Home > Mine to Cherish (Southern Wedding #3)

Mine to Cherish (Southern Wedding #3)
Author: Natasha Madison


Chapter 1




"This is stupid," I say when the car door opens. I feel someone grab my hand as she helps me get out of the car with a blindfold over my eyes.

"It's not stupid," Shelby, my sister, hisses, holding my elbow and guiding me down the pathway to the front door of our venue space.

"It's supposed to be a surprise," Presley, my other sister, says, and all I can do is laugh and secretly start to get hives. If there is one thing I hate, it's being surprised. Like, if I didn't know about this surprise, I would more than likely turn around and hightail it out of here.

"I helped plan it, for heaven's sake," I whisper but not really at them. The clicking of our heels fills the night air.

"Well, no one is supposed to know about that,” Shelby says. "But God forbid you let go of control for once in your life."

I stop walking and look over to where her voice was coming from, even though I still see black. "I didn't want this stupid party to begin with. I wanted dinner and maybe some drinks." I stop talking. "Okay, maybe a lot of drinks. But nowhere did I want a freaking party!"

"Well, tell that to Edward,” Presley says of my boyfriend of the past two months. "He's the one who wanted this."

I grit my teeth together. "Why would you even entertain this ridiculous idea from him?" I shake my head. "Out of everyone else, you two should know better." I turn, but I'm still blindfolded, so who knows if I'm actually looking at them or not. I’m pointing at what I hope is one of them. "I'm very disappointed in you."

I can hear them snickering. "Good to know. Now lift your feet,” Shelby says, and I know we've made it to the four steps. I huff out as my heart speeds up a notch after each step toward the front door.

"Just remember,” Presley adds, opening the door for me, “we tried."

"I don't even know what that means." I'm pushed forward, and the blindfold comes off. I blink away the darkness, and all I see are bright lights until the focus comes to me.

"Surprise!" everyone yells, and I stand here stunned. This is not what I planned at all. My simple dinner party for twenty-five was no more.

It looks like my whole family is here, and as I look around the room, I see Travis, my brother, and his wife, Harlow, standing at the side, rolling their lips while trying not to laugh at me. Harlow's hand comes up to her mouth as she whispers, “Sorry,” to me.

If I didn't have so many eyes on me, I would whisper back, "You are dead to me.”

"Oh my God," I say, putting my hand to my mouth when I see Edward coming to me, clapping his hands with a huge smile on his face. His blond hair is pushed back perfectly as he wears a tailored black suit and a white button-down shirt. My mother is right behind him with her hands in the air and a huge smile on her face as if she won the lottery.

"Happy birthday!" He grabs my face and kisses me on the lips, then brings me in for a hug. My whole body is as stiff as a board, and I push back the anger bubbling over. His blue eyes shine so brightly as he smiles at me. "Are you surprised?" I can't say anything, or better yet, it's safer if I don't say anything. Instead, I just nod my head. "We have one more surprise for you." When he says that, my blood starts to boil, and I have to wonder if this is how the Hulk feels before he turns green and rips off his clothes. "She's stunned," he says, turning around to address the crowd that has now gathered even closer. I try to count the faces, but it stops after twenty.

"Happy birthday, sweetheart," my mother says, hugging me. I bend to hug her, but my arms stay limp at my sides. Maybe I'm having a stroke, I think to myself when the back of my neck starts to get hotter, and all I can hear is a deep buzzing in my ears.

"Do you want to say hello to everyone now?" Shelby asks me once my mother lets me go. "Or do you want to change?"

"I think she should change,” Presley answers for me when I take way too long to respond, and all I can do is smile at everyone and wave awkwardly. I'm literally going to kill them all.

"Okay," Shelby says, putting a smile on her face. "We are going for a quick change, and then we will be out." She puts her arm around my shoulders and ushers me to the side, where the bride's room is located.

"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" I look down at the pants and shirt that I thought would match my idea of what I thought my party was going to be.

"Um," Presley says, “it’s a little more formal.”

She opens the suite door, and black and white balloons are everywhere with the giant black 3-0 balloons. I walk into the room and see the bottle of champagne in the middle of the table. My feet move at the same time as my head is screaming at me to run. I grab the bottle and just bring it straight to my lips.

"Is she going to be okay?" Shelby leans over to whisper to Presley, who just looks at me with wide eyes.

"She'll be fine as long as we just keep feeding her booze.” Presley walks into the room and closes the door, then turns to look at me. "On a scale of one to ten, how bad do you want to freak out right now?"

"A solid five billion," I reply honestly, then take another five gulps of the champagne as if it's water. Knowing that this is a very bad idea.

"Okay, well, you can't do anything about it now,” Shelby says, walking into the room and going over to the curtain that blocks the glam area. "So why don't we get you into your outfit and get this over with?"

I bring the bottle back up to my lips and try to calm myself down when I see the outfit. "Is that a fucking wedding dress?" I shriek, looking at the long-sleeved floor-length white gown.

"Pfft." Presley rolls her eyes. "No." I just look at her. "Fine, it might have been on the rack, but we were told it could be just a regular gown." I just stare at her. I don't even know if I'm blinking at this point.

"Are you out of your mind?" I try to keep my voice from rising, knowing that people can probably hear us. “If you say this is a surprise wedding, I’m going to throat punch you both.” I hold the bottle in my hand. “And then shank you both with this.” I move my wrist, looking at the bottle.

"As if,” Shelby snorts. "If we did that, we wouldn't be telling you with a room full of windows that you could break through."

"Yeah." Walking to me, Presley grabs the bottle of champagne and takes her own drink. "If we did that, we would do it in a padded concrete cell so you wouldn't be able to run." She winks at me, and I grab the bottle away from her.

"Get your own," I say, taking another couple of gulps.

"Just relax." Shelby puts her arm around my shoulders as she ushers me to the room. "We asked everyone to wear black so you would stand out." I look at both of them and take in their black dresses that I should have known were too formal for my dinner. "Now, why don't we get you dressed so we can get this whole thing over with. Then I can drink a lot of booze and take my husband home and have my way with him."

"I just threw up in my mouth,” Presley says. "I'm going to go out there and make sure everything is set."

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