XI. I Love that Man
One day after another and then, it was the wedding day.
I stared at the mirror while the people around me scattered around. Some were doing makeup while others did hairs. Matt hired a handful of stylists.
The man pats on the blush while the woman curls my hair.
“This is crazy,” Amanda peered out the window, “I think there are more workers than guests.”
“Well, it is a private wedding,” Sarah said. “A billionaire's private wedding.” She stared at the woman who slipped on her heels. “I’m not used to this at all. This is making me feel uncomfortable.”
Sarah is talking about the number of workers at our beck and call.
“You look comfortable,” Sarah said.
I turn to my right, “Me?”
I shrug in response.
“Where’s Nina?” Amanda question. She’s making sure Sarah doesn’t accidentally step on toes like she did at the party where Nina asks us to be her bridesmaids.
Amanda probably has a good idea of why I’m not uncomfortable with the number of workers serving us.
Her guess isn’t wrong.
I did spend the summer inside a mansion.
“She’s in a separate room,” Stephanie said. “Some guy says there isn’t enough room in here for her and the workers or something.”
Amanda and Sarah looked around the large room. “There isn’t enough room in here to get married? This room is bigger than my house.”
I raise a finger, “I second that.” I waved the stylists away and stood up. When I noticed some gazes, I looked around. “What?”
“You’re-” Sarah decided not to finish the sentence, “Where are you going?” She wants to say something else but decided not to say it.
“I am going to see how huge the other room is and maybe steal some makeup from that room too.”
“Too?” Amanda question.
The makeup stylists look at his bag.
I pat his arm, “Send the bill to my brother-in-law.”
“Piper!” Amanda screamed.
“I’m kidding!” I exhale, “There are no pockets on this dress to hide anything.” I waved at everyone then walked out the door.
After a few steps, I realized I forgot my phone. I turned back and reached for the knob.
“Do you think there may be something between Piper and Jack before she got together with Emerson?” That’s Stephanie’s voice.
“Of course,” Amanda replied. “I mean, Piper did spend a summer with Jack. I doubt nothing happened.”
“You know-” Sarah said, “I’ve always wondered why Piper picked Emerson over Jack. It’s obvious that he has some feelings for her.”
“Emerson is nice,” Amanda said.
“Jack is also nice,” Stephanie replied.
“I mean, they’re both nice,” Sarah said. “But, there has to be a reason why Piper picked Emerson instead of Jack.”
“I don’t know,” Amanda said. “Piper is pretty lip tight about it.” She stood up straight, “Just don’t talk about this around her. There’s a reason why she doesn’t like talking about Jack and what happened in New York. So, let it go. Okay?”
I took a step back and walked away.
Because that was it.
I don’t want to confront them and possibly be forced into a corner. If I go inside now, the atmosphere will take a sour turn. It will become strained and ultimately awkward.
I held up the side of the dress and took one step after another. “Where could her room be?” I grumbled.
I open the door.
I look up, “Is this your way of telling me that my life sucks or something because I’ll tell you right now. My husband is afraid of me, and you should too!” I held a fist against the sky.
“Mommy!” Crystal scattered her legs throughout the floor. She stopped in front of me and twirled her beautiful blue dress. “Am I pretty or what?” She tilts her head forward so I can see the tiara.
“Where did you get that tiara?” I ask. I want to squat down to get a closer look, but my stomach won’t allow me. But, with my keen eyes, I can tell it’s not fake.
She bashed her eyelashes, “Am I pretty or what?”
“Or what,” I responded. Crystal frowned. “Now, where did you get that tiara?”
“Auntie Nina’s dressing room!”
“And why is it on your head?”
“Because I put it on my head. Duh.”
I grabbed her cheek and pulled it outward. She is getting sassier by the day.
“Ow! Ow! I read about this! Child amusement!”
“I will not repeat my question Crystal Lynn Lun.”
“Okay! Okay!” She held up both hands, and I released her. “Auntie Nina got like ten of them.”
“She has one head!”
“I’m happy you know math. Now march back to your aunt’s room and give her back her tiara.”
Crystal pouted. Too bad that pouting face doesn’t work on mommy. I pointed down the hallway. She groaned loudly and threw her upper body back before she stomped down the hallway. “You don’t love me.”
I admit it. It hurts to hear those words from my daughter. But I won’t do it. I refuse to allow her to grow up ungrateful.
When we reached a room, Crystal popped her head in. “Auntie Nina.”
“Oh, hi, Crystal!”
“I’m sorry for taking your tiara. But I really like it!”
Nina giggled, “I didn’t even notice it was gone.”
Crystal smiled, “So is it okay if I have-” I pushed Crystal inside the room before she could finish the sentence.
“What did I say?”
I know her games. Crystal opened the door by the crack to get a chance to ask Nina for the tiara. I’m not sure what Nina’s response will be, but I refuse to allow her to pit us against each other.
Crystal exhaled and dragged her legs towards Nina. Steadily, she took off the tiara. “I’m sorry, Auntie Nina.” With her head hung low and a tear seemingly trying it’s best not to drip out, she dangles the jewelry in front of her.
Nina looks at me.
I shook my head.
She looked back at Crystal and gave her a soft smile before she took the tiara.
Crystal whined lightly before she ran out of the room. And I know exactly where she is going.
“Maybe we can let her wear it until the wedding is over?” Nina suggested.
“She’s playing you.”
“I know.” Nina turned back to the mirror. The three stylists resume their job. “It’s just...maybe you can go a bit easy on Crystal.”
I sat down on the sofa. “And here we thought you would be the strict one.”
Nina smiles, “I am strict.” She closed her eyes, “Just need to find the balance between when to be strict and when not to be strict.”
I waved it off, “Emerson will take care of her. He is my balance.” It’s not a lie. Emerson is the peacemaker between us.
“You don’t always want to play the bad guy.”
“One out of two of us has to do it. And it isn’t going to be Emmy. That’s for sure.” Emerson is an overly free person - freer than me. And that’s saying a lot.
Nina waved off the stylist and turned towards me. Unlike me, she’s still in her robe. My eyes flicker towards the wedding dress in the middle of the room. Long and firm without a wrinkle in sight with twinkles diamond hand sew from the bottom up.
Then again, her last five dresses were equally beautiful.
All one of a kind.
Nina opened her mouth, but nothing came out. Instead, she gagged. Everyone gathered around her, but she waved them away.
“Are you sure you can go through with this?” I ask.
Nina looks up, “It’s either I go through with it now, or I go through it nine months from now.”
Yup. Nina is pregnant.
You would think they would stop after three boys.
“Mrs.Greyson,” someone said. I look at the older man. “Do you need me to check you?”
Nina shook her head.
“Is he a doctor?” I ask.
“Yeah. Matt thinks I need a doctor just in case I pass out or something.”
“He really thought everything through,” I said.
She smiles, “Yeah. He’s sweet.”
Or crazy in love?
Actually, more crazy than love.
I didn’t notice it when I first met Matthew Greyson, but with more time, I realized he is...something.
Something that’s far from sweet.
“There she is!” I can hear Crystal’s voice. I turned my head to see Crystal in Emerson’s arms.
Emerson made his way towards me. A wicked smile made its way when I saw him in a fine suit. “What did you do?”
“Oh? What did I do?” I threw the question towards Crystal.
Crystal folded her arms, “You know what you did, mommy.”
“I’m sorry for trying to teach you to value the little things in life.”
“A tiara is lit-” Crystal stops talking when she realizes her slip up. Most likely, she told Emerson something different to pit us against each other.
“Crystal,” Emerson said. “Tiara?”
Crystal hugged him, “Nothing.”
Oh, she wants to play that game, huh. Well, I’m not going to let her go after she messes with me. I don’t care if she is my daughter. I’ll show her who Emerson will always pick.
I took a sniff.
Emerson looks at me.
I didn’t cry or anything.
I look away from them.
“Piper? Honey, is there something wrong?”
I cradled the infant in my stomach and shook my head.
Emerson placed Crystal down and made his way towards me. Softly, he turns my head towards him. “You can tell me.”
I took a few blinks and stopped when the tears surfaced. “I feel like...I wish I could give more.” Emerson didn’t say anything but held me close to his chest. When Crystal’s eyes met mine, I couldn't help but smirk.
Crystal puffed her cheeks, folded her arms, and looked away.
“Crystal Lynn Lun,” Emerson said.
Crystal squirms towards us, “Yes, daddy?”
Emerson got down to her level. Whenever Emerson talks firmly with Crystal, he never stands above her. He would always go down to her level to develop the mindset that they’re equal. “Why would you do that?”
“I...I want a pretty tiara. I want to be a princess. Your princess.”
Emerson smiled softly, “You are my princess.”
Crystal cried softly, “I want to be pretty like mommy.”
“Mommy is pretty in her tiara.”
I close my eyes and look away.
She’s still playing with all of us.
I know it.
Damn it, Nina! She was the one who thought it would be cute for all her bridesmaids to be wearing small tiaras.
When I couldn’t fight it anymore, I opened a single lid to see Crystal’s large teary eyes. She got those eyes from Emerson.
Crystal crawled up the couch and hugged me, “I’m sorry, mommy. I saw the man put the tiara on you, and I want to be a princess too!” She wailed into my dress. “I want to be a pretty pretty princess like my mommy.”
When I couldn’t muster the strength to pull Crystal off, I looked at Emerson for support. He looks away. Apparently, this is my problem now.
Nina sat in the corner with the stylists who dabbed her eyes each time a tear came out.
“Okay! Okay!” I said. I lost. “You can get a tiara and be pretty. Just please, stop crying.”
Crystal shook her head, “I don’t want it anymore. I want you. I’m sad, mommy!”
And now, it started.
The - I only want you, and I will force you to love me the whole day as a punishment for making me cry.
I look at Emerson.
He squatted, “Crystal. How about daddy? I’ll airplane you to the kids’ playground.”
Crystal shook her head, “I want mommy!”
“But, we need to get you ready for the walk down the aisle.”
“No! I want mommy!”
I should’ve let her have the freaking tiara.
Emerson tried to pry Crystal off of me. But, the harder he pulled, the more Crystal held on. If he pulls any harder, my dress may rip.
I pat Crystal’s head, “Alright. You can stay with mommy.”
Crystal dug her head deeper into my dress. “I love you, mommy.”
I look at Emerson.
He mouthed: “What?”
My eyes sharpen, and I mouthed: “This is your fault!”
He threw his arms up and turned around.
“Come here! Here!” I whispered.
Emerson sat beside me.
I punched his arm.
He threw them up again.
Then, it started—the whisper fight of who is at fault.
“Okay. Okay,” Nina said. “You three are one big happy family. So, please, may I get ready in peace.”
Translation: Get out.
When I stood up, Crystal’s body was still wrapped around me. Emerson placed a hand on her bottom to make sure she doesn’t put all her weight on my bump. Through teamwork, we shuffled our way out of the dressing room.
“Go to daddy,” I said.
Crystal shook her head, “I want mommy!”
I groaned before I adjusted her to the side of my waist, which is quite difficult, considering I am pregnant.
“No more princess! Unicorn!” Crystal corrected Emerson.
“Unicorn. Mommy is tired. Please, walk or let daddy carry you.”
Crystal huffed a deep breath, and her shaky hands cling onto the back of my dress. Emerson isn’t wrong. I am tired. Laying around on the couch and eating all day isn’t the fittest thing to do.
“I want to hold mommy’s hand.”
Steadily, I lowered Crystal to the ground, and without a moment of rest, she clings to my hand.
I placed a hand on my back and moved forward.
“Are you okay?” Emerson asks.
I was too out of breath to respond verbally, so I nodded.
Emerson’s lips thinned, “Boy, I saw a large cake in the kitchen.”
Crystal’s ears moved. She inherited that from Emerson’s side because there is no way in hell; anyone on my side can do that.
“Chocolate fudge sundae. I wonder if the chef will make that for me.”
Crystal turned her head towards Emerson.
“Honey. I’m going to eat a sundae with a cherry on the top. Are you coming?”
Crystal looked at me.
I smile, “Of course.”
She smiled widely.
Her smile dropped.
“I’m going to go back to the bridesmaids’ room.” I look down, “Coming Unicorn? Of course, you are!” I took a step down the hallway.
Crystal stood her ground. Her eyes flickered back and forth. Without another word, Emerson turned towards the other end of the hallway and walked away.
Crystal bounced on shoes, “Wait, daddy!” She let go of my hand and rushed towards Emerson. “Unicorn wants ice cream fudge too!”
When Crystal reached Emerson’s side, she grabbed his hand and told him what she wanted in her ice cream. Emerson turned around, and with a devious smile on his face, he winked.
God, I love that man.