She stopped long enough to admire the fairy lights around her window. The flower-covered mini-trellis, vintage bridal books, and classic romance novels painted a perfect wedding theme if she did say so herself. The smile brought on by the window display continued as she stepped inside and took in the heady scent of old leather and books, an aroma she could never seem to get enough of.
"Ta-da," she exclaimed, holding the dress high over her head.
"Is that my dress?" squealed Paige Stringer, her assistant manager. She clapped her hands together, and her china-blue eyes lit up her face as her gaze took in the image of the marine-blue bridesmaid dress through the plastic garment bag.
"Yes, it is," Addie said, and stepped toward her. "I think you'll agree when you put it on that my cousin Kalea did a great job on all our dresses."
"Did she manage to get rid of that weird pucker under my armpit that we noticed during my last fitting?" Paige's voice reflected the concern in her eyes as she fidgeted with the plastic covering.
"She said she did, but she wanted me to let you know that she'll be at the yacht early enough to make any last-minute alterations if she has to." Addie limped over to the Victorian counter she used as a cash and coffee bar, set the platter down, and laid out the dress beside it.
"What's wrong with you? Why are you limping?"
"Oh, silly me forgot to change out of my heels after my fitting this morning, and I rolled on my ankle. It's fine, though. It doesn't look too badly swollen."
"There's ice in the freezer compartment of the fridge in the back."
"It's fine." Addie pressed the dress flat on the countertop. "You know, for a woman who never showed a talent for anything other than landing a rich man, I think my cousin's shop, Hudson's Creations on Main, is a real hit around town. She does have a knack for sewing and design."
"It makes sense though because she's such a fashion diva herself, so I guess it turned out perfect for her when she bought that dress shop from my sister. She finally found her calling. Heaven knows working as a bookseller wasn't it."
Paige's comment brought a chorus of belly laughter from them both, and then Addie's elbow jarred the tray of goodies sitting beside her on the counter, causing it to teeter precariously on the edge.
Paige sprang toward it with the dexterity of a cat and snatched it before it tumbled off onto the floor. "Phew," she gasped, as she eyed it while setting it safely back in place. "This looks too fancy for our midmorning snacks, so I'm guessing it's for the wedding?"
"Yes," Addie managed to burble as she choked back her last laugh brought on by the sight of Paige's ninja-style rescue.
"Then you should know that I think there might have been a change of plans."
"What are you talking about?" Addie croaked.
"I think the wedding's off."
"Did Serena and Zach have a fight?"
"You'd better ask her." Paige jerked her head toward the backroom. "While you're dealing with the latest crisis, put some ice on that ankle. I don't want to have to carry you up the aisle." Paige scoffed as Addie started limping toward the back room.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah . . ." Addie waved over her shoulder. She stopped at the door, sucked in a deep breath, pasted a smile on her face, and with all the grace of a chimpanzee, hobbled into the storage room.
For all her false bravado it only took one look at her friend's tear-streaked face for Addie to crumple. "Oh hon, what happened now?" She collapsed beside Serena on a wooden book crate and wrapped her arms around Serena's trembling shoulders.