Liv looked at him over the top of my head “I’m not. If he’d ever suggested that, our mother would have cut off all his favorite parts.”
In unison, we all turned to look across the room at Mom, who was standing quietly near the window, watching the whole conversation. She gave a decisive nod, and I just about burst out laughing.
George held up an authoritative hand. “Alas, I’m afraid I can’t let that happen. I’ve agreed to let Hanna marry the man of our dreams today, provided she shares all the intimate details. We need those parts.”
I was getting married today. Me.
I’d pinch myself, but if this was a dream, I never wanted to wake up.
I looked toward the door, in the direction of Will’s room, and felt the same tug in my chest I’d felt last night.
“Is it still a surprise where you guys are going tonight?” Sara asked.
“Yes—do you know?” I looked at her anxiously but she only shook her head.
“Oh, no,” she said, grinning. “Even if I did—which I don’t—you wouldn’t get it from me. Aren’t you the one who told him to surprise you?”
“Yes, but . . . it turns out the idea of a surprise is a lot better than the actual waiting,” I admitted. Organizing the wedding had been relatively easy; it was the honeymoon that had thrown a wrench into everything. We’d had it all planned out—a week at a gorgeous house in Maine, absolutely no clothes for any of those days—but then a few interviews I’d thought were long shots turned into sure things, and before I knew it I had interviews scheduled around the country and absolutely no idea where I actually wanted to be. After several discussions and what felt like a hundred scheduling conflicts, we’d decided to postpone the honeymoon. My next interview was in two days, so we’d make the most of the wedding night somewhere local . . . and head home in the morning.
It would be fine. We’d take it one step at a time—one interview at a time—and it would work out. New job, new state, new marriage. I just needed to breathe. Will and I were going to be together; where and how were details that some other Hanna could care about later.
I was about to marry the man of my dreams. Everything else would fall into place.
And we were married.
Just like I imagined, the wedding and reception were nothing but a blur. I was grateful for the constant click of cameras, because I would need those photographs to tell me everything else that happened while I walked down the aisle toward Will, my heart trying to climb up my throat and fly from my body into his. I barely noticed the flowers, or the wedding party, or the guests. I barely registered that it was a perfect fall day and that the leaves were fluttering from trees in the most idyllic way imaginable. I barely felt the press of my father’s lips to my cheek as he passed my hand over to Will’s.
All I could see were Will’s intense blue eyes, and the joy that flashed across them as they flickered down to the low neckline of my gown. All I could hear was the deep, reverent rumble of his voice as he repeated his vow to honor, and cherish, and love me for the rest of our lives. And all I could feel was the juxtaposition of cool metal and warm skin as he slid the ring on my finger.
It was all I could process . . . until he kissed me, that is. Because that kiss erased everything that came before it.
You may now kiss your bride.
The world fell away. It really did. It was just us in that tiny spot of land, standing in silence and staring at each other, on the verge of sealing this commitment we’d made.
His hands came up to my face and he let out this quiet, overwhelmed laugh. In his eyes I could practically see the reel of every memory we’d built together: our first run, our first kiss, the first time we’d made love, our first fight, the weekend he proposed—twice—and each moment of laughter and quiet between us since.
And then my husband bent, covering my lips with his. I should have known better than to expect a gentle peck. The kiss went on, and on, to the growing hoots and hollers of our friends. But despite their shared joy, I could have left the entire celebration then and there. I could have taken Will’s hand and pulled him into a closet and kissed him for days, just sealing this most important promise for hours.
After the I do’s, we walked out into the garden with its towering trees and twinkling lights to the sound of our family and friends’ cheers. My cheeks ached from smiling and I tightened my grip on Will’s hand, because he was the only thing anchoring me to the ground. Without his steady touch I was sure I’d simply float away, disappearing into the night sky like a balloon.
I was grateful I’d listened to advice reminding me that in twenty years, I’d only remember him. Because it was true: his eyes barely strayed from me all night, and when they did it was because he’d pulled me close and his hands took over, roaming carefully over my arms, my back, my sides. The entire reception felt like one long, drawn-out session of foreplay, and by the time I threw the bouquet, I was practically vibrating to be alone with him.
It was only when we were in the town car and on our way to Will’s surprise wedding-night location that we had a moment to breathe.
“I can’t believe I made it through that entire thing without screwing up,” I said. I’d been smiling nonstop for hours now. My cheeks were sore and my rapid heartbeat left a constant, giddy feeling in my chest.