“Then perhaps this is the ideal moment to do this.”
But he was leaning over the side of the oversized tub, reaching for something, and did not answer. When he straightened, there was a dark blue ring box with a white satin bow around it in his hand. There was no mistaking the signature look. He’d been shopping at Tiffany.
“Zephyr?” she asked in a voice that would not come out above a whisper in her suddenly dry throat.
He looked directly into her eyes, his espresso gaze both serious and warm. “Piper Madison, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
He went blurry as happy tears filled her eyes and made her vision watery. “You know I will.”
He took a gorgeous diamond-and-platinum engagement ring from the box and slid it onto her finger. “Every woman deserves a proposal before marrying.”
“Thank you,” she said in a choked voice.
“I knew you were going to go gooey on me.”
She laughed. “That’s me. Gooey.”
“And incredibly sweet.”
She swiped the water from her eyes. “I do love you.”
“Wait until you see what I had done to the wedding rings.” She grabbed for the box but he held it above his head. “No, no, no…not until the ceremony.”
“You’re just getting me back for my wedding gown.”
“You yourself said I am not obsessed with revenge. I am merely revering tradition.”
“You are revering a chance to keep me in suspense.”
He shrugged. “Maybe.”
“You…” She launched herself at him.
He tossed the box before accepting her weight as he wrapped his arms around her.
With frequent looks toward the street, Zephyr paced the landing at the top of the courthouse steps. He tugged at the neck on the white dress shirt he wore with the ring in his pocket. His gaze skimmed toward the building.
Neo lounged against the wall and watched him with a smirk.
Zephyr glared over at his closest friend. “You just wait. Come Sunday at the front of the church, you won’t be so complacent.”
“No, but I won’t make a prat of myself pacing all over the sanctuary, either.”
“I’m expending excess energy.”
“And what do you call looking at your watch every thirty seconds? Checking the time?”
“They were supposed to be here five minutes ago.”
“Are you seriously worried Piper isn’t going to show up?”
“She wouldn’t even let me text her last night.” She’d said she wanted to observe the full tradition and he had indulged her.
He was an idiot.
Neo rolled his eyes. “Man, you have got it bad.”
Zephyr refused to answer that silliness. “What I have is six minutes past the hour on my watch.”
“And a bride arriving.”
Zephyr spun around and sure enough, the limo was pulling up in front of the courthouse. An unreasonable amount of relief washed over him for the amount of time she was actually late, but she had left him once, if only for a week. And Zephyr knew better than most how easy it was to leave behind someone you professed to love.
The driver double-parked and turned on his flashers. Zephyr sprinted down the steps to open the door before the driver got around the car to do it.
Cass came out first, wearing a bright pink suit and a huge grin. “Happy wedding day, Zee.”
She stepped past Zephyr as he looked at his bride. And Piper looked like a bride.
She was wearing a short veil and a white cocktail-length dress with layers and layers of chiffon in the full skirt. Her blue eyes sparkled with a happiness he never wanted to see dimmed.
She put her hand out to him. “Help a girl out?”
Something went twang in his chest as he tugged her out of the limo and straight into his arms. Then, with a flip of her veil, he claimed her lips in a kiss he could no more have stopped than he could stop his own heartbeat.
The sound of honking horns and wolf whistles finally broke through to his consciousness and he reluctantly pulled back.
“I thought the kiss was supposed to come after the ceremony?” Cass teased.
Neo laughed. “We expatriate Greek tycoons do things our own way.”
Piper looked up at Zephyr with passion glazed eyes. “I like the way you do things.”
“Good. I have become set in my ways.”
“You’re a traditionalist with a twist.” She sighed happily. “I like it.”
“I like what you are wearing.” She was right he was a traditionalist. He was more than a little pleased she had taken the effort to look like a bride for their legal ceremony. And such a beautiful bride.
She gave him a mischievous smile. “Wait until you see what I’ve got on under it.”