Home > Her Best Worst Mistake (Elizabeth and Violet #2)(4)

Her Best Worst Mistake (Elizabeth and Violet #2)(4)
Sarah Mayberry

And foolish E is going along for the ride. All the way down the aisle.

For a moment Violet was filled with an ineffable sadness. Standing by and watching Elizabeth make such a huge mistake was going to be one of the hardest things she’d ever done. But she would do it, because she loved E more than anything, and E was convinced that Martin would make her happy.

Violet hoped like hell that her friend had the right of it.

And if she was wrong... Well, Violet would be there to help her pick up the pieces, as Elizabeth had done for her many, many times in the past.

Martin tugged his tie loose as he pulled away from the curb. If he glanced in the rear view mirror, he could watch Violet grow smaller and smaller until she disappeared altogether into the distance.

He didn’t. He didn’t want to dwell on her, he was simply glad she was gone.

Like a burr under his skin, she’d irritated him all night with her too loud laugh and her bold red hair and look-at-me dress. For the life of him he couldn’t understand what Elizabeth saw in the woman.

“Thanks for doing that,” Elizabeth said quietly.

He glanced at her as he stopped for a red light. As usual, she looked graceful and poised. “She’s your friend.”

“She is. But I know you rub each other the wrong way.”

He didn’t respond. What could he say, after all? He’d long since reconciled himself to tolerating Violet for Elizabeth’s sake.

“She hates those fundraisers. I think it reminds her of her family too much. Her step-mother was always entertaining.”

Again, he didn’t say anything as he turned into his street and then again into the mews behind the converted Victorian mansion that housed his apartment. He’d picked up enough hints from Elizabeth over the years to understand that Violet’s childhood had not been a happy one. Neither had his, but he didn’t use it as an excuse to be outrageous and self-indulgent at every turn.

“Did you change your mind about going to the bar?” Elizabeth asked as he pulled into his allocated parking spot.

“I thought we could walk. It’s just around the corner.”

“Oh. Good idea.”

He helped her out of the car, sliding his arm around her shoulders as they walked.

“You know, it’s exactly eight weeks to the big day now,” he said as they left the mews and entered the street.

There was a small pause before Elizabeth responded.

“It is, isn’t it? It’s all gone so quickly. Amazing, really. When you proposed, I thought six months was plenty of time to plan a wedding. Shows what I knew.”

Beneath his arm, her shoulders were stiff with tension. She’d been tense a lot lately. A little distant, too. It had been nearly three weeks since she’d stayed a night at his place—not an ice-age, but a sign, if a person was looking for it, that all was not as it should be. Especially with a wedding on the horizon.

“Everything is going okay? There’s nothing more I can do?” he asked.

It wasn’t what he wanted to ask, but Elizabeth was hard to pin down sometimes. She tended to keep things to herself and puzzle them out on her own. Since it was something he did himself, he could hardly criticize her for it—but that didn’t stop him from being frustrated when she kept him at arm’s length.

“Everything is pretty much taken care of. Violet has been a rock. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t kept pointing me in the right direction.”

He was aware that Violet had put herself at Elizabeth’s disposal in the lead up to the wedding. He couldn’t fault Violet for that—she’d been incredibly generous with her time and energy.

One point in her favor.

“It looks a little crowded,” Elizabeth said as they approached the bar.

She shot him a doubtful look. She knew he wasn’t overly fond of noisy bars and clubs. On the other hand, this had been Elizabeth’s suggestion, and Violet’s words were still ringing in his ears.

You should sneak out of here, too, and take E somewhere fun. Reward her for being such a stoic.

He didn’t like the idea that Elizabeth had simply been enduring the fundraiser and not enjoying herself. True, he hadn’t been having a ball himself, but that was beside the point.

“I’m sure we can negotiate ourselves a corner somewhere,” he said.

Elizabeth smiled and he knew he’d said the right thing. He held the door open and they walked into a dim space with a low ceiling. As luck would have it, two women were vacating stools at the bar as he and Elizabeth wove their way through the crowd and they were able to secure seats immediately.

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