“No problem. I’ll be at the warehouse in a couple hours and stay until closing.”
I ended the call, then headed into the shower. When I came back out, there were two missed calls from Cary. I dialed him back.
“Hey, what’s up?”
“I’ve been thinking. You said something about a classic dress, right?”
I sighed. It made me cringe every time I thought about it. Because no matter how much I wanted to believe the perfect dress would fall out of the sky before the big day, it was more realistic to accept that I was going to have to settle.
Still, I had to love Cary for staying on me about it. He knew me as well as I knew myself.
“What about one of Monica’s bridal gowns?” he suggested. “Something old and all that. You two have the same build. It wouldn’t take much alteration.”
“Ugh. Really? No, Cary. If she’d married my dad in it, maybe. But I can’t wear something she wore to marry a stepdad. That’s just weird.”
He laughed. “Yeah, you’re right. She has great taste, though.”
I ran my fingers through my damp hair. “I don’t think she keeps her wedding dresses, anyway. Not a great souvenir to have hanging around your new husband’s house.”
“Okay, so it’s a stupid idea. We can hunt for something vintage. A pal of mine knows every couture and designer consignment shop in Manhattan.”
The thought had merit. “Cool. That’s a good idea.”
“Sometimes, I’m brilliant. I’m tied up with Grey Isles today, but tonight works.”
“I have couples counseling tonight.”
“Oh, right. Have fun with that. Tomorrow? Maybe we’ll pick up a few things for Ibiza, too.”
The reminder of the weekend’s plans made me feel pressed for time. I couldn’t help being anxious about it, even knowing how much fun it would be to spend time with my friends. “Tomorrow’s good. I’ll come to the apartment.”
“Sweet. We’ll pack, too.”
We hung up and I held my phone in my hand for a long time, feeling a sense of grief. For the first time since we’d moved to New York, it felt like Cary and I were living in two separate places. I was settling into being home with Gideon, while Cary’s home was still very much the apartment.
My calendar app beeped a reminder that Blaire would be showing up in thirty minutes. Cursing to myself, I dropped my phone on the bed and hurried to get ready.
“How are you both doing?” Dr. Petersen asked, as we all three took our seats.
Gideon and I sat on the couch, as usual, while Dr. Petersen settled into his armchair and picked up his tablet.
“We’re better than ever,” I answered.
My husband said nothing, but he reached over and took my hand, pulling it over to rest on his thigh.
“I received an invitation to your reception.” Dr. Petersen smiled. “My wife and I are very much looking forward to it.”
I hadn’t been able to convince my mom to include even the tiniest bit of red on the invites, but I thought they were pretty all the same. We’d agreed on a vellum invitation, tucked into a sheer pocket, with an exterior white envelope for mailing and privacy. It gave me butterflies thinking of them being received. We were another step closer to putting the façade of an engagement behind us.
“Me, too.” I leaned my shoulder against Gideon’s and he put his arm around me.
“The last time we met,” Dr. Petersen said, “you’d just quit your job, Eva. How has that been?”
“Easier than I thought. I’ve been busy, though, so that helps.”
“Helps with what?”
I considered my answer. “From feeling aimless. I’m busier now. And I’m working on things that actually make a difference in my life.”
“The wedding, of course. And moving into the penthouse, which I’m doing in baby steps. And planning some renovations, which I’d like to talk about.”
“Of course.” He studied me. “Let’s talk about those baby steps first. Is there any significance to that?”
“Well, just that I’m not doing it all at once. It’s ongoing.”
“Do you view it as a way to ease into the commitment? Previously, you’ve acted very decisively. Eloping. Separating. Quitting your job.”
That made me think. “It’s a transition that affects Gideon and Cary as much as it does me.”
“As far as I’m concerned,” Gideon interjected, “the sooner she’s moved in, the better.”
“I’m just being careful.” I shrugged.