“All I did was say the truth.” A few tabloids and magazines reached out to me after the fashion show to ask me about it.
I was more than happy to give those comments. Birdie has worked hard to get where she is. From the start, she was a bit of the black sheep of the Williams family. But she didn’t let that stop her. She pushed forward and showed all of them that she meant business.
“I appreciate it. Did you have something in mind for the wedding? A certain style, cut, length?” She flips open her notebook as we enter the kitchen.
“What’s this one?” I lean over to see the drawing.
“I actually might have been thinking about you when I was drafting this one. You have the best legs and hips. A mermaid style dress with a slit would be stunning on you.”
“The wedding is this weekend. Do you think it’s too late to have something made from scratch?”
“It’s not too late at all. I have everything I need. My honey built me my own workshop here and filled it with anything I could ever need. These Justice men don’t care much for leaving the ranch.”
Calder sets down a couple of teacups for us. I fight a laugh at seeing him making the two of us tea. It’s sweet. I’m starting to see when the Justice men fall for a girl they’ll do anything for them.
“Does it bother you being out here?” I ask. Birdie has always been a city girl. So I’m curious to see how she’s adapting to living on the ranch.
“No, I mean I have to go into the city sometimes. Calder got us a place, but I enjoy it out here. It’s nice to get away. Being a socialite wasn’t my dream.”
“I know,” I say in understanding. “You’re about your art.”
Birdie’s whole face lights up. “You get it.”
“Of course I do.”
“It’s going to be so nice having another girl around here.” She spoons some sugar into her cup.
“I’m only visiting,” I rush to say. I don’t want her to get her hopes up. I pick up my own cup to take a sip.
“Sure you are. I was only visiting too.” She smiles behind her cup. “Now I’m knocked up and getting married.” I cough, choking on my drink.
“That’s still a bit new.”
“Your secret is safe with me,” I promise.
I chew on my bottom lip, wondering if I could be pregnant. Some people get pregnant on the first try. A whirl of emotion rolls through me.
I know if I got pregnant then Tucker and I would be a sure thing. Honestly, I’m still fighting my feelings on it all. He ignored me for years. I don’t understand what changed. What if I hadn't told him that night I was thinking about having a baby? Would he have walked right out of my life again? He’d done it so easily the first time. I hate that.
“Cam!” My name echoes through the house.
“You gave Tucker the slip, didn’t you?” Birdie giggles.
“Maybe,” I admit.
Tucker comes storming through the house, calling my name. I knew what I was doing when I slipped out. Tucker Justice ran from me all those years ago. Now I find myself running from him. I have a need to know if he’ll truly chase.
I hate it here. I tug at the collar of my black shirt. The castle is big and drafty, and I shouldn’t feel claustrophobic but there are so many fucking people in this space, I find it hard to breathe.
“Sir, can I get you another beverage?” A waiter queries.
I give him a tight nod. He refills my glass about an inch. “To the top,” I order. I swallow half the glass before he takes a step away, and without asking, he fills me up again. “Don’t go too far.”
“I’ll bring you a bottle,” he suggests.
“Good call.” At least the staff is well trained. I tug at my collar again.
Italy is beautiful, Lake Como especially so. There’s mountains on the one side, the blue ocean on the other. Pictures don’t do this place justice. There’s not a hint of steer or hay or dirt in the air. It smells fresh and rich. It’s not that I don’t have the money to stand with this crowd. Hell, the Justices could buy and sell the majority of this crowd a dozen times and not even see a dip in the balance sheet. In my black wool Armani suit and my bespoke Ferragamo shoes, I fit in with the rest of the penguins in their black ties and white shirts, but I still feel naked. I don’t know that if I had my Stetson on I’d feel better.
Cam keeps sneaking peaks at me in between chatting up old acquaintances and meeting new ones. I’m trying not to look like I’m standing in front of a firing squad, but I don’t know how well I’m pulling it off. By the two frown lines forming between her pretty eyes, I’m thinking not well.