My Darling Bride: Chapter 18

GRAHAM

“Civil ceremonies are so boring,” Brody grouses as he adjusts my tie in my dressing room in my apartment.

He pouts as he finishes the final touches. He tries to fix my hair, and I slap his fingers away. “You’re not doing my hair.”

He cocks his head. “How about some mascara?”

“Not today.” I smirk.

“Fine. Are you sure I can’t come? I really want to be there. I’ll be so good. I’ll get behind a plant or stand in the corner. I won’t make a peep. Please,” he begs as he follows me into the bedroom, where I slip my dress shoes on.

I stand in front of the floor-length mirror and brush the lint off my three-piece suit. “No.”

He plops on my bed, spreading out like a starfish as he grunts his disapproval. “All you say is no. You’re mean. You should be wearing fucking Prada. You need a cathedral. Or a beach. Anywhere but the courthouse.”

I ignore him.

He swivels his head so he can watch me put on my watch. “I’m still processing your prenup. I can’t believe—okay, well, maybe I can because you’re generous—but holy shit, you’re actually giving her money after the big divorce. And let’s be honest. You bought that store for her. You may have told yourself it was a good investment or that I might want it, but I’m not so sure.” He jumps up off the bed, looking amazingly unruffled as every hair settles in place.

“Stop trying to cause drama.”

He puts his hands on his hips. “I’m flummoxed because you’re being so good to her.” A sly expression flits over his face. “Hate to break it to you, big brother, but I’m starting to think you might care about the little thief.”

I arch a brow. “Please.”

He follows me out into the hall and through to the kitchen area. “That’s right. I said it. ‘Care.’ You like her. You think she’s sexy. You like her personality. You want to marry her—”

“Did you get the things I asked for?”

“The boutonniere is on the counter.”

“Did you get the peonies?”

He nods. “Hmm. I did. I’m also wondering why you insisted on them.”

I hear him making a hooting noise and turn to see that he’s stopped at the formal parlor. With cheetah wallpaper. It’s one of those rooms that will need attention at some point. “I can’t believe you,” he calls out as he snickers.

“What? The room came that way. I’ll redo it eventually.”

“It’s not the horrible wallpaper, dear brother, it’s the cat litter box.” He sends me a wild look. “Who are you, and what have you done with my brother?”

“Not a big deal. Magic won’t be here long. And it is kind of a cat room. Look at the wallpaper.”

“And you know its name!”

“So?” I put my hands on my hips.

“When you were eight and I was five, a big tomcat from the neighborhood ambushed us on the steps of the brownstone after school. That cat was in full-on attack mode—I’m talking flat airplane ears, claws out, growling and hissing, with its whole body shivering. It was swatting and batting and pouncing around you like a damn tiger. It may have had rabies. You nearly peed your pants.”

“You exaggerate.”

He lets out a long whistle. “You really like her. Shit. Wow. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you are marrying her, so maybe, just maybe, she is, like, the one—”

Cutting him off, I grab the items I need and say, “Let yourself out, and don’t forget to pick us up for the party.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got everything planned. Happy wedding day. Kiss her real good. With tongue,” he calls out as I slam the door.

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