<h1>Prologue</h1> <h2>WITH BELLS ON</h2> <!--chapter--> <h1>One</h1> <p class="fl">THIS WAS THE DAY I was getting married.</p> <p>Our suite at the Ritz in Half Moon Bay was in chaos. My best friends and I had stripped down to our underwear, and our street clothes had been flung over the furniture. Sorbet-colored dresses hung from the moldings and door frames.</p> <p>The scene looked like a Degas painting of ballerinas before the curtain went up, or maybe a romanticized bordello in the Wild West. Jokes were cracked. Giddiness reigned—and then the door opened and my sister Catherine stepped in, wearing her brave face: a tight smile, pain visible at the corners of her eyes.</p> <p>“What’s wrong, Cat?” I asked.</p> <p>“He’s not here.”</p> <p>I blinked, tried to ignore the sharp pang of disappointment. I said sarcastically, “Well, there’s a shock.”</p> <p>Cat was talking about our father, Marty Boxer, who left home when we were kids and failed to show when my mom was dying. I’d seen him only twice in the past ten years and hadn’t missed him, but after he’d told Cat he’d come to my wedding, I’d had an expectation.</p> <p>“He <em>said</em> he would be here. He <em>promised,</em>” Cat said.</p> <p>I’m six years older than my sister and a century more jaded. I should have known better. I hugged her.</p> <p>“Forget it,” I said. “He can’t hurt us. He’s nobody to us.”</p> <p>Claire, my best bosom buddy, sat up in bed, swung her legs over, and put her bare feet on the floor. She’s a large black woman and funny—acidly so. If she weren’t a pathologist, she could do stand-up comedy.</p> <p>“<em>I’ll</em> give you away, Lindsay,” she said. “But I want you back.”</p> <p>Cindy and I cracked up, and Yuki piped up, “I know who can stand in for Marty, that jerk.” She stepped into her pink satin dress, pulled it up over her tiny little bones, and zipped it herself. She said, “Be right back.”</p> <p>Getting things done was Yuki’s specialty. Don’t get in her way when she’s in gear. Even if she’s in the <em>wrong</em> gear.</p> <p>“Yuki, wait,” I called as she rushed out the door. I turned to Claire, saw that she was holding up what used to be called a foundation garment. It was boned and forbidding-looking.</p> <p>“I don’t mind wearing a dress that makes me look like a cupcake, but how in hell am I supposed to get into this?”</p> <p>“I love my dress,” said Cindy, fingering the peach-colored silk organza. She was probably the first bridesmaid in the world to express that sentiment, but Cindy was terminally lovesick. She turned her pretty face toward me and said dreamily, “You should get ready.”</p> <p>Two yards of creamy satin slid out of the garment bag. I wriggled into the strapless Vera Wang confection, then stood with my sister in front of the long freestanding mirror: a pair of tall brown-eyed blondes, looking so much like our dad.</p> <p>“Grace Kelly never looked so good,” said Cat, her eyes welling up.</p> <p>“Dip your head, gorgeous,” said Cindy.</p> <p>She fastened her pearls around my neck.</p> <p>I did a little pirouette, and Claire caught my hand and twirled me under her arm. She said, “Do you believe it, Linds? I’m going to dance at your wedding.”</p> <p>She didn’t say “finally,” but she was right to think it, having lived through my roller-coaster, long-distance romance with Joe, punctuated by his moving to San Francisco to be with me, my house burning down, a couple of near-death experiences, and a huge diamond engagement ring that I’d kept in a drawer for most of a year.</p> <p>“Thanks for keeping the faith,” I said.</p> <p>“I wouldn’t call it faith, darling,” Claire cracked. “I never expected to <em>see</em> a miracle, let alone be <em>part</em> of one.”</p> <p>I gave her a playful jab on the arm. She ducked and feinted. The door opened and Yuki came in with my bouquet: a lavish bunch of peonies and roses tied with baby blue streamers.</p> <p>“This hankie belonged to my grandmother,” Cindy said, tucking a bit of lace into my cleavage, checking off the details. “Old, new, borrowed, blue. You’re good.”</p> <p>“I cued up the music, Linds,” said Yuki. “We’re <em>on.</em>”</p> <p>My God.</p> <p>Joe and I were really getting married.</p> <!--chapter--> <h1>Two</h1> <p class="fl">JACOBI MET ME IN THE hotel lobby, stuck out his elbow, and laughed out loud. Yuki had been right. Jacobi was the perfect stand-in Dad. I took his arm and he kissed my cheek.</p> <p>First time ever.</p> <p>“You look beautiful, Boxer. You know, more than usual.”</p> <p>Another first.</p> <p>Jacobi and I had spent so much time in a squad car together, we could almost read each other’s minds. But I didn’t have to be clairvoyant to read the love in his eyes.</p> <p>I grinned at him and said, “Thanks, Jacobi. Thanks a lot.”</p> <p>I squeezed his arm and we walked across an acre of marble, through tall French doors, and into my future.</p> <p>Jacobi had a limp and a wheeze, the remnants of a shooting a couple of years back in the Tenderloin. I’d thought we were both going to check out that night. But that was then.</p> <p>Now the warm, salty air embraced me. The great lawns flowed around the shining white gazebo and down to the bluff. The Pacific crashed against the cliff side, and the setting sun tinted the clouds a glowing whiskey pink that you could never capture on film. I’d never seen a more beautiful place.</p> <p>“Take it easy, now,” Jacobi said. “No sprinting down the aisle. Just keep step with the music.”</p> <p>“If you insist,” I said, laughing.</p> <p>Two blocks of chairs had been set up facing the gazebo, and the aisle had been cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape. POLICE LINE. DO NOT CROSS.</p> <p>The tape had to have been Conklin’s idea. I was sure of it when he caught my eye and gave me a broad grin and a thumbs-up. Cat’s young daughters skipped down the grassy aisle tossing rose petals as the wedding march began. My best friends stepped out in time, and I followed behind them.</p> <p>Smiling faces turned to me. Charlie Clapper on the aisle, guys from the squad, and new and old friends were on the left. Five of Joe’s look-alike brothers and their families were on my right. Joe’s parents turned to beam at me from the front row.</p> <p>Jacobi brought me up the gazebo steps to the altar and released my arm, and I looked up at my wonderful, handsome husband-to-be. Joe’s eyes connected with mine, and I knew without any doubt that the roller-coaster ride had been worth it. I knew this man so well. Our tested love was rich and deep and solid.</p> <p>Longtime family friend the Reverend Lynn Boyer put our hands together, Joe’s hand over mine, then whispered theatrically so that everyone could hear, “Enjoy this moment, Joseph. This is the last time you’ll have the upper hand with Lindsay.”</p> <p>Delighted laughter rang out and then hushed. With the sound of seagulls calling, Joe and I exchanged promises to love and cherish through good days and bad, through sickness and health, for as long as we both lived.</p> <p>Do you take this man to be your wedded husband?</p> <p><em>I do. I really do.</em></p> <p>There were nervous titters as I fumbled with Joe’s wedding band and it spun out of my hand. Joe and I both stooped, grabbed the ring at the same time, and held it between our fingers.</p> <p>“Steady, Blondie,” Joe said. “It only gets better from here.”</p> <p>I laughed, and when we resumed our positions, I got that gold band onto Joe’s finger. The Reverend Boyer told Joe he could kiss the bride, and my husband held my face between his hands.</p> <p>We kissed, and then again. And again. And again.</p> <p>There was wild applause and a surge of music.</p> <p>This was real. I was Mrs. Joseph Molinari. Joe took my hand and, grinning like little kids, we walked back up the aisle through a shower of rose petals.</p> <BR><BR><i>Continues...</i> <!-- copyright notice --> <br></pre> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'> Excerpted from <b>10th Anniversary</b> by <b>Patterson, James</b> Copyright © 2011 by Patterson, James. Excerpted by permission.<br> All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.