“And here,” the pastor says patiently, as two of the brothers, Matt and Caleb, snicker at something Isaac whispered to them in the front row. “Is where you recite your vows to each other. Will, you first.”
Will, with a perfectly sober and serious expression on his impossibly handsome face, takes Meg’s hands in his and stares down at her intently.
“Megan, I promise to never make you work out with me. I know how you value your laziness.” His lips twitch as his brothers snicker. “I vow to send cupcakes to your work regularly.” He grins wickedly, and I know we’re about to get an earful of something fun. “I vow to remember where all your sweet spots are on that fantastic body of yours, and pay the appropriate amount of attention to them on a regular basis.”
“You’re the reason we have to put instructions on shampoo bottles in this country,” Samantha calls out, earning a fist bump from Brynna.
“I’m not going to say the real vows today,” Will says, his eyes still pinned on his bride. “Those are for Saturday.”
“Your turn, Meg.”
“I’m not saying mine either,” she says with a grin. “I want to get to the kissing part.”
“That’s my girl,” Will agrees and leans in to kiss her, but she slaps her hand over Will’s lips and leans away, looking at the pastor.
“Wait! How are we supposed to kiss?”
“No tongue!” Leo yells out, making us all laugh.
“Mmph hump smeethart,” Will says against Meg’s hand.
“What?” she asks, pulling her hand away with a smile.
“I’ve never needed instructions on how to kiss, sweetheart.” Will slips his hands around Meg’s waist and pulls her flush against him, bending at the knees to match his lips up with hers, and suddenly they’re in a passionate embrace, kissing with great enthusiasm.
“Stop it right now!” Jules cries and covers her sleeping infant daughter’s eyes where she’s perched on Nate’s shoulder. “There are children here!”
Will dips Meg dramatically, never taking his mouth from hers. Dominic turns in his seat and smiles at me, shakes his head, and then shrugs as if to say, “What can you do?”
“Okay, we get it, you love her,” Steven says as he stands. “Let the poor woman breathe, son.”
“Sweet Lord, if a man kissed me like that, I’d die,” Emily whispers in awe, making me laugh.
“I hear Blake has been kissing you just fine,” I murmur, and watch her face flush.
“I was going to tell you.” We watch quietly, not looking at each other, as the Montgomery family stands and chats, the girls fussing with babies and kids, the guys admiring their handiwork on the arbor.
“As long as you’re happy, I’m happy,” I tell her honestly.
I nod once and drop the subject, standing to get back to work.
“Okay, guys, good job.” I clap my hands as I walk to the happy couple. “Dinner is being served in the tent. We might as well break it in, right?”
“Alecia, this is spectacular,” Meg says with a wide grin. “It’s so pretty.”
“If you like it now, just wait for Saturday.”
“You heard the woman!” Will announces almost urgently. “Food!”
“Will hasn’t eaten in about an hour,” Isaac says with a roll of the eyes. “He thinks he’s starving.”
“Be nice to my boy,” Gail, their mother, admonishes Isaac as she lifts Luke and Natalie’s daughter, Olivia, into her arms and kisses her cheek, then follows the others toward the tent, where the servers have set up a vast buffet spread. A DJ is playing soft music, and the twinkle lights have been turned on, giving the space a dreamy glow.
Emily marches ahead, talking into her earpiece, alerting the kitchen staff that we’re moving into the tent and ready for drinks.
I bring up the rear, but before I can get far, Dominic joins me and brushes his fingertips down my neck, in that way he does that sends shivers down my spine.
“How are you?”
“I’m great. Meg and Will are happy, that’s all that matters.” I grin up at him as he takes my hand in his, kisses my knuckles, and walks with me into the tent.
He and I hang back, taking in the scene before us. The tables have been set up for Saturday, and five of the round tables have been covered and dressed prettily for tonight’s dinner. The flowers Meg chose as her wedding flowers, tiger lilies, roses and calla lilies, serve as centerpieces. The lights hanging above are pretty and cast a glow about the room.
The parents are seated at one table together, laughing and talking, some holding babies. Steven has his arm wrapped loosely around his wife’s shoulders, and he’s watching her with loving eyes as she tells the table at large a story.
The others are scattered about the other tables. Meg and Will invited their entire family, including Meredith’s best friend Jax and his fiancé, Logan.
It’s a smaller party, but full of love and fun.
Will is already seated with a heaping plate in front of him, eating and joking with his brother Caleb at the next table.
“Dude, you totally slipped Bryn the tongue when you got married!” he says.
“Hell yes I did, and I’d do it again.”
“You’re all disgusting,” Jules grumbles, but smiles at the server who delivers her a drink, almost making him stumble over himself. “Oh, thank you. You’re my newest friend.”
“Don’t flirt with the waiter, baby,” Nate says with a chuckle. “You’ll make him trip.”
“He’s fine,” she says and waves Nate off. “Alecia! Come sit by me.”
“Oh, I have to work.”
“No.” Meg shakes her head and points to the empty chair next to Jules. “You worked already. It’s beautiful. Now I want you to be my guest.”
I frown, but Emily speaks into my earpiece, “I got this, boss. Easy peasy. Enjoy yourself.”
“Excellent idea,” Dom agrees, and plants his hand on the small of my back, guiding me to the table with Jules, Nate, Luke, and Natalie. He pulls the chair out for me, and when I sit, he leans in and whispers in my ear, “I’ll go get you something to eat.”
I frown up at him, but he’s already marching away toward the buffet.
“This is weird,” I announce, and gaze around the table. “I’m supposed to be working.”