I couldn’t respect him more.
“Who gives this woman to this man?” The pastor asks when the music ends.
“I do,” Leo responds, kisses Meg, then joins his own wife next to me.
“Unca Will!” Olivia exclaims and points to Will excitedly.
“Yes, baby,” Nat whispers in her daughter’s ear as Will turns and winks at the toddler.
The pastor speaks of love. Commitment. The sanctity of marriage.
And I can hear him, but all I can focus on is this woman at my side, with her hand in mine, and all of the promises I want to make to her. Telling her this now would send her running into the hills, but Alecia is it for me. I love her. I can’t imagine my life without her.
If that’s not commitment, I don’t know what is.
“And now, the vows. Megan, I’ll ask you to recite your vows first, please.”
The pastor steps back and all our eyes are pinned to Meg as she takes a deep breath and stares up into Will’s eyes. She grins.
“I wrote it all down, but I just realized that I don’t need to read a piece of paper to tell you how I feel about you.” She swallows hard and her face sobers. “I take you, Will, to be my husband. I vow to always be honest, to be fair, to be spontaneous, and to always hold you in the highest regard. I promise to dream with you, to support you, and to always be your biggest fan. I will be your faithful partner, your unyielding encouragement, and your forever love.” She blinks and one tear falls down her cheek, but Will catches it with his thumb and rubs the apple of her cheek tenderly. “I promise you this today, and every day, for the rest of my life.”
“Will, your vows, please,” the pastor says kindly, as Will brushes a tear of his own away.
“Megan,” he begins and has to pause to swallow hard. “I hope you understand today how very much I love you. I wonder if you’ll ever truly understand how much of me belongs to you. You are the delight of my life. Loving you is an adventure that I wouldn’t miss for the world. I’m honored, my love, to take you as my wife today. I vow to spend the rest of my life giving back to you what you give to me every day. To be your constant companion, your most trusted confidant, and your truest friend. I vow to never keep score. I vow to accept you, to honor you, as you are, for the rest of my life. I will be faithful to you, forsaking all others. I will choose you, always.”
“Wow,” Jules whispers, and wipes the tears from her face.
Meg and Will exchange their rings, their faces bright with smiles and tears, and finally, the pastor says, “You may now kiss your bride.”
Will sweeps Meg right off her feet and into his arms, kissing her soundly, and making us all laugh.
“Atta boy, Montgomery!” his teammate yells, as we all stand and applaud.
“It’s my honor to present Mr. and Mrs. Will Montgomery!”
It’s time to take my woman upstairs.
The crowd is thinning considerably. At just after two in the morning, Will and Meg are still dancing in the middle of the floor. Most of Will’s teammates are still here, talking, mingling, and hitting on a few of the nurses that work with Meg at the hospital. All of the food and cupcakes were long ago inhaled. I lost count hours ago of how many bottles of wine we went through tonight.
I know it’s in the hundreds.
I’m so damn proud of Alecia for not only pulling off the event, but for making it spectacular.
My eyes find her, smiling and talking with Blake and Emily, at the empty cupcake table.
“Emily,” I say as I approach, “can you finish up here?”
“I can’t leave—”
“Yep,” Emily says, interrupting Alecia with a broad smile. “Blake will help me.”
“There are still guests here. I have to stay.”
“No, you don’t.” Blake pulls her in for a hug. “You kicked ass today, Leash. Go celebrate.”
“Are you sure?” Alecia asks Emily.
Alecia turns to me, and for the first time today I can see the exhaustion settling in. If I have my way, she’ll sleep for three days straight.
“Let me say goodnight to Will and Meg.”
I nod and watch her walk to my brother and new sister-in-law. They both hug her tightly, and wave at me as she returns to me, tucks her hand in mine and says, “I’m ready.”
She doesn’t speak as we walk into the house and up the stairs. The silence is comfortable.
I reach around her to open the door to my master suite and gesture for her to go in before me and smile when she lets out a gasp of surprise.
“What is this?” She turns those wide brown eyes to me in wonder.
“A celebration, tesoro.” I close and lock the door behind me and lead her further into the room. Candles flicker around the room, the only light in the space. Pink tulip petals have been formed into a heart on the bed, and right in the center of them are…
“Shoes!” she exclaims and hurries to the bed. “Oh, my God.”
“What is it?” I press my chest to her back, my hands gripping her shoulders, and kiss the top of her head.
“There are blue boxes in those pretty pink shoes.”
I grin. “Indeed.”
“And the pink shoes are strappy.”
She crosses her arms and grips my hands with hers, holding on tight. “We’re celebrating Will and Meg with designer shoes and blue Tiffany boxes?”
“No.” I turn her to face me and cup her face in my hands. “We’re not celebrating the wedding, cara. We’re celebrating you.”
She frowns in confusion.
“You were amazing, not just today, but during this whole process. You should be so proud of yourself, sweetheart.” I kiss her soft forehead, her nose, and then gently lay my lips on hers, kissing her lightly before pulling back. “Don’t you want to open the boxes?”
“Desperately.” She chuckles, and turns back to the bed.
“Wait. Let’s get comfy. I’ll rub your feet while you open the boxes.”
“Wow. This is a lot of pampering, Dominic.”
“You haven’t seen anything yet.” I wink at her and help her get comfortable, leaning against the pillows. I pull her shoes off her small feet, sit on the bed, and begin kneading the arches.
“Oh, God.” Her eyes close and she leans her head back against the headboard. “You’re seriously good with your hands.”