His eyes widen and I know he understands. Before he can respond, I pull the trigger, and blood and flesh spray out across the room and onto some of the people who are standing too close.
A loud cheer goes up as I make my way back to Sven and Kai. When I reach them, I notice a man talking to Kai. He’s young—I would guess mid-twenties. He’s wearing a suit and his blond hair is pulled back into a ponytail. His posture is casual, but the expression on his face is anything but.
“We good?” I ask, stepping into the mix when the man presses his chest into Kai’s.
His eyes come to me and he looks me up and down before looking back at Kai. “Tell Myla I send my love,” the guy says, starting to walk off.
I put a hand to Kai’s chest when I see a look I’ve become familiar with over the last few weeks come across his face.
“You don’t even get to say my wife’s name!” Kai growls, grabbing the guy around the throat.
Wife? I look at Kai’s hand and notice for the first time that a very thick band is wrapped around his left ring finger.
“What’s going on here?” Paulie Sr. asks, walking up and putting a hand on Kai’s shoulder.
“Just making a few things clear,” Kai says, shoving the guy away from him. The guy looks like he wants to say something before thinking better of it and walking away. “Let’s get the f**k out of here,” Kai says, shrugging off Senior’s hand.
I look at the older man and give him a chin lift before leaving the warehouse.
“You okay, man?” Sven asks Kai, and he nods, but I notice that his body is still tight and his fingers have started rolling his wedding band around his knuckle. I don’t say anything, but I do watch closely as he and Frank have some kind of silent conversation. Sven looks at me and shakes his head, saying, “I’m gonna call and have the plane ready.”
“Thanks, man,” I tell him, sitting back. I pull out my phone, sending a message to Autumn, telling her that I love her and I will be home soon. It didn’t take long for her reply to come through. The simple “I miss you” message has me smiling to myself. A few more hours and I would be home with my woman, leaving all this shit behind us.
Future, Meet Past
I look in the mirror and turn my head to the side, taking in my face. My jaw is still slightly swollen, but for the most part, I have healed completely. I know I’m the one who said that I hated being beautiful, but when I was able to see myself in the mirror at the hospital for the first time, all I could think about was how disgusting I looked. My face was swollen and deformed, my lips cracked from being so dry. It wasn’t so much that I cared what I looked like, but I was worried Kenton would see me and the look of love I was so used to receiving from him would turn into something else. I didn’t want that.
I should have known better though. The first time he saw me without the bandages covering my face, his hand gently cupped my cheek while his eyes told me everything I needed to know. I knew he loved me before everything happened, but now, I will never doubt it again.
I look down at my hand and remember when I saw my engagement ring for the first time. I was sitting up in bed, my head swimming due to the pain medication I was on, but Kenton was there to see me and I never wanted to go without spending a single second with him. We were talking. Well, he was talking; I was writing everything down on a white board they had given me. My face was bent towards my hand when my eyes caught on something on my finger. At first, I thought it was a bug, but then my eyes focused on the sapphire and diamonds and my breath caught in my throat, making me feel like I was going to pass out from lack of oxygen.
“Breathe, baby,” I heard him urge, and I gulped down a lungful of oxygen as my eyes filled with tears. “Will you marry me?” His hand covers mine on the whiteboard before I could write YES. “I already told everyone you’re my fiancée, so you have to say yes. Maybe I should take your pen from you so you don’t have a say,” he mumbled, and I growled. “So what will it be? You gonna make an honest man out of me?”
His hand left mine and I wrote MAYBE in large, bold letters on the board.
“You must feel better if you’re f**king with me.” He smiled and my heart contracted. “Now, will you please just f**king say yes?”
If I could have smiled, I would have. My head bent and I wiped the board off before writing YES across the whole surface. The smile that lit up his face was one I would never forget until the day I die. His fingers went to the ring, rolling it back and forth on my finger.
“We’re getting married,” he whispered. I nodded, feeling tears fill my eyes. “Thank you.” His forehead touched mine. I lifted my hand and held it against his cheek.
I shake my head out of my thoughts when I hear something coming from down the hall. I peek my head around the corner just in time to see Tubs running with a pair of Kenton’s boxers, taking them with him down the stairs. I shake my head and go back to getting ready, figuring that Kenton can deal with him. I hear Tubs bark and Kenton growl, and I start to laugh.
When my eyes go back to the mirror, I see the dimple in my cheek I didn’t have before the shooting. My hand lifts and my finger runs over the mark. It’s funny how something that seems so innocent can come out of something so painful.
I clear my head and finish getting ready. Tonight is the night I marry Kenton. Well, kind of. When I got out of the hospital, Kenton wanted to go right to the courthouse and get married, but I wanted to at least have his family there to witness us starting our lives together.
He didn’t agree with me. He didn’t want to put it off another day, so we compromised. We got married two days after I was released, and he promised me that, when I was completely healed, he would throw me a huge reception, where I could wear a dress and he would wear a suit, and that way, I could have the wedding pictures I really wanted.
I finish my hair and makeup, and when I hear someone coming up the stairs, I smile as Tara calls out my name.
“In the bathroom!” I yell, touching up my lipstick.
“Your dog molested me when I walked into the house. I think it’s time you got him fixed.”
“We can’t. Not yet anyways. Only one of his balls has dropped,” I tell her, walking into our bedroom.
“Seriously?” she asks, and I can’t help the laugh that escapes me.
“Seriously, but don’t bring it up in front of Kenton. It’s a sore subject.”