Page 144 of We Were Once

“Yes. I actually wanted to give it to you as a gift after the wedding, but I got caught up in you, in the ceremony and the celebration after. I forgot.”

“You always were a romantic.” I look out at this gorgeous view, at our land and the little piece of the lake that will always feel like ours alone. My heart starts beating hard in my chest from feeling this happy.

As I recall from the first time we were here, threats were exchanged between him and Dwight. Most details remain too vague. But if he owned it in the past few years . . . “You fired Dwight?”

“Call me petty,” he says with a shrug. I can call him many things—honorable, talented in everything he sets his mind to, and passionate. Petty isn’t one of them.

“And that’s why we weren’t arrested?” I narrow my eyes at him. “I thought we were trespassing and being rebels. I don’t know, wild and spontaneous. I proved I could be a bad girl by skinny-dipping. My name was put on the bad girl list. Remember?”

“It was, and you sure did enjoy the punishment—Ow!”

“You deserved that knuckle sandwich for letting me believe I’d broken the rules. I was actually worried.” I cross my arms over my chest and twist my lips to the side. “All this time, I thought I was a bad girl, but I’m still just a Goody Two-shoes.” His chuckling becomes increasingly annoying. “Do you mind not laughing at me?”

Pulling me to him, he wraps his arms around me and kisses my head. “I’m not laughing at . . . yeah, I’m totally laughing at you. But you’re so damn cute when you’re mad.”

I pull a solid few seconds pretending to be upset before I give in and laugh with him. He finally says, “If it makes you feel better, we were breaking rules. It used to piss my dad off that I would come out here at all hours of the night. I don’t know why, but I found it to be a good escape. If I couldn’t have him, I could enjoy the hell out of his lake.”

Those secrets shared in moments like these always tighten the tether on our heartstrings. I can’t stay mad at him. I lean over and kiss him before coaxing him to lie down on the blanket. He takes my clothes off, and I remove his, and we lie together under another blanket. It doesn’t take long, it never does, for me to want to feel him and for him to want to be a part of me. He hovers over me as I butterfly open for him. Our eyes stay fixed, our hands bonded, as we kiss and moan, love and thrust on the first night of our new life.

I whisper, “Bigger than the sky,” because he is to me, like our love has always been.

When he replies, “Bigger than the universe,” I believe him. Always him.

I can blame it on the moonlight or that we’re newlyweds, but this is different, we’re different. Starting a new adventure together, we’re carving our own path along the way. Things may not have worked out how I planned, and we may not have New York, but we have New Haven and this little piece of heaven.

Under the stars in the summer air, my body is set free from the expectations of others as we chase the moon and find our release. Most of all, we find each other under gentle kisses peppering my skin until we both fall asleep to the lull of the water and under the stars. I never want to forget a moment.

When I wake up, the sun hasn’t broken the horizon. When I turn, Joshua is looking at me, and I find safety in his eyes and arms. He smiles, and it’s not arrogant or full of anything but sweetness. “Hi.”

I reach over and touch his cheek. “Hi.”

“We’re married.”

Smiling, I let this joy build, let him fill me to the brim with this happiness. “I’m your wife, and you’re my husband.”

He says, “We can build wherever you want because my home will always be found in you.”

Swooning so hard that my cheeks hurt from smiling, I sit up, staring at the stunning view ahead. “Building our home here will be the perfect place to make memories.”

His arm comes around me, and we sit in the quiet of the morning. “The perfect place to have a long life together.”

“To raise a family.” The warmth of his hand rubbing my back is transferred, and I rest my head on his shoulder.

He kisses my head, and I relish this moment—everything about it—from him to the view, the memories and the future.

Before long, we pack up and get back in the Blazer. After spending a few minutes misting and preening the bonsais, I climb up front and buckle in. “Surely, having sex with you in the great outdoors earned me a bad girl title.”

Tags: S.L. Scott Romance