Husband Rollover (Husband Series Book 4)(6)By: Louise Cusack
She pulled back and I had my first up-close look at her gorgeous golden bridal sari with its tiny baby bump at the front. Her mother had shooed us away in the morning when we’d wanted to help her prepare, and seeing as it was the last time the bossy old Mumbai hen would have her little chick under her wing, we’d begrudgingly agreed.
“So,” Angela said, pointing at my new sleek ponytail and smoky eyes. “A change of plan?”
I shrugged. “Hair malfunction. Rosie helped me.”
“I like it,” she said and nodded, looking from me to Jill to Louella. “You all look so sexy.”
“And you don’t?” Jill cut in.
Angela held out her arms. “Group hug.”
The three of us stepped in, and Louella, in her Grecian pale-pink satin gown didn’t falter as I hugged her close. I was still getting used to the fact that her personal space was no longer a no-go zone. Falling for Nicholas had changed her so much. The bristly Miss Missionary Position—as Jill used to call her—had morphed from ice queen to blond bombshell almost overnight.
She still listened more than she spoke—unlike me—but happiness had softened her in so many ways I couldn’t count them. Nicholas suited her very well, and I struggled not to be envious of that.
“So,” Angela said and kissed each of our foreheads in turn while she had us in a hug. “This is the last time I’ll see you guys for a while…”
We pulled back but held hands, a circle of friendship that went back twenty years.
“…I’ve finished the latest album so I’ll be staying at the farm now until the baby is born.” Her eyes were damp and shiny with love. “And I’ll miss you so much, but I need to make this new family I’m in solid.”
Jack had adopted his little nieces when his sister had died and they were as cute as pigtailed puppies, but they were also work, and Angela wasn’t the sort to hire a nanny. She’d waited all her life to be a mother, so it was completely understandable that she’d want to focus on that.
“We’ll visit,” Louella said, and glanced at Jill and I.
“Of course!” We spoke over each other and then laughed. It felt so good. Inside this circle was all the love in the world. More love than I could ever need. I felt like an idiot for my loneliness while I’d been watching them dance. They’d never let me be Nigel No-Friends. So even if I turned into Crazy Old Aunt Fritha who visited and taught their kids bad habits, I’d always be welcome in their lives, and that meant so much.
In fact, if it wasn’t for the whole empty-bed melancholy that came over me from time to time—prompting ill-advised one night stands—I’d be crazy happy.
Or at least that’s what I told myself.
“So let’s stay in touch online,” Angela ordered, pretending to be bossy when she was the marshmallow of the group. Then she tuned on Jill. “I want to hear pregnancy news from you Mrs. Walters as soon as you fall.”
Jill turned on Louella, “And we want a post-wedding celebration with you and Mr. Tattoo,” she demanded, “If you’re still going to elope.”
Louella raised a perfect blond eyebrow. “Let me think.” She let us go and hefted both hands as if weighing something in each palm. “Elope to Maui with Nicholas, or stage a wedding for my parents which will end up being not good enough no matter what I do.”
We laughed and I said, “Well when you put it that way, I vote for eloping over demanding parents. Having Angela’s and Jack’s mothers in the same room has done my head in.”
Angela shook her head ruefully, frowning under her glorious Indian bridal head-jewelry. “I don’t know what’s worse. My mother’s Country Woman’s Association one-upmanship, or Mrs. Davenworth’s patronizing comments about grandchildren of color.”
Jill’s hand fell out of mine as her mouth dropped open. Immediately she snapped it shut to say, “She didn’t!” As if she was preparing to march out there and give Jack’s mother a piece of her mind.
“She’s right,” Angela said simply. “My parents are from Mumbai. Jack’s ancestors are from England.” She shrugged. “Daisy and Charlotte are blond, and their new sibling will be brown. But there’s nothing I can do about that.”