I nearly lost it. “Like that. Like that.”
A thousand times we’d made love. Maybe more. And it shocked me to no end that I always found myself counting to ten and distracting myself so I wouldn’t explode as soon as she took me in.
“Down and up,” I said. “Don’t tease. Let me feel every inch.”
Her breath was a shiver of heat on my neck, her hair tickled along my shoulders, and she did exactly what I asked. But she could have easily taken me in in a single stroke. She was wet as the ocean.
My thoughts spun off the rails over the intensity of it, as it all seemed to hit me in a rush: here we were, on the cusp of this wild fucking adventure—I’d never wanted anything more in my entire life.
And as Hanna moved slowly onto me, and then rocked above, growing confident, forgetting herself, losing herself, I reeled in the truth of that. How many people find the person they ache to touch, to be near, to belong to? How many people married their best friend, the person they admired most in the whole world?
I pulled my blindfold off, catching her face just as she fell: eyes fixed on my face, lips parted in a breathless moan. Relief washed over her expression when our eyes met—she needed to see this, see me, be steadied by my gaze—and I knew she could read my thoughts as clearly as I could read hers.
Don’t trust someone else’s tradition, I thought, feeling my body work its way higher, closer. Trust me. Trust us to find our own path.
Need and pleasure wrestled their way down my spine, hot and urgent. My fingers dug into her hips, shoving her roughly back and forth over me until I could feel it right there, right at the edge, and her whisper, I love watching you come, pushed me over the edge, too.
I came into her with a rough groan, eyes clinging desperately to hers.
“See?” she whispered, face damp with sweat when she pressed it to my neck. “I needed this. Tomorrow is a formality. Right now it feels like we just got married.”
“Tomorrow has been a formality ever since you gave me a hand job at a gross student party.”
Above me, she giggled.
Hanna was gone when I woke up, and her quickly scribbled note left on my pillow—See you at two!—made me laugh out loud in the empty room.
The morning was packed with a groomsmen breakfast; greeting guests checking into the hotel; my mother and sisters constantly finding me to double-check seating details, delivery instructions, and musician requests. Sensing my need to just take a fucking shower and get ready for my wedding, Jensen swooped in, taking them to find the Command Center (Hanna’s mother, Helena), who was more than happy to delegate jobs all damn day.
A hot shower, a good clean shave, and three cups of coffee later, I heard a knock at my hotel room door. A part of me wondered if it might be Hanna, but realized that could only be possible if she had escaped her sister, Liv; her mother; George; and both Chloe and Sara. Aka “the Pride,” as Jensen liked to call them, as if they were a pack of lions. If she had somehow managed all that, there would be bodies somewhere, and seeing me before the wedding would be the least of our worries.
I let Jensen into my suite. He was already dressed, wearing the standard tux, and looking pretty damn great. I’d been with him all day yesterday, but somehow in the packed frenzy of the rehearsal schedule, I hadn’t registered that he’d probably lost thirty pounds since I’d last seen him.
“You been working out? You look good, man.”
“You’re marrying my sister,” he said, stepping past me. “Please don’t hit on me today.”
Laughing, I turned back to the mirror to tie my bow tie.
She was going to be my wife. I would get to introduce her that way.
This is my wife.
I couldn’t stop rolling the word around in my head. Wife. It felt good. It felt substantial. It made me want to climb over her, say it over and over again into her ear, tattooing it in her thoughts.
Jensen jerked me from this train of thought when he clapped a hand over my shoulder. “Married, Will.”
I looked over at him, repeating with a curious smile, “I know, Jensen.”
“To my little sister.” His eyes narrowed as he pointed a mildly threatening finger at me. “That’s weird, right?”
We’d had this conversation one other time: over dinner, after Jensen had walked in on us—me beneath the counter, Hanna bent over it with the skirt of her old prom dress shoved above her waist while I went down on her. Luckily he didn’t see much . . . but he certainly saw enough to deduce what was going on. In true Hanna fashion, she kept on the dress, put on a pair of sneakers, and made us take her out to pho to smooth over the potential weirdness. Jensen had been surprisingly unfazed until the middle of the meal when he dropped his chopsticks with a tiny clack against his bowl and announced, “Holy shit. You’re going to be my brother.”
Hanna and I both knew we would be married eventually, but hadn’t been quite ready then. At the time, we’d laughed. We were certainly ready now.
Jensen walked over to one of the leather chairs near the window and sat down. “Did you ever imagine this day? The day of your wedding, you’re getting ready in here with me, she’s down the hall getting ready with the Pride?”
I shrugged. “I figured I would find the woman for me, or I wouldn’t. I don’t think I gave it much thought.” I lifted my chin, inspecting my handiwork in the reflection. “Now it seems impossible that in some alternate universe I don’t meet up with Hanna. What if she never called me? What if I’d never shown up to run that morning?” Turning to face him, I blinked. “God, that’s horrifying.”