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Once Upon A Half-Time 2(8)

By´╝ÜSosie Frost

I sensed the mistake before Bryce made it. He peeked at the invitations and tried to be helpful.

Rookie mistake.

“I don’t mind the indigo,” he said.

I patted his shoulder. It was good knowing him.

“Are you insane?” Lindsey shoved the paper into his chest. “Indigo? This is probably the gloomiest, most depressing, most hideously obscene invitation I’ve ever seen! This isn’t a Jane Austen romantic fairytale, this is like…Edgar Allan Poe’s wetdream!”

He didn’t know when to quit. “I…think it’s a nice color.”

“It doesn’t match anything we’ve done with the decorations—which you would know if you spent even one second caring about the most important day of our lives.”

“I do care—”

“You absolutely do not. I’m doing all this planning by myself, and now you want me to change the colors.” Lindsey pointed at Mandy. “And you. You love this, don’t you?”

Mandy guzzled her ginger ale, but she spat half of it back into her glass. “What did I do?”

“You always hated the ivory!”

“That’s not true. I thought the cream might make more of a contrast—”

“Why can’t you be happy for me?”

Sandra soothed her daughter. “There, there. Mandy knows she has to try harder. We’ll sort it out.”

“I don’t want to have a purple wedding and look like a grape!”

Bryce cleared his throat. “Indigo isn’t really purple—”

I elbowed him. He got the hint, taking Lindsey into his arms before she called off the damn party.

“We’ll fix it,” he said.

“There’s no time!” Her nails turned into claws, nearly shredding the groom. “We won’t have time, and we’ll never get the invitations out, and no one will come to the wedding, and we’ll be all alone, and I haven’t even finished doing my registry yet!”

Mandy’s eye twitched with every word. Poor thing needed a little more help.

I smirked. She didn’t trust it. I didn’t blame her, but I wasn’t letting my two friends stay miserable. Someone had to prevent Lindsey from stroking out—or worse, forcing her mother to disown Mandy.

“Tell you what, Linds,” I said. “I’ll get the other groomsmen here to try on their tuxes while Mandy re-does your ivory invitations in Photoshop.”

“While I do what?” Mandy squeaked.

Wasn’t sure what I liked more—the warmth of her touch or the burn of her stare.

“Sure,” I said. “We’ll double-check the design, run them down to a Kinkos, and we’ll order a pizza for everyone. We’ll get the groomsmen to help stuff the envelopes tonight, address them ourselves, and send them out tomorrow.”

Lindsey peeked over Bryce’s shoulder. “You mean it?”

I winked at Mandy, prepared to duck away from any wayward can of soda she decided to pitch at my head.

“Okay.” Mandy surrendered. “I can simplify the design a bit and we can add the tissue paper and rsvp cards ourselves.”

“And…and the bows on top?” Lindsey asked.

“We’ll hot glue them on, but that means a stop at the craft store, and it might take a lot longer—”

“Fantastic!” Lindsey fanned the tears from her eyes. “Oh, you guys…what would I do without you?”

She grabbed her sister and squeezed her tight. Mandy softened. Unfortunately, Lindsey’s voice hardened, and the hug shifted into a thinly veiled headlock.

“But I want two pieces of tissue paper, in ivory. And I want card stock, not regular paper. And I need gold envelopes. If I don’t get gold envelopes, I’m going to—”

“We’ll get them.” Mandy glanced at me, probably to gauge the distance between her hands and my throat. “Promise.”

“Good.” Sandra hugged Lindsey. “See, this family always pulls together.”

Lindsey smiled. So did Mandy.

Sandra frowned at her daughter.

“You ought to be thankful, Amanda.” She pulled Lindsey from the kitchen under the pretense of checking on the guest list. “I never had a family to bail me out of my mistakes.”

Mandy had the patience of a saint.

She also had the lips of an angel, the hips of a dancer, and the ass of a goddess.

I pissed her off, but Mandy couldn’t hold a grudge for long. She grumbled and opened her laptop at the table to work on the invitations.

Once Bryce freed himself from Lindsey’s clutches and returned to a shade of his former personality. I followed him upstairs. He shoved a tux in my arms and pointed to the guest room.