After considering it for a moment, she figured Bryan, who had been busy taking care of his hospitalized father, wouldn’t tag along. “Invite Ida along. We could grab some sushi and then go help Belinda with her wedding dress shopping.”
Chase grinned. “Alright. I’ll call her now.”
Belinda leaned into Ellinor’s side, clinging to her like a child would to their parent, and murmured, “Ellinor, to be honest, I’m actually pretty nervous.”
Ellinor quirked an eyebrow at her and teased, “Nervous about what? It’s not like this is your first rodeo.”
Belinda jerked her head up as a frown creased her forehead. “Ellinor! Are you really bringing up that mess? That was like living through a horror movie!”
Laughing, Ellinor reached out to pinch her cheek. “Exactly! So why the jitters? Surely, it can’t be worse than the last time. Your groom-to-be might not be Mr. Perfect, but he’s miles ahead of the last one. I’ve got your back, so he wouldn’t dare cause a ruckus.”
Ellinor’s jesting seemed to do the trick, and Belinda visibly relaxed.
Chase, however, was not amused. “Hey! Boss, isn’t it a bit much to badmouth me in front of my wife? And to do it right in front of me too?”
Ellinor crossed her arms, unfazed by his childish outburst. “Oh, so you have a problem with that?”
Chase grinned sheepishly. “No, no, carry on.”
Ignoring him, Ellinor rolled down the car window to let in the breeze. The air conditioning inside the car was too harsh. It made her feel uncomfortable.
Soon, they reached an Italian restaurant.
As they were getting out of the car, Ida arrived. But she wasn’t alone. Bryan, the last person Ellinor wanted to see, was with her.
Why the hell wasn’t he at the hospital with his father?
Seeing Bryan made Ellinor rub her temples in annoyance. She decided to ignore him and made her way into the restaurant with Belinda.
Bryan, however, seemed oblivious to his unwelcome status and followed them in. “Hey! Why are you in such a rush?”
Annoyed, Ellinor replied, “I’m hungry!”
With a laid-back stride, Bryan kept up with her. “That hungry, huh? Didn’t you have breakfast?”
Ellinor didn’t bother to respond.
Bryan persisted. “Hey, why are you ignoring my calls? I’ve been trying to reach you all morning. If I hadn’t run into Ida for lunch, I wouldn’t have been able to find you.”
Ellinor had intentionally been ignoring Bryan’s calls. She had a feeling he was up to no good.
Belinda, tired of Bryan’s incessant chatter, defended Ellinor. “Bryan, could you just be quiet? Can’t you tell Ellinor doesn’t want to talk to you?” Bryan frowned. “She’s my sister. She has to talk to me! And why are you hanging onto her like that? You’re not even related by blood!” Belinda rolled her eyes at him. “We may not be related by blood, but she’s my aunt-in-law. We’re closer than you are to her, so there!”
Bryan was not pleased. “You…”
Before he could blow his top, Ida pulled him aside to reprimand him. “What did you promise me? You said you’d keep your mouth shut if you came along, remember?”
Bryan, slightly meek in front of Ida, feigned being hurt. “Ida, Belinda’s picking on me. Scold her for me!”
Ida patted his shoulder. “She’s a girl; can’t you be more understanding?”
Bryan scratched his head, feeling annoyed. “I get it now. None of you want me here!”
Belinda turned back to stick her tongue out at him. “Finally figured it out, huh?”
Bryan lifted his chin defiantly. “So what if you don’t want me here? I’m coming anyway. I’ll show you!”