“Are you okay?” I ask, searching his face.
“I hate seeing you sick.”
“She wasn’t jumping.” Maggie laughs, looking between us. “I… Well, she slipped up about the baby, and I was excited, so I started jumping on the bed.”
I watch as Nico’s eyes start to narrow, and I pull his face towards me. “Maggie is my friend. I don’t care what you say about not having to be nice to your friends, but you treat mine like you treat me. Got it?” I say, waving my toothbrush around, foam flying everywhere.
“I don’t like you getting sick.”
“Well, then you shouldn’t have gotten me pregnant.”
“I like you pregnant.” His eyes go soft before he runs his hand along my stomach like he often does. I smile then realize I probably look like an idiot with my mouth full of foam and a big cheesy smile on my face.
“You guys kinda make me want to vomit,” Maggie says, making me laugh.
I look across the room at Nico, who has his head tilted towards Devon. They’re both standing next to the bar wearing suits, and each has a glass of what looks like scotch in their hands. Whatever they’re talking about looks really serious.
“What’s that about?” Maggie asks, coming to stand next to me.
“No clue.” I shrug, not taking my eyes off the guys.
“Well, Nico has Devon’s seal of approval.”
“Really?” I ask, finally looking at Maggie, who looks beautiful in her wedding dress. The creamy color against her dark skin is stunning.
I look back at the guys, thinking how much the two men are alike. Devon is one of the hardest people to get along with. His childhood made him into an adult who doesn’t easily trust, yet he always sees the glass as half full. He is also very protective of those he cares about; he is a lot like Nico in that aspect. He is one of the first people who made me feel safe. I knew when we were in Job Corps together that Devon would hurt anyone who even thought about messing with Maggie or me.
“Really. I guess they have a mutual friend, and Devon said he heard about Nico Mayson a long time ago.”
“Seriously?” I whisper, this time in shock. Tennessee and Seattle are really far apart. Knowing that someone in Seattle heard about Nico makes me a lot more curious about his job.
“Yep. Seems your man has made a name for himself.”
“I knew he was good, but wow,” I breathe, my heart filling with pride.
I look over at Nico and Devon again, seeing that they both have their heads turned towards Maggie and me. Nico’s eyes travel from my head to my toes, and I can see the hunger in his eyes. I have the urge to pull him into the bathroom.
“So how does it feel to be married?” I ask, turning back to Maggie.
“No different, I guess.” She shrugs her bare shoulder. “You know, we’ve been living together so long we may as well have been husband and wife already. This is just a piece of paper that says we’re married.”
“I can’t wait to have that piece of paper,” I mumble under my breath.
Yes, I’m living with Nico, and yes, I’m pregnant with his child, but I want his last name. I want his ring on my finger, and I want mine on his. I really wanted it after the one night I was looking at all his tattoos and he told me why he didn’t have one on his left ring finger when he has them on all the others.
“When we get married, I’m gonna tattoo your name there,” he said, and I felt my heartbeat double-time at his words. I want my name on him. I love that idea, but I want him to wear a wedding band as well.
“Do you know the history of the wedding ring?” I asked him, tracing the empty space between his knuckles.
“No. Tell me.”
“In ancient times, the circle was the symbol of eternity, no beginning or end. The hole in the center of the ring also had significance. It wasn’t just considered a space, but rather a door leading to things and events for the couple. When an Egyptian man gave his woman a ring, it signified his never-ending love. Later, when the tradition was adopted by the Romans, the ring symbolized ownership. They also believed the ring should be worn on the left ring finger because they thought there was a vein in that finger, referred to as the ‘Vena Amoris,’ or the ‘Vein of Love,’ that was said to be directly connected to the heart.”
“How do you know that?” he whispered.
My eyes met his, which were warm and soft. “I read it somewhere.” I shrugged like it wasn’t a big deal. I had been fascinated by that little piece of gold on my mom’s finger since I was a little girl.
“Now tell me the truth about how you knew that,” he said, running his hand over my hair.
I sighed, loving and hating how he could read me so easily. “When I was little, I used to play with my mom’s wedding band on her finger. I remember always being curious about what it meant. I knew it meant forever. I just wanted to know why. So one day, my mom took me to the library, and we found this old book about the history of the wedding band. The first ones were made out of grass then later out of ivory or wood, depending on your wealth. But no matter what they were made from, the meaning was always the same.”
“Jesus,” he growled, flipping me onto my back, and before I had a second to think about what was going on, he was inside me.
“Wh…what?” I ask, snapping out of the memory.
“Wow, that man must have it going on if you can stand in a room full of people and still be with him somewhere else.”
“It wasn’t that.” I blush, lowering my eyes.
“Uh-hummm. Whatever you say, girl, but I know that look anywhere. Hell, I plan on wearing that look later tonight.”
“What are you to talkin’ about?” Devon asks, walking up and putting his arm around Maggie’s waist as Nico does the same around mine.
“Girl talk, and you know we can’t tell you.”
“You and Sophie’s girl talks always mean trouble,” Devon says with a smirk. “Man, you gotta watch out for these two. They’ve always been nothing but trouble.”
“That’s a lie.” I laugh. “You were always trying to get us in trouble.”
“I’m a cop. I take offense to that.”
“Whatever.” I roll my eyes and shake my head.
Devon was always trying to talk us into doing things we weren’t supposed to. Job Corps was very strict; we weren’t allowed to leave the grounds unless you had earned it. We had a curfew and other rules as well, and he was always breaking them and dragging us along with him.