“Since you’re drunk, can I ask you something?”
I hold up a finger to stop him. “I have a feeling I should say no to that. But I can’t figure out why.”
He laughs and takes my hand. “You want to marry me, right?”
I look into his eyes. “More than anything.”
He smiles and kisses the backs of my knuckles. “You want to have babies with me?” he asks softly.
I almost think I didn’t hear him right.
“Yes.” I don’t even need to think about it. “Yes.”
“Can we get married first and then talk about it?”
He nods and pulls me so that I’m facing him. He kisses the tip of my nose. “Go to sleep.”
“You sure you don’t want to have sex?” I ask. “Because I kind of want to have sex.”
“You’re charming the pants right off me, princess,” he says. He pulls me closer and I put my head on his chest. I can hear his heart beating, and I close my eyes, never having felt safer in my life.
I wake up to someone bouncing on my bed and I crack my eyes open. “What the fuck are you doing?” I ask Sam.
He leans down and grins in my face. “Dude, get the fuck up. You’re getting married today.”
I scrub the sleep from my eyes and look around. “Where’s Reagan?”
“All the girls are at John and Patty’s, where she’s getting dressed.”
I sit up. “Why is she over there?”
He shakes a finger at me. “Bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding.”
“They’re all sick as dogs this morning. So her mom popped a bottle of champagne to make them all feel better.” He laughs. “If Reagan looks anything like her mom when she gets older, you’re going to be one lucky bastard.”
“Speaking of lucky,” he says, and he cups his hands around his mouth and whispers loudly, “did you hear the banging coming from her parents’ room last night? I had to get up and go outside.” He makes a crude hip thrust while holding my headboard, so I kick his hip to get him off my bed. But I’m laughing. Sam always makes me laugh. “Get up,” he sings out loud. “You need to get dressed, because I have to leave soon and I want to see you tied in a knot first.”
He shrugs. “Tie the knot. Tied in a knot. Same thing.” He grins.
I shake my head. “Not really.” Actually, I’m scared shitless. Not of marrying Reagan, but about what comes next.
“You’re a fucking liar,” he says. Then he starts to jump on my bed again. “Get up,” he sings.
I get up and walk to the bathroom, and slam the door in his face when he tries to follow me. “Go away,” I yell.
“But I’m the best man!” he calls back.
I open the door and look out at him. “Who asked you to be the best man?”
“Dude, we shared a womb. Of course I’m the best man.”
I get in the shower and hear the toilet lid close behind me. I peek out and see Sam sitting there. I know the best way to get rid of him. “So,” I call, “what are you going to do about Peck?”
I hear the toilet lid squeak and look out. He’s gone from the bathroom, and that makes me laugh. I do want to hear what he’s going to do about Peck, but I assume he has no idea. That doesn’t surprise me.
I shave, and get dressed in a pair of light trousers and a white button-down shirt, which I leave untucked. I slide my feet into some flip-flops and walk out into the living room. All my brothers are there with the kids.
Paul grabs me and pulls my head into the crook of his arm, and then gives me a noogie. I have to wrap my leg around his and try to take him down to the ground before he’ll let me go.
I run a hand through my hair and try to fix the mess he just made when he finally turns me loose.
“Can I talk to you for a second?” he says.
I nod and follow him to his room. He opens a suitcase and pulls out a box. He holds it out to me. “What’s this?” I ask.
His cheeks redden. “Well, I wanted to see if you want it. For Reagan.”
I open the box and look inside. It’s a sapphire necklace on a simple gold chain. “This was Mom’s,” I say. And I pull it from the box and hold it up.
Paul nods. “She would love her as much as we do. And I know she would be happy for Reagan to have something of hers on this day.”
I lay it back in the box and hand it back to Paul. “Why don’t you go give it to her?” I say. “She needs something blue before the ceremony.”
He shoves it back toward me. “It should be from you.”
“Go give it to her. For me. Please.”
Emotion clogs my throat and I turn toward the mirror and fuss with my hair. But Paul wraps an arm around my throat and stares at me in the mirror. “I’m really proud of you,” he says quietly. “I just want you to know that.”
His voice is gruff, and he stops to clear his throat.
He holds up the box. “I’m going to go and see Reagan.”
I’m still a little choked up when someone else knocks on the door. I look up and see Mr. Caster in the doorway. “Good morning,” I say. My face heats up when I remember what Sam was going on about this morning, but I try to push it to the back of my mind.