“What’s a sore subject?” Kenton asks, walking into the room, wearing his usual jeans and T-shirt. I cannot wait until later—when I get to see him in his tux.
“Your dog having one ball,” Tara teases him.
His eyes narrow and I shake my head.
“What time are you heading to your mom’s?” I ask in a rush, knowing what’s coming if I don’t change the subject.
“I’m leaving now. I just came up to kiss you,” he says sweetly.
I smile as he walks towards me. His eyes move from my mouth to my cheek and then to my eyes. I see pain cross his features, but he quickly covers it. He told me the other day that he loves my dimple, just hates what it reminds him of. I can’t imagine being in his position, thinking he was going to die. He hasn’t talked much about what happened while I was in the hospital, but before he left, I could sense that he was ready to snap at any moment.
Since he got back from Vegas, he’s seemed much more at ease. He hasn’t told me what exactly went down when he was away, just that I was safe now. I asked about the police and what they were doing, but all he told me was that sometimes justice isn’t provided by law enforcement. What that means is anyone’s guess.
His mouth touches mine in a soft kiss, bringing me back to the moment. When my eyes meet his, I take a deep breath, willing myself not to cry.
“I guess I’ll see you at the altar.” I smile, and he shakes his head, kissing me again.
“You’re already my wife,” he says against my mouth.
“I know,” I whisper then start to giggle when I hear Tara making gagging noises. I look around Kenton at her. “You know I have seen you with Finn, right?” I ask her, watching a blush creep across her cheeks.
She and Finn got together while I was in the hospital. She had been in the ER while I was being worked on and was a wreck when they took me to the ICU. Finn found her sitting in the hospital chapel and didn’t leave her side. Since then, they have been inseparable. It’s funny to watch him with her. He never lets her leave his side when they are in the same room. Life is crazy sometimes. The guy who seemed to take life as a joke has done a complete turnaround.
“Oh, shut it,” she growls, picking up a pillow from the bed and tossing it at me.
I laugh and Kenton kisses the smile off my face. This time when he pulls away, it takes a few minutes to pull myself together enough to finish getting ready.
“You know you don’t have to do this, right? We can run away and live on a beach somewhere, drinking from coconuts and using banana leaves as clothes,” Justin says.
I look at him and raise an eyebrow. “First of all, that’s sick. I don’t want to even see you without a shirt, much less wearing nothing but a banana leaf. Second, you’re like a brother to me, so that’s just weird. And third, I’m already married to Kenton, so it really doesn’t matter if I walk down the aisle or not at this point.”
I watch his eyes go soft and he puts his arm around my shoulders, pulling me into his side before kissing my hair. “I love you too, sis, and I’m honored to walk you down the aisle.”
“If you mess up my makeup by making me cry, I’m going to kick your ass,” I tell him, putting my arms around his waist and laying my head against his chest.
When I was little, I used to wonder who my dad was. My mom never talked about him, and if I did bring him up, she would get pissed, so I learned quickly not to ask questions. Kenton asked me if I wanted him to look for him, but I don’t know if I want to do that. When Nancy and I talked about the wedding—or renewal of vows—she asked who I wanted to walk me down the aisle. At first, I said no one, but then I thought about all the people I have gained as family here. Then I thought about Link and wished he would be here to do it, but he was taking care of the club for Sid. Then I thought about Justin, how much he means to me, and how important he is in my life, and I knew it had to be him. We may not be blood, but I know deep down we are family—maybe not in the traditional sense, but in every way that counts.
“All right. Let’s go before you get my suit all wet,” Justin says as we hear the music begin.
I look at myself in the mirror that’s propped up against the side of the door one last time, making sure my dress is still in place. The white lace dress with cap sleeves that drapes under my shoulders hugs my body, showing off every curve until it reaches mid-thigh and bellows out similar to a mermaid’s tail. I fell in love with this dress immediately when I tried it on at the bridal shop.
I pull the veil over my face and down around my shoulders, taking a deep breath. Tara looks at me and smiles, and I smile back as she opens the door. I take in the backyard of Kenton’s parents’ house. There are chairs on the grass, where all of our family and friends are seated so they can watch us say our vows. At the end of the aisle, Kenton is standing under a large arch that’s been covered in tulle, lace, and flowers. My breath catches in my throat when I look at him in his tux. He is always gorgeous, but right now, as his eyes take me in, I have to do the same. His broad shoulders are covered in black material that shows off the expanse of his chest and the strength in his arms. His hair looks like he has been putting his hand through it all day, and the dark hue around his jaw that is always visible only adds to his hotness.
He asked me if he should shave, and I told him that, if he did, he wouldn’t be getting lucky until his scruff grew back. He laughed and smiled, picked me up, put me on the bathroom counter, and ran his jaw along my inner thigh before looking up and whispering, “Told you you would love it.” Then he proceeded to shove his face between my legs, making me scream out his name. He was not wrong; I loved the way I could grab fistfuls of his hair to hold him in place and the way the roughness of his facial hair felt between my legs.
I come out of the memory as I make it to the end of the aisle, and Kenton takes my hand from Justin. When I look into his eyes, his travel down my body and he mouths the words, “Holy shit.” I smile bigger and look into his eyes.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of Kenton and Autumn,” the pastor says, and my eyes go to him. “Is there any—”
“We’re already married, so you can skip the part about anyone not wanting us joined together,” Kenton says, cutting the pastor off, and I feel my cheeks get pink as everyone in the crowd starts to laugh.
“Okay, we’ll skip that part,” the pastor says, looking at Kenton and laughing. He continues the ceremony, and when he asks Kenton if he will have me as his wife, Kenton’s eyes come to me and I see the same look in his eyes that I saw the first time he said, “I do.” Every ounce of love he has for me is there right on the surface for me to see.