Hold the Forevers - K.A. Linde Page 0,1

with my sisters and stared down at the massive ring on my finger as I waited for my best friends to return.

“Don’t drink too much,” Eve warned. “You’ll want to remember tonight.”

Elle burst into laughter, and Steph joined her.

“Oh, I’ll remember tonight,” I assured them.

I couldn’t imagine forgetting my wedding night even if I had one too many glasses of champagne. I checked my phone again. Seriously, where the hell were they?

“Maybe we should go look for them.”

“You can’t,” Elle said. “You don’t want the groom to see you before it’s time.”


It was pretty ridiculous, considering how long we’d been sleeping together. But it was ceremonial, and we’d agreed. It would make tonight even more special.

I was about to send out a search party when Marley and Josie rushed back into the room, looking frazzled.

“Everything all right?”

Marley and Josie exchanged a look.

“What is it?”

“Nothing,” they said together.

Josie continued, “Don’t worry about it.”

“Is it nothing, or should I not worry about it?”

“Both,” Marley said.

I narrowed my eyes. That certainly didn’t sound like nothing.

“It’s this.” Josie came to my side and pulled out a black case. “I know that I’ve always had my differences with my mom, but she’d want you to wear these today.”

My hand went to my throat as I opened the black case to reveal the white pearls that I’d always coveted. “Josie! I can’t wear these.”

“Something borrowed,” she insisted. “You’ve always wanted them.”

“I have,” I said softly.

Josie took them out of the box and strung them around my neck. They were dainty and just brushed my collarbone. They looked perfect with the white lace of my dress and my blonde hair pulled up in an intricate updo.

“Thank you,” I told her, drawing her in for a hug.

“Okay, ladies, it’s time!” the wedding planner, Courtney, said as she strode into the room.

She was the best of the best. She handled everything for the day of. I didn’t know how I would have survived the last six months without her expertise.

Everyone moved into place. The string quartet began to play. My sisters went in first. Marley and Josie both pulled me in for a quick hug before stepping out into the chapel and proceeding down the aisle. I was last.

I touched the pearls Josie had given me for luck. Then I took a deep breath and walked into the chapel, alone.

The crowd had risen to their feet. But I only had eyes for one person in that room—my groom.

My stomach flipped at the sight of him in a tuxedo at the other end of the aisle. His smile was magnetic, and I couldn’t help but return it. My mother wiped her eyes as I passed her in the front row with my sisters. Her last baby, finally getting hitched.

And then I was there. I took the final two steps up to the altar, passed my bouquet to Marley, and faced my groom.

“I’ve waited for this day our entire lives,” he whispered.

“Me too.”

A hush fell over the church as the service began. I heard little of it. The minutes passed in a blur. All I saw was the bright blue eyes looking back at me and the smile that said I was his world.

There was a pause in the ceremony. Just a moment. Barely a breath.

And everything collapsed.

The doors at the back of the church burst open. Everyone faced the figure who stepped into the sanctuary. The wedding planner trailed him. Whatever she was saying was lost in the drone of voices.

But I knew exactly why he was here.

I’d been a fool to think that he would let me go.

“I object!” he yelled into the church. “Lila, you can’t marry him!”

And there I stood, on a precipice, ready to fall back onto that wheel that had always dragged us together. I couldn’t have both.

So today, I had to choose: my groom or the man objecting.

Part I



April 4, 2008

The energy in the lecture hall was contagious. Pens drummed on notebooks, legs jostled under desks, the tap, tap, tap of computer keys was more distraction than note-taking. Professor McConnell was still droning on, but no one was listening anymore. Not with ten minutes until the end of class. Not when spring had blown in hard and fast that week, bringing with it the restless need to be out of the classroom and out on the quad.

All around me, people packed up early, stuffing papers and computers into backpacks. The noise was loud enough for Professor McConnell to finally sigh and conclude.

“All right, all