But when Rose had tried to set her up with Elliott, who had ultimately been after Rose and not Iris, it had driven a splinter deep beneath Iris's skin.
She should be grateful, she supposed.
With everyone so decidedly moved on, that left her in the house with Ryder, Sammy and baby Astrid, feeling like a third wheel.
Her poor eldest brother had his maiden spinster sister living in his house with him while he was trying to adjust to being a husband, and a new father.
Of course, being in the same house as her niece was wonderful. And she knew that Sammy appreciated having help with the baby.
But it just served as yet another reminder of what Iris didn't have for herself.
She was always enjoying things through other people.
Their milestones. Their triumphs. All of them falling in love. Having children.
It made her ache, and it was inspiring her to act. And this bakery was supposed to be her way out of that.
And now it just felt like she had been shaken out of an impossible dream.
"We decided to have a date morning." Rose frowned. "You look upset."
Iris hesitated. She knew that if she told Rose about what was going on, Rose would immediately go into scheming mode. And when Rose schemed, things tended to go... Well, they went. Awry or well, that was never a guarantee, but something always happened.
She might as well see where Rose's momentum could take her. She was currently stagnant. And sure, sometimes Rose had terrible ideas. Like trying to set Iris up with Elliott.
But Rose also had a sort of mischievous magic that Iris herself didn't possess.
"I called about the bakery."
"'Not' yay. It's being managed by a different company now, which means I think it got bought by someone else. And the rent is higher than it was when I looked into it a couple months ago. I just don't think there's any way I could ever afford it."
"You know Ryder would help you."
She nodded slowly. She did know that. But she didn't want to put strain on her brother when he had just started a new family. Plus...
"But that's not what you want, is it?" Rose asked.
Iris nodded. "I want to be independent. And maybe I'm jumping into it a little bit too fast. Maybe I'm being too ambitious."
"I don't think so," Rose said. "I don't see why you can't have everything."
She had a feeling her sister was being overly supportive in part because of what had happened between them a few months back. But she appreciated the support either way.
"Well," Rose said brightly. "We just have to figure out another way to problem solve this. Is there a way to figure out who bought it?"
"It might be... Somewhere. I mean, I don't know what difference that would make."
"You don't want to deal with the management company. Whoever has this all set up probably has a management company because they don't have a business brain. They probably don't have the resolve to handle all this kind of stuff. Which means if you talk to them directly, maybe they won't hold firm on the rent. You can't go through the rental company, because they're set up to be a barrier. You need to remove the barrier."
"I don't... That's not how it's supposed to work, though."
And even as she heard the words come out of her own mouth, she realized what she was doing.
She was wimping out. She was taking this first hurdle, and allowing it to be insurmountable. Well, she couldn't do that. She was going to have to make it... Surmountable....