Smiling up at me, her eyes shining, Charly rubs her hand over her huge bump where my son is sleeping soundly.
“And my third time crying will, without a doubt, be when I’ve drunk too much liquor, and it finally hits me that I’ve won an Oscar. I have to thank Brandon for trusting me enough to work on a second film with me. And my incredibly talented costar Jensen Fletcher. Thank you to my manager, Jack, who has been through thick and thin with me. My family—Mom and Dad, my sisters, and Gran—I love you all very much. Alex, my long-suffering assistant, whom I couldn’t get through a day without, and if I did, I’d probably do it without any pants on.”
The audience laughs again. I can see Alex sitting behind Charly, shaking his head at me.
“And, of course, my wife. My gorgeous, stunning wife, Charly.”
I look right at her. I can see her eyes glistening with tears. In this moment, no one else exists, except for her.
“Pins, we got off to a crazy start. After the stabbing incident, you made me a stellar piece of underwear, and then you yelled at me and called me a few choice words. I kissed you to shut you up, and I’ve been lucky enough to keep kissing you ever since. I love you. I literally couldn’t do any of this without you. You’re my strength, my heart, and my soul. No one—and I mean, no one—can make me laugh like you do. My life was good before you. Now, it’s beyond amazing. This”—I pick the Oscar up, lifting it high—“is for you and our unborn son.”
I look out to the audience. “Thank you, everyone, and good night.”
I step off the stage, and a glass of champagne is put in my hand.
“Congratulations,” the guy says.
I take a sip. Taking it all in, I look at the gold statue again.
I did it.
A minute later, I’m ushered out of the Dolby Theatre and into the adjoining Loews Hollywood Hotel where I do photographs and press.
The Oscars are over by the time I’m finished with the press. So, I meet back up with Charly in the limo. We’re heading to an after-party.
“Hey,” she says as I slip into the seat next to her. “Can I look?”
I hand the statue to her.
“Wow,” she murmurs.
We look at each other and then both let out yelps of excitement.
Charly throws her arms around me. “You freaking did it, Vaughn! I knew you would!”
“You never doubted.”
“Not a moment.” She smiles, handing me the statue back.
I put it on the seat next to me. I consider actually strapping it in with a seat belt, but that would be weird, right?
“So, that was quite an acceptance speech you gave.”
“You liked it?”
“I loved it. But I could’ve lived without you telling everyone that I stabbed you.”
“At least I didn’t tell them where you stabbed me.” I gesture to my cock.
“True. There is that to be thankful for.” She nods.
“And I didn’t tell them that the underwear you made was a cock warmer.”
“It wasn’t a cock—”
I cut her off with a kiss, like I always do when we have this debate, which has happened many times over the years.
“Warmer,” she murmurs.
“I love you,” I tell her.
“I love you, too.”
“How’s my son doing in there?” I press a hand to her bump.
“Our son is doing good. Sleeping now, I think. He was on the move when you were giving your speech. I think he was excited for you.”
“Not as excited as I am to meet him.” I lean down to talk to my son. “Three more weeks, and we get to meet, buddy. Your mom and I are so excited. And your gran and granddad, great-grandma, aunts, and cousins are all excited. There are a lot of people waiting to meet you, Elijah.”
We’re naming him after my grandpa. When we told my gran what we were calling him, her eyes filled with tears. She muttered something about needing a drink, and then she went into the kitchen to make up some cocktails.
I sit back in my seat and take hold of Charly’s hand.
“Happy?” she asks.
“I already was, Pins.”
Her eyes soften, and she smiles. Then, she leans her head against my shoulder.
The split in her gown has parted, showing me inches of one of her gorgeous legs. I put my hand on her thigh and squeeze. I take a glance down at her cleavage, too. Charly has always had fantastic tits, but since she’s been pregnant, they’ve gotten huge. And, I gotta tell you, I’ve had a lot of fun with them.
The gown is one of her own designs. She left the wardrobe and movie business and started her own clothing line. But not right away. The day after we got back together, Jack put out a press release, basically saying that Charly and Nick were already separated when our relationship started. Nick was fully aware that we were seeing one another, and blah, blah, blah.
After that, the media interest in Charly and me started to die down, as there was no great scandal for them anymore. And a few days after our press release went out, some squeaky-clean pop singer got high, stole a school bus—thankfully, it was empty—and totaled it into the side of a building. So, that kept the press busy for a while.
Charly came back to Vegas with me the day after the press release was issued and resumed her role in wardrobe while I finished filming.
She and Nick also started divorce proceedings. It didn’t take long for it to be finalized. And, shortly after, Charly was legally a single woman again. Well, she wasn’t single because she was mine.