TRINA AND I ARE ON
the couch drinking tea. Iâm showing her pictures of floral arrangements when Daddy walks through the front door and collapses on the couch with us. âLong day?â Trina asks him.
âThe longest,â he says, closing his eyes.
âQuestion,â I say.
His eyes flutter open. âYes, my middle-born?â
âWhat are you guys thinking for the first dance?â
He groans. âIâm too tired to think about dancing right now.â
âPlease. Itâs your wedding! Be present, Daddy.â
Trina laughs and pokes him in the side with her foot. âBe present, Dan!â
âOkay, okay. Well, Trinaâs a big Shania Twain fan.â They grin at each other. âSoâwhat about âFrom This Moment Onâ?â
âAww,â she says. âYou really do know me.â
âShania Twain?â I repeat. âDoesnât she sing that song âMan! I Feel Like a Womanâ?â
Trina holds her mug like itâs a microphone and tilts her head. âFrom this moment, I will love you,â she sings, off-key.
âI donât think I know that song,â I say, trying to sound neutral.
âPlay it for her on your phone,â she says to Daddy.
âDonât judge,â he warns me, and then he plays it.
Itâs the most un-him song Iâve ever heard. But heâs 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. âItâs perfect,â I say, and suddenly I feel like crying. I clear my throat. âSo now that the song is picked out, we can start ticking other stuff off the list. Iâve been going back and forth with Tillyâs Treats about doing mini banana puddings in little canning jars, and they say they canât do them for less than seven dollars apiece.â
Worry lines cross Daddyâs forehead. âThat seems pricy, no?â
âDonât worry, Iâve got a call in to a bakery in Richmond, and if the delivery price isnât too bad, that might be the way to go.â I flip through my binder. âIâve been so busy with desserts, I havenât had a chance to go meet with the band Iâve been in touch with. Theyâre playing in Keswick this weekend, so I might try and go see them play.â
Daddy looks at me with concern in his eyes. âHoney, it seems like maybe youâve replaced baking with wedding planning as your stress relief. This is all a little much.â
âThe band isnât exactly a
,â I quickly say. âItâs a singer and a guy with a guitar. Theyâre just starting out, so itâs all very reasonable. Iâll know more when I see them in person.â
âDonât they have videos you can watch?â Trina asks.
âSure, but itâs not the same as seeing them live.â
âI donât think we need a band,â Daddy says, exchanging a look with Trina. âI think weâd be fine with just playing music off the computer.â
âThatâs fine, but weâd need to rent sound equipment.â I
start flipping through my binder, and Trina reaches out and puts her hand on my arm.
âSweetie, I love that you want to help us with this, and Iâm so grateful. But honestly, Iâd rather you didnât stress yourself out. Your dad and I donât really care about any of the details. We just want to get married. We donât need a food truck, or mini banana puddings. Weâd truly be just as happy ordering a bunch of barbecue from
Exchange.â I start to speak, and she stops me. âYou 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!â
âYes, within reason, of course,â Daddy says hastily.
âBut guys, Iâm not stressed out,â I protest. âFocusing on the wedding gives me a sense of peace! Itâs very calming for me.â
âAnd youâve 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.â Daddy has that firm, immovable look on his face, the one I see so seldom.
I frown. âSo you donât want me to help out with the wedding anymore?â
Trina says, âI still want you to be in charge of the bridesmaid dresses, and Iâd love for you to bake our wedding cakeââ
âAnd the groomâs cake?â I interrupt.
âSure. But the rest of it weâll take care of. I swear Iâm only saying this to you for your own good, Lara Jean. No more haggling over prices with vendors.â
âNo more impromptu road trips to Richmond for cake tables,â Daddy adds.
I sigh a reluctant kind of sigh. âIf youâre sure . . .â
She nods. âJust go be young. Focus on your prom dress. Have you started looking yet?â
âSort of.â Itâs hitting me now that we are less than a month away from prom and I still donât have a dress. âIf youâre really sure . . .â
âWeâre sure,â Daddy says, and Trina nods.
As I head up the stairs, I hear Daddy whisper to her, âWhy in the world are you encouraging her to go enjoy her hot boyfriend?â
I almost laugh out loud.
âThatâs not what I meant!â Trina says.
He makes a harrumph sound. âIt sure sounded like it.â
âOh my God, donât 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 âhot boyfriend.â An hour into searching, Iâm fairly certain Iâve found my dress. Itâs ballerina style, with a metallic lattice bodice and a tulle skirtâthe 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 shouldâve 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, âIt turns out Daddy and Trina donât want a band after all. Or much of anything, for that matter. They want this wedding to be very low maintenance. Theyâre just going to borrow some speakers and play music off a computer. Guess what song they picked for their first dance.â
âââFrom This Moment Onâ by Shania Twain.â
He frowns. âI never heard of that before.â
âItâs really cheesy, but they love it, apparently. Do you realize that we donât have a song? Like, a song thatâs ours.â
âOkay, then letâs pick one.â
âIt doesnât work like that. You donât just
your song. The song picks you. Like the Sorting Hat.â
Peter nods sagely. He finally finished reading all seven Harry Potter books and heâs always eager to prove that he gets my references. âGot it.â
âIt has to just . . . happen. A moment. And the song transcends the moment, you know? My mom and dadâs song was âWonderful Tonightâ by Eric Clapton. They danced to it at their wedding.â
âSo how did it become their song, then?â
âIt was the first song they ever slow danced to in college. It was at a dance, not long after they first started dating. Iâve seen pictures from that night. Daddyâs wearing a suit that was too big on him and my momâs hair is in a French twist.â
âHow about whatever song comes on next, thatâs our song. Itâll be fate.â
âWe canât just make our own fate.â
âSure we can.â Peter reaches over to turn on the radio.
âWait! Just any radio station? What if itâs not a slow song?â
âOkay so weâll put on Lite 101.â Peter hits the button.
âWinnie the Pooh doesnât know what to do, got a honey jar stuck on his nose,â a woman croons.
Peter says, âWhat the hell?â as I say, âThis canât be our song.â
âBest out of three?â he suggests.
âLetâs not force it. Weâll know it when we hear it, I think.â
âMaybe weâll hear it at the prom,â Peter offers. âOh, that reminds me. What color is your dress? My momâs going to ask her florist friend to make your corsage.â
âItâs dusty pink.â It came in the mail yesterday, and when I tried it on for everybody, Trina said it was âthe most Lara Jeanâ dress sheâd ever seen. I texted a picture to Stormy, who wrote back, âOoh-la-la,â with a dancing woman emoji.
âWhat the heck is dusty pink?â Peter wants to know.
âItâs like a rose gold color.â Peter still looks confused, so I sigh and say, âJust tell your mom. Sheâll know. And do you think you could bring a little corsage for Kitty, too, and act like it was your idea?â
âSure, but I couldâve had that idea on my own, you know,â he grumbles. âYou should at least give me a chance to have ideas.â
I pat him on the knee. âJust please donât forget.â