Read City Wedding Online

Authors: Maggie Carlise

Tags: #romance, #love, #love story, #contemporary, #new york city, #wedding, #contemporary romance, #rockefeller center, #mother and daughter, #st patricks cathedral, #maid of honor

City Wedding

BOOK: City Wedding
6.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

CITY WEDDING

 

By Maggie Carlise

 

Copyright 2011 Margaret Plummer

 

Smashwords Edition

 

 

 

For: the late Eleanor Hibbert (also known as
Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, and Philippa Carr) for creating such
vividly drawn and memorable characters, and for doing it so
consistently across so many books.

 

The character of Georgiana in the
City Wedding
series (including the circumstances of the
affair Georgiana had which produced her son, Liam) is very loosely
based on the Harriet Main character, who runs through several of
the Philippa Carr books – the canniest and most memorably
independent (if somewhat ethically challenged) in a long list of
strong female Carr characters.

 

(F.Y.I.: Harriet makes her first appearance
in Philippa Carr's
Lament For A Lost Lover
, an historical
romance set in the period following England's Civil War.)

 

Thank you for the inspiration, Ms.
Hibbert!

 

 

CITY WEDDNG

 

 

Antonio and Marla Scarpelli

and

Willa Scarpelli

cordially request the honor of your presence
as their daughter,

Jessica Scarpelli

weds

Edwin Gray, Lord Fontaine

Saturday, November 19, 2pm

at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York City,
NY.

Please join us for cocktails, hors d'oeuvres,
and dancing after the ceremony

at 620 Loft & Garden, Rockefeller Center,
NY.

Please RSVP by November 1.

We hope you will join us.

 

 

 

Jessica Scarpelli woke early the morning of
her wedding day. She rolled over onto her stomach in the big bed
with the crisp white sheets and closed her eyes, luxuriating for
one long moment in the quiet serenity of the lovely, historic
hotel, and the peace of the dawn hours.

That peacefulness couldn't last, though–
however much she tried to hold onto it. Life
would
intrude.
As her mind came fully awake, so too did her nerves.

It wasn't a matter of cold feet. She wasn't
anxious about marriage. She had no qualms whatsoever about her
relationship with Ed.

No – it was the day. The event. The ceremony
and its accompanying hoopla. Her battle with shyness was an ongoing
thing, and today she would have so many eyes on her.

But, she reminded herself, she'd have Ed
beside her all through it. And with that, she could handle pretty
much anything.

There was so much power in the knowledge of
that! So much strength. She was so lucky in Ed. So lucky, period.
Her good fortune stunned her sometimes.

There was no skill to finding somebody you
matched with the way she matched with Ed. You couldn't make
something like that happen. Maybe you had some degree of control,
in choosing not to throw yourself away on somebody
less
. But
just because you knew your own value, and knew what you wanted in a
mate – that didn't mean that person would materialize. That was
where the luck part came in. Chance. Fate, maybe.

She hadn't really believed in fate until
she'd met Ed.

Yes, she was fortunate, and she knew it.

And that's what today would be about, she
decided: gratitude. Whenever she got nervous or stressed in any
way, she would remember to be grateful. She would remember that
this was only one day – and her life with Ed was forever.

The door of her hotel room, creaking quietly,
had her opening one eye. She glanced at Megan's bed – and realized
for the first time that it hadn't been slept in.

She opened the other eye and sat up straight.
“Are you just getting in now?”

Her maid of honor jumped a little. “Yes.” She
made a face at the shoes in her hand and, realizing she was still
on tiptoe, lowered herself to the floor. “Sorry. I was trying to be
quiet.”

“You didn't wake me. I was already up.”
Jessica shoved the hair back from her eyes – the better to take in
her cousin – and best friend's – appearance.

Disheveled, rumpled, grumpy. Hmm.

“What did you do last night?”

Megan turned away to dig in her suitcase.
“Took you out for a bachelorette night. Don't tell me you don't
remember. If you're hungover for today, you're in trouble.”

“Ha ha. You know I'm not hungover. I only had
two glasses of champagne.” She paused. “Seriously, Meg. You went to
drop off my note for Ed...”

“I did that.” Megan turned around with a
grin. “Whatever you said in there gave him a pretty big smile.”

Jessica laughed. “Thanks for being the
delivery service.”

“No problem.”

Jessica waited. And then prompted: “So, you
went to Ed's room. Then what?”

“Then, nothing. I hung out there for a while.
Had some beer with those guys.”

“'Those guys' being Ed and Liam?”

“And Sam and Josh. Noah. Rob. Autumn was
there for a while, then her mom called about Miranda, so she
left.”

“Rob stayed without her?”

“Yeah.”

Jessica hesitated. “Have you gotten the
impression something's going on there? With him and Autumn?”

“Yeah.”

“I think so, too. She hasn't said anything to
me about it.”

“Well, she's hardly going to discuss her
marital problems with the bride-to-be.”

“That's true, I guess.”

“But she hasn't talked to me either.”

Jessica sighed. “Maybe we should...” She
broke off in surprise as Megan lifted a hand. “What?”

“Just stop right there.”

“Stop what?”

“I know it's hard for you, Jessie. But I want
you to take one day,
one
, to think about yourself. This is
your wedding day! You shouldn't be worrying about Autumn, or
anybody.”

Jessica smiled. “That includes you?”

“That definitely includes me.” Megan turned
back to her suitcase. “There's nothing to worry about with me
anyway. I'm good.” She turned back around with a smile.

A smile just a shade too bright, Jessica
thought. “So...what about last night?”

“What about it?”

“You fell asleep in Ed and Liam's room?”

“No. I went out.” Megan turned back to her
suitcase.

Jessica waited. And waited some more.
“Where'd you go?” she said, finally.

“There was this band Liam wanted to check
out. I went with him to see them. With him and Josh.”

“Were they any good?”

“Yeah. Liam knew them from way back. I'd
actually met them before, too – once when I was out with him in
London.” She straightened, thinking. “Maybe it was in Manchester. I
don't know. It doesn't matter.” She resumed rooting in her
suitcase.

“So?”

“So, what?”

Jessica managed not to audibly sigh. “So,
what happened after the show?”

“We hung around with them for a while. The
guys in the band. Went to a bar.” Megan turned around, studying her
manicure with great attention. “Josh took off when the bar closed.
I went to another bar with Colin and Andrew – two of the band
members.”

“What about Liam?”

“I have no idea what he did. He didn't come
with us.” She stretched a little, rolled her neck, her arms full of
her bath paraphernalia.

“Where'd you sleep? Or did you sleep?”

“I crashed on the couch of this tiny place
they're renting.” She grimaced a little. “I think it was clean
enough. But I'm looking forward to the shower, I have to say.”

And there was more to this story. Jessica
would have put money on it.

Megan read her mind and made a face at her.
“That's the whole exciting night, Jess. At least the music was
pretty good.” She paused. “Do you need the bathroom before I jump
in there?”

“Jump away.”

Jessica watched her make her retreat.

For retreat it certainly was. There were
undercurrents going on with Megan that she just couldn't decipher.
She'd seen it ever since they'd come together for the wedding.

She and her mom had met with Jessica and
her
mom, and Autumn, at Autumn's parents' house upstate for
a few days of shopping and pre-wedding pampering, prior to coming
into the city two days ago. The moms were sisters, and the
daughters had grown up as close as sisters. They hadn't all been
together like this since Autumn's wedding six years ago, and the
plan was to make the most of every minute.

Jessica, for one, had been more than ready
for some pampering. She'd been stressing out. Not about the wedding
itself so much – though the thought of being at the center of such
a splashy affair intimidated her more than a little bit. No, her
stress pretty much began and ended with her mother. Willa Scarpelli
didn't deal with her ex-husband, Jessica's dad, very well at the
best of times. And the wedding of their only child, an occasion
wherein his wife couldn't be excluded, did not qualify as the best
of times.

She'd felt selfish about it, Jessica had –
but she was near to kissing the feet of her aunts at the mere
prospect of their taking her mother, and her mother's stresses and
gripes, off her hands for a few days. She loved her mother very
much...but after months of wedding planning, she really needed a
rest.

And it had been a great couple of days, it
really had – though not as carefree as Jessica had envisioned. Aunt
Patricia and Aunt Grace had been pretty relaxed – and even Willa
had unwound a little in her sisters' company. But Autumn and Megan
hadn't been able to match their mothers' ease.

Autumn had arrived tense, and any relaxation
that accumulated through a day with her relatives evaporated with
each nightly phone call home. She didn't go so far as to say
everything was fine – but she glossed over her home life so
breezily, it was impossible to ferret any details without asking
outright. And Jessica had hesitated to pry so pointedly. But
something clearly wasn't right.

Megan had hardly been less worrisome than
Autumn. She'd been chipper enough when she'd arrived, but her
spirits had soured progressively as the days passed. In the
inveterately cheerful Megan, this kind of moodiness was
particularly striking – and perplexing to Jessica. She'd known
Megan long and well. In her experience, it took a very particular
event to put her cousin out of sorts.

Or a particular person.

And there was the rest of the issue. Whatever
was bugging Megan had something to do with Ed's brother, Liam,
Jessica was almost positive. What she couldn't figure out was
what
. Liam and Megan had been pretty tight in the six months
Megan had spent living abroad with Jessica – when Jessica and Ed
had been solidifying their relationship.

At least, Jessica had thought so. Granted,
she'd been pretty wrapped up in Ed in those months. But still – she
had eyes. She wasn't imagining the fact that Meg and Liam had spent
nearly all their free time together, that they laughed constantly,
that they had been, apparently, good friends. Very, very good
friends.

It had never been more than friendship
between them – so they'd both said. And, as Jessica couldn't see
why they'd possibly lie about it, she'd always taken them at their
word. But it occurred to her now that they hadn't kept in touch, to
her knowledge – despite the volume of time they'd spent together
before. Despite a friendship that had seemed to run pretty
deep.

That was kind of odd.

And Megan had cried on the plane trip home,
she remembered. She'd forgotten that until now. Meg had blamed her
emotions on a headache and a hangover – but even at the time, that
hadn't seemed like the whole truth. And now...?

Something wasn't adding up.

Megan came out of the bathroom. “Forgot my
shampoo.”

Should she ask her about it again? Jessica
pondered it, as Megan dug around in her suitcase again. They didn't
really have time, she supposed. Still...

A tap on the door decided the issue.

Megan opened it – and had an instant armful
of flower girl.

Jessica jumped out of bed. “Randi, you look
beautiful!”

“I have leaves in my hair!” said the
three-year-old, running to her.

“You sure do.” The wreath of fall leaves
looked beautiful in Miranda's golden curls. And the burnished
yellow of the flower girl gown suited her coloring, bringing out
the rose in her cheeks and the bright green of her eyes. She looked
like a picture.

“Mommy's dress is pumpkin-colored,” Miranda
announced, twisting to eye Autumn.

Jessica followed her gaze. “Oh, Autumn. You
look fabulous.” She really did. Perpetually polished and perfect,
naturally elegant, with the statuesque features of a high fashion
model, formal wear on her cousin was a stunning thing.

“Thanks.”

"How are you ready this early?" Megan
demanded.

"
You
try keeping a three-year-old in
bed on a big day like this. And then once we were up, I figured we
might as well get ready and come over." Autumn was peering around
Jessica as she spoke. “Randi, don't get into that. That's Jessie's
stuff.”

BOOK: City Wedding
6.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Breakaway by Deirdre Martin
Lord Of Dragons (Book 2) by John Forrester
Passion Untamed by Pamela Palmer
A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
Completing the Pass by Jeanette Murray
B00CACT6TM EBOK by Florand, Laura
The Sword by Jean Johnson
His Other Lover by Lucy Dawson