Home > Pricked(11)

Author: Winter Renshaw

“We should exchange numbers,” Devanie says when we pull up outside the club a few minutes later.

I hand her my phone and she hands me hers.

“Call me anytime you need,” I tell her as she gets out. “Day or night. And I’ll see you Thursday? Same time?”

She turns, leaving me with a smile and a wave as she heads back inside to wait for her ride, and I step on it, rushing back home to get ready for Laurel’s dress fitting.

The instant my mother and I step into Montbleu Bridal in Schaumburg, we’re greeted by a sales associate in a Chanel pantsuit and two glasses of champagne.

“You must be with the Townsend party,” she says, referring to Laurel’s current last name. A year from now she’ll be Laurel Karrington, which I admit has a nice ring to it. “Come this way. We’ve got you set up in our Blushing Bride Suite.”

The woman whisks us to a room in the back with silk curtain-covered walls, pale pink velvet furniture, crystal chandeliers, and an abundance of mirrors so the bride-to-be can see herself from any and all angles.

“You made it!” Laurel rushes to my mother first, giving her a hug. And then it's my turn. “Thank you so much for coming.”

Three other women are already seated with champagne flutes in hand—they must be her friends.

“Temple and Brighton, I’d like you to meet Autumn, Yasmine, and Hadley,” she says, “my bridesmaids.”

The redhead clears her throat.

Laurel chuckles. “Sorry. Yas and Had are my bridesmaids. Autumn’s my maid of honor.”

“So lovely to meet you ladies,” my mother says before taking a seat on a pink settee and crossing her legs at the ankle.

Laurel’s mother is finishing up a phone call from a seat across the room, and when she tucks her phone away, she makes her way over.

“So good to see you again, Temple,” she says. Her name escapes me. Though there’s a chance I was never given it in the first place. I was a little out of it the night of the engagement dinner. “Brighton, would you mind if I sat between you two? I’d like to discuss some wedding details with your mother.”

“Not at all.” I scoot to the end of the velvet sofa. Laurel disappears behind the fitting room curtain with her assigned associate, who’s carrying an armful of enormous gowns.

“So Laurel and I were discussing venues,” Laurel’s mom says to mine. “We’re thinking somewhere in downtown Chicago since the two of them work in that area. She’s wanting someplace with a view but not the Pier. There’s one place—the Skyline Tower—that has a ballroom, dining hall, and sweeping views of the city at night. I think it’d be perfect, but they’d have to get married on a Friday night the week before this Christmas, which of course is less than ideal given the fact that it gives us only six months to plan, but the place is booked every single Saturday for the next sixteen months, so ...”

“A Friday night wedding in December could be fun,” my mother says. “Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with bucking tradition.”

The two of them ramble on about flowers—Laurel is leaning toward calla lilies—and groom’s cake—Eben wants German chocolate, and her three bridesmaids scroll through Pinterest boards on their phones, agreeing to disagree on several of the bridesmaid dress options.

I lift my champagne flute and watch the dressing room curtain move. Any minute now she’s going to step out and we’re going to have to give our opinion.

“I don’t know about you, Temple, but I have a feeling this is going to be the wedding of the century,” Laurel’s mom says, her hand over her heart. “And have you ever seen two people more in love than Laurel and Eben?”

From what I know, Laurel’s an only child. I imagine, like most loving parents, all they want is for her to be with someone who loves her and wants to take care of her as much as they do.

And Eben is that someone.

There truly is someone out there for everyone. I believe that with all of my heart.

I just can’t help but wonder who my someone is.



“You’re late.” Devanie climbs into my car and slams the door.

“I texted you. Didn’t you get it?” I ask.

“Yeah. But still.”

I’m twenty minutes late, which I’m sure to Dev felt like an eternity since she didn’t want to be there in the first place, but I can’t help it if my last appointment ran long. I wasn’t going to leave the tattoo unfinished when we were so close to being done.

“So how’d it go?” I ask. “With the mentor thing?”

“She’s okay,” Dev says, buckling up.

“Just okay?”

She pulls out her phone, firing off a text to someone, and I notice the garish pink paint on her nails.

“She take you to get your nails done?” I ask.

“Uh huh.” Her fingertips tap against the glass in warp speed. You’d never know she’s only a couple of weeks into having a cell phone.

“Tell me about her,” I say as we pull away.

“She’s nice,” she says, not looking up once. “Pretty.”

As soon as we get to a stoplight, I reach over and yank the damn thing from her hands mid-text.

“Hey!” She tries to grab it back, but I’m too fast.

The light turns green.

“If you’re going to be one of those assholes, then I’m going to start setting limits,” I say. “A hundred text messages a month.”

“You can’t do that.”

“Trust me, Dev. I know exactly what I can and can’t do. The guy at the cell store gave me a whole list of shit I can use to keep tabs on you.”

I pass a car ahead, and she seizes the opportunity to steal her phone back. “Ha.”

“I’m serious,” I say. “Don’t be that asshole who can’t look away from their phone when someone’s talking to them. That shit’s not cool.”

Placing her phone screen side down in her lap, she turns and gives me her full attention. “Better?”

“Better,” I say. “So tell me about your day, about your mentor.”

“I told you. She’s nice. Really pretty. Took me to get my nails done, then we got ice cream and she took me back.” Dev shrugs. “Not much else to tell.”

“When do you get to see her again?”

“We’re going to meet twice a week, noon to two,” she says. “And she gave me her number.”

“Does she have a name?” I’m sure it was on the paperwork, but I didn’t see it before Mom signed off on everything and sent it back. Honestly, I was surprised I didn’t have to nag her fifty times to get it done, but who knows. She probably looked at it as though it was free childcare. There’s nothing Mom won’t do for a handout.

“Yep,” she says. “It’s None of Your Business Jones.”

“Smartass.” I pull into the driveway of Mom’s house and Dev climbs out of the passenger side. “Got to head back to the shop. I’ll check on you later.”

My sister rolls her eyes. “Or you know. You could get a life of your own.”

I know she’s right, but I don’t dignify her comment with a response.

Dev shuts the door before leaning in the open window, elbows resting on the open frame. “Can I ask you a serious question?”

“Yeah. Okay. What?”

“Are you asexual?”

I choke on my spit.

That was the last question I’d expect anyone to ask me, especially my kid sister. “Why would you ask me that?”

“Just answer it,” she says, biting her lip.


“Do you like boys, girls, or nothing?” she asks. “I don’t care. Not going to judge you. Love is love. I’m just wondering.”

“First of all, I’m not discussing my sexuality with you, Devanie,” I say. “Second of all, no. I’m not asexual. I’m very much into women. Not girls. Women.”

“Then why don’t you ever bring anyone around?” she asks. “I mean, you haven’t since Veronica.”

“Dev, I ...” my voice trails. She hasn’t brought up Veronica since shit hit the fan two years ago, and now she says it so casually. But she’s just a kid. I won’t hold it against her.

“You should get back out there then,” she says. “Start dating or something.”

“What do you know about dating?” I wrinkle my nose at her. “Dating’s for people who give a shit about dating. And I don’t give a shit about dating, therefore I don’t date.”

“Maybe I should set you up with my mentor ...” She lifts a finger, tapping it at the side of her mouth.

“You wouldn’t.” The last thing I need is to be set up with some Pollyanna goody-two-shoes volunteer.

Dev stands straight, hooking her bag over her shoulder. “Actually, yeah. You’re right. I wouldn’t. She’s too good for your lame ass.”



“I brought you something,” I say to Devanie when I meet with her the next week. It's our third time getting together. Last Thursday we met up and I took her to the mall where we got Starbucks and mostly window-shopped, though I almost bought her a lotion and body spray from Bath and Body Works. I don’t want to get into the habit of buying her things every single time we get together. That creates entitlement, and I’m here to help her gain confidence, to motivate and positively influence her.

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