Forever with Me / Page 42

Page 42


“There won’t be,” Jason replies, and turns to continue briefing his men as Alecia walks away.

“She should be in the military,” Stokes says with new respect in his voice.

She’s too good for the military.

“Good job, Lieutenant,” I whisper as I fall into step beside her.

“I will cut off someone’s junk if I find out they only put four men out there,” she grumbles.

“You’re awfully angry at the male genitals today, cara.”

She smirks and then lets out a short laugh.

“I’m around a lot of men today.”

“Everything is going to run like clockwork.”

“Don’t say that. You’ll jinx it. I should go see Blake.”

“Blake paid me five thousand dollars to keep you out of the kitchen today.”

She frowns and blinks up at me.

“He did not.”

“He did.” Okay, he didn’t, but she’ll just make them both crazy if she stomps in there and harasses him today. “Everything is set. The food already smells amazing. The tables are set, and the florist is working her magic on the arbor and the tent.”

“The cupcakes—”

“Get here in a few hours and Nic will set them up. She’s awesome.” I take her shoulders in my hands and kiss her forehead gently. “But I get it. This is what you do. So go get ‘em, tiger.”

She grins up at me before gripping my shirt in her fist and pulling me down for a quick kiss. “Thanks. I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Alecia.” She stops about twenty feet away from me and turns back with a raised brow. “This fierce side of you? It’s sexy as fuck.”

She doesn’t answer; she simply smiles before turning and walking away, with just a little more sway in her magnificent hips.

God, I fucking love her.

***

I haven’t spoken with Alecia since that moment this morning. The family began to arrive, and chaos has descended on the vineyard.

And I love it.

The guys are in my playroom, shooting pool and yelling insults at each other, which is pretty much par for the course with my brothers.

The girls are out back in the tent, helping Nic set up the cupcakes.

Or, getting in her way, and she’s too nice to tell them to get lost.

Meg is getting ready up in the bridal suite, and to escape said chaos, I decide to head up there to say hello.

Alecia opens the door to my knock and steps back, letting me inside. Natalie has her camera pressed to her face and is quickly snapping photos.

And Meg is standing before the mirror, dressed in her gorgeous gown. It’s lacy, but not frilly. It’s sleeveless, and the neckline plunges deep between her breasts. The skirt hangs straight, with no train.

It’s elegant, chic, and completely perfect for our Meg.

“You are stunning,” I tell her, as I lean in and kiss her cheek, careful not to muss her up.

“Thank you.”

“I didn’t think you were the photographer,” I say to Natalie.

“Just for this part,” Nat assures me.

“I didn’t want a stranger taking photos of me getting dressed.” Meg wrinkles her nose and turns back to the mirror. “It’s pretty, isn’t it?”

“It’s perfect,” I assure her. “I’ve never seen a more beautiful bride.”

“Don’t make me cry!” Meg whines. “It took forever to get my makeup like this.”

There’s another knock on the door, and then Leo walks in and stops in his tracks, his eyes wide as he takes Meg in from head to toe. And then a slow smile spreads over his mouth as he tucks his hands in both of his pockets and rocks on his heels.

“Ah, Meg-pie,” he whispers.

“Does the dress suck?” she asks, making both Nat and Alecia roll their eyes.

Leo crosses to her, gently folds her into his arms and rocks her back and forth slowly.

“You are so beautiful, Meg-pie.”

“You’re going to wrinkle me,” she says against his chest.

“No, I’m not.” There are tears in his eyes as he presses his cheek to her hair. “I love you so damn much. You know that, right? There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you, Meg.”

“I know.”

“You’re my sister in every way that matters. You’re my constant. Before Sam, it was you and music, and I need you to know that I haven’t forgotten that, Meg.”

“Leo,” she whispers, and I nod at Alecia as Natalie quickly snaps pictures.

Alecia and I slip out the door, leaving Meg and Leo to have their special moment. She leans her back against the wall and closes her eyes tightly.

“Hey, are you okay?” I cup her smooth cheek in my palm and watch as she turns tear-filled eyes up to mine.

“I don’t know what it feels like to be loved like that,” she whispers, breaking my heart.

“Holy crap,” Natalie says as she sneaks out of the room and closes the door behind her. “That was the sweetest moment I’ve ever witnessed. I’m so glad I captured it.”

“Those photos are going to rock,” Alecia agrees, and wipes the tears from her eyes. My gut hurts from seeing the pain in her beautiful brown eyes.

“Alecia.”

She shakes her head and offers me a shy smile. “I’m fine. It was just a really emotional moment. Can you please go check on the boys?” Her eyes are begging me to drop it, so I do, but I lean in and kiss her cheek.

“We’ll talk later,” I murmur, and kiss Nat’s forehead as I walk back down the hall.

She’s going to know what it feels like to be loved like that if it’s the last thing I do.

***

I clasp Alecia’s hand tightly as Leo walks a nervous Meg down the aisle. I talked Alecia into sitting next to me during the ceremony as my date last night while I was buried inside her and she couldn’t even remember her name.

Playing dirty? Damn right.

It worked.

The sun is setting behind us, casting everything in gold, making Meg’s auburn hair shine. She’s on Leo’s arm, walking to “Baby, I Love Your Way” being played by Leo’s band, Nash.

The guitarist, Jake, is singing the lyrics in his rough voice, perfect for the song, and for Meg.

She’s smiling brilliantly, her eyes pinned to my youngest brother, whose eyes have gone glassy.

Of all of my brothers, I’ve come to learn that Will is the one that isn’t afraid to show his emotions. Whether he’s happy, sad, hungry, angry, it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t hold back.


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