To Have and to Hold

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Authors: Laura Dower
in the store.
    “Look what I found,” Fiona announced, rushing around the corner with a stack of magazines. “Your dad said we could just have these.”
    Madison glanced over and saw a pile of old issues of Star Beat.
    “But those are out of date now,” Madison said.
    “Yeah, but we can still tear out good hairstyles and clothes, right? Maybe there are some other ideas for what you can bring to the wedding,” Fiona suggested.
    “Hey, Maddie,” Aimee said, pointing to a revolving rack. “Don’t forget to check out postcards. My dad just got new ones. I bet you could use some for your wedding collage.”
    Madison’s eyes lit up. “Cool,” she said.
    “AIMEE!” Mr. Gillespie called out.
    Aimee made a face. When Aimee was at the bookstore, she couldn’t just hang out. Mr. Gillespie always put her to work. “See you guys in a little bit,” she said, heading around the corner to help her dad at the register.
    Madison turned back to the books on marriage and romance.
    “Hey, do you think you’ll ever get married, Fiona?” Madison asked absentmindedly.
    Fiona gasped. “Married? Maddie!” she cried. “That’s too far into the future.”
    “Yeah, but if you had to make a guess …” Madison asked again.
    Fiona smiled. “Sure,” she admitted. “I guess I’ll get married.”
    “Where?” Madison asked.
    “Back in California,” Fiona said wistfully. She still missed her old town and friends there. “That much I know for sure. On the beach. In my bare feet.”
    “That’s so romantic—like in a movie,” Madison said.
    “And I would do it at sunset. It would have to be perfect….” Fiona continued.
    “Can you imagine what it must feel like to have someone ask?” Madison wondered aloud. “‘Will you marry me?’ It gives me chills.”
    “Maybe Egg will ask me to marry him someday,” Fiona said, half jokingly.
    “Oh, Fiona!” Madison wrinkled her nose. “That is just too weird to even think about. Egg?!”
    “What about you, Maddie? Do you think you’ll get married?” Fiona asked.
    “Sometimes,” Madison said with a shrug. “But then sometimes I wonder if I will ever even fall in love….”
    “Wait. You can’t stress out about that yet. We’re only in junior high,” Fiona said.
    “Yeah, but everyone always gets paired off,” Madison said. “Except me.”
    Fiona leaned in for a hug. “That is so not true. My brother will never pair off with anyone,” she cracked.
    Madison laughed. “Oh, like that’s supposed to make me feel better?”
    “You know what I mean,” Fiona said, still chuckling.
    “I just wish I could meet someone I like who likes me right back….” Madison said. As she spoke, their troop of guy friends appeared from around the corner. Chet and Egg led the pack. Hart was there, too, next to Dan.
    Madison choked back her words.
    How much had they heard ?
    Of course, deep, deep down, Madison dreamed that Hart would be the kind of guy she would marry. But she was too afraid to admit that out loud to anyone else except Phinnie and her long-distance keypal, Bigwheels.
    “Hey!” Egg said.
    “What are you doing?” Chet asked.
    “Girl stuff,” Fiona said. She did not take her eyes off Egg.
    “You guys are always doing girl stuff,” Chet groaned. He poked at a row of books next to his head.
    Egg crouched down on the floor near Fiona. “We were thinking of getting ice cream soon. Want to go?” he asked.
    Madison watched Fiona bat her eyelashes at Egg as if she were a character in a cartoon.
    “Okay,” Fiona said softly.
    Dan and Chet laughed at a joke book they were looking at.
    Hart sidled up to Madison. “Looking for something?” he asked her.
    She quickly glanced down at the bright-pink book in her hands.
    Head over Heels: 101 Ways to Make Him Fall in Love with You.
    Madison shoved the book under her armpit before Hart could read the title.
    “No, nothing special … no, not really,” Madison said, tongue-tied and losing her balance. She leaned

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