When Girlfriends Chase Dreams

By: Savannah Page

Acknowledgments





Dearest thanks to my family and friends for your never-ending support, love, and encouragement.





Hats off to Anne and Ginger for being absolutely amazing and helpful beta readers. Thank you!



Many thanks to my editor, Liam Carnahan of Invisible Ink Editing, for your fabulous edits and critique.





Thank you to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo 2012. When Girlfriends Chase Dreams is my NaNo baby and I couldn’t have done it without such a supportive and wonderful organization and team of authors pushing and encouraging one another to get those novels done!





And forever thanks to my husband for truly being my number one fan. Ich liebe dich, Christian.





Chapter One





I can’t believe the reflection in the mirror. It almost brings tears to my eyes. I, Claire Linley, am actually wearing my wedding dress. All right, not really my wedding dress. But a wedding dress. I’m actually—really and truly!—wearing a wedding dress, inside a bridal boutique, standing on top of a pedestal in front of a massive tri-fold mirror, so I can glimpse all angles of my white and fluffy and crystal-y bridal self.

I swish from side to side, imagining that I’m on the ballroom floor. I watch about in a daze as the gorgeous pieces of material sway with my curvy body, dancing with my short movements. Even my curly hair sways in tune with the gown; and somehow the bright white shade of the material and the sparkly crystals seem to make my hair appear a type of platinum blonde. I look like a princess. I feel like a princess! Oh, this is one of the best days of my life! The woman who looks back in the mirror, the image I’ve been dreaming about pretty much from the very moment I started going out with my amazing and handsome fiancé, Conner, is almost too much to bear. This is actually happening. I’m finally engaged to be married!

Wow! Just listening to that word…fiancé. And engaged! Such sweet, sweet words… I always knew I would be over-the-moon when I’d be able to use those words in the same sentence as my name, but I didn’t think they’d sound this lyrical. I didn’t know being an engaged woman could feel so magical!

But, if I’m completely honest, it’s also a bit stressful.

Oh, but no matter. I’m engaged! I am going to become Mrs. Conner Whitley just eight months from now! Well, it could have been six, making for a clichéd dream of an outdoor, June wedding, but planning a wedding is really tough stuff. So much to coordinate! It’s not like planning a birthday party or even a baby shower, which I got to do a couple of years ago for one of my best friends, Robin Sinclair. No, planning a wedding is a huge ordeal, and it can get a little overwhelming from time to time, to say the least.

But, as I said, it’s no matter, really, since I’m standing right here, inside one of Seattle’s most glamorous bridal boutiques, wearing a breathtaking wedding dress. It may not be my dress. It may not be “the one!” that all the bridal magazines swear you’ll recognize when you see it. But it’s a wedding dress just the same, and it’s on me!

“Claire? Claire dear?”

I tear my eyes away from the almost-wedded-bliss image in the mirror to look to my mom. She’s looking up at me, holding a crystal-studded tiara in one hand and a waist-length veil in the other.

“Which one do you like best, dear?” she asks. She’s looking from left to right and smiling at me between takes, just like a game show girl who’s trying to strike up interest in the full set of Teflon cookware and the lifetime supply of canned soup—only a thousand times better. “The crystal tiara really makes your blue eyes shine.”

“Neither,” I breathe. I set my hands on my beaded waist, then quickly remove them. There are far too many beads and sequins on this wedding gown. How can a girl twist and move on the dance floor when she’s liable to scratch up her forearms and hands from such an ornate bodice? No, this dress won’t do. It’s beautiful, but not for me.

Mom makes a twisted face and brings the headpieces down to her sides. “You don’t like either one?” she asks dejectedly.

“They’re beautiful,” I quickly say. I look back at my reflection. “This dress is beautiful, too.” I turn back to Mom. “But they’re not for me. They’re not ‘the one!’ You know?”

Mom nods knowingly and hands the items back to one of the two boutique attendants who’ve been helping me for the past three hours.

“Claire?” It’s Sophie Wharton, my maid of honor. Even though I love and adore all of my girlfriends (and I seriously have the most awesome five girlfriends a woman could ask for), Sophie is the ideal BFF in the world. She’s the peanut butter to my PB&J, and I like peanut butter a lot! Sophie’s that best friend and super sister wrapped in one. And we really just, well, click. We first met when we were freshmen at the University of Washington, which feels like ages ago. We hit it off and eventually moved into a dorm together. Best friends, great roomies, and, nearly ten years later, we’re still a pretty dynamic duo, if I may say so myself.