SecondBy: Chantal Fernando
To the FMR Book Grind team:
Thank you so much for everything you do for me! I appreciate each and every one of you so much. And Rose—you know you’re stuck with me forever, right? Love you.
A big thank you to Arijana Karcic at Cover It! Designs for your amazing talent and friendship. I kind of love you. You’re seriously the best.
To Rose Tawil—Thank you so much for everything. I wouldn’t be able to function without you! You are one of the best souls I’ve ever come across.
My beta readers Leeann Wright and Kara Brown—thank you so much for your help. I appreciate you both!
Hot Tree Editing—Thank you for being so wonderful to work with.
To my bestie Natalie Ram—Thank you for being the ultimate proof reader, and helping me whenever I need it, even though you’re super busy being your own girl boss. Love you, Mami.
To my family—my parents, my sisters and my sons—I love you all.
To my readers—I hope you love this book as much as I did writing it.
“One's first love is always perfect until one meets one's second love”
I glance around the reception, smiling and hugging everyone who comes near me. While I never expected to get married so young, and to my first boyfriend, I don’t think I could be happier.
“You look beautiful, Sabina,” Dean says as he approaches, green eyes soft on me.
“Thank you, Dean,” I say, smiling and touching his forearm. I feel beautiful in my lace gown, as every bride should on her wedding. “You were amazing up there.”
I look to the stage where he’d just performed, singing on my special day. He just got signed, and is about to make it big. I know it. I feel it in my gut. Dean’s talent is something else, and he deserves to be up amongst the big names in the industry. I asked him to sing John Legend “All of me” and the way he sung it was amazing, filled with so much emotion.
He smiles, but it doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Is everything okay?” I ask him, watching as he brings his glass to his lips and takes a sip.
“Yeah,” he says softly. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
I glance over at my group of bridesmaids, all sitting together at a table. “I think they’re all hoping you take one of them home tonight.”
He glances at them, suddenly looking extremely uncomfortable, then downs the rest of his glass. “Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
“Saving it for the celebrities, hey?” I tease, playfully nudging him with my elbow. Dean was known in high school for being a bit of a ladies man, and I never let him live it down. “I’m going to miss you, you know.”
“I’ll miss you too, Sabina,” he says, ducking his head. He looks into his empty glass.
“Do you want a refill? I think I’m going to have a drink, too.”
He lifts his head. “What do you want? I’ll go and get it for you.”
I smile and say, “A vodka orange, please.”
His lip twitches. “No champagne?”
“I’m not fancy,” I tell him, making him laugh.
“I’ll be right back,” he says, heading for the bar.
I glance across the room at Ben, who is dancing with his mother. They always say that the way a man treats his mum is how he’ll treat you, and if that’s true, I think I’m going to be a lucky woman indeed.
Dean returns to my side and hands me my glass. “Thanks.”
“Since the groom is occupied,” he says, offering me his hand. “Would you like to dance with me?”
I take a mouthful of vodka then put my glass down on the table, offering him my hand. “I’d love to.”
He grins and does the same, putting his drink down then taking my hand and leading me to the dance floor. As we move slowly to the music, I ask, “So when do you leave?”
“Next week,” he rumbles, clearing his throat. “How is uni going?”
I’m about to reply when Ben cuts in, smiling at his cousin and slapping him on the shoulder. Dean congratulates him, glancing at me once more before reclaiming his drink and heading back to the bar.
“Hello, husband,” I say to Ben, smiling widely.
“Wife,” he says, kissing my lips softly. “I can’t wait to rip this dress off you.”
I smirk at him. “Don’t think I’m easy now just because we’re married.”
Ben throws his head back and laughs. “I won’t make that mistake, Bina.”
We dance to two songs, then I head to the bar for another drink, since mine seemed to have gone missing.
Dean is still there, now doing shots.