I threw myself in his arms and attacked his mouth with mine.
It got heated enough that we heard chuckles.
“Alright, you two. Don’t make us get the hose,” Nino teased.
I broke away. “Love you.”
“Love you, baby girl.” He kissed me again and then swatted my butt. “Get inside. See you at the church.”
“Beach church,” I said with a smile.
“Beach church,” he agreed.
Nino carried their bags inside and Bianca, Joey, and I followed.
I was suddenly feeling so emotional about it. It was nice that I’d have my own flesh and blood there on my wedding day.
Luc was coming down the stairs from putting the baby to bed after a feeding and she squealed in excitement. “Hey!”
“Surprise!” I said.
“Nope,” Luc said. “I knew. Tommy told me when we shopped so we could make sure we factored Neen and Bee in. I got you a matron of honor dress, by the way,” Luc said, then turned to me. “I figured you’d want her up there, being that she’s your cous?”
I smiled. “Nothing would be better.”
Luc took Bianca and Joey upstairs and I headed to the powder room.
As I shut the door I was assaulted by guilt. Ruby Crenshaw would be crushed that it wasn’t her at my wedding by my side as I was about to embark on married life. She had been my best friend since we got our training bras together. A few months ago, I’d have bet money it’d be her as my maid of honor some day with Bethany and Mia as my bridesmaids. Instead, I was having a wedding where almost everyone attending was in the wedding party.
Guilt about Ruby and her parents aside, I was okay with it.
Yeah, it’d be nice to have them here, but that wasn’t my life anymore. I loved them. I appreciated all they’d been to me. That was separate from this. I couldn’t let myself think on it too long, either, or I’d feel sadness and loss, and there was no place for that the night before marrying the man I love.
I do love him. So much.
Life had sure changed. I didn’t want to dwell. I wanted to look forward. Tommy had already given me shit for my attitude on the matter, and actually asked if I was embarrassed to have them there. Our argument got pretty heated. At first I was placating, but when he bit off, “You think they’ll think it’s a farce? That I’m keeping you a prisoner?”
His expression had dropped and the look on his face? It was like I’d kicked him in the chest.
I immediately threw my arms around him and squeezed him as tight as I could. It took a solid minute before his arms finally closed around me.
“Yeah,” he said into my hair. “I am. Never fucking letting you go.”
“Good,” I sniffled into his chest.
We held each other for a minute, before I finally said, “Just stop worrying about my old life, okay? All I care about is looking into one another’s eyes and promising to be together forever. That’s what I want. You. Forever. We don’t need anyone there. We could just go to city hall. Getting married is about me and you, no one else.”
He grabbed my face then and held it while staring deep into my eyes. Was he looking for signs of a lie? Was he still testing me after all we’d been through?
His expression was fierce.
I put my hand on his hot chest right where the ink with my name was printed. That’s when his eyes finally warmed.
For a minute I figured it’d end in fast and furious fucking. It didn’t. He pulled me onto the bed and held me tight and then he fell asleep, me on top of him. And just like after the funeral and also like in Vegas when he’d pulled me to his chest when he was hungover and slept with me tight in his embrace, he fell asleep again. I didn’t. But, I’d been well aware of how little he’d been sleeping, so was completely content to stay there, his arms around me, his nose buried in my hair, being some sort of security blanket for him. This was back home, before we left.
And here we were now, the night before our wedding and at least there was one person connected to me. Well, two, since little Joey was blood, too. Named after my dead mother’s brother, who had been killed by a man my fiancé had killed, to protect me.