It felt like a box Will Perkins might hand his boyfriend George Mercer on their one-year anniversary before saying something enormous and life altering.
He grinned, his blond hair falling over his forehead as he leaned back over me. “You don’t wear cuff links.”
“Because I can’t figure them out—not because I’m not fancy enough,” I insisted.
Will laughed, kissing my nose. “You’re definitely fancy enough. But you shouldn’t ever have to worry about things like cuff links, or taking out the trash, or fixing the garbage disposal.”
My eyes went wide with thrill. “You fixed the garbage disposal?”
“No more shoving carrot peelings down there, Peach. That’s what did it.”
I reached up and grabbed a gentle fistful of his hair. Who knew talk of home repair would one day be my thing? “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” He stared at me, his brows pulling together. “Do you want me to open the box?”
I looked down at it in my hand between us. On the top in delicate gold script was a single word: Cartier.
Turning back to meet his face, I felt the tight sting of emotion across the surface of my eyes, the heaviness in my throat. God damn it.
“Are you sure?” I asked. “I’m loud and disorganized and I shove carrot peelings down the drain.”
He shook his head, running his finger across my bottom lip. “I can’t ask if you don’t open it, G.”
The box pried open with a tiny creak. Inside was a heavy titanium band.
“George,” he said quietly, and then kissed me once. I could feel him shaking. I could see my hand shaking, too.
I had to swallow three times before the word would come out with any sound.
But my hoarse “Yes” turned into his elated “Yeah?” which turned into a hundred small kisses and one long one that lasted the entire time he moved over me, his puffs of breath warm on my neck.
I could have stayed curled up like that forever.
I would have traded my new Gucci messenger bag to stay in bed for at least another goddamn hour.
But fucking Sara the Pregnant Monster called five times while my boyfriend—fiancé!—was banging me delirious, and the five missed calls meant she had something pressing to discuss.
With Will’s face resting drowsily on my chest, I put the phone to my ear, listening to her most recent voice mail.
He pressed a kiss right over my beating heart. “Mmm?”
“We’ve got somewhere to be, babe.”
Bennett came up behind me, hands firmly bracketing my hips. “I’m headed to the bar. Do you want anything?”
I turned into him, smiling as his lips moved across my jaw and down to my neck. “I’m good.”
Pulling back, he inspected my expression. “You’re sure? Head still hurt?”
I blinked and looked away, not wanting him to see the lie in my eyes. “A little.”
He paused before turning me and bending so that I lifted my face to his, meeting his eyes. “Want some water or anything?” he asked.
“Water would be good; thanks, babe.”
He found me ten minutes later near the dance floor, mesmerized by the newlywed couple. I didn’t know them all that well; they were tangential business associates, but something about the thrill in their expressions, the way they seemed to be on the cusp of adventure, resonated in my blood like a quiet, persistent hum.
“You good?” He came up behind me, kissing my neck.
I nodded, taking the glass of water from him and lifting my chin toward the couple dancing in the middle of the outdoor dance floor. “Just watching them.”
I leaned into his side, feeling my body calm at the warm, solid presence beside me. Bennett sipped his drink, wrapping one arm around my waist.
“She looks amazing,” I said, staring at the bride in her gorgeous pearl gown.
“He clearly agrees,” he said, lifting his chin. “He practically ate her face when they kissed.”
I turned to face him, recoiling mildly from the strong smell of scotch.
“Put that down,” I said. “Dance with me.”
He slid his tumbler onto a nearby table before tangling his fingers into mine and guiding me to the dance floor.
With his hands on my lower back, he pulled me into him, and—Lord, help me—I could tell some instinct made him do it carefully, without his usual Bennett Ryan command.
“You’re quiet tonight,” he said, bending to kiss my bare shoulder. “You sure you’re okay?”
I nodded, leaning my cheek against his collarbone. “Just taking it all in. I’m so happy I think I could burst.”
“You’re happy? We haven’t fought once tonight. I would never have known.”
I laughed, tilting my face up to his. “BB?”
I felt my stomach ride into my chest, my heart climb into my throat. I wanted to do this later, but I couldn’t wait. The words didn’t want to stay put.
“You’re going to be a daddy.”
Bennett stilled in my arms, feet halting their slow circle before a mad trembling came over him and he took a step back. The emotion I saw in my husband’s eyes was completely new.