She's holding onto the granite edge and watching my face. "You like this, don't you?"
I pump her harder and she keeps perfect rhythm with me—but I would expect no less from a musician. "I'm not gonna lie. I love the fuck out of it."
I lean forward and kiss her back as I deliver those last few thrusts and then remember that her birth control isn't working yet. Dammit! I gotta pull out.
I don't want to do it, but I grab the hand towel and come into it. It's not nearly as satisfying as coming inside L., but I don't want her to be upset with me because she wants to avoid a pregnancy for the time being.
She's giving me the stare. "I thought we agreed to wait a while before we tried to get pregnant."
I'm standing there holding the evidence–a towel full of semen–which is the opposite of me trying. "I pulled out. That doesn't qualify as me trying to get you pregnant. I would've reamed you good when I blew my load if that's what I was shooting for. Believe me—it would be jam-packed with little swimmers since it's been a few days."
"It can still happen even when you pull out, says the girl with the swollen belly." Funny one.
"I know and if it does, it just does. By the way, you should know now that I'm not using rubbers on our honeymoon. Forget it. It's not happening." There. She has her warning.
"I know. I have some other stuff, but it's useless if you don't give me a chance to put it in."
"Next time, babe. We won't be in a rush." We're trying to beat the Margaret alarm.
"Next time, I'll be your wife." Wow. I hadn't thought of that.
There's a pounding at the bedroom door, followed by my mum's voice. "I know you're in there, you little shit, and I'm giving you two minutes to shut it down, get dressed, and get out of there."
We look at each other in the mirror and laugh as we simultaneously say, "Busted."
I open my eyes and look at the clock. It's 6:37 on a Saturday morning, and Jack Henry's spot is already vacant. He's up earlier than usual on this weekend morning. The thought piques my curiosity, and then the reason for his absence strikes me.
I put the pillow over my face so no one can hear me and I squeal at the top of my lungs. I can't believe this day is here. Jack Henry will be my husband later today.
I quickly change into something more presentable than Jack Henry's T-shirt and go into the kitchen. I hear someone there and peek around the corner to make sure it isn't my groom, although I'm certain he knows better than to be in this house with me today. Margaret sees me and laughs.
"He's not in here. He knows I'd beat him within an inch of his life if he set foot in this house today." I sit in my usual spot at the bar and can smell Margaret's freshly brewed cup of coffee. She holds it up. "Care for a cuppa?"
I don't know when it happened, but I acquired a taste for coffee somewhere along the way. It was probably while on the road with the band since that was the only thing available for a pick-me-up. "I'll take one, although it might not be a good idea to have caffeine on top of my nerves."
"It's okay to be nervous."
"Maybe nerves isn't the right word." Margaret is my mother-in-law now and the closest thing I have to a mom, so I can be honest with her about what I'm feeling. "I'm hurt because my mom wouldn't come. She's still mad because I left her and my career. When she told me she would never visit, I thought she was using it as leverage to make me stay, but I see now that she was serious. If she won't come for my wedding, then I don't ever see her visiting, either."
"I'm sorry, Laurelyn. I had hoped she would come, but don't ever think you don't have people who love you. Your parents will always be your parents, but we're your family too—not just Jack Henry. We'll always be here to take care of you because you're ours now, and we love you."
I feel the tears coming. "I know how important family is because I've never had one. I'm so happy I'm becoming a member of the McLachlans. I love each and every one of you."
Margaret blots her eyes with a napkin. "That's enough tears on your wedding day. You don't want your eyes to be red and swollen."
This is the happiest day of my life, and I won't let my mother's selfishness spoil it for me. It stops here. "You're right. I can't change the things I have no control over, so no more tears." I've shed too many of those and I have this wonderful life ahead of me now. From here on out, everything will be different with Jack Henry by my side.
"Your groom has a surprise for you. He arranged for all of us to have a morning at the spa. Our appointment is at nine."
That's my Jack Henry—always pampering me like a princess. It's what he promised me from the night of our first date and he hasn't disappointed me yet. "He loves to pamper me. I'm sure I have you to thank for that."
"I tried to teach him and Evan. I hoped they would mature into kind, thoughtful men who treated women with respect, so you can imagine my horror when Jack Henry told me about the arrangement he had with you."
Oh, shit! I hoped I'd never have this conversation with her. "Don't be upset with him. He didn't do it by himself. I agreed to everything."
"I'm glad it happened the way it did. That time apart showed each of you what you were missing by not being together. It's probably the best thing that could've happened to the two of you. I seriously doubt you'll ever want to spend a day apart again."
I think of all the days we've spent apart, and I know she's right. "No. I don't ever want to be away from him again. Ever."
Our morning at the spa was so relaxing. I'll have to remember to give Jack Henry a special thank-you for that tonight.
I'm sitting on a barstool in the middle of the bathroom floor and Addison is applying my makeup. She's fantastic at it and could've been a makeup artist if she'd wanted to be. She's working on my blush when a smile comes to my lips. I'm thinking about tonight, and it reminds me of the lingerie I've chosen. He's gonna love it. It's hot and innocent at the same time—just the way he likes me—and I can't wait to see his reaction.
"Why are you grinning like the cat that swallowed the canary?"
"You don't want to know."
"You're thinking about tonight." Am I that transparent?
"Yeah. Do you think it's going to feel different because he's my husband? It's not like we haven't had sex in almost every possible way imaginable."
"I'm the wrong one to ask, honey. You should ask Emma."
As if on cue, Em comes into the bathroom. "Ask me what?"
I feel silly asking someone about wedding-night sex. "I'm curious about something. It's no secret that my marital bed will not be a virginal one. Can I expect tonight to feel different with Jack Henry as my husband?"
She lifts her brows at my question. "Are you suggesting I wasn't a virgin when I married Evan?"
I feel the heat in my cheeks. "Oh, God. I'm sorry, Em. I didn't even think of that."
"I'm kidding, Laurelyn. I had been with Evan every possible way by the time we got married. I think it's a McLachlan thing," she laughs. "It's different but obviously not in a physical way. It's emotionally different—I don't really have the words to explain it. I think it's something you have to experience for yourself to understand."
"I think I'm more nervous about the sex than I am about the wedding. I want tonight to be different and special, but I'm scared it won't be because we've…tasted the nectar so often."
"I don't know what a virginal honeymoon is like so I can't compare the two, but I don't think either of you will be disappointed. Don't let it worry you."
Margaret appears in the doorway and lightly raps against the open door. "May I disturb you for a moment?"
"I didn't want to say anything this morning until I was a hundred percent positive, but I have a surprise for you." She's beaming as she steps aside.
Behind Margaret stand my mom and dad. And Nana and Pops too.
I'm out of my seat and in my mom's arms instantly. As much as she's done wrong, I forget it all in that moment because she's my mother and I'll always love her. "I can't believe you're here. Thank you for coming." I look at my dad and grandparents. "And you too. I'm shocked. I wasn't expecting this at all."
"Margaret called me last week. She said some things that made me come to my senses, and realize there was no way I could miss being here for you. I'd hate myself if I chose to miss my only child's wedding."
I mouth "thank you" to Margaret over my mom's shoulder and spend a few minutes catching up with my family before Addison boots them out so we can finish my hair and makeup. When she's done, there's no doubt in my mind that I've never looked better.
"It helps when you begin with a beautiful canvas."
"And the finishing touch," she says as she secures the champagne floral piece to the back of my hair. It's tucked and pinned into a perfectly romantic updo, just above my neckline. "I'm glad you didn't go with some goofy-looking veil hanging down to your feet."
"It didn't matter if it was a church or vineyard wedding—that so wasn't happening."
She gives me a mirror so I can see what the back of my hair looks like with the floral embellishment. "What you chose is perfect. Are you ready to get into your dress? The photographer is waiting and you don't want to be in a rush to finish your bridal portraits before the ceremony."
"As ready as I'll ever be."