“Take my name or don’t take my name. All I care is that you’re mine forever. For always.”
“I am. I’m yours. Always.”
A few months later
I should be terrified to walk down the aisle. But I’m not. I don’t have a shred of doubt inside me. All I feel is the faith, hope, and certainty in this choice. Marrying the man I’m madly in love with is awesome.
“Don’t you agree?” I ask Ms. Pac-Man, who sits patiently by my side as I apply my lip gloss then twirl once in front of the antique gilded mirror in my room here at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, near the water.
“You look so beautiful, and this dress is so completely you,” Julia tells me. She’s seen the dress many times—she helped me pick it out.
I’m in love with it too. Not that I have a hard time falling in love with clothes, but this one was insta-love. With a smooth A-line and a lacy bodice, it’s a decadent mix of sexy, stylish, and bridal.
We leave the suite, my faithful dog by my side. My three bridesmaids are with us as well—Hayden and Erin, and Chris’s sister, Jill, who’s now become a good friend of mine. We head through the expansive grounds of the hotel to the bluff overlooking the water. The ocean waves loll peacefully against the shore, and the afternoon sun warms us. White chairs are spread across the lawn, and all my friends and family are here.
I kind of want to run down the aisle because I’m so damn ready to be that man’s wife. But I control myself and wait patiently at the edge of the chairs as my bridesmaids, and then my sister, the maid-of-honor, walk across the white runner rolled out on the lawn.
When the King croons, I take the first step toward my soon-to-be husband. A huge, ridiculous smile spreads across my face because Chris is incredibly handsome in his tux.
He waits for me at the edge of the bluff as the last words of the song fade. I reach his side, and his smile is as wide as mine.
“You’re beautiful. I can’t wait to be married to you,” he whispers.
Yes, he was worth taking a flying leap for. He’s worth getting over all my fears. He’s worth everything to me.
The justice of the peace clears his throat and begins. “I’m told by the couple that we have a cat to thank for this union. But they decided not to bring Chaucer along to the ceremony, and as your highly allergic officiant, I thank you many times over for that.”
We both laugh, and so do the guests.
“When Hayden’s cat swatted McKenna’s hard drive many months ago, she thought she merely had a damaged electronic device. But that dastardly cat’s attack was the best thing that ever happened to her because it’s the reason she met Chris, the man who’s about to become her husband.”
“If Chaucer were here today, I’d high-five him,” Chris says.
“But it’s because of the two of them that they stayed together. Through doubt, through uncertainty, and through starting over. Now they’re here, ready to be together always.”
The justice of the peace segues into the vows. “Do you, Chris McCormick, promise to love, cherish, and honor McKenna Bell for the rest of your days?”
“Absolutely,” he answers, and my heart swells with joy as I savor his words.
“And do you, McKenna, promise to love, cherish, and honor Chris for the rest of your days?”
“Every single day.”
“Now it is time to exchange the rings.”
I turn my attention to the crowd, and there’s Ms. Pac-Man, waiting dutifully at the end of the chairs.
“Come here, girl,” I call out, and my dog trots along the aisle.
When she reaches us, Chris removes the rings from the pouch on her collar. She’s a good girl; she listens to him now too. He taught her how to surf, and there is nothing cuter than my sexy guy and my dog riding the Pacific waves.
Ms. Pac-Man lies at our feet as Chris slides the wedding band onto my finger, and I do the same for him.
The justice of the peace finishes the ceremony with these final words: “McKenna Bell and Chris McCormick, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Chris kisses me, and it’s as amazing as our first time, as our second, as our third. It’s a kiss that curls my toes, sweeps me off my feet, and melts me.
We dance and toast and eat French fries and other yummy delicacies, and then there’s a karaoke contest. It’s not a fair one, though, because Chris’s sister just won a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical, but that’s why we want to hear her sing. She belts out an amazing rendition of “Overjoyed” by Matchbox Twenty that gives me chills, her voice carrying throughout the tent and far across the ocean, I’m sure.