Home > My Kind of Perfect (Trillium Bay #3)

My Kind of Perfect (Trillium Bay #3)
Author: Tracy Brogan

Chapter 1

 

“And just like that, Gigi O’Reilly-Callaghan-Harper-Smith died the way she lived. With a martini glass in each hand.”

My sister Brooke performed a lazy, single-fingered sign of the cross as our grandmother, the very much alive Gigi O’Reilly-Callaghan-Harper-Smith, tripped over a calico house cat, swayed on one foot before bumping her gray-haired noggin against the doorframe, and yet somehow managed to not spill a drop from either of the glasses she held aloft. Not a dribble nor a droplet. Nary a ripple. The olives didn’t even wobble.

“This is designer gin,” Gigi responded matter-of-factly, lurching forward and plunking the drinks down on the red-and-white-checked cloth that covered the old pine table in her kitchen. “It was a parting gift from Gus.”

“Does Gus know it was a parting gift from Gus?” Brooke’s tone remained as dry as the hint of vermouth Gigi typically waved over her drink of choice, but our grandmother just scoffed good-naturedly. She was a tiny dynamo in faded jeans and an extra-large blue-plaid flannel shirt that swallowed her to the knees. The sleeves were rolled up a half dozen turns and were still cuffed just above her wrists.

“After what I put up with at his place, I think I earned myself a few door prizes on my way out. And anyway, he shouldn’t drink so much.”

I locked eyes with my sister, who shrugged off the comment with practiced resignation. There was no point in telling Gigi that she also drank too much. Every time the topic arose, she’d just tell us she was pickling herself to ward off old age, and she might be onto something. At seventy-plus years old, she was as vivacious as ever and showed no signs of slowing down—as evidenced by the fact that, until two weeks ago, she’d been shacking up with a much younger man—one Mr. August Mahoney.

Their surprise affair had rocked and shocked the Wenniway Island community and kept the winter population of six hundred inhabitants busy gossiping and speculating and tsk-tsk-tsking, but—like a firecracker—their relationship had been loud, painful to the eyes, and blissfully brief.

They’d lived together just long enough for Gigi to discover that the hard-of-hearing Gus was a nocturnal TV watcher of true-crime documentaries who ate potato chips in bed while wiping greasy fingers on the sheets, habitually left up the toilet seat, and needed pruning shears to clip his freakishly fast-growing toenails. It was all a bit too much, even for a scrappy, adaptable gal like Gigi, who’d been widowed not once, not twice, but thrice. So she’d informed Gus it was over and moved back to her own house, where she could drink his designer gin in peace and quiet.

I’d caught up on all this information, along with a few more salaciously repellent details about Gus and Gigi’s romantic exploits, while sitting in my grandmother’s homey, cinnamon-scented kitchen. It was April, and a late-season northern Michigan snowstorm was blowing against the windows, but the house was cozy inside thanks to a fire crackling in the fireplace. I’d missed that sound of a wood fire burning, just as I’d missed the wind howling and sleet pelting against the glass panes. After spending the past several months in warm, sunny Sacramento in a $2 million house with glossy glass-stone fireplaces that were sleek and silent and really just for show, I found myself appreciating these quaint, familiar sounds of home.

This was home. Trillium Bay on Wenniway Island, and in spite of the questionable subject matter at hand, I was very glad to be there. And very glad that one of those martinis was for me because I’d arrived just two hours earlier, and the travel from California had been exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Like my grandmother, I, too, was flailing in the wake of a doomed love affair, but unlike in Gigi’s situation, no one on the island knew yet that my relationship with John Taggert was teetering on the brink of disaster. My family thought I was there for a short visit, but it looked to me like I was home to stay.

I’d have to explain things to everyone eventually, of course. They’d notice if I never left, but the situation was complicated, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to tell them. Tag and I were sort of . . . on a break, but I suspected it was the irreconcilable sort of break that couples didn’t recover from. And while no one would technically judge me for this, a long line of people were waiting to say, “I told you so, Lilly,” because I’d been cautioned—repeatedly—that the relationship was a mistake.

“She’s all set, you guys! Oh my gosh, are you ready?” my niece, Chloe, called out excitedly from the top of Gigi’s stairs, where Emily—the middle Callaghan sister and Chloe’s mother—was waiting to model her bridal gown. She was getting remarried in a few months, and this big-reveal moment was exclusively for me because Gigi, Brooke, and Chloe had already seen it. I’d missed the wedding dress shopping excursion because I’d been in California with Tag, and the regret still stung. I hadn’t been home when my sister had gotten engaged, either. I’d missed Christmas with my family because we’d been on a Caribbean vacation. Even the courtship of Brooke and her boyfriend, Leo, who was now a deputy with the Wenniway Island Police Department, had blossomed without me around to share in the joy of it, but still, it was the dress shopping that seemed to rattle me the most. I’d missed all the feels and the aahs and the oohs and the giggles and the cheers and the saying yes to the dress, and for some reason that really bothered me.

Emily’s first marriage at nineteen had been a spontaneous runaway elopement, so the entire family had missed out on that one. I was only fifteen at the time, and there’d been no dress shopping or cake tasting or bridal shower attending. No bouquet toss or champagne toast or vision of my father walking her down the aisle—a point of contention that had created a fair amount of friction between the two of them that they’d only recently resolved. So this wedding was meant to make up for that wedding. Emily tying the knot with Ryan was going to be an event, with all the matrimonial fanfare, frothy tulle, fragrant white roses, and tuxedoed harpists that my sister could wrangle together. And of course, most importantly, there would be the Perfect Dress. The dress I hadn’t helped choose but was eager to see nonetheless.

“We’re ready!” called out Brooke, and Gigi began to hum a pitchy version of the “Wedding March.” Thirteen-year-old Chloe’s laughter preceded her as she bounded down the wooden stairs in sneakers, sounding more like a basketball player galloping across center court than the slender girl she was. She rounded the corner and skidded to a halt, shoes squeaking and hair swirling, before turning back toward my sister.

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