddy Hooks, a handyman who also ran a hauling business, was ready to truck the tables and chairs to the Cruz ranch.
“You’d better call it a night, Mia.” Buddy frowned at her. “Don’t you have to do this all over again in the morning?”
“And again the next day, too. I’m just about done here, though. I’ll be in bed within the hour.”
“Glad to hear it. You have to take care of yourself.”
If only she had time to take care of herself. She wasn’t finished with this batch of events and already she was ramping up for three more in June. She was grateful for the business, but it was taking its toll. Especially now. Buddy was right. It was time to go home and get to bed.
Mia jumped. “Luke—you scared me.”
“Sorry about that. I wanted to make sure you got home okay.”
“I’m fine.” Just so tired she could barely keep her eyes open.
“You’re going to be up first thing in the morning, right?”
“Yes.” It sounded like a groan.
“Okay, how about this?” He swooped her up into his arms so fast she didn’t have time to protest, then cradled her against his broad chest and smiled down at her. “I drive you home and spend the night. No funny stuff, unless you demand it.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Tomorrow I get up with you and we swing back here to get your truck.”
“That sounds really good.”
“Okay. Let’s go.”
She rested her head against his shoulder with a sigh of contentment as he carried her out to his truck. She was home within twenty minutes, and in bed a scant five minutes later. True to his word, Luke didn’t put the moves on her. Just snuggled up beside her. She found his presence more than comforting. Tonight’s wedding had gone off without a hitch—even Tracey’s sister’s crazy bridesmaid gown had looked beautiful, thanks to Ellie’s sewing skills—and she was grateful her first event had gone so well. Tracey, her new husband and both sets of parents had thanked her effusively. It felt good to know she’d helped a couple have the wedding of their dreams.
But tomorrow’s event was much more important—to her, at least. Rose was one of her best friends and everyone she cared about would be at the wedding. They’d all be taking notes on the event—and they’d remember anything that went wrong. She prayed there would be no disasters.
Mia had thought she’d fall right to sleep when she got home, but now her mind buzzed with to-do lists and last-minute plans. Just when she thought she’d have to get up and get a notepad to write everything down, she felt Luke’s hand smooth over her hair.
“Stop thinking and go to sleep.”
“Worrying about tomorrow?”
“Yes. I want it to be perfect for Rose.”
“It will be perfect, just like you. Close your eyes.”