RJ went back to the office, picking up a coffee on the way. Vivi was doing all of the wedding planning. It was her day, so she was doing all the details, every last thing. It hurt him that she was so disappointed at their guest list, but her father had made no effort at hiding his utter dislike of RJ.
He shrugged. She’d be better off with kind, honest people.
“Hey, son,” Ron called. He stuck his head in his dad’s office as he passed. “How’s it going?”
“Just trying to get all the details squared away.”
“Proud of you, son. She’s a great girl.”
RJ didn’t try to hide the utterly foolish smile. She was. Vivi was everything he could have imagined. More than he could have imagined. She was a daydream wrapped inside a daydream. The fact that she had chosen him and—
“RJ?” He looked to his father again. He was laughing. “Happy for you.”
RJ shrugged, caught in the bliss of his daydream about his almost-bride.
“What do you need me to do, dad?”
Ron handed him a few reports, then said, “There’s a store that we’re going to need some management coverage. The manager is going on parental leave and they’ll need a float.”
He nodded. “I got it, dad. Where is the store?”
“Other side of the valley, I’m sorry to say. You go do it when you come back from the honeymoon.”
“When’s she due?”
“Four weeks, but she could go at any time, you know?”
“Will there be enough coverage if I’m not here?”
RJ would do a lot of things, but not be there when the company needed him wasn’t one of them.
Ron laughed. “I’m not going to have you cancel your honeymoon just so you can work. God, I’d go do it before I’d let you.”
Ron hadn’t worked at the store level in better than fifteen years. He’d been working from the corporate offices.
RJ laughed. “You ready for that, old man?”
“I can still beat your ass on the court.”
RJ laughed again. “I go easy on you at racquetball because I don’t want to make my mother a widow.”
Ron grinned. RJ always knew he’d end up working at the family store. It was just how it was going to be. He grew up there. Now, he was working there and, God willing, his sons would work there too. Hell, daughters too. Ron and Isabel worked the store. Isabel’s son Tom worked with them too. It was all the family and it was just right.
“Now get out of here, you smartass,” Ron said. “I have real work to do.”
RJ grinned at his father, then said, “So when’s our next racquetball appointment?”
“As soon as you get back from your honeymoon.” Ron smiled, the pride of having raised a good man all over his face. “Now, shoo.”
RJ laughed and saluted his father with his coffee and made his way to his office.
RJ sat down and looked at the list of stores he’d have to visit. He was in charge of inspections and the reports to give to the general managers of the stores. It kept him out and about through the day and week. On the other side, it gave him time to stop by home and say hi to Vivi.
But he looked through his schedule after looking at the calendar desk blotter. Their wedding was this Friday. For a Wednesday afternoon, he was just worthless.
But, as he looked through the schedule and then finances, he groaned. Vivi was going to have to get a job. A real job. Not just “helping out her dad” and getting paid for it. Not that she was doing that anymore since their falling out either.
Vivi led a life of leisure. She had spin class, she’d go to her painting retreat. Brunch with friends. All kinds of things. But now, she had to scale back and drastically. Her mother had money, sure, but not enough to support her daughter as well. And Dovie was going to have to get through a divorce and everything. They couldn’t ask Dovie for anything else. The wedding was already too much.
He’d mentioned to her that she could work at VikingMart, but she always wrinkled her nose. They were going to have to do something. This was unsustainable. And if they wanted a bigger home and children and her life of leisure, well, they’d have to work to make it happen.
They’d get through the wedding and they’d figure it out then. Because he loved her. He adored her. And he knew they would make it through. Their love was eternal.
He sighed and drew one more heart on Friday. He was going to be so happy.