So, the winner by a landslide is two chapters in the same weekend, and guess what? It looks like it will be three. So congratulations!
I didn’t respond to a lot of the comments because I was busy calculating and writing, so forgive me. I did respond to a couple, but not many, but I do want to respond to a few of the repetitive comments here because I love my readers and don’t want you to think that your comments fall on deaf ears.
In relation to Christian’s Neanderthal behavior, sweet and cuddly Christian 100% of the time doesn’t work for me. Yes, the night before his wedding was a bit much. However, if he had acted any other way than the way that he did seeing another man’s hands on his woman’s bare ass, I would have stopped writing this story because that would mean that I would be allowing outside forces to dictate who my Christian is. My Christian is the fairytale lover, the overbearing Dom, AND a real person and he will react as such. This means that there will be more Christian fuck-ups in the future, so get ready.
Just to clarify, he wasn’t punishing her in the bathroom. Notice that she never said that once. What did she say that he did to her in the bathroom? Go back and read it. She said, “He’s never dominated me in a public place, but that’s exactly what he did tonight.” She never said that he punished her because she knew that she wasn’t being punished, but he did treat her like an object. He didn’t punish her—he owned her. He didn’t punish her because some guy was touching her. He showed ownership because someone else handled his property.
When he owned her, she left the situation feeling bereft and humiliated, even though the act made her come and want to come again. In the dream when he “punished” her, she came like a freight train and it made her horny and wanton all day, desiring his hands on her (all eight of them) and to feel him inside of her.
In terms of Ana’s reaction and what she should do, years ago when my marriage wasn’t so perfect, someone said something about me that infuriated me, but to this day, I have to admit that it was true. Things changed later, but at the time it was a blaring truth and I had to accept it. I’m going to put a little spin on it and use those words now—she knows who she’s marrying. That should be enough with no explanation.
I agree that communication is key, and this issue will come up again, but please let us not forget how CG and Ana communicate. To that end, there will be further communication and maybe not what you may think, but there will be no therapy involved, banging out the many ways that this may have been wrong.
In terms of the comments that mention “one step forward and 99 steps backwards” (there were different numbers of steps backward, so I just used “99”), I have to say that I don’t agree. Even in this Neanderthal act, they are still moving forward because he is still learning lessons and so is Ana. When you stop learning and you become unwilling to learn, your progress is first halted and then you begin to take steps backwards. His reaction was “typical Christian,” so even though she may not have been pleased with it, she’s not surprised. That’s why she sent him away and let him stew in his own brew.
So that’s enough of addressing the last chapter and our favorite Dom’s reaction to his Butterfly being groped. On with Part I of The Wedding of the Millenium!
I do not own Fifty Shades Trilogy or the characters. They belong to E. L. James. I am only exercising my right to exploit, abuse, and mangle the characters to MY discretion in MY fanfic in MY interpretation as a fan. I hope you—as a fellow fan—enjoy it, too.
Chapter 63—Do You? I Do. Do You? I Do, Too. We Do! Let’s Go!
“Steele, seriously, what happened last night?” Val asks once we are back in the bridal suite getting our hair and make-up done. We have had a wonderful detox spa day and everyone looks as fresh as springtime. I haven’t told anyone about Christian’s bathroom domination and I haven’t been able to concoct a suitable lie for leaving. I came back to the hotel and locked myself in my room, so no one got any answers last night. When we met up at the spa this morning, I declared that no one talk about it or ask me about it or I was going back to my room.
So Val decides to wait until I am back in my room to ambush me about it.
“Nice, Val. Really nice. It’s not enough that you set me up for possible humiliation and exposure last night, but when I specifically tell you to stay away from a topic or I’m going to my room, you wait until I get to my room. You don’t have a pause button, do you? If you did, you would have paused to think about that particular tactic before you tried it. It’s all fast forward for you, like you’re just running ahead doing shit and your brain got left behind!” Valerie’s kind of stunned by my outburst. I don’t know why. That was a dumb ass move on her part.
“So… you were pissed at us, then.” Is her head rolling down the street somewhere scattering her brain along the highway? “I’m sorry, Ana. I’m not trying to piss you off, really, I’m not. It’s just that… we thought it was going to be harmless fun. We covered your face, you looked like you were having a good time. We didn’t even know anything was wrong until you came back and asked for a drink.” What? I was gone—what, 15 or 20 minutes, and nobody thought anything was wrong? I need to end this conversation soon.
“Yes, I was pissed at you, but that’s not why I left. I was having a good time, but the night just went south. Now respect my wishes, Valerie. I’m not going to talk about it. This one’s going into the vault. I’m not even talking to my shrink about it. So let it go.”
“So, you didn’t leave because we put you on the auction block last night?” How do I answer that? Christian dominated me because they put me up for sale last night, but except for the gropey guys, the night was really fun. So, I sort of lie.
“No. It wasn’t that. Now leave it alone.” Val sighs a visual sigh of relief.
“Al will be happy to hear that.” Shit. I didn’t think about what they would have thought about me leaving like that without a word. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. This must be some kind of sign that I need to stay the hell away from hen parties!
“Listen. I didn’t mean to make you guys think that’s why I left, but I really don’t want to talk about it, so please don’t ask again.” She puts her hands up.
“I won’t. I’m just glad it wasn’t us. The last thing that I would ever want to do is upset you the night before your wedding,” she says.
“You’re not getting off that easily. That was a dumb thing that you and Al did. It could have been disastrous. What if somebody had recognized me? Know that if you guys ever put me in a position anything like that again, I’m going to dump you and leave you where you’re standing. Are we clear?” I’m pointing at her like she’s a kindergartener who just ate the glue.
“Yes, we’re clear. I’m sorry,” she says in a whiny, chastised-teenager voice. All she needs to add is “God, Mom,” and the whine will be complete.
“Don’t give me that tone, Marshall,” I say, keeping in line with our current characters. “Last night could have gone a whole lot worse than it did. I have to be careful now that Christian and I are getting married and I need my friends to understand the importance of discretion. Even though you weren’t the reason that I left last night, you very well could have been.”
“Okay. I get it. I really do. I really am sorry.” I bet you regret your tactics now, don’t you?
“Good. We’re fine. Nothing else about it,” I warn. “Now let’s get this show on the road.”
My make-up is finally done and it’s time to put the final touches on my hair. I haven’t cut it in forever, and the stylist today was only allowed to give me a slight trim. Although I didn’t realize it, apparently I’ve been subconsciously growing it out for just this occasion. My hair is incredibly long and the stylist has worked it into a mane of wiry curls and tresses the likes of which I don’t think I have ever seen! The wisps of hair fall carelessly over my face awaiting the final touch.
I gesture to Maxie to hand me the 19th century black lacquer butterfly cosmetic box from the dresser that houses the final element to my hairstyle. I open the box to the gasps of all the women in the room and remove a beautiful platinum and diamond Cartier butterfly headband tiara. Only the best for my wedding day.
After the stylist places a few pins to hold my hair off of my face, I take the tiara from the box. I take a moment to admire it—a butterfly conspicuously in the center flanked by diamonds and leaves of similar stones and modest design down the length of the tiara. I look up at Mandy and hand her the tiara. Her eyes are large and surprised as I smile at her.
“Please?” I say softly. Her bottom lip trembles madly as she treads over to me, takes the tiara, and places it gently on my head where the stylists directs her. She holds it in place while the stylist arranges masses of curls cascading down my back behind it with strategic tresses framing my face. When they’re done, Mandy comes around to the front of me. “Well?” I ask with a large smile.
“Oh, Ana,” she weeps. “You’re stunning!”
“Call the make-up artist back!” Val says, and we all break out in laughter. Val does the honors and puts on my Cartier double heart drop diamond earrings and I clip on the diamond and platinum art deco cuff bracelet, also by Cartier. Now, I’m ready for my dress.
It still takes my breath away. Gail and Mia bring it down from where it hangs high on the canopy bed and delicately spread the fabric. It’s gorgeous. I will finish the ensemble with a pair of white platform peeptoe stilettos covered in French lace with crystal studded-backs and heels, a large butterfly gracing the toe and the top outside of the shoe near the heel.
“Before we put you in your dress, my son has asked me to give you something.” Grace steps forward with a fairly large box in her hand. It may be a foot and a half tall and I’m so wondering what’s inside. I place the box on the dresser and it actually opens in the front to reveal a tall burgundy and gilt cylinder—round base with doors all around it, six doors in total. I pull it out to reveal what I know is a music box—and exquisite music box! The girls help me open the doors to the box to reveal a dancing couple—brunette and redhead—and when I push the button on the side, the song playing is Love All The Hurt Away.
“Call the makeup artist back,” I say as I begin to weep.
Daddy and Al are standing speechless just outside the door as Grace opens it to reveal the bride. Josh is taking pictures of my modest train flowing behind me and the bridesmaids pretending to fuss over tiny details of my appearance. I knew that my hair would be dramatic and the tiara is perfectly showcased nestled in my coif of curls, so I opted not to wear a veil. My makeup is soft—very springtime even though we are at the end of June. Dainty hands clad in fingerless satin and lace elbow-length gloves hold a bouquet of calla lilies and blue roses. I raise my head to see Al with stunned sparkles in his eyes and Daddy with tears streaming down his face. I smile widely and hold my arms open for him.
“Oh, Daddy,” I say as he gathers me in his arms. “Please don’t cry.”
“I can’t help it, Sunflower,” he says, his voice cracking. “Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe how you look. You’re radiant.” He kisses me gently and I wipe the tears from his cheek. “I have to go give my Sunflower away.”
“No, Daddy,” I correct him. “You may be giving Anastasia away, but I will always be your Sunflower.” He embraces me and weeps bitterly over my shoulder. I can only imagine how hard this must be for him as I was a blubbering mess at his wedding, but I love him so much. He has been my rock when no one else was there, the only constant from as far back as I can remember. No one will every replace my Daddy.
“Please don’t make me cry, Daddy,” I beseech him. “I’m happy and I want you to be happy, too.”
“I am happy, Sunflower,” he says through his sniffles. “It’s just… it’s times like these that a father remembers his daughter’s first steps, her first birthday, the first day she shot a gun on her own…” The entire room laughs at that revelation. “I’m just being weeping and nostalgic, but I know that Christian is going to take really good care of you. So I’m not worried one bit. He’s a good man, Annie.”
“I know he is, Daddy,” I tell him. “He’s a wonderful man. Just… don’t leave me, okay? I may be all grown up and getting married, but I still really, really need my Daddy.” Daddy fights another rash of tears and nods quickly. Taking a deep breath, he says, “If he hurts you…”
I nod. “I know, Daddy.” Daddy smiles and takes my hand.
“I’m ready, Daddy.”
The bridal party all leave the suite and the castle and proceed to the garden. The weather is perfect! There is a gentle breeze blowing and the sky is blue with just a spray here and there of thin, fluffy clouds. I swear it feels like angels are singing and birds are chirping, but honestly, it’s all in my head because I am walking on clouds. When we get to the entrance of the garden, several people are waiting there. Carrick greets his wife and kisses me on the cheek.
“You are ravishing, Ana,” he says with a big charismatic smile.
“Thank you, Carrick. It’s cheating to be standing out here and see the bride before everyone else, you know.” I smile back.
“Oh, there’s a purpose to my presence,” he says. “Your groom is an absolute nervous wreck. My job is to walk in and signal him that the wedding is about to start. So I am about to go in and take my seat, which is the only job that I have besides to enjoy this wedding.” He kisses me again, then kisses his wife. “Your mother is still giving me the evil eye. You’d think she would have gotten over it after three decades and a successful marriage.”
“She’s still carrying Dad’s spite, Cary. Just… leave her be, I guess. Try to ignore her.” She touches her husband’s cheek reassuringly.
“I have other news, but it can wait until later.”
“Good news?” Grace says hopeful.
“Fantastic news!” Carrick exclaims.
“Oh, wonderful. No bad news today. I won’t allow it. Now, go in and reassure your son that his bride hasn’t flown the coup.” Carrick nods and enters the garden. I had almost forgotten about last night’s Neanderthal moment. He has every right to be nervous, but his visit to my dreams have replaced the details of the restroom encounter and all I can think of is eight-handed Christian grabbing me and pulling me against him… Oh, God, get it together, Steele! You’re standing here holding your father’s hand with every parental figure you have within 50 feet of you. Get a grip!
Grace squeezes my hand and kisses me gently on my cheek before taking the arm of the usher and entering the garden. Mandy kisses Daddy first, then me before falling in line behind Grace with her own usher. Grace and Mandy both chose silver-gray dresses with half jackets for the wedding. However, Mandy’s dress is cocktail length—sophisticated and fitted with asymmetrical pleats, while Grace’s is floor length—stunning and elegant, ruched torso with an A-line flowing skirt. The bridal party follows behind them and my head starts swimming—floating in Euphoria that I’m about to officially become Mrs. Grey. Marlow winks at me and follows the bridal party in with his sister behind him ready to drop the blue rose petals in my path. Allen is the last to walk in before me.
“I love you, Jewel,” he says, his eyes sincere.
“I love you, more,” I reply kissing him on his cheek. He smiles, stands straight, and walks in alone with the regalness of a Nutcracker soldier. Now it’s my turn. I take a deep breath as the song changes and I look over at Daddy and smile.
“Here we go,” I say like a toddler about to board the carousel.
“I fucking hate you, Christian,” Ethan says as we are all getting dressed in our tuxedos. “How is it that I look like I was jumped by a gang of pygmies and you are only slightly bruised?” I button my shirt and begin to tie my tie.
“You’re the one who suggested paintball and didn’t have the sense to put some sports cream on your battle scars,” I say impassively. “Who does that?”
“Apparently two of you,” Allen says throwing a look over at James.
“I knew,” James says, “I just had a new experience is all. I’ve never been attacked the way these blood-thirsty cavemen attacked me yesterday.”
“Oh, come off it, Fleming! You play that attack-and-hide game for the whole session. You’re just sore—literally—because we sniffed you out,” Elliot says while buttoning his vest.
“You’re all a bunch of pussies,” Jason says. “I took a bullet to the shoulder and I didn’t whine as much as you.”
“Oh, can it, Agent T,” Allen chimes in. “Not everyone is G-I Joe. You all abused my James and I’ll never forgive you for it.”
“Well, you all must have been quite the lively lot,” John comments. “I hate that I missed it and glad at the same time. Allen, you don’t appear to have taken any abuse from the melee. How did you manage that?”
“Me?” Allen says, putting his hand dramatically on his chest. “Running around in the dirt and the mud in the woods being accosted with little hard balls of goo by these ruffians? I don’t think so. I spent half of the day tending to the bride’s dress and the other half tending to the bride. We had an odd night, though.” Oh, shit. Jason shoots a look over at me and immediately turns away.
“Odd? How so?” Elliot asks. “Or is it one of those ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ things?” Please fucking drop it Elliot.
“No, nothing like that. You’re talking about a woman who wouldn’t even hear of a stripper, so the whole night was pretty PG except for the drinking…” until I got there. “No, we were doing this Scottish or Irish or some kind of tradition where the bride-to-be sells kisses for a dollar, only Jewel sold dances.” Everyone turns to look at me, and I have to pretend like I’m hearing this for the first time. “She was actually having a good time. Most of the people were pretty respectful. Women danced with her, too, but as the night went on and the liquor kept flowing, the guys were getting more and more aggressive. One guy was telling her how well he could take care of her…”
“What?” I say, unable to mask my surprise. “She’s marrying Christian Grey. Was he serious?”
“They didn’t know that,” Allen says. “She was ‘Alice.’ You were ‘Tom.’ She was wearing a cape and a Lone Ranger mask and selling dances to pay for her honeymoon… or something…” Oh, yeah. I forgot that part. “Anyway, she tells that guy to shove off, moves on to the next guy and he’s falling all over her. I turn my head for a minute… and I mean a minute. I turn back and she’s giving some guy a kneecap to the nuts and running off to the bathroom.” Every man in the room groans loudly. Even I wince at the thought.
“Poor chap,” John says.
“Poor chap my ass!” I grumble loudly.
“Anyway, I wanted to follow her, but I thought it best to give her some space,” Allen continues. Thank God for that, I think to myself. I had locked the restroom door, but had I not, he would have seen or at least heard probably one of the raunchiest things he’s ever witnessed. “When she came back to the table, she was fit to be tied. The next thing we know, she’s running out of the building and we’re debating on whether we should give her some room or follow her. By the time we decide that we should follow her, she’s gone.”
“Gone where?” Ethan asks.
“She came back here. She left us with the party bus.”
“What did you do then?” John asks him while closing his cuff links.
“We came back, too. Who wants to have a bachelorette party without the bachelorette? We used her ‘earnings’ to tip the party bus and called it a night.”
“Her earnings?” I ask and Allen nods.
“From the dancing. Some of those people took that story seriously. They were putting 10’s, 20’s, and 50’s in the pot. She came away with over 800 bucks.”
“Eight-hundred dollars?!” James exclaims. Allen nods again. “You actually tipped the party bus $800?”
“Yep, and I think security gave them more, but I was a bit tipsy. To be honest, I was glad to be coming back to the castle. I just hope that Jewel is not mad at me.” I frown.
“Why would she be mad at you?” I ask.
“I was the one that put her on the auction block,” Allen says. “Whatever happened with that last dance pissed her off enough to send her running to the restroom for several minutes and then leave her bachelorette party without telling any of us. I’d say she’s pretty pissed. She was in there for so long, I was going to have Val go check on her, but then she came out demanding alcohol and took off.” Jason glances inconspicuously over at me again, but says nothing. Yeah, she’s pissed, Allen, but not at you.
“Well, she hasn’t sent word that you are no longer her Man of Honor, so I think you’re okay,” I say, trying to smooth his dis-ease. He shrugs and continues to groom himself, brushing off his jacket and smoothing his hair. I turn away from the jolly groomsmen and take a deep breath. She hasn’t sent word that the wedding is off, either. So I assume that we are still getting married this afternoon.
“Yo, Bro,” Elliot says softly. “Where you at?” I know what he’s asking.
“At the altar,” I tell him while slipping into my tuxedo jacket, “waiting for my bride.” I don’t tell him that I fell asleep this morning and had nightmares that she might leave me there, waiting and forlorn. It would truly be no less that I deserve.
“Stop freaking out, Bro,” Elliot says. “She loves you. You guys are meant to be together. I’ve never seen two people more perfectly matched.” I look at him.
“Not even you and Val?” I smirk.
“You know that’s a qualifying question,” he says. “Leave me and my Angel out of this.” He straightens my tie even though I know that it didn’t need straightening. “Come on. Our beloved somewhat estranged grandmother is here and we have to go make nice.” I laugh.
“You go on. I need to talk to Allen for a moment.”
“Okay, but don’t leave me with that old biddy. I think she doesn’t like me,” he says frowning.
“She’s old, El. Give her a break,” I say. Elliot laughs.
“If you say so, but don’t be long.” He turns around. “Okay, guys. Lets go get some pictures and laugh at some guests. The groom needs a little alone time.” Jason looks over at me again, but I don’t make eye-contact with him. I’m tired of having the eye conversation.
“Allen, can I talk to you for a minute?” I ask. With that, Jason leaves the room with the other groomsmen. Allen eyes the gentlemen leaving then turns to me.
“What is it, Chris?” he asks. I sigh heavily.
“I really don’t want to go into detail. It’s very private. I’m only going to say this once. Don’t mention it and don’t ask anything… Butterfly was not angry with you or Val. She was angry with me.”
Allen looks at me like a deer stuck in headlights. He doesn’t quite know what to make of what I just said, but realization slowly dawns and creeps over his face before it turns into slight ire and anger.
“How can you tell me something like that and then tell me not to ask?” he snaps. Now, I think I’m a little dear stuck in headlights. “She left her bachelorette party. I’ve been worried about her for most of the night and you tell me that I can’t even ask?” Oh, boy. He’s pissed.
“I only told you because I don’t want you to think that she was angry with you,” I defend.
“Well, thanks a lot!” he spits. “I feel so much better now and I’m sure you do, too.” His fists are balled and I’m certain he’s ready to deck me right now.
“Allen, control yourself,” I say in a non-threatening tone.
“Oh, I am controlling myself, because if I weren’t, you’d be laid out right now!” I see Jason peek inside the door and, hearing Allen’s tone of voice, he quietly steps inside. “You can save that macho bullshit for somebody that wants to hear it because right now, I’m talking to you as someone who loves that woman like his own flesh and blood. I don’t know what happened last night and I really don’t care what happened last night. All I know is that my best friend left her own hen party without even tell me that she was leaving. That’s something unheard of with her and me and you’re telling me that it’s because of something that you did. The last time you made her leave somewhere, she ran to Montana and I had your back that time. Not this time—not the day before her wedding. So, I am leaving this room now and I am going to check on my Jewel. Make no mistake, Mr. Grey. If you’ve hurt her—if you’ve ruined this day for her—I’m going to come back here, cut off your diamond dick and shove it down your billionaire throat!”
He barks the words with a fury that I have never seen from him. I’m sure that he would fight me like two kids in the schoolyard if he was certain at this moment that Butterfly was anything less than alright. As he turns around with anger and purpose and faces off with Jason, I’m silently hoping that Butterfly is okay. I’m not hiding from Allen, but I sure as hell don’t want to fight him.
“You do realize that I can’t let you touch him, right?” Jason informs Allen. Don’t throw gasoline on that fire, Jason. Just let the man pass.
“You do realize that I don’t give a fuck what you can and can’t do. If His Highness over there has ruined my friend’s wedding day, his ass is mine.”
“It’s his wedding day, too, you know,” Jason points out. For the love of God, Jason, don’t poke the damn bear.
“Yes, I do,” Allen says unmoved, “and it would really be a shame for him to get his ass kicked in a tuxedo. Now, are we going to stand here and debate this or are you going to get out of my way and let me go check on my girl?” He’s glaring at Jason, looking slightly up into his eyes, completely unmoved by his size, authority, or position. Without looking at me, he moves aside and lets Allen leave. Shit, I hope Butterfly is okay.
“He’s really pissed. You told him what happened last night?”
“No,” I say, thrusting my fingers into my freshly cut hair, “I only told him that Butterfly was angry with me last night, not him. I was trying to put his mind at ease, but it had the opposite effect.”
“So I see,” he says walking over to me. “He’s ready to beat your ass.” I look at Jason.
“You took a bullet for me. He’d take a bullet for her,” I say. God, I can be so stupid sometimes. I fall into a nearby seat and lament my current situation.
“Well, I’m not dodging any bullets today I hope, but I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.” He’s standing in front of me holding two small boxes.
“Valerie asked me to pass them on. They’re from your fiancée,” he says calmly. I can tell by the boxes that they contain some kind of jewelry… not small enough to be her engagement ring. That’s a relief. I take the boxes and stare at them for a while. “Oh, here’s the card.” He hands me a small envelope. I put the boxes on a nearby nightstand and look at the envelope, my name scribbled across the front in Butterfly’s handwriting. I sigh heavily. Let’s get this over with. I open the envelope and pull out the card…
You’re an asshole. I love you.
I feel the room shift a bit around me. I don’t know what I expected to see or how I feel about the message that she sent me. I open the smallest box to find an ID bracelet—titanium or brushed platinum, I’m not sure which. The ID plate is onyx with a small yellow gold square embedded inside of it holding four square diamonds. I sigh again.
“I need to be alone, Jason,” I say softly. Without a word, he leaves the room. I wait to hear the door close before I instinctively turn the ID plate over.
**Love is patient**
I choke out a sob before I can catch it. Quickly, I remove the bracelet from the box and clasp it onto my wrist. Could her foresight be that perfect that she would know what I needed? There’s no way that she could have known I would have screwed up so badly the night before our wedding—that my heart would be so heavy today! Maybe she could… she knows me better than I know myself.
I almost forget about the second box until I stand and it catches my eye. I open in quickly and blink a few times to make sure that I see what I’m seeing.
“No way,” I breathe, gazing at the object. “No fucking way!” I take the object out of the box and immediately look at the back plate. It’s authentic—not that I expected her to present me with a knockoff, but damn!
I have to find my way back to my seat again as I examine the exquisite timepiece that came in this unassuming little box—Hublot… from the information inside the box, Big Bang King Power Tourbillon GMT Watch. There’s a card inside. It looks like a credit card. It says WiseAuthentic. I know what that it. It’s a digital certificate of authenticity that follows the watch forever.
“Fuck me,” I saw aloud to myself. Hublot. Fuck. I don’t dare ask what this cost her, but I know Hublot—black and gold, skeleton dial, crystal face—no less that $100,000 and quite possibly as much as twice that! I bought her a damn music box!
I happily put the gorgeous piece of jewelry on my other wrist and admire it. As I think about what it must have taken to get this, to get it here in time for our wedding, I’m reduced to tears again.
She loves me. She really loves me. Not because she bought me an expensive watch, but because she invested her time and probably every dime she had into making sure that I felt special on our wedding day.
“God!” I groan. “Oh, God, please help me to show her how much I love her. Please help me to use every day of my life to let her know what she means to me.” My chest feels like it’s burning. Her love is searing through my guilt, pain, and self-loathing, and the fire is all-consuming. I pray that it doesn’t devour me.
After taking a few moments to compose myself, I quickly wipe my tears and open the door. Thankfully, to coast is clear. I need to be alone with my thoughts for a while.
The air is full of the smell of fresh-cut green grass, flowers, water… and summer. I never paid attention to it before now. I noticed it, but I didn’t pay attention. The breeze carries the fragrance of freshness and sunshine and it helps to make my heart not feel so heavy. As I stroll around the grounds, I can hear the prelude music playing in the distance in the garden. I can vaguely hear that Lifehouse song playing. I have to say that I liked it when Maxine and Phillip danced to it at their wedding and when we danced to it after we announced our engagement. I knew that I wanted it somewhere in ours.
The fresh air and sunshine are making me feel a lot better. The breeze is washing away this headache that wouldn’t let go all day and this bracelet and watch will serve as a reminder that I have the most wonderful girl on God’s earth. Elliot was right—she’s perfect for me. She is my compliment in every way. She grounds me when I’m floundering, she’s exciting when I’m too serene…
…and she loves me even when I’m an asshole.
I’m going to make sure that she knows how much I love her, how much I desire her, how much I regret treating her like a piece of meat last night…
I’m going to make sure she knows.
“Hello, Christian. It’s good to see you again.” She gives me that fake air kiss that the Pedophile used to do. When your grandmother kisses you and you think of a child molester, that’s not a good sign.
“Hello, Grandmother,” I say politely. “Thank you for coming.”
“So, this Ms. Steele… she’s a doctor. Nice choice,” she smiles. I’m trying not to let her irritate me. She’s old and stuck in her ways and she’s been a blue blood since birth. Yet…
“Thank you, Grandmother, but I didn’t choose her because she’s a doctor. I chose her because I love her.” She waves her hand at me.
“Yes, I’m sure. There is that, but marrying well is important when you’re Christian Grey. Love? Well… yes, that’s very sweet.” Again, her conversation is reminiscent of the Pedophile.
“Do you need help to your seat, Grandmother?” I’m ready to end this conversation. She raises her eyebrow at me.
“Trying to get rid of me so soon, Grandson?” she asks. I pause with no answer for her. “She has a beautiful name—Anastasia Rose. That’s going to be quite a mouthful when she takes on the Trevelyan-Grey surname.” And here we go.
“She won’t be taking the Trevelyan name, Grandmother. Just Grey.” Grandmother is a bit appalled by this. “As a matter of fact, she may actually keep her maiden name or hyphenate it with the Grey name.”
“Why would she do something like that?” She can’t hide her ire.
“For the same reason that Mother did,” I say matter-of-factly. “She’s a doctor. She has to continue practicing under the name that’s on her license. She can’t fully change her name to Grey. She has to maintain Steele for licensing reasons.” Grandmother turns her face up.
“Steele-Grey… Why can’t she just hyphenate the entire thing if she’s going to hyphenate it anyway?” She’s nearly whining.
“Anastasia. Rose. Steele. Trevelyan. Grey. Seriously, Grandmother?” I pause and let that sink in for a moment.
“Yes. Yes, I suppose you’re right,” she says sadly. “Well, just make it up to me by giving me a great-grandchild before I die.” I chuckle at her request.
“I’ll do my best, Grandmother,” I say, while gesturing for an usher. I kiss her on the cheek and her eyes twinkle. Oh, yes, I forgot. She hasn’t met the touchy-feely Christian yet. I hold my hand up to the usher to let him know that he’s no longer needed, then extend my arm to my grandmother. “May I show you to your seat?” She smiles widely and takes my elbow.
“Yes,” she breathes, “that… would be lovely.” We walk in silence through the garden, my grandmother smiling the whole way. When we get to her seat, she sits and touches my cheek.
“This girl, she’s good for you,” she says, her eyes glassy. I take her hand from cheek and kiss it gently.
“Yes, Grandmother, she is.” I kiss her on the cheek again. “Thank you for being here, really. I know it’s a long way to travel.”
“Like I told your mother, Dear Boy, I wouldn’t miss it.” I smile at her again, then stand up and catch sight of my father. He’s pale as a ghost and I can clearly read his lips when he says, “Oh. My. God.” I follow his glare and see something that makes me feel like I’ve stepped off into another dimension.
Another “Dad.” What the hell?
We start walking over to this guy at the same time. He doesn’t see me, though. He’s concentrating on Dad who gets to him first. As I walk up behind my father, I hear him say, “Herman?”
“Rick,” the guy replies. Rick? Who the hell is Rick? “It’s been a long time.”
“Yeah,” my dad says, stunned as Herman rises from his seat. The lock eyes for about three seconds, then embrace each other tightly.
“I’ve missed you, Rick,” Herman says.
“You too, Herm,” my dad says, his voice cracking. They hold each other for a moment, then release and shake hands fiercely. Dad’s face is completely covered with tears as he smiles widely. That was fast.
“Is this your son?” Herman says, gesturing to me. I’m still a little stunned.
“Yes! Yes, forgive my manners. Herman, this is my son and the groom, Christian Grey.” Herman extends his hand to me and I take it out of ingrained politeness.
“Nice to meet, Christian, and congratulations,” he says with a firm handshake and a warm smile. I can’t help but return it.
“Thank you, Herman. Thanks for coming,” I reply.
“Christian, this is your uncle and my brother… Herman Grey.”
What the fuck!
My eye’s grow large as I look from my smiling father back to his brother.
“Are you twins?” I ask a little spellbound and they both laugh.
“No, but we used to get that all the time,” Herman says. I grab his hand and start to pump it wildly.
“Wow! Great to meet you, Mr. Grey… uh, Uncle Herm… what should I call you?” I’m completely out of my realm right now. I’ve never had any real family but my parents and siblings. Grandmother has always been so far away and very rarely travelled out to the Pacific Northwest.
“Whatever makes you feel comfortable,” he smiles. He reminds me so much of my dad. I like him already. I look over to my father.
“Uncle Herman?” I ask, requesting permission from my father. He nods and smiles. “Uncle Herman it is,” I say, turning back to a smiling Uncle Herman. “I can’t wait for you to meet my fiancée… wife… Ana. She’s going to think she’s seeing double!” They laugh again.
“How’s Dad, Herm?” Dad asks. Herm’s face falls.
“We’ll talk later,” he says just as an older and much more frail version of my father walks up behind him. Dad freezes again. His expression is unreadable. I know this is his father. He’s very old, or at least he looks very old. He’s obviously laboring a bit with his walking, but he’s trying not to show it.
“Dad,” my father breathes upon seeing his father.
“Hi, Rick,” his father says in a soft voice.
“You made it,” Dad says.
“Yes, we made it,” his father replies. “How have you been, Rick?” he says extending his hand. Dad looks down at it, then takes it in both of his.
“I’ve been fine, Dad, really good. How… about you?”
“I’m still kicking, Son,” he replies. “The old Grey mare ain’t down for the count just yet.” I know that language. Is he sick? “You look great, Rick, just great. How’s Gracie?” Gracie? God, I’ve got to get used to these names.
“Wonderful,” Dad replies, “just as gorgeous as ever.”
“Yeah, she always has been a real looker,” his father says, and the three of them laugh. “This must be Christian.”
“Yes,” Dad says, “My son and the lucky groom.” Mr. Grey extends a frail hand to me and I take it gently. I’m afraid I might break him.
“Christian,” he says, “Burton Jefferson Grey. Everybody calls me BJ.” I can’t help the little snicker that escapes before I can catch it. “Yeah, I know. Imagine growing up with it,” he says with a smile.
“Pleasure to meet you… can I just call you Grandfather?” I ask. No way in hell am I calling this man BJ.
“You can call me Gramps, You can call me Grampa, You can even call me Pops, but don’t call me Grandfather. I hate that,” he says shaking his head. I like him already.
“I think I like ‘Pops,’ I say, giving his hand a gentle squeeze. He nods and smiles. I see Elliot across the garden and gesture for him to come over to us. I’m still holding Pops’ hand when he gets there and I know that he sees the same thing I did when I first saw these gentlemen.
“Gentlemen,” I say beaming with pride, “this is my older brother, Elliot Grey. Elliot, meet Burton and Herman Grey—Dad’s father and brother.” Elliot looks from me to Dad, then to Burton and Herman, then back to me.
“No kiddin’?” he exclaims loud enough for other wedding goers to hear before he catches himself. He grabs Uncle Herman’s hand and pumps his arm just like I did. “Wow, it’s really great to meet you. I’ve heard a few things about you from Dad, but… well, we’re so far away…”
“I know. I know. It’s really great to finally meet you, too, Elliot,” Uncle Herman says. I have so many questions for them, like why they stayed away from us for so long, but now is not the time. Seeing the joy on my father’s face is enough for me to know that I need to welcome them with open arms.
“Quit hogging the hand, Bro!” Elliot says to me, and it’s only now that I realize that I am still holding Pops’ hand.
“Oh! Sorry!” I say, releasing his hand and allowing Elliot to greet his grandfather.
“So you’re my Grandpa, huh?” Elliot says, causing an immediate, wide smile to form on Pops’ face.
“Yes, Son, I am.” His voice is laced with sadness.
“Wow! This is so cool! I mean… wow!” For once, Elliot is at a loss for words. “Please, Sir, sit. This is really great. Look, I have to go… you know, do stuff… but, we can talk later, right?” Elliot looks at Pops and Uncle Herman with big, expecting blue eyes.
“Yes, of course,” Uncle Herman says. Elliot smiles.
“Good,” he says. “Really great meeting you both. Really great!” he says before he disappears to the back of the garden somewhere. He’s like a kid at Christmas and it’s my wedding! I turn back to my family.
“Rick… Son, I…” Pops is getting choked up. “The time… the distance… please forgive me…” Dad takes both of his father’s hands in is own.
“Forgiven, Dad. Not another word. Now, please, sit. Enjoy the wedding. We’ll talk soon, okay?” Contrite, his father nods and labors to his seat. Dad smiles again and goes off to the back of the garden as well. I look at my uncle and grandfather.
“If you need anything,” I say looking at my grandfather, then turning to Uncle Herman, “anything…”
Uncle Herman nods and says, “Thank you, Christian.”
I turn and walk towards the area where we will be saying our vows. The stairs at the end of the garden are decorated with nearly every blue flower in the state and the entire garden is in fabulous bloom. A beautiful archway marks where Reverend Martin will stand. Our bridal party will line the stairs while Butterfly and I will stand on a small landing that looks like it was made just for this occasion as we recite out vows.
I’ve thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to her. I’ve written my vows over and over and though I know the spirit of what I want to say, I can’t seem to get the words quite right. I’m Christian Grey. I’ve given speeches to boardrooms and conferences across the country… the world… and I can’t seem to find the right words to say to the woman that I love. Classic. I had better not screw this up.
“Earth to Christian.” Dad’s voice brings me back to the here and now.
“Yeah, Dad,” I say, acknowledging his presence.
“Christian, you’re shaking like a leaf. Are you okay?”
“I’m just…” …terrified that this wonderful girl is going to come to her senses and leave me standing here in front of all our family and friends.
“Scared shitless,” Dad completes my thought. I let out a breath.
“Yes,” I admit. “I don’t want anything to fuck this up, Dad. It has to be perfect. For her, it has to be perfect.” I hear the tremor in my own voice.
“Okay,” he says, grabbing my hand with one of his and gesturing to someone with his other. “I need you to calm down, Son. You look like you’re about to have an anxiety attack.” I nod feverishly and try to control my breathing. He says something to one of the ushers, but I can’t hear him. The closer we get to the start of the wedding, the more nervous I get.
Stay cool, Grey. She’ll be with you shortly. She gave you the bracelet and the watch, right? I look down at the bracelet and remember the inscription inside: Love is patient. That’s in the Bible somewhere, I know, but I can’t think of where right now. Patience… love is patient… be patient, Grey, she’ll be here soon.
“Are you okay, Boss?” Jason is now by my side and I must be visibly shaken. I nod.
“I’m freaking out, but I’ll be fine,” I tell him, reaching down into myself and going into CEO mode, just long enough to hold myself together. Dad hands me a bottle of water, instructing me to drink it. I down the whole thing.
“I’m going to find out where we are in terms of getting started. You’re fit to be tied,” Dad says before heading out of the garden. I turn to Jason.
“She’ll be here, Christian,” he says, reading my eyes. “Stay cool, she’ll be here.” I nod and try to breathe, try to stay calm, think about the places that I want to show her when we get to Greece. We have a special layover before we get there. I’m really excited about that and I know that she will be, too. I try to think of every good thought I can muster in an attempt not to sweat out this $3000 tuxedo when almost an eternity later, my father comes back into the garden. It seems like the walk from the other end of the garden is a mile long while I wait for him to get around the fountain and back into the ceremony area. He gives me a thumbs up and takes his seat. Then the music changes.
Oh, thank God!
I can see Mom and Amanda being led in from the far end of the garden. This I Promise You begins to play as the bridal party reaches the fountain, which is where the seating for the wedding begins. There’s no march to this procession, just a stroll on either side of the fountain, then back down the center before the walk to the front. Mom and Amanda are seated, then Mia and Ethan are right behind them. I can hardly wait to see her. I swear, I’m going to faint in a moment. Maxine and John are in step behind Mia and Ethan, followed by Elliot and Valerie. When I see James and Gail, I almost think my knees won’t hold me up. I know that it won’t be long now. Marlow comes down the aisle followed by his little sister.
Then the music changes again.
A harp is playing, indicating that Allen and finally, my beloved will be walking out next. I see Allen, walking like a guard at Buckingham palace… then I see her. She’s so far away that I can’t see her clearly, but I can see a ball of white gliding towards me.
Steady, Grey… steady.
The music stops and changes again, revealing one of the surprises that I have arranged for her. Just as she reaches the fountain, Wayne Brady is here in person and begins to sing Beautiful As You. She is close enough now where I can see her expression change. As she comes closer and into focus, she transforms into the most beautiful creature I have ever set eyes on in my life. I would have never thought she could possibly get more beautiful than she already was, but she has proven me wrong once again. I don’t know what my face says, but my heart has stopped and my breath is gone as this magnificent creature approaches to pledge herself to me.
Every word that Wayne Brady is singing rings true at this moment as it takes every bit of restraint in me to keep my feet planted and not run to her. My fingertips are numb yearning to touch and I feel as though I may expire if she doesn’t get to me sooner. She’s not wearing a veil so her flawless face is unobscured as she leans in to accept a kiss from her father before he releases her to ascend the stairs to me. Jason takes her hand as she takes the first steps and leads her to me.
Now she’s here… standing in front of me and gazing into my eyes. I’m speechless.
“My God,” I whisper, and that’s all I can say. Her beautiful 32-teeth smile shows that she knows I approve. To say that she is stunning is an understatement. She is exquisite… utterly divine, and I can’t take my eyes off her—not for a second. I don’t hear anything anyone says. Jason has to nudge me to tell me that it’s time for me to say my vows. I think I was the joke for a second as I scowled at him for interrupting my Butterfly gazing, but quickly recovered when I realize that I was supposed to be saying something.
At that moment, I forgot everything I had written, and the words just flowed from me:
“I had written an entire speech that I was going to give that I felt was appropriate. Appropriate…” I say the word again because it just doesn’t seem to fit. “There’s no such thing for you. I don’t have enough time for an appropriate speech because you are remarkable… remarkable in every way. I have felt things with you that I have never felt in my whole life—my whole life, Anastasia. I feel the same way about you today that I felt the very first moment that I realized that I love you—the night that you cursed me out at the community center and quit.” Her eyes get large and she gasps. “I didn’t want to admit that my feelings ran deep, especially since we had such contempt for one another. That night that I was finally able to make you mine, I remember thinking that I had to get to you by any means necessary. I remember thinking that the entire course of my life was being determined by those moments at that restaurant and that I couldn’t let you out of my sight. I remember that you touched a part of me that I, too, kept hidden away and you actually shook the foundations of everything that I knew. That was the first and only time that I ever left my blackberry behind anywhere.” There are gasps in the garden. I gesture to the crowd and shrug. I’m not the only who knows that this is a big deal. “I can honestly say that I am not the same man that I was a year ago. I am a very new and very improved version and it’s all because of you. You have brought out the best—and the worst—of me and helped shape me into a so much better human being. I am so proud that you love me, and I am so honored to be able to love you. Every single cell of me belongs to you and I will spend my life hoping to be worthy of the love that you give me and endlessly covering you in the love that I have for you.
“So, here we are… about to formally commit to each other before our family and friends. Before we do, I just need to say that love, commitment, and relationship were all foreign destinations I had no desire to travel. Each piece of a jagged past created the rough shell that surrounded my heart. Then, I met you. Your presence, your beauty, your essence, though initially grinding with force to avoid what seems destined, smoothed and—with time—polished a heart that Cupid broke so many arrows on. With that said, Anastasia, on this day, this day of destiny, I commit myself and a polished beaming heart to you with the belief that time will merge two hearts into one.”
I could hear something from the crowd, but I can’t make it out. I only see Butterfly stunned and angelic face, a single tear falling down her cheek as she chokes back a sob.
“How am I supposed to top that?” she says, causing a rash of chuckles across our observers.
“Don’t try to top it, Baby. Just tell me what you feel.” I give her hand a gentle squeeze. She takes a deep breath and nods.
“My life has not been a fairytale. I’ve suffered some things that I thought would scar me forever—and some of them did. I didn’t know what life had in store for me and part of me was afraid to look forward to the future. Then I met you and I thought that hell had unleashed one of its super special demons directly upon me.” Another rash of laughter comes from the crowd. What could I say? I’m hell if you cross me. “I couldn’t figure out why you were so disagreeable and angry, but without warning, you worked your way into my subconscious and I couldn’t figure out how you did it. I found you in the most secret places of my mind and soul and I was angry with you for it. That day that I went to confront you in your office, I knew that I was looking at the man who would change my life forever. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew. I stayed away from you, even fought with you, but secretly I knew that my life would never be the same. So here we are, now standing here swearing to be together forever, and I can’t think of any of the cliché things that you are supposed to say when you recite your own vows at your wedding—about sunsets and moonlight and forever and being your rock and whatever else—because that’s not us. We were unconventional from the beginning. So I will tell you this. I love you, Christian. All I know at this moment is that I love you with my whole heart and that if I can give your soul the love, comfort, and security that you give to mine, then I will have done my job as your wife and partner. So that is my goal—to be everything to you that you have been to me, to be sure that my presence always brings you peace and never brings you angst, to make life easier and happier for you the way that you have for me… and this is my solemn vow.”
Once again, the air is snatched out of my lungs and I can’t move. She raises her delicate little hand to my face and I only realize that I’m crying when she wipes away my tear.
“Perfect,” I whisper as I gaze into her eyes and see my future there…
The rest of the ceremony is a bit of a haze. I am lost in the eyes of my love. I am coherent enough to know when it’s time to exchange rings, though. Butterfly insisted on picking out my ring and paying for it on her own, so I haven’t seen it yet. When it’s my turn to reveal her ring, I place a Chanel eternity ring on her finger. It’s platinum with 22 round diamonds that match her engagement ring. She is obviously pleased with my choice. Then she reveals my ring.
This band is a 3D creation and looks like three bands geometrically attached and stacked onto each other. I’ve never seen anything like it—highly polished platinum with at least 60 small black diamonds embedded in the band. It’s also an eternity ring. I expected something unique, but this is exquisite! It must have cost her a fortune—all of her savings! She’s broke now… I know it.
She’s marrying a billionaire, idiot.
I know this, but she spent all of her money on me—on this ring… and that damn watch! I smile my warmest smile at her. I will treasure this forever.
It seems to take forever for the good Reverend to finally give me permission to kiss my wife. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment forever. She’s my wife. Good God, she’s finally my wife. I exercise all the restraint that I can when I envelop her in my arms and kiss her with my very soul, this magnificent, incredible creature that has pledged herself to me. I’m so not worthy.
“I love you, Butterfly,” I breathe when our lips part.
“I love you, too, Christian,” she gasps, holding my face. That’s when I remember yet another surprise I had arranged for her. Our guests open boxes and small monarch butterflies are released and fly all over the garden. Because we are surrounded by the most flowers, several of them fly to the landing where we are standing and land on the flowers, eliciting uncontrollable laughter from Butterfly. Three land on her head and one lands on her shoulder, causing her to giggle profusely. Joshua quickly steps in a takes several shots in succession of Butterfly surrounded by and covered in butterflies. It couldn’t be more Cinderella if I had planned it that way.
“You are so beautiful,” I tell her as we stand next to the Bentley just after the receiving line has completed. Joshua is taking pictures of us and the bridal party taking advantage of the dusk before we lose the sun. “I didn’t think you could possibly get more beautiful, but you have.” I play in her cascading curls as she stares wantonly into my eyes. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m doing everything I can to control myself right now.”
“Did you know that a well-tailored suit on a man does the same thing to a woman that sexy lingerie does to you?” she asks with shameless, fuck-me eyes.
“Mrs. Grey, you’re lighting a powder keg.” I warn.
“I sure hope so,” she answers. Holy fuck! How can she look so celestial and be so hot at the same time? I caress her bare shoulders—her flawless alabaster skin—then bury my hands in her soft masses of flowing curls. Pulling her head to me, I kiss her deeply—and the flash goes wild. I forgot that Joshua was still taking pictures, but I don’t care at this moment.
“You’re my everything,” I breathe against her lips.
“Oh, Christian,” she says before leaping into my arms, wrapping her arms around my neck, and kissing me passionately. I hold her tight around her waist and we share a true Hollywood kiss, complete with the tipping leg behind her. That would later be the picture that ends up on my desk.
“I… really hate to break this up, but I have to stop you two before you start making out on the lawn.” It’s Jason’s voice that interrupts our kiss.
“Start?” Joshua says. I turn to look at him. “Sorry,” he says insincerely. Well, yeah, we were making out on the lawn.
“Okay, you two. I have to get you to the reception, so let’s get going,” Jason says, shooing us along down the path toward the lake.
The garden is everything that I had hoped it would be.
Once we get past the wooden doors and the pathway and walls of blooms, I can see the water bearer just beyond the air is thick with the fragrance of flowers—feverfews, daylilies, and a few, lingering forget-me-nots. I’m shaking, but I don’t know why. I want to get to Christian so badly that I just want to break all prompt and circumstance and run across this never-ending green lawn into his arms. I can’t see him yet. Daddy and I are just getting to that large and wide stone staircase beyond that stone walls that lead to the sunken garden.
It seems bigger than the last time I saw it. Lush green carpet beckons me as we clear the final stone stair and begin the trek to the ceremony space on the opposite end of the garden. Beautiful rose arrangements surround the fountain, and I find myself taking in the splendor of the space to calm my anxious nerves as I travel through the garden. The sound of the water lapping accompanied by the gentle strums of the harp lull me into serenity and help me forget that I’m about to make the most important commitment of my entire life.
Why am I nervous? I love him so much…
Glancing from left to right, I take in the summer flora of every color that line the walls and the stone paths on either side of the garden. My steps don’t slow though my heart quickens as we pass the fountain and the water bearer appears to be smiling at me.
The harpist suddenly stops playing, and I hear beautiful piano music followed by the harmonic voice of Wayne Brady. The song is lovely, but I freeze in my tracks when I see the man himself emerge from behind a wall of lupine, irises, and balloon flowers looking right at me and crooning about rainbows and shooting stars and Cinderella. I am immediately overwhelmed and I almost think I won’t make it to the stairs.
“One foot in front of the other, Annie Babe,” Daddy says to me. Yes. Yes, I have to get to Christian. I have to make it to Christian.
White chairs line my path to my soon-to-be husband. Blue and white flower petals grace my path while sashes and bows of blue and silver decorate each row. The girls all line the stairs in glorious royal blue evening gowns while the gentlemen line the other side in flawless black tuxedos with silver vests. Al is on the side with the ladies, his vest a perfect match to their dresses. Exquisite blossoms explode en masse on either side of a white arch at the top of the staircase where Reverend Martin stands, smiling and waiting as I approach.
And there he is.
I think I feel woozy. Good Lord, he is so handsome. His hair has been cut—and styled! It reminds me of a young Richard Gere. It’s neat, kind of sexy. It’s okay for today, but I like mopsy-haired Christian better. I try to concentrate and I think I’m smiling, but I can’t take my eyes off of him. He’s there. He’s waiting for me, and he looks… scared—gorgeous, but terrified.
Christian honestly looks a bit of a fright as he’s standing at the top of the stairs. His eyes are silver-gray and capturing the sun even from this far away. Did he eat anything today? Is he okay? As I get closer, I recognize that faraway look in his eyes.
My heart swells immediately and I know that I’m smiling now.
When I reach the bottom of the stairs, Daddy kisses me on the cheek and smiles before going to take his seat next to Mandy. As I begin to negotiate the stairs, Jason takes my hand and helps me to the landing. I turn to my man and take his hand. He confirms what I saw in his eyes when he says two words.
I feel like my face is going to crack I’m smiling so hard. He’s happy… at least I think he’s happy. He’s happy to see me anyway. That’s all I need.
Reverend Martin says some wonderful words about love and enduring the tough times and blah blah blah and all I can see is my man. It takes Christian a moment to come back to himself when it comes time for the vows.
Good God, those vows! I almost swoon! Don’t cry. Don’t mess up your make-up. Dammit!
He looks so far away as he stands there vowing to love me forever. I know that he hasn’t been drinking because I don’t smell it, but I wonder what drug he has taken that has him so euphoric. Granted, we’re getting married and this is a very happy time for us, but he seems almost high! I know that he would never partake in recreational drugs, but I can’t help but wonder… Did he have to be drugged to go through with it? I was worried, but his vows put my fears to rest.
“Your presence, your beauty, your essence, though initially grinding with force to avoid what seems destined, smoothed and—with time—polished a heart that Cupid broke so many arrows on.”
Who comes up with shit like that? I’m like, Damn! I’m glad this is family and close friends or we would hear panties dropping all over the damn garden! I think mine disintegrated! My heart is pounding out of my chest and I’m afraid that the guests can hear the wetness in my underwear. My God, this man… what he does to me.
I think I stumble through my vows the best that I can, afraid that they paled in comparison to the words that he said to me. Again, he dispels my fears when I see tears on his face. I reach up to gently wipe them away when he whispers, “Perfect.”
We continue to recite the traditional vows and when the Reverend asks if he will protect me and love me until death, he answers with a convicted “I certainly will.” Control yourself, Steele.
Steele… only for a few more moments.
I answer the Reverend with the same conviction before we exchange rings. I was completely prepared for Christian to get me something timeless, which he did—a perfect match to my engagement ring. However, I don’t think he was ready for the platinum and diamond creation that I slipped on his finger. I think I may have momentarily stunned him. I don’t dare tell him what I spent on it, but I can see in his eyes that he already knows. I will say that after these recent purchases, I am effectively personally penniless, so it’s a good thing that I’m marrying a billionaire.
He stares at me for several moments and snaps out of his stupor when the Reverend tells him to kiss me. He takes my face in his hands and kisses me deeply, quickly moving his arms around my body and pulling me close to him. Holy cow! I feel it in my feet! I can only reach up and hold his face as our souls connect in this kiss, binding us together—finally—as man and wife.
A/N: If you don’t go to the wedding folder to see the pictures on Pinterest, you’re going to kick yourself. Anyone who posts on Pinterest knows that the most recent pictures appear at the top. I have taken great pains to make sure that the pictures flow in the order of the story, which means I had to gather them together and post them backwards. So if you don’t want spoilers for what’s coming next, stop scrolling when you see something that you recognize in the chapter that you’re reading. But you all know that the pictures help tell the story, so here they are… http://www.pinterest.com/ladeeceo/mending-dr-steele-the-wedding-weve-all-been-waitin/
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On to part II…
Love and Handcuffs!