“Thank you,” she whispered, leaning her head onto his arm as Brian and Laura said “I do.”
“Anything for you.”
The ceremony ended and everyone helped to clear the chairs to the side of the room for the reception. Meghan and Tye wheeled in refreshments, and music played from the speakers.
Reyna approached her brother and tugged him into a hug. “Congratulations, big brother.”
“Thanks, little sister.”
Beckham held his hand out to Brian. “Congratulations.”
Brian placed his hand in his and they shook. “I appreciate what you did for me. Maybe I had it wrong about you the first time.”
“It’s an easy mistake to make.”
Reyna liked that he didn’t try to correct Brian. Normally he’d disagree and say that he wasn’t one of the good ones. It had to be a mark of progress that he didn’t.
“Well, thank you again. We owe you. Big time.”
“Absolutely not. It’s a gift. A wedding gift.”
“It was very generous.”
“We’re going to let other people say hi. I’m so happy for you!” Reyna said, pulling Beckham away. She turned to him. “You made their life. You know that, right?”
“I hardly did anything.”
“When you have nothing, anything is a miracle.”
After all the congratulations, Brian tugged Laura into the first dance. The rest of the party joined in on the next song. Reyna saw with some amusement that Gabe slipped in for the reception and pulled Meghan into a dance. Tye looked disgruntled and when he tried to dance with Jodie instead, she flipped him off and grabbed Xavier. What a lover’s quadrangle.
Reyna’s eyes widened even further when she saw Drew work up the nerve to ask his roommate, Gregory, to dance. She was even more surprised when the man’s smile lit up his whole face and he all but dragged her brother out onto the dancefloor.
“Would you care to dance?” Beckham asked.
“I’d love to.”
They moved forward into the crowd of people just as a slow song came on. Reyna slipped both of her hands around his neck and he placed his hands on her hips. The moment felt surreal. Here she was in Beckham’s arms, surrounded by the people that she loved. It was impossible to believe that after what she had suffered…all was right with the world.
All was finally right.
* * *
They danced through the night.
Laughing and cheering and celebrating this blissful union. Taking all the happiness they could where they could. In the midst of a rebellion organization, these moments were rare. No one wanted the night to end.
Though she was having a hard time keeping her hands to herself after the bottle of champagne she split with Jodie. Her head buzzed. She felt amazing. And all she could think about was Beckham’s promise to shred her lingerie. She was ready to take him up on that.
Meghan and Gabe slipping out of the room was the first sign that the festivities were winding down. Reyna kissed Brian and Laura as they decided to return to their room. He squeezed her hand and then they were off.
“Oh Reyna,” Beckham said as she twirled back toward him. “You are intoxicated.”
She trailed a hand down the front of his tux. “I’m fine.”
He hefted her into his capable of arms against her protests and carried her all the way back to her room.
“Okay. Okay. Put me down. I can walk,” she insisted.
“Perhaps I enjoy carrying you.”
She leaned her head onto his shoulder. “I like when you’re a gentleman.”
“I am no gentleman.”
“Beg to differ.”
He gently set her on her feet, holding on to her waist to steady her. “Do you always see the good in people?”
“You paid for the most elaborate wedding of the century for my brother, who up until today wasn’t even sure he liked you.”
“But you love him.”
“That’s what I mean. You do it with no thought for return. A wedding gift.” She reached up and cupped his jaw. “You are a good person.”
“My present does not erase my past.”
“No, it doesn’t. But your past doesn’t define your future either.”
Beckham stared down at her as if he were seeing his future written in her eyes. He leaned forward and branded a kiss against her forehead. She closed her eyes and breathed him in. He slowly walked around her, found the zipper at the base of her spine, and tugged it down over her ass. He grasped the straps on her shoulders and let them fall. The fabric tugged on her hips before falling into a puddle at her feet.
She could feel him assessing her from behind. Her breathing hitched when he grabbed her ass fully in both hands. They slipped up to the thong she was wearing. She heard a tear before the slinky material shredded and fell on top of the dress.
She gasped. Her body clenched. All the heat pooled in her core. Oh God, she was a goner. So lost to him.