He pulled me in for a hug and I closed my eyes, feeling relief. I’d thought about a million different scenarios on how this might go. But I never imagined they’d be so accepting instantly. I should’ve known better.
He slapped me on the back lovingly and pulled back. “Now let’s get something to eat.” He grinned and I looked at my mom.
I saw how they stared at each other, the love in their eyes tangible. It was clear they were still head over heels for each other, and I knew that’s how Shiloh and I would be.
Because a love like that only came once in a lifetime. And that’s what Shiloh was to me … my once in a lifetime.
I stood and held up my glass, looking at the long table filled with our friends and family. I had never really made a toast before, but it was Shiloh and my engagement party, and for her I’d do anything, even embarrass the hell out of myself.
“I want to thank everyone for coming and joining us today. It means a lot to us that we have people like you in our lives, friends and family, loved ones, that we can share this time with.” I’d never been much of a sappy-ass guy, but being with the woman I loved and our wedding coming up, I wanted to be one of those men they wrote about in romance books. I wanted to be one of those guys where it was obvious he was so in love with his woman that he would move heaven and earth just to see her smile.
And as I looked at Shiloh and saw her smile, the world stopped spinning, everyone disappeared, and the only thing that I cared about, that I was focused on, was her.
She was my everything, and I wasn’t ashamed to admit I was selfish when it came to her. A selfish bastard because I wanted to spend time with her, wanted all of her affection. I wanted it all for myself and would do anything to make that a reality.
So I’d asked her to marry me as soon as we left for college, as soon as we’d been settled in that one bedroom apartment that wasn’t good enough for her, but was all we could afford. And it was during that time, while she studied, while I worked my ass off, that my one goal was to be good enough for her.
She deserved a castle because she was my queen.
And even though she’d made me the happiest fucking guy by saying yes when I’d asked her, we decided to wait, to save. Four years later and she had graduated, had a job lined up, our wedding planned, and we had moved.
For four years I’d worked to the bone, sweated blood to save and give her the home she deserved and a wedding fit for royalty.
“When I first saw Shiloh, I was nothing but this little kid who didn’t know what caring about someone wholly meant. But one look at her and I knew that she was my world, that one day I’d make her mine and would marry her.” My throat felt tight, emotions rising up. I didn’t want to look like some pussy up here, crying and spouting off lyrics of love. But then again, I also didn’t give a fuck. If I broke down in front of everyone because of how I felt for my girl, then so fucking be it.
I held my hand out to her and she slipped her much smaller palm against mine. I pulled her to my side and wrapped my arm around her waist.
“So, thank you. Thank you for sticking by us, thank you for believing in us, and thank you for knowing that you’re mine.”
I took a sip from my water glass and listened to November talk about business management, something that was strangely interesting to me despite the fact I hadn’t majored in that during school. But in this moment, all I could focus on was this euphoric feeling that filled me.
I looked across the room, our friends and family scattered around as snacks and glasses of champagne were handed out. Kace stood on the other side of the room, my father and his on either side of him, both of them talking and intermittently laughing. But Kace wasn’t paying attention to them. Instead, he was staring right at me, his focus trained on me with this very possessive look on his face.
I felt a chill race up my spine, feeling like we were the only people in the room, as if this invisible tether was between us and it slowly pulled us closer together.
When I wasn’t with Kace I felt like a part of myself was missing. It was so cliché, maybe even cheesy, but this was reality, my life. We’d gone through a lot since we got together, especially since he moved with me to New York City and we got a place together.