TRINA AND I ARE ON
the couch drinking tea. I’m showing her pictures of floral arrangements when Daddy walks through the front door and collapses on the couch with us. “Long day?” Trina asks him.
“The longest,” he says, closing his eyes.
“Question,” I say.
His eyes flutter open. “Yes, my middle-born?”
“What are you guys thinking for the first dance?”
He groans. “I’m too tired to think about dancing right now.”
“Please. It’s your wedding! Be present, Daddy.”
Trina laughs and pokes him in the side with her foot. “Be present, Dan!”
“Okay, okay. Well, Trina’s a big Shania Twain fan.” They grin at each other. “So—what about ‘From This Moment On’?”
“Aww,” she says. “You really do know me.”
“Shania Twain?” I repeat. “Doesn’t she sing that song ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’?”
Trina holds her mug like it’s a microphone and tilts her head. “From this moment, I will love you,” she sings, off-key.
“I don’t think I know that song,” I say, trying to sound neutral.
“Play it for her on your phone,” she says to Daddy.
“Don’t judge,” he warns me, and then he plays it.
It’s the most un-him song I’ve ever heard. But he’s got a goofy smile on his face the entire time, and it only gets bigger when Trina puts her arm around his shoulder and makes him sway with her to the beat. “It’s perfect,” I say, and suddenly I feel like crying. I clear my throat. “So now that the song is picked out, we can start ticking other stuff off the list. I’ve been going back and forth with Tilly’s Treats about doing mini banana puddings in little canning jars, and they say they can’t do them for less than seven dollars apiece.”
Worry lines cross Daddy’s forehead. “That seems pricy, no?”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got a call in to a bakery in Richmond, and if the delivery price isn’t too bad, that might be the way to go.” I flip through my binder. “I’ve been so busy with desserts, I haven’t had a chance to go meet with the band I’ve been in touch with. They’re playing in Keswick this weekend, so I might try and go see them play.”
Daddy looks at me with concern in his eyes. “Honey, it seems like maybe you’ve replaced baking with wedding planning as your stress relief. This is all a little much.”
“The band isn’t exactly a
,” I quickly say. “It’s a singer and a guy with a guitar. They’re just starting out, so it’s all very reasonable. I’ll know more when I see them in person.”
“Don’t they have videos you can watch?” Trina asks.
“Sure, but it’s not the same as seeing them live.”
“I don’t think we need a band,” Daddy says, exchanging a look with Trina. “I think we’d be fine with just playing music off the computer.”
“That’s fine, but we’d need to rent sound equipment.” I
start flipping through my binder, and Trina reaches out and puts her hand on my arm.
“Sweetie, I love that you want to help us with this, and I’m so grateful. But honestly, I’d rather you didn’t stress yourself out. Your dad and I don’t really care about any of the details. We just want to get married. We don’t need a food truck, or mini banana puddings. We’d truly be just as happy ordering a bunch of barbecue from
Exchange.” I start to speak, and she stops me. “You only get one senior year of high school, and I want you to enjoy it. You have a hot boyfriend and you got into a great school. Your birthday is coming up soon. This is the time to just be young and celebrate and enjoy each other!”
“Yes, within reason, of course,” Daddy says hastily.
“But guys, I’m not stressed out,” I protest. “Focusing on the wedding gives me a sense of peace! It’s very calming for me.”
“And you’ve been a big help, but I think there are other things you could be focusing on that are more worthy of your time. Like finishing out your senior year, and preparing for college.” Daddy has that firm, immovable look on his face, the one I see so seldom.
I frown. “So you don’t want me to help out with the wedding anymore?”
Trina says, “I still want you to be in charge of the bridesmaid dresses, and I’d love for you to bake our wedding cake—”
“And the groom’s cake?” I interrupt.
“Sure. But the rest of it we’ll take care of. I swear I’m only saying this to you for your own good, Lara Jean. No more haggling over prices with vendors.”
“No more impromptu road trips to Richmond for cake tables,” Daddy adds.
I sigh a reluctant kind of sigh. “If you’re sure . . .”
She nods. “Just go be young. Focus on your prom dress. Have you started looking yet?”
“Sort of.” It’s hitting me now that we are less than a month away from prom and I still don’t have a dress. “If you’re really sure . . .”
“We’re sure,” Daddy says, and Trina nods.
As I head up the stairs, I hear Daddy whisper to her, “Why in the world are you encouraging her to go enjoy her hot boyfriend?”
I almost laugh out loud.
“That’s not what I meant!” Trina says.
He makes a harrumph sound. “It sure sounded like it.”
“Oh my God, don’t take everything so literally, Dan. Besides, her boyfriend
* * *
I look at prom dresses on my computer, and I laugh out loud every time I think about Daddy calling Peter my “hot boyfriend.” An hour into searching, I’m fairly certain I’ve found my dress. It’s ballerina style, with a metallic lattice bodice and a tulle skirt—the website calls the color dusty pink. Stormy will be pleased.
With that done, I go on the William and Mary website and pay the enrollment deposit like I should’ve done weeks ago.
* * *
Later that week, on the ride to school, Peter says he got out of doing a delivery for his mom, and he can go with me to see the band play in Keswick.
Glumly I say, “It turns out Daddy and Trina don’t want a band after all. Or much of anything, for that matter. They want this wedding to be very low maintenance. They’re just going to borrow some speakers and play music off a computer. Guess what song they picked for their first dance.”
“ ‘From This Moment On’ by Shania Twain.”
He frowns. “I never heard of that before.”
“It’s really cheesy, but they love it, apparently. Do you realize that we don’t have a song? Like, a song that’s ours.”
“Okay, then let’s pick one.”
“It doesn’t work like that. You don’t just
your song. The song picks you. Like the Sorting Hat.”
Peter nods sagely. He finally finished reading all seven Harry Potter books and he’s always eager to prove that he gets my references. “Got it.”
“It has to just . . . happen. A moment. And the song transcends the moment, you know? My mom and dad’s song was ‘Wonderful Tonight’ by Eric Clapton. They danced to it at their wedding.”
“So how did it become their song, then?”
“It was the first song they ever slow danced to in college. It was at a dance, not long after they first started dating. I’ve seen pictures from that night. Daddy’s wearing a suit that was too big on him and my mom’s hair is in a French twist.”
“How about whatever song comes on next, that’s our song. It’ll be fate.”
“We can’t just make our own fate.”
“Sure we can.” Peter reaches over to turn on the radio.
“Wait! Just any radio station? What if it’s not a slow song?”
“Okay so we’ll put on Lite 101.” Peter hits the button.
“Winnie the Pooh doesn’t know what to do, got a honey jar stuck on his nose,” a woman croons.
Peter says, “What the hell?” as I say, “This can’t be our song.”
“Best out of three?” he suggests.
“Let’s not force it. We’ll know it when we hear it, I think.”
“Maybe we’ll hear it at the prom,” Peter offers. “Oh, that reminds me. What color is your dress? My mom’s going to ask her florist friend to make your corsage.”
“It’s dusty pink.” It came in the mail yesterday, and when I tried it on for everybody, Trina said it was “the most Lara Jean” dress she’d ever seen. I texted a picture to Stormy, who wrote back, “Ooh-la-la,” with a dancing woman emoji.
“What the heck is dusty pink?” Peter wants to know.
“It’s like a rose gold color.” Peter still looks confused, so I sigh and say, “Just tell your mom. She’ll know. And do you think you could bring a little corsage for Kitty, too, and act like it was your idea?”
“Sure, but I could’ve had that idea on my own, you know,” he grumbles. “You should at least give me a chance to have ideas.”
I pat him on the knee. “Just please don’t forget.”