My lucky shot of a lifetime.
It’s the only photograph I’ve taken that my mother likes. She’s not here—she still doesn’t like what I’m doing with my life. But I can see her trying and things are getting better. Slowly. Partly it’s because she likes Hudson more than she likes me. His ‘smother with kindness’ defense has worked better than I’d ever hoped.
Speaking of Hudson, I see him weaving through the crowd towards me. He’s taller than everyone else, so he’s easy to spot. He hands me a glass of champagne. “I got your favorite.”
I take a sip and my eyes go wide. It’s the champagne from our first night together at the Halloween party. “Thank you! This is delicious.” We’ve had it again only a handful of times since then, and every time it manages to be a special and amazing night. Even though I shouldn’t, I’m choosing to see this as a good omen.
“Hey, come with me for a second,” Hudson says. “We’ve got a few minutes before you have to give your little speech.”
Right. My speech. I really don’t want to give a speech, but I need to thank everyone for coming. Hopefully I don’t throw up in the process.
Hudson leads me out into a garden right outside the gallery. It’s almost dark, and the heat is dropping quickly the way it does in the fall. Our shoes crunch in the rocks of the garden. “Do you know what today is?” he asks.
“Other than the gallery launch?”
He laughs. “Yeah, other than that.”
I try to think and come up with nothing. “I’m sorry, my brain is fried. I can’t think of anything.”
A hand slides around my waist and pulls us together so we’re pressed front to front. “Today is the anniversary of the coffee incident.”
“Is it really?” I gasp. “I’m so sorry I didn’t remember.”
“As long as you remember it in the future,” he says, voice filled with mock admonishment. “But even if you don’t, I’m never going to forget the day I met the love of my life.”
It feels like everything goes quiet, like it’s just the two of us in the whole world, the way it always does when he talks like this. I love it.
“Which is why,” he says, “I thought it was the perfect day to give you this.”
“Give me what?”
“Just something I’ve been saving for a while. I can’t think of a better time.”
I suddenly feel vertigo because he lets go of me and it feels like he’s falling. But he’s not falling, he’s kneeling. Oh my god. “Christine Everett. I will forever be grateful to the universe that you spilled coffee on my shirt. I love everything about you, and I always will, and I don’t want to go any longer without knowing I’ll be by your side forever. Will you marry me?”
Tears spill over my eyes and it’s hard to find my voice. “Yes, of course I will.”
Hudson places the ring he’s holding on my finger, and then he’s standing again and he’s kissing me and it’s the best kiss ever. “I love you,” he says in between kisses. And he keeps saying it. Keeps saying it even as he lifts me up and presses me against the wall of the gallery, a window just to our right. His hands raise the hem of the dress I’m wearing, and I hear a zipper. “I need to be inside you right now,” he says.
“Yes.” I don’t care that we’re feet away from the people that are there to see me as an artist. I’m getting married and I want my fiancé to fuck me like he never has before.
Hudson pushes aside my underwear and then he’s inside me. God, I’ll never get tired of the way we fit together. Every time he pushes himself inside me it feels like we were meant to be that way. He thrusts his hips upward, and I lose my breath. I grab onto his shoulders, bracing myself against the wall and squeezing down on his cock just the way I know he likes it.
He groans, moving harder, faster, and the stucco of the wall behind me scrapes my shoulders through the fabric of my dress. I love it. I bite my lip to keep from crying out, this angle allowing Hudson to thrust against the spot where I need it most, and I’m already moaning. His breathing is hard too, and I know we’re both too caught up to last long.