Authors: B.L. Berry
Tags: #Love Nouveau
Copyright © 2014 by B.L. Berry
Editing by Jennifer Roberts-Hall
Cover Design by Najla Qamber Designs
Formatting and interior design by JT Formatting
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This is a work of adult fiction. The author does not endorse or condone any of the behavior enclosed within. Please note this novel contains profanity, sexual situations, alcohol and drug consumption, and is not appropriate for minors. The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious and any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products, bands, and/or restaurants referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
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I’M BLINDSIDED WHEN THE MUSTY throw pillow from the loveseat smacks me in the face. Popping the buds out from my ears, I give my flatmate Robyn a cross look.
“Your phone. It’s been ringing nonstop. Answer the damn thing already.”
I snatch it off my nightstand and look at the screen, cringing when I see three missed calls from home
flashing across the window. It’s just after one in the morning and I’m in the zone writing a term paper on the influence of ancient Greek Architecture in modern America, a requirement for my Art History track. When the call comes through a fourth time, I click the accept button, mildly annoyed at the lack of consideration for the seven hour time difference since technically I should be in bed.
With any luck, someone is dead.
“Ivy! He proposed! I’m getting married!” a voice shrieks into the phone before I can even extend a greeting.
“Who is that?” Robyn asks curtly as I pull the phone away from my ear.
“My sister,” I whisper back.
“You have a sister?”
I roll my eyes and return my focus to Genevieve on the other end of the line. Yes, I have a sister. No, I don’t talk about her, let alone
her … or anyone else in my family on a regular basis for that matter.
“CJ proposed tonight! I am so excited! I’m getting married!” she squeals again before pausing. “Hello? Ivy? Are you there?”
“Sorry. Yes, I’m here. Congratulations, Gen,” I reply with a heavy sigh and try to hide the annoyance in my voice. “That’s really great. I’m happy for you.” There are no sincere words I can offer her. The purpose of her call wasn’t really to tell me that she’s engaged. She and I both know that this call is to remind me of how superficially amazing and perfect life can be when you fall into line in the Cotter household. Something that I’m simply
willing to do.
“Oh my God! I cannot wait for you to meet him, Ivy! He is absolutely amazing. And last night was so romantic. He took me on a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown and he slipped the ring into my glass of champagne. It had just started snowing and we were all bundled up under fleece blankets and it was just so, so beautiful! I wish you could have seen it since it will
happen to you …”
I tune her out. I’m not sure when clichés became romantic, but this guy sounds like a winner. My eyes return back to my computer screen and I continue to edit my paper as I toss in an obligatory overzealous “yay” and “mm-hmm” to appease the princess while she motors on with mundane details.
How she can be this far along with wedding plans baffles me. The poor sap
proposed. Oh, who am I kidding? She’s had her wedding planned since she was six years old.
“Anyway, Daddy said we could have the wedding anywhere we wanted, but there is, like, a wait list everywhere for at least two years. Then it turned out that The Drake had a cancellation for this June, so we snatched it up and we’re getting married in six months. Six months! Can you believe it? There is so much to do! You’ll need to find a seamstress in Italy to take your measurements so I can have your maid of honor gown designed, and when you get back you’ll have to plan a bachelorette party for me, but don’t worry, I’ll tell you exactly what I want and can even make a few calls for you, and—”
“What do you mean maid of honor?” I ask, cutting her off.
“You, silly! You’re my sister, and I can’t possibly have one of my girlfriends outshining me. You’ll be my maid of honor and then some other girls from my sorority will be standing with you. I was thinking a deep red, but I don’t know how well that’ll work with your skin tone. We can’t have you sticking out in photos.”
She can’t be serious. This five-minute conversation is the most we’ve said to each other in nearly four years.
“Listen, Gen. Surely there is someone else you’d rather have as your maid of honor. I really don’t think I could do the job justice and help you out like you’d need me to. I’m halfway around the globe.”
“Oh shush. You’re my only sister. You’re standing up there with me. Non-negotiable,” she barks back.
Suddenly, I find myself overjoyed with the fact that I’m halfway across the world, divided by the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. But something tells me I could be living on a different planet and Genevieve would still find a way to bridge the gap and torment me.
I’ve spent my senior year in Europe studying art history. Partly because it’s my major, but more importantly I’m here as a means to get away from my family. I fed my parents some bullshit about how it was necessary to immerse myself in antiquity and art and embrace ancient cultures to truly make myself marketable after graduation. In reality, I needed to disconnect from them, but more importantly, disconnect from myself and who I had allowed myself to become. As much as I love the University of Wisconsin, the one hundred and fifty miles between campus and my home in Chicago were just too close for comfort.
And at this moment, being a continent away still doesn’t feel far enough. Hell, I didn’t even return home for Christmas break. Instead, I flew to Prague for a few days with a stopover in Budapest. Exploring a foreign country by myself is one of the most liberating and terrifying things I’ve ever done. I learned to eat by myself in public, smoked some damn fine weed with two tourists from Australia in a youth hostel, and experienced my first Thai massage. Unlike romance novels, but not unlike my life, there was no happy ending.