His Christmas Cowgirl(8)

By: Alissa Callen


“It’s fine and I’m sure Saul’s suit will be a good match for my dress.”

Ivy had chosen the same colored bridesmaids dresses, a deep royal blue, but in different designs to reflect her four bridesmaids’ personalities. Peta’s pattern was a no fuss, high halter neck dress with a fitted waist.

Together they entered Married in Marietta. Peta’s steps dragged. The sophisticated store always smelled of fresh lilies and the sparkle of the chandelier never failed to make her feel nervous. Her attention focused on the closest rail and the diamantes that shimmered on the delicate and whimsical dresses. Their brilliance was only matched by the gleam of tiaras displayed on a nearby self that further made her feel out of place. She might have transformed herself while away but at heart she was still a simple cowgirl happiest in dust, denim, and boots.

Lisa Renee greeted Ivy with a hug and a smile and then moved forward to greet Peta.

“Being away certainly agreed with you. You look great.”

“Thanks.”

They exchanged hugs.

Lisa’s smile widened as she moved away. “Adam says when your dad came in for his checkup all he talked about was when you and Kendall would be back. I think he missed you.”

“I think he did. Tell Dr. Adam he even baked us an apple pie.”

“And it was good, too,” Ivy said, taking a seat on a vintage pink velvet chair.

All too soon Lisa whisked Peta to the dressing room and drew open the curtain. Hanging on the hook was her royal blue dress.

Peta glanced at Ivy. “Wish me luck. I shouldn’t have had those two pieces of pie last night. Let’s hope I can at least do the zipper up.”

“You’ll be fine,” Ivy said as Peta entered the dressing room and closed the curtain.

But as she stripped off her long skirt and white blouse and pulled the blue dress over her head, her worse fears were realized. The bodice refused to slide into positon. Not daring to look in the mirror, she wriggled and tugged until the dress went over her breasts and sat at her waist. Sliding the zipper into position proved another battle. She managed to move it to within an inch of where it was supposed to be and gave up. Hair tousled and cheeks flushed she stared at her reflection. Her stomach knotted.

Since when had she developed cleavage? And where on earth did that flash of side boob come from? She sucked in her stomach and ran her hands over her hips but the dress failed to fall in the shapeless lines it had when she’d previously tried it on. Now the material clung to curves that surely couldn’t be hers? She’d always been straight up and down. Perhaps if she put on the matching blue shoes it would make the dress hang better? But even with heels on, her hips pushed against the silken fabric.

“Everything okay?” Ivy’s voice sounded.

“No.” Peta flung open the curtain. “I’m so sorry. It’s a disaster. I hope you have a Plan B on those wedding lists of yours. I can’t wear this.”

But instead of seeing her dismay mirrored on Ivy’s pretty face, her hazel eyes widened and her mouth formed a perfect ‘o’. She jumped to her feet.

“Peta Dixon, where have you been hiding those to-die-for curves?”

Peta groaned. “I don’t know, but I wish they’d go back to wherever they were. I can hardly breathe.”

Lisa quickly came to her side and slid the zipper down a little. But all the extra room did was to allow more of her breasts to spill free. She pressed a hand against her chest. “I know there’s only two weeks until the wedding, and I’ll try to lose a few pounds, but I think I’ll need a new dress.”

“No,” Ivy and Lisa said in unison.

“This one’s perfect,” Ivy added, voice firm.

“It is,” Lisa said, admiration shining in her eyes as she examined the bodice seams. “Just a little adjustment here and there and it will fit fine.” She took a step back. “The only thing not quite right is… your hair.”

The salon owner reached behind the counter and produced a sparkling hair clip. With one smooth motion she twisted Peta’s blonde hair into a makeshift updo and secured the ends in place with the clip.

Ivy clasped her hands together. “Simply stunning. I can’t wait to see all of my gorgeous bridesmaids together.” She half turned to look out the shop window and then back at a dark suit hanging on the far wall. “How tall would you say Garrett was? I didn’t take much notice when I met him at Grey’s Saloon last week.”

Peta frowned. “I don’t know… maybe six foot two.”

Ivy nodded but her attention remained on the suit. “And his weight?”