I wait until he has his helmet on and lifts his leg over the bike before I do the same. Once I have my legs tight to his thighs and my hands on his abs, he starts up the bike, squeezes my knee, and then pulls off onto the road, going back the way we just came, and even though I just saw the same scenery moments before, everything looks more vibrant. The colors of the trees in yellows, golds and oranges that let you know fall is in full swing, and the air feels cleaner and I just feel happier.
It doesn’t take long to reach my parents’ house, and when we do, my dad is the first to step outside. His eyes go to Wes, and even though I was afraid of his reaction to Wes to begin with, I can’t wait to tell him I’m getting married, that I found someone who loves me the way he does, completely without question, and honestly, I should have known better. That was all my dad ever wanted for any of his girls.
As soon as Wes shuts off the bike, I lift my hand in the air, and yell, “I’m getting married!” at the top of my lungs, which causes my dad to smile and Wes, who I was still pressed up against to laugh.
“Babe, hop off,” Wes orders, squeezing my knee, and I get off the bike and start fiddling with the straps of my helmet, trying to get it off while my hands shake with excitement. Lucky for me, Wes pushes my fingers away and quickly removes the helmet from my head. As soon as I’m free, I take off at a run towards my dad, who is still smiling, only bigger now. I pause halfway, run back to Wes, kiss the underside of his jaw, and then take off back towards my dad, who is now laughing at me, but I don’t care. I make it up the stairs to him and wrap my arms around his waist, feeling his go tight around me before I tip my head back and breathe, “I’m getting married,” again, this time with tears in my eyes.
“I know, my beautiful girl,” he says gently, bringing one hand up to cup my cheek, and I can see a deep happiness in his eyes. That one look tells me he’s happy I found what he and my mom have…what my grandparents have.
“Where’s mom?” I ask, swiping my eyes free of the tears that had filled them.
“She and your sisters were out back near the fire pit,” he tells me. I give him one more squeeze then take off into the house, running through, and then out the back door, yelling once again, “Wes asked me to marry him!” only this time, my news is met with squeals of happiness from my sisters, who all come and hug me, each saying how happy they are. Then I look at my mom, who has her hand covering her mouth and tears in her eyes. I go to her, wrapping my arms around her waist then resting my head on her chest, like I did when I was young.
“I love you, honey,” she whispers, running a hand down my hair and back, “more than you could ever know.” But she’s wrong. I do know how much she loves me. I know, because since the first moment I can remember, she has reinforced that love, always showing just how much each of us means to her. I’m lucky to have that, blessed beyond reason to know what it feels like to have that kind of love from my family. “Wes is a good man. Me and your father are both so happy for you guys.”
“Thank you, Mom,” I tell her as a lump forms in my throat and a sob escapes.
“No crying.” Mom hushes me, and then I’m transferred to another set of arms, and this time, the smell of Wes sweeps through my system as I take in a shaky breath, muttering against his shirt, “I’m okay.”
“If you weren’t riding that damn bike with my baby girl on the back, I’d offer you a beer,” my dad says, making me laugh and look up at Wes.
I turn my head to smile at my dad. “I love that damn bike,” I tell him, something he already knows, and he just shakes his head, putting his beer to his lips and taking a pull before muttering, “One down, four to go.”
I look down at my phone and bite my lip when I see Wes is calling.
“Are you going to answer that?” Kayan asks, and I want to say no, but I know deep down that I can’t avoid Wes forever. Especially since we live together. It’s been a week since he asked me to marry him, a week of us living happily, and a week of getting all of his crap out of his old apartment and moving it to my house.
I’m happy, and I know he is too, but I have a feeling I may have stepped over my bounds as new fiancé today, when I walked the three blocks down from my clinic and went to the furniture store in town. We didn’t need anything new; we’re keeping my bed, but we changed out my couch for his, since his is newer, the leather soft and the cushions comfortable. Plus, it has the cool cup holders built into the armrests, and the seats lean back, so you can lay and watch a movies without taking up the whole couch. I love his couch, and my old couch is going into storage, along with anything else in good enough condition that one of my sisters or cousins could use it when they come home to live.
But that isn’t why Wes is calling, and I know this, because when we discussed getting a new bed or keeping mine, it reminded me of his bed at the compound. I know he hasn’t slept with anyone in it since meeting me, but I’m also not naïve enough to believe the mattress hadn’t seen a lot of action prior to us. That thought made me sick. It also made me pissed, so I stomped three blocks over to Jem’s Furniture Warehouse and ordered a new bed for Wes, which would be being delivered right now.
The phone went silent, and then started ringing again, and Kayan, who was looking at me, dropped her eyes to the phone and frowned.
“Nothing,” I tell her then bite the inside of my cheek, debating what I should do, but then my cell phone stops and the office phone starts up.
“Beast’s Veterinarian Clinic, how can I help you?” Kayan asks, answering the phone before I can tell her not to or slide across the counter and pull the phone from her ear.
“Sorry, Wes, but she’s with someone right now. Do you want me to have her call you back?” she asks as I jump around with my hands in the air, pointing at myself and shaking my head franticly. “I’m not sure I can tell my best friend that,” Kayan says, looking at me with her eyes getting big then hangs up the phone then raises a brow at me.
“So I guess your lunch break consisted of a shopping trip?” she prompts.
I press my lips together then ask, “What did he say?”
“You can ask him yourself. He’s on his way down here.” She smiles, and my heart starts to pound in my chest.
“Why are you smiling?” I hiss.