“I knew you’d shed the shoes.”
“My feet don’t hurt, they’re just too expensive to ruin in the grass,” I reply absentmindedly, and keep my eyes on the meadow, mentally measuring the space. “Yes, the stage will fit perfectly here. And with the sound equipment facing the villa, everyone will be able to hear the music, even if they choose to wander through the gardens and such.” I bite my lip and turn to gaze at the rest of the space. “This is a perfect place to set up a dance floor. There is plenty of room for tables around the perimeter.”
“Did you say there will be a tent?” Dom asks from behind me, startling me.
“Yes. It protects the guests from the sun and the rain, and around here, you never know what you’ll get.”
“It’s going to be a big tent.”
“That’s why they’re coming tomorrow to begin setting up,” I reply and fetch my shoes. “This is plenty of space for both a formal sit-down dinner and dancing. I love it. Okay, let’s move on to the ceremony site.”
I begin to walk away, and then realize he’s not beside me. I turn to find him standing, hands in pockets, watching me.
“You’re good at this.”
“Of course I am.”
His lips twitch as he approaches me. “It looks good on you.”
“Is that what I was doing?”
He chuckles and reaches over to drag his fingertip down my neck, from just below my ear to my collarbone.
“Yes, but not on purpose.”
“Well, stop it.” I turn and begin walking again, ignoring the way my skin sizzles where his fingertip was. “Ceremony site?”
“Over here,” he replies, and leads me back onto a sidewalk path for about a hundred yards, passing a large, dark brown barn. “The barrels are in there, along with the bottling equipment.”
“Oh, that’s cool. I’d love to check that out.”
“I’ll show you,” he says, and leads me into a field just past the barn, where vines of grapes are standing in perfect rows.
“Oh, this is beautiful.”
He grins and nods. “Meg wanted to get married in the vineyard. So, she will. As you can see, there is a wide space in the middle of the vines where we set up harvesting supplies. I think it’ll be a good place to set up for the ceremony.”
My eyes are raking over the gorgeous green-leafed vines, heavy with purple grapes, and my heart yearns. I wish I could hold every wedding right here.
In the background, there’s a steep hill with more vines climbing up it and the Cascade Mountains are the backdrop, providing a glorious painting of color.
“This is beautiful,” I whisper. “Where does the sun set?” I shade my eyes and look around for the sun.
“Behind us. So, the guests won’t be looking into the sun.”
“Perfect.” I grin and tap notes into the iPad, doing the happy dance inside. “With the colors of the vines and the mountains, we don’t need many flowers out here. I’m going to have my construction crew build a simple arbor at that far end and I’ll have the florist weave some flowers into that.”
We go over the chair placement and then turn to walk back toward the villa.
“When will you pick the grapes?” I ask.
“The harvest usually begins in late August and goes through September,” he replies. “It’s a busy time for me.”
“I’m harvesting grapes?”
“Alone?” I ask incredulously.
“No,” he laughs. “I hire about fifty people to come help. But I love it, so I work right alongside them.”
“What do you love about it?” I ask.
“The feel of the grapes in my hands. They’re heavier than you’d think. Watching the buckets fill. Getting my hands dirty. I don’t even mind the blisters.”
“It’s hard work,” I remark softly.
“Very. But rewarding.” His voice is like smooth chocolate, full of affection and passion for this life that he loves. And what’s not to love? This place is simply breathtaking.
“Okay, I think we can go inside now and take a look at the bridal suites.”
Dom nods and gestures for me to walk with him back to the villa.
“I’ll take you through the back.”
“I love this patio.” The back patio is covered, with a beautiful outdoor kitchen and sitting area. Tuscan tile is laid on the ground and runs up the outside wall, framing a wide gas fireplace. “You could make a few s’mores in that fireplace.”
“I haven’t even lit it yet.” He chuckles. “But I think that’s a great idea. I don’t believe I’ve had s’mores before.”
He opens the back door and guides me into a wide, open sunroom, furnished with deep furniture in earth tones. A small fountain gurgles in the corner.
It’s the perfect space to curl up and read a book.
Not that I have time to read books.
This leads into the kitchen. I’m sure Blake cries tears of pure joy when he works in here. It’s industrial and huge, but manages to still be inviting and homey.
“Would you like something to drink?” Dom asks.
“I’d love some water, please.”
He fetches a bottle from the refrigerator and twists the top off for me, then hands it to me. “Anything else?”
“Okay. The guest suites are this way.” I follow Dom past a dining room that sits twelve to a staircase that leads to the second floor.
“This banister and hallway separate the two wings up here,” Dom says, gesturing to the dark oak banister that opens the hall up to the foyer below. “My personal wing is down there,” he points to the right, “and the guest wing is this way.”
Six heavy doors stand open to six fully furnished bedroom suites, each decorated in Tuscan colors, but in its own style. Some have king beds, some two twin beds, and a smaller one has a cozy-looking queen sized bed with an over-stuffed chair and ottoman that is just begging to be curled up in.
Another reading spot.
“These rooms are beautiful, Dom.”
“Thank you.” He grins and leads me to the room at the very end. “This will be the bride’s suite.”
I gasp when I step inside. The windows are floor-to-ceiling and run the length of the room, filling the space with light. Just inside is a sitting area with a fireplace. There are two doors, one on either end of the room.