Slowly, she’s letting me hold on to her. I don’t know if she realizes it or not, but she’s softening to my words. When I have my arms firmly held around her and her chin is resting on my chest looking up at me, I finally tell her the one thing that I’ve wanted to tell her since the very first night. “I love you, Abby. I want you by my side forever. I want to have babies with you. You make my world perfect. And if I have to give it all up, the hotels, the businesses, whatever, to make you mine… I will.”

She finally puts her arms around me. “I love you, too. I don’t know how, it’s so quick, but I know that I’m in love with you… but I don’t want to mess you up. I mean, you’re dating a construction worker. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what I do. I love creating something for people, but I don’t ever want that to reflect badly on you.”

I smile at her. “I’m proud of you, too. And I’m fine with marrying a construction worker… as long as I can show up whenever I want to stake my claim on you.”

“Marry?” Her eyes light up.

“Oh, definitely,” I whisper right before I latch my lips to hers.


Three years later


I’m in another dress. The things I do for this man. I swore after our wedding I wouldn’t ever get into another dress, but I made an exception for today. I stand proudly next to him with our son in my arms. We’re standing in the lobby of the brand new Wilder Hotel. He did this. He inspired a whole community with this hotel. He’s resurrected and breathed life into our small town. He’s paved the way for more attractions already being built around us.

He’s a hero to most everyone he comes across. Especially me.

Instead of my life where I had to have complete control of every situation, I now live a life where I get to relax and live my dreams. He takes all the hard stuff off of me, never wanting me to worry. Honestly, almost all the decisions he runs by me. Even stuff that he knows the answer to. I think he just wants to keep me happy by fulfilling my need to control things.

The one thing he did put his foot down about was working while I was pregnant. He forbade it. And after a big argument and some great make-up sex, I gave in. I knew he was right; I just didn’t want to be told what to do. Well, six weeks after Brent Jr., or BJ was we have started calling him, was born and I was given approval to go back to work, I cried the whole day.

Brent came and picked me up from work; I’m sure my brother called him, worried about me.

He took me home, put our baby in my arms, and I was fine. The crying stopped and I felt whole again.

“Do you even want to go back to work?” he asked me.

I looked down at the tiny baby in my arms and I swear he grew an inch while I had been gone. “No. Not yet.”

He put his arms around us and held us both to his chest. “I thought you wanted to, that’s why I encouraged you, honey. But I would love for you to stay home with Brent. Whatever you need to do to be happy.”

I remember that day like it was yesterday.

My husband walks to the front of the gathering of people. “I want to thank you all for being here today. This couldn’t have been done without you all and I want to give you my heartfelt thanks to all the workers, their families and the community. I am excited to be a part of this community and help it grow and succeed. But most of all, I need to thank my wife, Abby Wilder. She is my everything and without her I am nothing. I love you, honey.”

The applause breaks out and as he walks down the stage and toward me, not taking his eyes off me. People thank him and shake his hand as he passes, but he doesn’t stop until he’s standing right in front of me.

“Nice speech, Mr. Wilder.” I smile up at him.

“Let’s get out of here.” He lifts BJ out of my arms and puts him over his shoulder. Then he grabs my hand and walks out to the car.

“Where are we going?” I ask him.

“Home. I’m taking you home. I missed you this morning.”

“I’m good with that,” I tell him before reaching up to kiss him. “I love you, Brent. And I’m so proud of you.”

“I love you too, honey.”