Breaking Love Page 8

“Mrs. Chambers, I don’t mean any disrespect, but the place already looks like a greenhouse because you wanted to add every flower known to man.”

I had heard them before I saw them and entered the kitchen to see my best friend’s girlfriend of four years and my mother both go toe to toe next to a horde of flowers. She wore a simple strapless royal dress with a thin silver chain to encompass the middle. Her feet were adorned with silver strappy heels that made her long legs look even longer. Her hair swept down her back in a tumble of curls. It took a moment to realize I was ogling my best friend’s girl. Lust wasn’t a factor, but I couldn’t deny that she was beautiful. One of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen, in fact. She transformed from a little duckling of a teenager to a graceful woman effortlessly, though she still carried an air of innocence. I could almost understand Keiran’s obsession with her. She was undoubtedly irresistible even to a complete stranger. He had fifteen years to cultivate a connection that he would never be able to shake even if he wanted to.

“Is it wrong to want elegance at my daughter’s wedding?” My mother’s voice brought me back to the situation unraveling.

“No, but there’s a difference between elegance and excessiveness. Adding ten dozen more flower arrangements will turn her wedding into a greenhouse. Someone might think this is a convention to preserve Earth.”

“Young lady, this is my daughter’s wedding.”

“Yes, but I don’t see any other maid of honor in the room.”

I took that as my cue to leave and backpedaled from the kitchen before I could be swept up in the shit storm. When I was safe, I turned on my heel only to meet the stormy gaze of my best friend.

Whose calls I haven’t answered in three months.

“They’ve been bitching at each other for the last half hour,” he offered, his stare never wavering.

I fought not to fidget. Guilt constantly ate at me since the day my father delivered his ultimatum. It nearly devoured me now.

I saw the question in his eyes and the anger, but neither of them gave me pause like the glimpse of hurt I witnessed just before he disappeared.

With a few deep breaths, I was able to will my legs to move.

I needed to make it right with him.

But not today.

I had a plan to appease my father and keep my friendship with Keiran, but one that couldn’t involve him because I knew he wouldn’t go the safe or sane route if he knew about my father’s threat.

So, I stayed away.

Soft music floated in through the french doors leading to the garden area where the wedding would be held. I managed to make it to the stairs this time around after everyone had been seated.

I ascended the stairs in search of my sister and found her in her room, dressed in only a blue robe and playing with Kennedy on the floor.

“Shouldn’t you be getting ready?” I said by way of greeting. “Your guests are already seated.”

“Uncle!” Ken screamed when she spotted me. She ran over and caught her balance when she teetered by grabbing my leg tight. Her dark curls were pinned in a ponytail and held with a royal blue bow to match her dress. Innocence showing in her eyes as she looked up at me, the reminder of how we almost lost her still fresh. I felt the need to hold her close, so I picked her up high in the air before settling her against my chest.

“What’s up, troublemaker?”

“I not a trouble,” she pouted.

“Of course not. How could a pretty girl in a pretty dress be trouble?” I asked myself that very question almost every day. Those days I pushed myself the hardest.

“Daddy said I’m a princess.”

“Your daddy doesn’t know anything. You’re the princess.”

“Where’s Lake?” Sheldon cut in. “I need her to help me with my dress.”

“She was downstairs arguing with Mom about the flowers. I wanted to see if you needed anything.”

“Sure! Could you help me with my hair and makeup?”

“I don’t think so.”

“It’s simple really. Try not to make me look like an overdressed hooker and—”

“I meant, I won’t do it.”

She let out a dramatic sigh and moved closer to lay her hands on my jacket. “Dash, I love you like a brother—like a twin brother—but if you keep your grumpy attitude at my wedding, I won’t have any other choice but to cut you. Try to find that infamous charm deep, deep inside and turn it on for my day, okay? Who knows… maybe you’ll finally meet someone.”

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