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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 24)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(24) by Chloe Neill
  • I unzipped the bag, unexpectedly nervous about whether Mallory would like the dress or not. I needed her to like it.

    “Oh,” Mallory said, barely a sound, her eyes welling at the sight of it. “Oh, Merit. That’s just . . .”

    “It’s very you,” Lindsey said, reaching out to squeeze Mallory’s hand.

    That was why I’d grabbed the first dress I’d tried on. Because it was absolutely me, and I felt like me when wearing it. Me, but maybe something more. Me-plus, if the plus was a kind of elegance I’d never really felt. But an elegance I imagined my mother would be proud of.

    It was a slender dress, overlaid in delicate French lace. There were short cap sleeves of the same lace, and a bodice with a sweetheart neckline. The lace continued through the waist, where the underlying bias-cut silk draped to the ground and pooled in a short train of more lace. It was delicate and romantic and old-fashioned, and it fit my tall frame to a tee.

    “It really is,” Mallory said, tears falling in earnest now. She stood up and wrapped her arms around me in a fierce hug that made me teary, too.

    “There’s no crying in baseball or vampire fashion,” I said.

    “There will be tears at the wedding,” Lindsey said. “From those of us happy that the two of you found each other—and those jealous that both of you are off the market.”

    I almost snorted, until I remembered the fact that Lacey Sheridan, head of San Diego’s Sheridan House, had been sufficiently in love with Ethan to try to push us apart. Vampire etiquette demanded we invite her, but I wasn’t sure whether she’d RSVP’d. Not that I was worried overmuch about it now. If anything, watching him say “I do” might help her move on. And it would probably piss her off a little. Which was fine with me.

    “You will knock his socks off,” Mallory said, using a tissue to swipe at her eyes. “I mean, he is totally crazy about you, but if you didn’t have him in the palm of your hand before, you will now.”

    • • •

    Makeup was followed by dress, which was followed by hair. By the time Lindsey had finished rolling, teasing, pinning, and spraying my hair, my scalp felt like it had nearly been tugged off my head.

    I winced as she adjusted a final pin, which poked right into the skin behind my ear. Across the room, Helen smiled. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she liked the hair, not the pain.

    “Here we go,” Lindsey said. “Mirror time.”

    “Oh, here!” Mallory said. “For full effect.” She opened a glossy white box on the counter, pulled out my bouquet.

    “Oh, that’s beautiful,” I said, taking it. There were enormous frilled white peonies and pale green hydrangeas, with sprigs of white lily of the valley. The stems were wrapped in white satin. “And it’s heavy,” I said as Mallory passed it over. “How does yours look?”

    “It’s mini-Merit!” she said, and pulled hers out of a second box. Same flowers, smaller size.

    “Can I see now?” I asked, holding the flowers obediently in front of me.

    “Voilà!” Lindsey said, and rotated the chair.

    I stared.

    My makeup was, just as Lindsey had said, soft and romantic. My skin looked luminous, my lips bee-stung and just the right shade of warm pink, my pale cheeks prettily flushed. My eyelashes looked a mile long; I’d have to get that secret from her later. There was something a little bit antique in the look—a softened version of a movie star’s makeup from the forties.

    She’d found the same balance with my hair. She’d waved it into soft curls, then arranged it in an elegant loose knot at the back of my neck. Delicate white flowers that matched my bouquet were pinned into the top of the knot.

    “It’s amazing,” I said, looking back at her. “Seriously—you could do this professionally.”

    She winked. “One of my many talents. And I did, for a very brief time in the forties. So many pin curls and pompadours.”

    That explained that.

    • • •

    Harold Washington Library sat heavily in the middle of the Loop, built like a fort to guard the knowledge held inside. It was watched from above by well-patinaed bronze owls and was edged by a sharp crown of the same bronze, which made the building seem more regal.

    I’d stepped off that railing once upon a time, when Ethan was gone and Jonah was teaching me how to jump. Oh, how times had changed.

    There were guards outside the building, along with a few dozen humans with smiles and cameras and CONGRATULATIONS! posters. They screamed as we walked toward the door, and I offered a quick wave between very tall security agents as we were shuffled inside. Ethan hadn’t spared any expense with the security.

    Heels clicking on stone floors, we were escorted to an elevator, which rose slowly and quietly to the Winter Garden that topped the building. The doors opened, revealing Jeff and Catcher standing in front of the doors that led into the space where we’d hold the ceremony.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire