Colin grinned wide. “Were you, now?”
“Oh yes.” And she wouldn’t mind letting those old fantasies run wild for a night. “You know, the party is starting to wind down. Would you be interested in getting out of here and finding someplace quiet where we could talk and catch up?”
Natalie said the words casually, but her body language read anything but. She watched as Colin swallowed hard, the muscles in his throat working up and down as he considered her offer. It was bold, and she knew it, but she might not have another chance to get a taste of Colin Russell.
“I’d love to catch up, Natalie, but unfortunately I can’t.”
Natalie took a big sip of her wine, finishing her glass, and nodded, trying to cover the painful flinch at his rejection. Suddenly she was sixteen again and felt just as unworthy of Colin’s attentions as ever. Whatever.
“Well, that’s a shame. I’ll see you around then,” she said, shrugging it off as though it was nothing but a casual offer. Turning on her heel with a sly smile, she made her way through the crowd and fled the party before she had to face any more embarrassment.
Putting together a decent wedding in a month was nearly impossible, even with someone as capable as Natalie handling things. Certain things took time, like printing invitations, ordering wedding dresses, coordinating with vendors... Fortunately at From This Moment wedding chapel, she and her co-owners and friends handled most of the work.
“Thank you for squeezing this last wedding in,” Natalie said as they sat around the conference room table at their Monday morning staff meeting. “I know you all would much rather be starting your holiday celebrations.”
“It’s fine,” Bree Harper, the photographer, insisted. “Ian and I aren’t leaving for Aspen until the following week.”
“It gives me something to do until Julian can fly back from Hollywood,” Gretchen McAlister added. “We’re driving up to Louisville to spend the holidays with his family, and working another wedding will keep me from worrying about the trip.”
“You’ve already met his family, Gretchen. Why are you nervous?”
“Because this time I’m his fiancée,” Gretchen said, looking down in amazement at the ring he’d just given to her last week.
Natalie tried not to notice that all of her formerly single friends were now paired off. Gretchen and Bree were engaged. Amelia was married and pregnant. At one time, they had all been able to commiserate about their singleness, but now, it was just Natalie who went home alone each night. And she was okay with that. She anticipated a lifetime of going home alone. It’s just that the status quo had changed so quickly for them all. The past year had been a whirlwind of romance for the ladies at From This Moment.
As far as Natalie was concerned, every couple who walked through the door was doomed. The least she could do was give them a wedding to remember. She’d do her best to orchestrate a perfect day they could look back on. It was all downhill from there, anyway.
“I’ll have the digital invitations ready by tomorrow. Do you have the list of email addresses for me to send them out?” Gretchen asked.
Natalie snapped out of her thoughts and looked down at her tablet. “Yes, I have the list here.” Normally, e-invites were out of the question for a formal wedding, but there just wasn’t time to get paper ones designed, printed, addressed, mailed and gather RSVPs in a month’s time.
“We’re doing a winter wonderland theme, you said?” Amelia asked.
“That’s what Lily mentioned. She was pretty vague about the whole thing. I’ve got an appointment with them on the calendar for this afternoon, so we’ll start firming everything up then. Bree, you’re doing engagement photos on Friday morning, right?”
“Yep,” Bree said. “They wanted to take their shots at the groom’s motorcycle shop downtown.”
Natalie had known Lily a long time, but her choice in a future husband was a surprise even to her. Frankie owned a custom motorcycle shop. He was a flannel-wearing, bushy-bearded, tattooed hipster who looked more like a biker raised by lumberjacks than a successful businessman. Definitely not who Natalie would have picked for her best friend, and she was pretty sure he was not who Colin would’ve picked for Lily, either.