“Lots of things are going on with Lily,” he replied, “but not what you’re implying. She’s fine. She’s just not interested in the details.”
Natalie swung her dark ponytail over her shoulder, her nose wrinkling. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, she told me this is my show and I’m to plan it however I see fit. So here I am,” he added, holding out his arms.
He watched Natalie try to process the news. Apparently Lily hadn’t given her a heads-up, but why would she? He doubted Lily knew about their encounter at the engagement party. She wasn’t the kind of girl to give much thought to how her choices would affect other people.
“I know this is an unusual arrangement, but Lily is an unusual woman, as you know.”
That seemed to snap Natalie out of her fog. She nodded curtly and extended her arm. “Of course. Come this way to my office and we can discuss the details.”
Colin followed behind her, appreciating the snug fit of her pants over the curve of her hips and rear. She was wearing a pair of low heels that gave just enough lift to flatter her figure. It was a shame she walked in such a stiff, robotic way. He wouldn’t mind seeing those hips sway a little bit, but he knew Natalie was too uptight for that. She’d always been a sharp contrast to his free-spirited sister—no-nonsense, practical, serious. She walked like she was marching into battle, even if it was a simple trip down the hallway.
After their encounter at the engagement party, he’d started to wonder if there was a more relaxed, sensual side to her that he hadn’t had the pleasure of knowing about. He could only imagine what she could be like if she took down that tight ponytail, had a glass of wine and relaxed for once.
He got the feeling he would know all about that if he’d accepted her offer at the party. Unfortunately, his rocky on-again, off-again relationship with Rachel had been on that night. As much as he might have wanted to spend private time with Natalie, he couldn’t. Colin was not the kind of man who cheated, even on a rocky relationship. Especially after what had happened with Pam.
After realizing how much more he was attracted to Natalie than the woman he was dating, he’d broken it off with Rachel for good. He was hopeful that now that he was a free man, he might get a second chance with Natalie. So far the reception was cold, but he hoped she’d thaw to his charms in time.
He followed her into her office and took a seat in the guest chair. Her office was pleasantly decorated, but extremely tidy and organized. He could tell every knickknack had its place, every file had a home.
“Can I get you something to drink? We have bottled water, some sparkling juices and ginger ale.”
That was an unexpected option. “Why do you have ginger ale?”
“Sometimes the bride’s father gets a little queasy when he sees the estimate.”
Colin laughed. “Water would be great. I’m not that worried about the bill.”
Natalie got up, pulling two bottles of water out of the small stainless steel refrigerator tucked into her built-in bookshelves. “On that topic, what number makes you comfortable in terms of budget for the wedding?” she asked as she handed him a bottle.
Colin’s fingers brushed over hers as he took the bottle from her hand. There was a spark as they touched, making his skin prickle with pins and needles as he pulled away. He clutched the icy cold water in his hand to dull the sensation and tried to focus on the conversation, instead of his reaction to a simple touch. “Like I said, I’m not that worried about it. My landscaping company has become extremely successful, and I want this to be an event that my parents would’ve thrown for Lily if they were alive. I don’t think we need ridiculous extras like ice bars with martini luges, but in terms of food and decor, I’m all in. A pretty room, pretty flowers, good food, cake, music. The basics.”
Natalie had hovered near her chair after handing him the water, making him wonder if she’d been affected by their touch, too. After listening to him, she nodded curtly and sat down. She reached for her tablet and started making careful notes. “How many guests are you anticipating? Lily provided me a list of emails, but we weren’t sure of the final total.”
“Probably about a hundred and fifty people. We’ve got a lot of family and friends of my parents that would attend, but Frankie doesn’t have many people nearby.”
He watched her tap rapidly at her screen. “When I spoke with Lily, I suggested a winter wonderland theme and she seemed to like that. Is that agreeable?”