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JESSIE FOLLOWED WENDYand the couple as the hotel manager showed them around the vast grounds. A treelined gravelled pathway led all the way down through the beautifully cultivated gardens, transforming into a wooden walkway as the gardens opened up onto a secluded beach.

It was perfect in every way. Each of the three venues had been. Daisy and Ollie’s restaurant had offered a rather more intimate venue, whereas the previous hotel had been more on the casual side. This one, however, could have been duplicated straight from a Hollywood movie. Everything from the high ceilings and chandeliers in the dining hall to the perfectly sculptured hedges lining the pathway leading down to the perfect white sand of the beach screamed luxury.

‘What do you think, my love?’ Finley turned to his soon-to-be-wife and tucked her hair behind her ear.

‘It’s beautiful. Perfection.’

Jessie tore her eyes away from them and focused on the waves lapping up the beach. They’d been acting like the textbook soppy couple the moment Wendy had introduced them to her. It was all she could do to not throw up or scream at them to wake up and realise that this honeymoon period wouldn’t last forever. ‘How long have you two been together, if you don’t mind me asking?’

Looking behind her towards Jessie, Evelyn blinked, seemingly only just remembering Jessie had been following them and broke out in a smile. ‘Fourteen years. We were childhood sweethearts.’

‘Oh.’ Maybe the lovey-dovey stage did last for some couples then. ‘That’s lovely.’

‘Thank you. We knew the moment we saw each other in maths class that we’d marry.’ Raising Evelyn’s hand to his lips, Finley kissed the back of her hand.

‘Lovely.’ Jessie nodded, willing them to turn back around and leave her alone with her thoughts again.

‘So, Evelyn, Finley, what are your thoughts so far? Have you fallen in love with The Oyster Hotel as much as we all have?’ The hotel manager paused and clasped her hands in front of her.

‘It’s beautiful.’ Evelyn nodded.

‘It really is.’ Wendy looked down at the clipboard in her hand. ‘I think we should all go away and have a think about all of the venues we’ve seen today, and we’ll get back to you.’

‘Of course. I wouldn’t want to rush you into anything. Although I must warn you that the diary for next July is filling up quickly.’ She shook everyone’s hands. ‘I’ll let you have another wander around on your own now. If you have questions, please, don’t hesitate to ask myself or any of my wonderful staff.’

‘Thank you.’ Wendy watched her retreat down the pathway towards the hotel before turning to Evelyn and Finley. ‘So, I can imagine you have a lot to think about. Shall we set our next meeting up for next week? Give you both a few days to mull things over?’

‘Oh, I’m not sure.’ Evelyn glanced from Finley to Wendy again. ‘It sounds as though they’re getting booked up pretty quickly. I don’t want to miss out if we decide to get married here.’

‘Would you rather we book a meeting in for the end of the week instead?’

‘Could we book a meeting in for tomorrow? I know it’s short notice, but I think we can make our decision by then.’ Grasping Finley’s hand, Evelyn looked up at him. ‘What do you think? Do you think we can decide today?’

Nodding, Finley kissed her on the forehead. ‘Yes, I think so.’

‘Okay, let me see what’s available for tomorrow.’ Wendy pulled a diary from her shoulder bag and flicked through. ‘How’s two o’clock?’

‘Yes, two would be amazing. Thank you.’ Evelyn nodded.

‘Great. We’ll let you have another look around here alone. Give you some time to discuss things between the two of you and we’ll see you tomorrow at two.’

‘Thank you.’

Taking a final look at the beautiful beach, Jessie said her goodbyes and followed Wendy back towards the hotel car park. ‘Which venue do you think they’ll choose?’

‘I’m not sure. They seem to have loved every one of them.’ Wendy grinned and shook her head.

‘Yes, they were certainly saying the right things as we were looking around every venue.’ Jessie laughed. ‘They’re a sweet couple, though. Sounds perfect, childhood sweethearts.’

‘Yes, it does, doesn’t it? I can’t say I’d have been happy to marry my childhood sweetheart! Yuck.’ Wendy laughed. ‘I guess it’s less about the timing and more about the right person coming along, though.’

‘I guess.’

‘Connor came along at the wrong time for me—single mum focusing on raising Hudson—but he’s the perfect man for me and so the timing was no issue.’

‘He’s not Hudson’s dad? Sorry, I just assumed he was.’

‘No. A lot of people think that because of the way he is with Hudson, but no. We’ve not actually been together that long, but I know with my whole being that he’s the right one. The right one for me and the right person to join our little family, too.’

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