Home > The Sixth Wedding : A 28 Summers Story(4)

The Sixth Wedding : A 28 Summers Story(4)
Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Does she wish she had someone to share it with?

Yes, she does.

Maybe a dating app, then, after all?

Ursula laughs at herself, and calls Jake.

She’s fully prepared to hear about his fun-filled weekend: sailing on Lake Michigan, meeting his parents for dinner at the South Haven Yacht Club, picking cherries, brunching in Saugatuck. At some point she’s sure Jake will start dating. Ursula will pretend to be supportive and he’ll know she’s pretending.

When he answers, he says, “You’re never going to believe who just called me.”


“Cooper Blessing,” Jake says. “He has the craziest idea.”



Cooper Blessing is hosting a bachelor weekend on Nantucket over Labor Day.

“Please tell me he’s not getting married again,” Ursula says. “What will that make it? Seven? Eight?”

“Six,” Jake says. “And no, he’s not getting married. It’s the opposite. He proposed to this girl named Stacey who was at Goucher when we were at Hopkins. She said no and now, as part of the work he’s doing with his new therapist, he wants to recreate the bachelor weekend—only make it all about the guys. Coop is single, Frazier Dooley is single…”

Yes, Ursula read about Frazier and Anna Dooley’s divorce in People. Anna walked with 280 million dollars—and Ursula had thought fleetingly, the way one does, about dating Frazier Dooley.

“And you’re single,” Ursula says.

“I shouldn’t say it’s ‘all about the guys,’ because Leland Gladstone is coming too,” Jake says. “She was with us the first year.”

“Wow,” Ursula says. “That’s going to be a veritable Who’s Who.” Leland Gladstone is the founder of the huge women’s lifestyle blog Leland’s Letter and was recently chosen as one of Time magazine’s Most Influential People of the Year.

Leland had been plenty influential in Ursula’s life. She wrote an article in Leland’s Letter entitled Same Time Next Year: Can It Save Modern Marriage?, which had been Ursula’s first hint about Jake and Mallory.

“Won’t it be difficult for you?” Ursula asks. “Going back to…”

“Mal’s cottage?” Jake says. He sighs. “I don’t know, Ursula. Probably. I’d rather not get into a big fight about it. I just got off the phone with Coop and I thought I’d let you know that I’ll be on Nantucket next weekend.”

“You’re letting me know now…but not the twenty-eight years that you went to see Mallory.”

“Ursula. We aren’t doing this.”

“Right,” Ursula says. “Well. Please give everyone my best…”

“Oh, I will.”

“And report back.”

“Of course, Sully.”

She smiles at the nickname. “Come see me sometime. I miss you.”

“That’s sweet of you to say. Talk next week.”

They hang up and Ursula presses her phone to her heart and stares out at the city beneath her; it’s dark enough now that lights are starting to come on.

Back to Nantucket for Labor Day. It sounds like fun, actually, and Ursula half-wishes she’d been invited. She pours herself a glass of wine, orders up her lobster and burrata from Marea, and downloads the Firepink app on her phone. She will create an online dating profile.

Ursula de Gournsey

Age: 56

This is going to hurt, Ursula thinks. But that’s okay. Pain means she’s growing.





“So it’s okay with you if we invade the cottage?” Uncle Cooper asks.

“Yeah, of course,” Link says. When Uncle Coop said he was planning to head up to Nantucket for the weekend, Link was afraid he’d be expected to go along, and that was the last thing he wanted to do. He’d flown back to the island over the week of the Fourth of July, when he’d hung out with his friends from high school and even hooked up with his ex-girlfriend, Nicole, the one who ditched him on day six of her Italian semester abroad. While it had been fun, it also made Link unbearably sad. Link missed his mother every second of every day, but when he was on Nantucket, the memories were everywhere, especially in the cottage where Mallory had raised him for eighteen years. Mallory was present everywhere he looked—her books were on the shelves, her favorite green pans were in the kitchen cabinets; the quilt she made out of Link’s old T-shirts was smoothed across his bed. Link could see the spot on the front deck where Mallory used to sit when she watched Link and his friends swimming or when she drank her wine as the sun went down. Mallory and Link had their usual seats at the narrow harvest table—Link at the head, Mallory next to him in the seat closest to the kitchen, because she was often up to get extra napkins or more ice or second helpings for Link. They had their designated spots on the sofa—Link would do his homework, Mallory would grade papers. On Sunday, they watched football. His mother was a Baltimore Ravens fan, which he teased her about relentlessly.

Swim in a little, please! Link! Lincoln Dooley, swim in!

Did you brush your teeth?

Where are you with your history project?

Wanna kayak? We’ll be back in an hour, then I’ll drive you to Dylan’s.

Did you put on sunscreen?

Why the long face, handsome? Talk to Mama.

Call your father, please, he’s been texting me and I’m afraid he’s going to send drones next.

There’s a card from your grandparents on the counter. I bet it has money in it!

You know what makes everything better? Guacamole.

I will never be disappointed if you strike out swinging. That means you tried.

My eighth period class was a bitch today—come give your mom a hug.

You will never, ever understand how much I love you…until you have children of your own and then every word I’ve ever said will make perfect sense.



Link is relieved that the weekend Uncle Coop is planning is just for old people. Link’s father is flying in from Seattle, Leland is coming from New York, and…Jake McCloud is traveling to the island from South Bend, Indiana. It’s supposed to be a reunion of some weekend that happened before Link was born. Link doesn’t ask too many questions lest he get roped in.

Jake McCloud, though, has always intrigued him. When Mallory was dying, she asked Link to call Jake, and Jake and his daughter, Bess, had left the Ursula de Gournsey campaign so that Jake could come say goodbye to Mallory. He brought a guitar and sang to her.

Link and Bess McCloud had taken a walk on the beach and Link said, “I feel like something’s going on that I don’t understand.”

Bess said, “My dad told me Mallory is an old friend of his.”

“Oh,” Link said.

Bess had laughed. “Do they think we’re naïve? They’re more than friends.”

“Are they?” Link said. “I’ve never heard my mom mention his name before, and I would have remembered that. Your family is a very big deal.”

“My mother is a very big deal,” Bess said. “My dad and I are just…infantry soldiers.” She picked up a quahog shell. “Look!”

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