“I know Paige and Scott plan to head home on Sunday, so I’ll see if your sister is available for brunch before they leave and get back to you. This morning you said you wanted to talk to me about something. What is it?” her mom asked.
Moistening her lips, Courtney prepared herself for whatever reaction she might receive. “I’m engaged. Actually, Josh and I have been since last month.” Somehow saying the words was easier this time around.
“Engaged? Josh who? And why haven’t your father and I met him?”
She’d assumed her mom never saw the pictures from Hawaii. Her statement seemed to confirm that fact. Either that, or Mom didn’t know J.T. was a stage name.
The first answer was on the tip of her tongue, but before she could speak, Marilyn continued.
“Engaged since last month and you’re only telling me now? I didn’t even know you were dating anyone.”
“We’ve been together since the summer. I wanted to keep our relationship out of the spotlight for as long as possible, so we didn’t tell anyone. If I hadn’t been sick on Christmas, I would have brought him by.”
She’d woken up Christmas morning with her throat on fire and a fever of 102. It’d been the first Christmas she hadn’t seen her parents. Still not 100 percent, she’d opted to skip the family’s New Year’s Eve party in Newport. At the time she’d cursed her bad luck. Now, the fact she’d been sick helped sell the story.
“Do I know him?”
“You’ve met his brother, Evan Williamson. He participated in the bachelor auction. And you’ve probably seen Josh in movies. He goes by J.T. Williamson.”
Recognition spread across Marilyn’s face. “The actor from Over The Edge?”
Did she have to make the word actor sound so distasteful?
“Doesn’t he have a reputation of being, well... you know, a player?”
They might be in a fake relationship, but she still felt the need to defend Josh. “We both know people can change, Mom. I know you love Trent, but even you have to admit his reputation was just as bad before he met Addie. Jake wasn’t a saint either.”
“You’re right,” her mom conceded, folding her hands in her lap. “Still, it would have been nice if your father and I met him before he proposed. Since your brother will be here, let us plan to get together this weekend even if your sister can’t come so we can meet him.”
She hated canceling on Addie, but the sooner she made the introduction and soothed her mom’s hurt feelings the better. Courtney knew Addie would understand. “I’ll reschedule with Addie and Trent. Josh and I will be by on Saturday night.”
“Perfect. Hopefully, your sister can make it too.” Mom picked up the coffee she’d carried over with her but hadn’t touched since sitting down. “Have you discussed a wedding date? Personally, I think a summer or spring wedding would be better. Less chance of the weather causing problems.”
And now came perhaps the worst part of the conversation. “February 1. I plan to ask Uncle Mark to perform the ceremony.”
“Winter weddings can be beautiful too. Next February gives us more than a year to plan. And by then the election will be over, so it’ll be more likely that Warren and Elizabeth can attend.”
As much as she’d love her uncle Warren and aunt Elizabeth to be at the wedding, even if he wasn’t in the middle of campaigning, the chances of him making it on such short notice were slim.
“We’ll want to start looking for a dress soon. Do you think you’ll have the wedding and reception at Cliff House?”
More than one of her cousins had used the family mansion, which currently belonged to her uncle Warren, in Newport for their weddings. Honestly though, she hadn’t spent a single moment thinking about the where yet. She’d been far too busy concentrating on the conversation she was currently having. Tonight she’d bring up the matter with Josh.
“Mom, we’re getting married this February, not next year.”
The cup hit the table with a thud and some coffee sloshed over the side. “Are you pregnant?”
If she said yes, it might help her mom accept the short engagement. In a few months though, when it became obvious she wasn’t expecting, she’d have a much bigger issue on her hands. “No.”
“Then what’s the rush? It takes at least six months to plan a decent wedding.”
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