Reunited with the Lassiter Bride(4)

By: Barbara Dunlop

She’d rather have the mock-ups in the next ten minutes, but patience was one of the characteristics she was practicing at the moment. Patience, composure and a work-life balance.

Before his sudden death, her father had complained that she worked too hard, that she needed balance in her life. When he’d taken away her position at Lassiter through his will, she’d been forced to reevaluate her balance.

She’d made progress, and she’d promised herself to give it a fair shot. She was even thinking about taking up a hobby, and maybe a sport. Yoga, perhaps. People who did yoga seemed very serene.

“We’ll be in touch,” said Suzanne as she and Boswell left the boardroom.

The door closed behind them, and Angelica took a moment to focus on her composure. Her next meeting was with her close friend Kayla Prince. Kayla was engaged to Lassiter Media account executive Matt Hollis, so she’d been along for the ride on the family discord over the past five months.

Angelica knew that many of the Lassiter Media executives worried she’d put the company at risk by working with corporate raider Jack Reed and attempting to contest the will. And her recent single-minded focus on regaining control of the company meant she hadn’t seen much of Kayla or any of her other friends. She could only imagine what Kayla might have heard from Matt at the height of the conflict.

So, when the door opened again, she was ready for anything. But Kayla surprised her, rushing through the door and quickly pulling her into a warm hug.

“I’m so glad it’s over,” said Kayla. She drew back to peer at Angelica. “You okay now? Congratulations. You deserved this all along. You’re going to be a fantastic CEO.”

Angelica’s brain stumbled for a moment, and then a warm rush of relief nearly buckled her knees. She hugged Kayla back. “I’ve missed you so much,” she confessed.

“Whose fault is that?” Kayla asked on a laugh.

“Mine. It’s all my fault. Everything is all my fault.”

Kayla drew back again, this time briskly rubbing Angelica’s upper arms. “Stop. That’s enough. I don’t want to hear you say that again.”

Angelica was about to protest, but then she spotted Tiffany Baines in the doorway. “Tiff?”

Tiffany opened her arms, and Angelica rushed to greet her other close friend.

“Angie,” Tiffany sighed. “It’s so great to see you at the office.”

Angelica took a step back, sobering. “I’ve got a lot of work to do here.” She glanced at Kayla as well. “There are a lot of fences to mend and a whole lot of decisions to make.”

“You’ll do great,” Tiffany stated with conviction. “There’s nobody better than you to run Lassiter Media. The stupid will put you in an impossible position.”

“I could have handled it better,” said Angelica.

“How were you to know it was a test? What if it hadn’t been a test? What if your father had truly lost his mind and left the family company to Evan? You were right to fight it.”

“I think you’re the only person in the world who feels that way,” Angelica said to Tiffany.

“I doubt it. But it doesn’t matter. What matters now is that you’re going to be an amazing success.” A mischievous grin grew on Tiffany’s face, and she shifted her attention to Kayla. “Go ahead. Tell her.”

“Tell me what?” Angelica took in Kayla’s matching, wide grin. “What’s going on?”

“We’ve set a date,” said Kayla.

“For the wedding?”

Kayla nodded.

“That’s fantastic news. When? Where? How big?”

Kayla laughed. “End of September. I know it’s quick. But they had a cancellation at the Emerald Wave. We’ll be oceanfront in Malibu, just like my mother always dreamed we’d be. We can have the ceremony right on the cliff. I know it’ll be spectacular.”

“It sounds perfect,” said Angelica, ignoring the tiny spear of jealousy that tried to pierce her chest.

It was too late for her own fairy-tale wedding. That was simply the reality of it all. And she was genuinely delighted for her friend.

“Now that we’ve finally made plans, I can’t wait to marry Matt.”

“Of course you can’t.”

“I want you to be my maid of honor.”

The jealousy was immediately obliterated by a wave of warmth. Angelica was surprised and touched. “I’d love to be your maid of honor. After everything—” she stopped, gathering her emotions. “You are so sweet to ask.”

“Sweet, nothing. You’re my best friend. You always have been, and you always will be.”

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