They'd no sooner arrived in Bastrop this afternoon and begun unpacking when the bickering began. Really, why did Jeremy have an opinion about the reception china Mom wanted to use, anyway?
Gillian threw the small stone as hard as she could off into the cotton field, then continued to brood as she walked down the narrow two-lane road. In three-inch heels. Thinking about the wedding and the argument, so that she wasn't dwelling on her current predicament.
She was starting to get a little scared. "But I won't think about that."
She couldn't believe this all started over china, the lovely mismatched service for two hundred that her mother had been collecting for years in anticipation of using for her only daughter's wedding reception. Although, to be precise, the china had only been a part of today's explosion. What really set Jeremy off was the fact that Gillian had asked for her mother's opinion rather than his about what flatware to use with the china. Never mind that the man neither knew nor cared anything about table settings, and her mother loved nothing better than setting pretty tables.
It was a control thing with Jeremy.
Gillian and her mom enjoyed a very close relationship. In addition to being parent and child, they were partners in a business and friends. Gillian was beginning to suspect that Jeremy was threatened by it. He needed to assert power, which was silly because he wasn't in competition with her mother. Gillian loved them both, she needed them both, but in totally different ways. Why couldn't he see that?
He'd gotten his feathers ruffled rather often of late. She had always tried her best to soothe them, but today, when he'd wanted to veto the flatware selection, she reached her limit.
He'd been mean about it.
The ensuing argument had spiraled from china to flowers to sparklers to signature drinks to photo booth props—and then it got out of control. By the time she'd stormed from the B&B in Bastrop where they had planned to spend the weekend, she and Jeremy had fought over some idiotic things, and some very serious ones.
Did he honestly believe she was too devoted to her work? She was a small business owner. If she wasn't devoted, the salon wouldn't be successful!
And the new event-coordinating business they were planning to start after their wedding was something for the two of them to do together. As partners. Her mother wouldn't be involved at all in Blissful Events beyond making referrals.
Jeremy had always said he'd liked the fact that Gillian was ambitious. Why was that all of a sudden a problem?
Then he'd leveled some truly hurtful claims. Gillian could admit that she could be too stubborn and single-minded on occasion. Maybe sometimes she was blind to what Jeremy needed from her and their relationship. But where in the world had he come up with the whole "too friendly with his friends" accusation? She'd never—never once—acted in any inappropriate manner with any other man, much less one of his friends. That he'd accuse her of that had taken her breath away and blown the lid off her temper.
At the time, she had been thankful she'd had the means to leave the B&B. She needed to be in Dallas for a meeting early Monday morning, so in order to save her some travel time, she and Jeremy had driven to Bastrop in separate cars. On Sunday afternoon when he headed west to return to Redemption, she'd planned to go north.
Now, she wasn't so glad she'd had a getaway car.
She glanced up at the sky. Still heavy clouds. Was it supposed to rain today? She hoped it wouldn't rain today. That was all she needed.
"It'll be okay," she told herself. Everything would be okay. The sun would come out, and then she would at least be able to determine in which direction she walked.
She was lost. Completely, thoroughly, totally lost. She couldn't believe she'd acted so foolishly. It wasn't like her. Not at all. She was organized and attentive and intelligent—but not too friendly. She didn't do things like run away from an argument, jump into her car, and drive blindly away. She was a careful driver. She didn't speed, and she paid attention to the road. She hadn't received a traffic ticket since college, and that hadn't been for speeding or reckless driving. She'd forgotten to renew her registration!
But this afternoon, she'd left her mind behind in the Katherine Suite at Lost Pines Inn. By the time she'd pulled over and plugged her destination into her car's GPS system—something she seldom used so wasn't all that familiar with—the route it had plotted took her on a series of farm roads. Rather than go the fifteen miles to the interstate highway, she'd followed the GPS woman's voice like an automaton. She'd driven east and west and north and even south, through tiny towns she'd never heard of before. And she'd grown up in Texas, little more than one hundred miles from where she'd started in Bastrop!