“Are you nervous?”
I glance in the mirror, watching Eden chew on her lip. “Are you?” I ask her instead of answering, focusing on something other than myself.
“Yes,” she admits, grabbing a program off the dressing table and fanning it under her armpits. “Everyone will be looking at me, waiting to see when I’ll mess up—”
“We’ve talked about this,” Samantha says, breezing into the room. “You’ll be great.” She squeezes Eden’s shoulder comfortingly and hands me a bouquet comprised of all my favorite flowers. “All fixed. The woman we spoke with originally at the florist quit, and apparently she kept most of the order notes up here.” She taps the side of her head and shrugs. “So they just let me grab the flowers I wanted right out of the back area. And I got a discount for our troubles. How about that?”
“Thank you,” I tell her as warmly as I can, suppressing the hysterical burble that wants to escape. Both Eden and Samantha must read my face, though, because they each wrap their arms around my shoulders.
“It was only a little blip,” Samantha assures me. “I promise, everything else is on track. You planned it all out to a tee. See?” She grabs a copy of the itinerary I made for today off the dressing table. “We’re right on schedule.”
“I know.” I smooth down the front of my gorgeous white dress, just as beautiful as it was in the picture on Pete’s nightstand.
“I’ll be fine,” Eden promises, earnestness shining in her eyes. “I practiced all night.”
“I just—” I pause, swallowing heavily. “I don’t know what I would do without you guys.”
“No crying,” Samantha scolds me. “You’ll ruin your makeup. You don’t want wedding photos with raccoon eyes.”
I blink rapidly to dry the forming tears, compartmentalizing my emotions into a little box in my mind. I can cry later.
First, I have to get married.
Today is finally the day. May fourteenth. The day I go from Miss Miller to Mrs. Butler. And I couldn’t be more excited. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t still nerves coursing through me.
The bouquet is the second crisis so far. The first was that Charlotte has laryngitis, so she’s unable to perform the reading during the ceremony she planned on doing. Skipping that would have thrown off my whole timeline, so Eden thankfully stepped in.
Originally, I asked Samantha to be my maid of honor and Charlotte and Eden to be my bridesmaids, but after discussing it with Evan, who only wanted Luke as his best man, we decided to just have single attendants. Charlotte would do a reading and Eden was relieved when I told her she didn’t have to walk down the aisle after all.
“No crying,” I promise Samantha. “There’s no time in the schedule to fix my makeup,” I smile at her.
A knock at the door has us turning, and Eden rushes to answer it. “Is it okay to come in?” a familiar voice asks.
I stand, maneuvering around my chair to meet my father. “Dad.” I hug him tight, the tears threatening again for a moment before I hold them at bay.
He returns my embrace, his posture as straight as ever. Twelve years in the military changed his spine for life. “I can’t believe you’re getting married.”
“It was going to happen someday.”
Samantha and Eden quietly make their way out of the room, giving us some privacy.
“Well, at least it’s to a man who deserves you. Not like—”
“Dad,” I warn. “Only happy thoughts today.” I break away from him, admiring his tux. “You clean up nice.”
“And you look beautiful.” His gaze trails down to take in the intricate lace and beading of Evan’s mother’s dress, altered just enough to fit me. I didn’t want to change anything else about it. “I stopped by the groom’s suite and saw Evan,” he adds. “He cleaned up nice too.”
“He always looks handsome in that suit,” I murmur. “How was he? Nervous? Scared?”
“Evan? No, he looked like he couldn’t wait. Beaming from ear to ear. You caught yourself a good one.”
The churning in my stomach eases slightly, the butterflies resting their wings.
Dad hugs me tight to his side, being careful not to mess up my hair. “You’ll be fine, Nat. Once you see him at the end of that aisle, everything will settle into place, the same as it did for me and your mother. What you and Evan have… it’s rare. You two are going to make it.”
“Dad,” I whisper, holding back a sob, “I’m not supposed to cry.”
“No crying,” he repeats in almost the same tone Samantha used earlier.
I rush over to the mirror at the small dressing table and dab at my eyes, then glance at the clock on the wall. “We’ve got three minutes till we have to be out there.”
“You still scheduling everything out to the second?” he smiles, looking down at me fondly before his face turns more serious. “Anything else you need to do? This is it.”
I twist my hands together in front of me, sliding my fingers over the slim band of my engagement ring and the tiny emeralds dotting the sides. My thumb traces the familiar sharp edges of the square-cut diamond in the center and I look down at it, remembering the night Evan proposed eight months ago and the joyful hope on his face, the love and devotion he continually shows me so evident.
My stomach fully settles thinking about him and how excited I’ve been to start this next chapter of our lives together. Making a life-altering commitment is scary, sure. But doing it with him, knowing he’ll be by my side for the long haul, my heart beats faster in anticipation of seeing him in just a few minutes.
I wipe my palms on the front of my pants, my body sweating even though my mind is calm. My gaze is trained straight ahead, watching Luke and Samantha walk arm in arm down the aisle, the identical blue of their eyes making the cousins look more alike than they normally do.
Luke gives me an easy grin as he takes his place next to me and leans in slightly. “How you holding up?”
“Good,” I respond, unwilling to divert my attention from the end of the aisle where Natalie’s sure to appear at any moment.
This is it. What my life’s been leading up to since first laying eyes on her four years ago.
The music changes and everyone in the small church stands to better see Natalie, escorted by her father. He’s asked me to use his first name every time I’ve met him, but he’s so rigid, not to mention I’m a little scared of him, I can only call him Mr. Miller to his face.
“There she is,” Luke whispers.
A vision in white walks down the aisle, the infamous dress looking completely different on her than it did in my parents’ old wedding photos. It fits her like a glove, and with her veil flowing out behind her, she’s a fantasy come to life.
She approaches slowly, her eyes shining. I barely take notice of the minister as he asks who gives this woman away, but as she places her soft hand in mine, stepping up next to me, everything falls into place.
After the words Dearly beloved, the rest fades away as I stare at her, hardly able to believe this moment is finally here. My bride. My partner. My Natalie.
I love you, she mouths, her smile as bright as the sun. My heart expands, until it’s taking up all the space inside me, warmth radiating outward. How did I get so goddamn lucky?
I love you, I mouth back, gripping her hand tight, her presence grounding me.
I watch her face as the minister finishes his words, barely hearing the poem Eden reads in a hushed whisper that Charlotte was originally set to perform.
“Evan and Natalie would now like to read vows they have prepared to each other,” the minister says, stepping back slightly.
I take the paper I wrote my vows on from my suit pocket, then put it back. I’d struggled all week with what to write, ending up with a mess of words I knew couldn’t adequately express how I felt. But here in the moment, the right words come to me.
“Natalie, you are my best friend, my forever,” I tell her, still gripping her hands, unwilling to break the connection. “We may not have started out the most conventionally—”
She gives a small smile, tears already pooling in her eyes. I take a steady breath, trying not to let her emotions affect me the same.
“But that’s just because our love is extraordinary,” I continue over her loud sniff. “There’s no one else I’d rather have beside me in life, and I plan on showing you every day what you mean to me, how lucky I am, how much I love you.”
Her bottom lip trembles, those mesmerizing emerald eyes overflowing now with tears, washing down her cheeks in a thin stream. I know how worried she was about ruining her makeup, so I cut myself short, ending with another soft, “I love you.”
She smiles beautifully, reaching back toward Samantha for her own vows and a tissue that she dabs at her face.
“I—” she starts, visibly swallowing, pulling herself together. “I—” she tries again, still choked up. I squeeze her hand again to comfort her, but I think it has the opposite effect, even more tears leaking out now. “I’ll tell you them later,” she whispers.
A ripple of quiet laughter spreads through the guests, along with a few sniffles.
“We’ll exchange rings next,” the minister announces.
Luke fishes in his pocket and hands the bands to me and Natalie, still wiping at her tears, the metal cool in my fingers.
“These rings are a seamless circle, a symbol of eternity and the everlasting bond between the two of you, united in love. Evan, please place the ring on the finger of your bride and repeat after me. I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and faithfulness to you. With this ring, I thee wed.”
I recite the words, sliding the wedding band onto her left hand, a sense of peace stealing over me. She does the same, followed by our I do’s, and at his pronouncement that we’re now husband and wife, I kiss the hell out of her, needing to express to her how deliriously happy I am in this moment.
She meets me with equal enthusiasm, a few wolf whistles sounding until we break apart and make our way back down the aisle, a rush of happiness and applause greeting us as we walk out of the church and to the waiting limo outside, festooned in garlands of fresh flowers. Of course Natalie had that all planned out to a tee.
I help her inside the vehicle, guests pouring out the doors of the church to wave goodbye before they make their own way to the reception nearby. We open the sunroof and stand, Natalie blowing kisses like she just won the Miss America pageant, and I wrap an arm around her waist to steady her.
I spot Dad at the back of the pack, leaning on his cane, a broad smile on his face. I catch his eye, giving him a special wave before the driver takes off, the crowd getting smaller as we drive further away.
Before we turn the corner, I carefully help her down and shut the sunroof, then check to make sure the tinted privacy glass between us and the driver is up. “How long do we have until we get there?” I ask her, leaning in to kiss her neck.
“It’s a five minute drive,” she says breathlessly, arching to give me better access. “But I asked him to make it at least fifteen minutes.”
“And why’d you ask for the extra time?” I bend her down, pressing her against the cool leather of the seat, following a path southward with my lips.
“For this,” she sighs, as I tug down the top of her dress to suck a nipple into my mouth, knowing that instantly gets her going.
She makes a sound of need, so strong it has my dick promptly rising. “I missed you last night.”
“I missed you too,” she pants. “I could hardly sleep. Do you realize we haven’t slept apart in over a year?”
“And we never will again.” I lift her up and position her so she’s straddling me, hiking up her dress so it’s pooled around her middle. I give her a hot kiss, her mouth greedy against mine as she runs her hands over my shoulders and down my abs till she reaches my belt buckle.
“Do you want me… husband?” she asks playfully, rubbing her palm over the bulge in my pants.
“I want you so bad my beautiful, gorgeous, sexy wife.” My hands drift down over her white lace panties that drive me as insane now as when she first showed me her bridal lingerie after purchasing it months ago.
She unzips me, taking my hard length out, sliding her hand up and down as I push aside her panties and delve my fingers into her, each of us working each other up until we’re desperate.
She leans back, gazing at me with sultry eyes. “There’s something so hot about doing this knowing you’re my husband. You’re mine. Always.”
“It’s the same for me,” I grit out, her palm continuing to pump me. “Do you have a condom? All of mine are in the luggage packed for the honeymoon—”
She lays a finger on my lips, silencing me. “I thought we could try it with nothing between us.”
I still, my fingers pausing in their efforts to drive her wild. “Really?” We’ve talked about wanting kids, but with no concrete plans for when we’d start trying.
She nods, shrugging slightly. “Just this time. And see what happens.” She bites her lip, looking both excited and nervous about the idea.
“Yes,” I whisper, taking her mouth again, positioning her directly over me, pushing the lace aside again to feed myself into her.
“You feel incredible,” she murmurs, the sensation of my bare cock in her wet, tight pussy making my eyes roll back in my head. When she’s fully seated, she begins riding me, gripping my shoulders, our breaths harsh in the quiet of the backseat. “Do you remember the last time we did it in a car?”
“My Bronco,” I chuckle, holding her in place more securely atop me as she moves faster. “May it rest in peace.”
With my new job at Drake & Fairfield Sports Marketing, I could finally afford a nicer car after my aging Bronco crapped out on me.
“That was a memorable time too,” she breathes in my ear, her sweet scent surrounding me.
“Very memorable. It was the night you were mine again.”
“I was always yours.”
“And you know I’m yours forever. This thing between us? It’s till death do us part. Legally this time.”
“I can’t wait to spend my life with you,” she pants. If the way she’s looking is any indication, she’s close now. “I love you.” She runs her hand down my jaw, kissing me tenderly, the emotion in her voice and in her kiss pushing me over the edge.
“I love you,” I growl, pumping into her wildly, able to finally know what it’s like to spill inside her, the act as thrilling as it is terrifying. We could have created new life just now, our entire lives changed.
For the better, though. I want a family with her, mini Natalies and Evans running around the house, all her amazing qualities visible in them.
She follows me soon, moaning quietly, glancing back once as if she’s only now remembering there’s a driver up front. We haven’t done anything remotely public like this since we first got together, but I think we can be forgiven considering it’s our wedding day and all. I’m sure limo drivers have seen their fair share of things going on in the backseat.
She cradles my face, kissing me softly, a sly smile lighting up her face. “Do you think everyone will be able to tell what we did?”
I give her a once over, her lips swollen from my kisses, hair slightly disheveled, and dress wrinkled to hell. “If I did my job right they will,” I grin back, tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ear. “I’m sure more than one couple will be doing the same tonight. Weddings do that to people.”
“I never understood that before now.” She leans back and straightens my clothes before maneuvering herself next to me on the seat and fixing her own. I do what I can to help her, stealing kisses as I go, the smile she tries to hide spurring me on.
We pull up to the reception hall half a minute later and I take her hand before opening the door. “Are you ready?”
“I’m so ready.” She’s practically bursting with joy as she says it, the happiness spilling out of her.
Day one of making her happy for the rest of our lives accomplished.