Thankfully, her siblings’ reactions were not nearly so complicated. They were thrilled for her and Zephyr, and let them both know it. They also readily admitted they thought it was beyond lovely they got a free vacation out of attending their baby sister’s wedding.
Dinner with Zephyr’s mother and her family was every bit as emotional as the afternoon before had been, but in a completely different way. Leda was ecstatic that her son was willing to build a relationship with her. She, too, guessed Piper was pregnant, but treated it completely as the reason for rejoicing that it was. She made it clear she was very happy Zephyr had found Piper to spend the rest of his life with and that she was looking forward to another grandchild to spoil.
His siblings were even more pleased than Piper’s, his sister going so far as to offer herself as a resource for a first-time mom.
“That went well,” Piper said as she dropped onto the sofa in their suite’s living area after returning from the house in Kifissia.
“Ne…yes.” Zephyr joined her on the couch, tugging her into his body and practically across his lap.
“You’re such a cuddler.”
“I like holding you.”
“That works well for me as I like being snuggled, a lot.”
“We are perfect complements to each other.” He sounded very satisfied by that observation.
“We are.” Even if the love only went one direction, he acted like he loved her, and in the end, wasn’t it actions that mattered the most?
“Your parents are wrong,” he said with absolute certainty. “This marriage is not a bad thing for either of us.”
She leaned up and kissed the corner of his mouth, loving that she had the freedom to do so. “I know. And considering the fact we’re already married, that’s a good thing.”
“Would you have listened more closely to their advice if we hadn’t already gotten legally wed?”
“Seriously? You’re asking me that?”
She tilted her head to one side, considering him, and decided the time had come for a little full disclosure. “I am perfectly aware that there is a significant risk the first trimester.”
“So, I considered hashing that all out, but I didn’t want to wait to marry you until we were sure. It would have felt too much like we were only getting married because I’m pregnant and while I believe that is the reason you first considered marriage, I also believe that you wouldn’t tie my life to yours if you didn’t want to on a level beyond that. I’m not saying you love me, but I do believe you need me.” She cupped his face with both her hands. “And I want to be married to you.”
“You are saying that you would have wanted to marry me regardless of whether or not you carried my child. The baby was a necessary catalyst to get over my reticence.”
“Exactly.” When he didn’t say anything, she asked, “How do you feel about that?”
“I am surprised. Even though you said you loved me, I thought you were marrying me mostly because you are pregnant.”
“Nope. I love you, and for me, that sort of goes hand in hand with me wanting to spend the rest of my life with you.”
She dropped her hands from his face, letting them rest against his chest, feeling his heartbeat under one palm. “Yes.”
“What does it mean when a man wants to marry a woman more than he wants anything else in his life?”
Was he implying that was how he had felt? “What are you saying, Zephyr?” She couldn’t afford to make assumptions about something this important.
“If your parents had convinced you to pull away from me, I would have begged you to reconsider.”
“I would never push you away.”
“That is good to hear because my experience with begging not to be left behind has not been so successful.”
Suddenly, she heard exactly what he was saying and her heart filled with an aching, all-consuming love while her eyes filled with tears. “You will never have to beg me not to leave you, Zephyr. Never. I promise. I would give up anything in my life before I would give you up. My business. My reputation. My family. My friends. Anything.”
“You mean that.”
“I, too, would give up anything to be with you.” There was such truth and feeling in his words, she could not breathe. “I love you, Piper.”
“You don’t mean that.” But he did.
She could see it in every line of his face, in the dark depths
of his eyes, and hear it in every word that spilled from his lips. Yet even as one part of her was doing cartwheels because he loved her, another was questioning it, doubting this happiness could truly be hers.