Always the Last to Know Page 1

Author: Kristan Higgins

Genres: Fiction , Romance



You’re engaged? Oh! Uh . . . huzzah!”

Yes. I had just said huzzah.

You know what? I couldn’t blame myself. Another engagement among the teachers of St. Catherine’s Catholic Elementary School in the Bronx. The fifth this year, and yes, I was counting.

I couldn’t look away from the diamond blinding me from the finger of Bridget Ennis. The stone was the size of a bumblebee, and my hypnotized eyes followed her hand as she waved it in excitement, telling the rest of us teachers—six women, one man—about how romantic, how unexpected, how thrilling it had been.

I had nothing against Bridget. I even liked her. I’d mentored her, because this was her first year teaching. She was twenty-three as of last week; I was ancient at thirty-two (or so it felt in teacher years). It had been raining diamond rings, and despite my having had bubbly hopes on my own last birthday, the fourth finger of my left hand remained buck naked.

Bridget was talking about save-the-date magnets and paper quality and color schemes and flower arrangements and the seventy-nine dresses she was already torn between. Another woman falling victim to wedding insanity. Bridget was the only child of wealthy parents. This did not bode well for me, her sort-of friend. Was it too late to distance myself? Please don’t ask me to be a bridesmaid. Please. Please. I am way too old for this shit.

“My daddy said whatever I want, and I want it to be perfect, you know?” Bridget looked at me, and I felt the cold trickle of dread. “Sadie, obviously I want you as a bridesmaid.” Her pure green eyes filled with happy tears.

Oh, the fuckery of it all.

“Of course!” I said. “Thank you! What an honor!” My cheek began to twitch as I smiled.

“And you, Nina! And you, Vanessa! And of course, Jay’s three sisters and my gals from Kappa Kappa Gamma. And my cousin, because she’s like a sister to me. Do you like violet? Or cornflower? Off the shoulder, I was thinking, but I think my dress might be off the shoulder and . . .” I stopped listening as she began speaking in tongues intelligible only to those addicted to Say Yes to the Dress.

This was not my first time around the bridesmaid block. Bridget’s would be my sixth stint, and I knew what was coming. Engagement party. Bridal shower. Dress shopping for Bridget. Dress shopping for me and the other eleventeen bridesmaids. A lingerie shower. A household goods shower. Meeting(s) of the families. Bachelorette weekend in some city that caters to large groups of drunken people—New Orleans or Vegas or Savannah, which meant a flight and hotel. Rehearsal dinner. The wedding itself. Brunch the next day. All with or without Alexander Mitchum, my boyfriend, who had not yet proposed, despite his references to a future together, his onetime question about if I’d think about changing my last name from Frost to Mitchum—“hypothetically,” he’d added—and the deliberate slowing of my footsteps whenever we passed Cartier on Fifth Avenue.

“You don’t have to say yes, idiot,” came a low voice next to me. Carter Demming, my best friend at St. Catherine’s.

“She’s sweet,” I murmured back.

“Oh, please. Let her sorority sisters be her bridesmaids. Show some dignity for your age.”