Aida hated summer, or as her mother liked to call it, “wedding season.” There was the heat and humidity of the east coast, the bevy of mosquitoes, the all-too-frequent articles about getting beach-body-ready. And if you weren’t showing that body off at the pool or ocean, it was in a flowy dress for one of the twenty weddings you were invited to between May and August. As if you didn’t have better things to do that sit through drunk best man speeches and awkward family dancing.
At least this summer there would be one wedding she would not be attending - her mother’s. Desdemona and Paul had remarried in a private city hall wedding, just like they had done the first time around almost fifteen years ago. Now her mother and stepfather were traipsing around Europe doing research for Desdemona’s next novel, and Aida was house sitting and whiling away the remainder of her summer.
The stack of novels next to the couch had grown smaller and the fridge grew emptier. Soon she’d have to head outside to restock on both reading material and food. And all the while she studiously ignored the Save the Date! that had been pinned to the calendar back in April, a date which now loomed less than a week away.
It was the wedding of her college roommate to Aida’s ex-boyfriend. When Harley had first called her to announce the engagement, Aida had been thrilled. She loved her old roommate and she had not dated her ex in over three years. In college they had all been close friends, and even the breakup with Lee had not severed those ties.
But something seemed to snap deep down as the wedding grew closer to reality. Long-forgotten memories of the good moments with Lee surfaced each time Aida glanced at the announcement on the calendar. So she buried her nose in her books and wondered how she could get out of attending this wedding.
Her cell rang, Desdemona’s face flashing across the screen, and Aida closed her latest thriller with a sigh. She would have to discover how the killer outfoxed the detective in Bucharest later.
“Darling!” Desdemona cried when Aida answered the FaceTime request. Her mother’s over-tanned face filled the screen. Her cheeks were tinged red and Aida spied a wine glass in her hand when she finally zoomed out.
“Hi mom! What country are you in this week?”
“We’re Italy now, Florence. You would love it! So much history and art everywhere you look.”
“Hi Aida!” Paul’s face tipped into the screen and Aida waved back to her stepdad. Every time she saw the two of them together, she was flooded with gratitude that they had found their way back to each other. Her mother might be bold and effervescent, and Paul shy and studious, but together they were perfect.
Aida had felt like that with Lee once, long ago.
She shook that gloomy thought away and tried to focus on her parents’ adventures. “Are you getting a lot of inspiration for your book?”
"The best! Honestly, I think I might like to start a new series set here in Italy, during the Renaissance. Can you imagine all the romance of that time?” Desdemona gushed.
“Oh yeah, awesome!” Aida replied on automatic.
Desdemona squinted at her through the screen. “Sweetheart, is everything all right? I know we’ve been gone two months now, and won’t be back till the end of August. Are you getting out with friends?”
“Yes, mom. Just tired, stayed up too late finishing a book last night,” Aida lied. Her mother was an expert in romances - fantastical romances - but she could not fix the problem of Harley and Lee and Aida. Sometimes things didn’t work out and sometimes people moved on. Maybe Paul and Desdemona were lucky but Aida knew that luck did not hold for her.
“I love you, Aida.” Desdemona said after a moment.
“I love you too, mom.” She bid them both goodbye and ended the call, letting silence ring through the living room.
The bookmarked thriller called to Aida, but so did the Save the Date! on the calendar.
After a moment, she knew what she would do. She had been in love with Lee once, maybe still was in a way. But she loved Harley too. And in a world without a lot of luck, it was a beautiful thing for people to find each other, and Aida would be right there to cheer them on with the rest.
She left the book on the couch cushions and went upstairs to pick out a dress, something flowy and perfect for a summer wedding.
If you thought the characters sounded familiar, you'll find another story with Aida and Desdemona LeFevre here!