Cam arrived home early from work later that evening, just as I went into my room to admire my dress. Ever since I got home from Mayfair, I debated on whether to tell him about it. On one hand, I could surprise him. We had separate bedrooms, so it wasn’t a stretch to think that we would get ready separately tomorrow. With proper planning, I could get away with not being seen until the big moment.
I wondered if he might have the same reaction that I did when he first saw me in my dress. Then again, this was Cam we were talking about here. There was no doubt that he’d be in awe of anything I wore. But if he found out that I spent money on a wedding dress after dissing them at the wedding expo last week, he’d never let me hear the end of it.
“Nonon, I’m home? Are you here?” I slide the dress bag back into the closet before heading out of my room. Cam stood at the foot of the stairs. A smile spreaded across his face once he saw me. “Ah, there’s my bride-to-be. Are you excited about tomorrow?”
My mouth withered into a grimace. “Would you be mad if I said ‘no’?”
“I wouldn’t be mad, but I also wouldn’t believe you. I’m very excited about tomorrow, by the way. And I’m all yours for the next week.”
“You make it sound like we’re going on a honeymoon after we get hitched.”
“Would you like to?" My stomach did a somersault. "We could spend the week at the Regency House by Mayfair. I hear the rooms are really swanky, there’s a big pool, and there’s this pizza place nearby that it supposed to be really good!”
“Ah…” I squirmed, looking down at my feet. “I don’t know. I hadn’t really considered having a ‘honeymoon’, considering the circumstances.”
“We don’t have to call it a ‘honeymoon’, you know. We can call it a ‘funnymoon’ or something. I just think it would be fun, after everything that’s happened this week.”
“A ‘funnymoon’, huh?” It did sound like a fun idea. I’d heard so many good things about Regency House and I’d always wanted to try to stay there, but I could never afford it. It was Greenview’s sole four-star hotel and was very popular with tourists and locals looking to have an amazing staycation. I was curious to see what the fuss was all about. “You know what? A ‘funnymoon’ sounds like just the thing we could use after this crazy week. Let’s do it.”
“As you wish, my lady.” I covered my mouth, giggling as he gave me a regal bow. “Let me go make the arrangements. It’s last minute but it’s also off-season so I think we should be fine.”
I watched as Cam rushed off, making this sound that reminded me of a cartoonish mad scientist rushing to his secret lair to create something diabolical. I should have been a little freaked out by his eagerness – he’s a notorious with his flirtatiousness – but I found it adorable. He’s been so excited about all of this. Never once had he shown any doubt about his decision to marry me. He seemed excited. Always smiling and always commenting about how he would do everything in his power to make me happy. I still had my doubts, but it was hard to be anxious around someone who was so excited to do right by you.
I wanted to return the favor. I wanted to make him happy. I didn’t know how I would do that, but I knew what I would try. I had an idea that would do just that.
I headed downstairs to the kitchen, where Cam was at his laptop, fingers dancing all over the keyboard. He looked up and threw me a wink. “We’re very lucky. I just got us a two-bedroom suite for one week at Regency House. Good thing we got you all those clothes last week because now, you’ll have a reason to show them off.”
“That’s great.” I took a deep breath, mustering whatever courage I had within me. Why was I so nervous? It’s just a dress, after all. No big deal…right? “I’m sure there will be plenty of things for us to do there.”
“I agree. Though if we get bored, there are plenty of other things to do outside the hotel. I’ll have my car, so the world is our oyster. Well, the world around Greenview anyway.” Cam tilted his head, studying my face. “You okay, Nonon? You look at a little nervous.”
“Well, that depends.” Here goes nothing. “I, uh, I went out to Mayfair by myself today.”
“Really? I’m glad to hear that. I know you’re a little hesitant, but I hope you got whatever you wanted out there and that you didn't let anything stop you from getting it.”
“You’ll be happy to know that I did just that.” Breathe. Just breathe. “Bought something I really wanted. Something I didn't think I wanted until I saw it.”
“That’s great!" Cam gave me a quizzical look. "I mean, that is great, right? Are you having second thoughts about it?”
“No." I shook my head, resolute. “It’s just that…it’s just that what I bought was a bit of a shock, even for me...” My voice trailed. Come on, come on, just say it! You didn't even spend his money to get it and the most he'll do is tease you about it. “I bought a wedding dress.”
Cam’s eyes went wide. “Come again?”
“I bought a wedding dress.” Silence. “At the mall.” No words. My chest tightened. “It wasn’t very expensive either. One of the stores had a pop-up shop with affordable wedding gowns and I bought one. Just like that.”
Cam continued to stare at me. An icy chill rushed up my spine, my blood going cold. Urge to burst into tears was two sniffles and shiver away. He wasn’t saying anything. Why wasn’t he saying anything? Did I do something wrong? Did I fail a secret test of his regarding the spending of his money? For a moment, I was whisked back to my old apartment, walking on eggshells as I tried to let my mother that we needed to stick to a budget and that she couldn’t keep living beyond her means – especially since it was my money she was using. The fear would overwhelm me as she remained silent as a stone, her eyes going red with rage before her hand rose up and came down with intense fury…
“Cam…” I fought to keep my voice from breaking. “Just say something…”
I cried out as threw his arms around me, crushing me against his chest. The impact was so strong, it knocked the tears and the fear right out of me. He pulled me even closer, burying in face within the coils of my hair. I laughed – it just came out of my mouth before I realized that I had it in me to laugh. Relieved washed over me like the warm rains of spring.
“Nonon, you have no idea how happy this makes me.” He squeezed me even tighter. “You bought a wedding dress! An actual wedding dress. And I get to see you wearing that wedding dress tomorrow. You’re going to look so beautiful. I know you will.”
“Aww, Cam.” All of the tension of my body melted away. I could breathe again – he wasn’t angry with me. He was ecstatic. “I’m really glad you said that instead of ‘I told you so’.”
“Don’t tempt me.” We were all giggles as we split apart. I should have known he’d be happy about my buying a dress. He’s not my mother, after all. He’s so much better. But old survival habits die hard. “I’m just surprised that you decided to buy a dress. What made you take the plunge?”
“You know how it goes. I saw a dress I really liked, and I decided to try it on.” He didn’t need to know about the part where it made me into an emotional mess. “You should have seen me. I twirled in it and everything. Me – twirling in a wedding dress. Those folks at the wedding expo would have lost their minds if they saw it.”
“I’m going to lose my mind when I see it. Don’t show it to me yet, though. I want it to be a surprise.”
“A surprise? But you’re going to see it shortly after I get it on tomorrow. It’s not going to be much of a surprise.”
“Sure, it is. You’re going to get ready in your room and I’m going to get ready in mine. We’ll have one of those first look moments before we head out.” Cam gave my shoulders a squeeze. “Tomorrow is going to be a wonderful day for both of us, I know it. I can’t wait until I see you dressed us as my bride. I promise, I won’t cry too much.”
“You’re a sap, you know that?” As his eyes shone with excitement for what the future might bring, I felt myself more at ease with our quick nuptials. Tomorrow. Tomorrow, I would marry my best friend who would do everything in his power to make sure that had every opportunity live my best life. If there was anyone in the world I wanted to become the best me for, it was him. Knowing that he had all sorts of hopes for me gave me hope for myself. And really, isn’t that something we all want in the partner we hope to marry? I was so lucky to have him in my life. “I hope your suit has a handkerchief because you just might need it tomorrow.”