I said, “You need to remember that she is the one female who’s been a true friend to me. Do not shit on my friend’s doorstep. You got that?”
His jaw clenched. “Jax isn’t like the others, Sam. I respect her.”
“Make sure to keep that respect afterward, too.”
A phone buzzed from the counter, and Mark went to grab it. After he read the text, he looked up. “Uh, Sam?”
I already knew what was coming, and I started to stand from the chair.
He was still hesitant, glancing from me to Logan, as he said, “It’s my mom. You’re wanted at the house.”
I nodded. “Hair appointment.”
Mason grabbed my hand and pulled me back. He cupped the back of my head and kissed me. He murmured in my ear for only me to hear, “Have fun with your new mom. She already loves you.”
A wave of something else went through me, and my throat closed up. I nodded and kissed him back again before pulling away and heading out of the house.
As I walked across the street to my dad’s and Malinda’s home, I wiped at my eye. No matter the undercurrents in our group, Mason was right. This was the day I was getting a new mom who actually loved me.
A weight lifted from my shoulders. I found myself grinning as I walked inside, already hearing shrieks and laughter from the kitchen. Today was the day Malinda would become Mrs. Malinda Decraw Strattan.
Malinda was there, her arms wide open for me, and she hooted, “Hot holy cannoli! It’s my daughter. Come here, you beautiful, beautiful woman!”
Standing at the front of the church, as Malinda and my dad, David, made their vows to each other, I couldn’t help but look at Mason. We were watching each other during most of the ceremony. It was a good feeling, being here, being a part of David’s wedding, knowing he would get a good wife now, and also having Mason and Logan standing as groomsmen. It was like we really were a family now, like Malinda adopted all of us.
When it was my turn to walk down the aisle, after the minister proclaimed David and Malinda husband and wife, Mason tucked my hand over his arm. He leaned close, brushing his lips over my forehead.
The fairy-tale sensation took root, digging deep in me. As we walked together, the yearning to find the minister and make it official between Mason and myself was powerful. My fingers sank into Mason’s arm, taking hold as if I were clinging to him so that I really wouldn’t go and find the reverend.
A lot of Mark’s friends were in the pews, and as Mason and I moved past them, Cass leveled me with a glare. I moved Mason to the side, and my bouquet narrowly missed her head. She drew in a breath, and I heard a curse from her, but we were moving beyond the others, like Miranda Stewart. Peter was her date. That was interesting. And there was Adam. Beside him were Becky and Lydia. I glanced to Lydia’s side, but no Jessica. That was a shock. Jeff was there, too, and he lifted a hand to wave. Mason laughed under his breath, but Jeff just kept waving.
Jeff called out, “Looking good, Logan!”
Laughter pealed out over the visitors. Some girls giggled and whispered together, like they always did with Logan, but I knew others were still captivated by Mason. He’d been the prize when he was in high school. Mason was always the one they never got to grab. A part of me wondered if they were going to try tonight. There’d be dancing, music, booze, and probably some drugs. I wouldn’t partake, but I knew others would. The old feeling of wanting to drag Mason away and keep him all to myself was filling me up again.
When we got to where Malinda and David were waiting to greet everyone, Malinda pulled me in for a hug, her hand rubbing over my back. “Hi, honey.”