“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” Alma says into the microphone, and we kiss again.
All too soon, our parents and friends surround us and they’re all getting hugs and kisses. Valerie keeps her eyes on me as my parents pull her into their arms and welcome her to our family. Apparently her parents and mine have already planned a vacation together next month.
I don’t let go of her hand as we’re passed around, and everyone in the town comes through in a line to wish us well. The whole community was in on this to make today extra special and I know involving the people of Hollow Oak was the right decision. This place means the world to Valerie, and I can’t wait to raise our family here.
It’s a long while later when the festivities of the reception begin that I have another moment alone with Val. Cupping her face, I brush my lips against hers and see the glint of light against my wedding band.
“Good surprise?” I ask, and she nods, tears falling once again. “I love you, Valerie. I know this isn’t exactly the most conventional way to make you mine, but I couldn’t chance you trying to back out. And I figured having the whole town as a witness would make it hard for you to say no.”
“You’re relentless.” She shakes her head. “Of course you’d propose and marry me on the same day.”
“Something this good can’t wait.” I smile, and she nods.
“What?” Now I’m the one that’s in shock.
“Good surprise?” she says, repeating my words back at me.
“The best.” Pulling her in my arms, I swing her around, but she makes me stop.
“I don’t want to puke in this dress.” She grips my arms to steady herself.
“You look perfect,” I say, running my hands down the satin of her waist and then over her stomach. “Everything is perfect.”
‘I love you, Tidas.” She goes up on her toes to kiss me, and I pull her against me.
“Good, because there’s no getting away from me now.”
“I have a feeling I’m going to have fun trying.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me.
“I think you might be right.”
A few years later…
“We’re going to be in so much trouble!” Julie says as we change into our Halloween costumes.
All of us brought a second Halloween costume tonight. The one we wore out with the family trick or treating and the one that is the same theme but a whole lot more revealing. The husbands took the kids back to Marley and Brooks’s to spend the night so all the kids can have a sleepover there.
Marley and Brooks are Tidas and Donovan’s parents. They travel a lot but bought a home here in Hollow Oak shortly after our surprise wedding when they found out I was pregnant. Gosh, I still can’t believe my husband pulled that off.
I adore Tidas’s parents. I thought the in-laws were supposed to be scary, but they have been nothing but sweet and loving. They swear the town of Hollow Oak has healed their family and brought them all back together. I think Gracie has had a lot more to do with that than anything. Everyone needs a bit of Gracie in their lives, but Donovan needed it more than anyone. She’s brought that man back to life.
“How can my man be mad? Look at my ass in this!” I turn to show Julie, giving it a shake.
I’m wearing a skin-tight nude bodysuit. It has brown chocolate chips spotted all over it. When we’d gone out trick or treating with the kids, both Carly and I were chocolate chip cookies, and Tidas was dressed as the cookie monster. I was wearing this giant circle that really had me looking like a cookie. That was my PG Halloween costume. Now I’m a sexy cookie, obviously. One my husband is going to eat whole.
I think this is fair game in my book because Tidas enjoys getting me worked up. It’s our thing, but sometimes I enjoy getting him worked up too. It’s been a while since he’s had one of his crazy-jealous moments, and it’s time.
He’s made it super clear to everyone in town who I belong to. Not to mention I was pregnant our first year of marriage and in super-mom mode the next year. Tonight I’m going to look sexy. I’m surprised that I actually put this on, but I’m feeling myself tonight. It helps that I have a husband that makes me feel sexy all the damn time.
Tidas has really helped me come out of my shell. He’s healed a few of my past insecurities with myself, and so has my daughter. There is nothing wrong with being a bit buttoned up if it’s what you want, but there’s also nothing wrong with being a bit wild at times too. You can have the best of both worlds, just like Hannah Montana told us to.