“Mhmm,” I murmur, pulling at the edges of her shirt.
“Is that plane going to wait?” she asks softly. But she arches her back, pushing against my hand as I cup her breasts under her shirt. Her nipple hardens, and she lets out a moan. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of hearing that moan.
“We have a few minutes,” I say, as I lift her shirt over her head to expose her still-perfect breasts. Unbuttoning her pants and sliding her jeans down, I take a second to look at her.
“What?” she asks, swatting me. “You’re staring again.”
“I was just taking you in,” I tell her. “You’re breathtaking.”
“Okay, seriously,” she says. “Private plane, trip to somewhere exotic, and now you’re calling me breathtaking? Are you about to drop some really bad news on me?”
I slide my hand down her stomach and between her legs, and listen to her sharp inhale of breath. “Shut up and take your compliment,” I say softly as I run my finger in circles over her clit. “Hasn’t anyone taught you to be gracious, Princess?”
She laughs, but her head lolls back and her eyes half-close. “You wouldn’t like me if I were.”
We’re in Bali.
Just when I think things can’t get any better, Caulter goes and does something like this. A surprise trip to Bali.
It’s crazy and wonderful. But so is my life now. I have a life that’s better than I could have ever dreamed. It turns out that the gallery exhibit three years ago was just the beginning. My sketches and paintings have been selling well. I’m not exactly making millions of dollars, but I’m making enough money to do art full-time now that I’ve graduated from college, and that makes me indescribably happy.
My father wasn’t thrilled about the whole art thing, but he’s come around. We’re cordial, and that’s good enough. He’s decided not to run for President, after all. He’s even been talking about retiring from politics altogether.
I guess sometimes people do change.
Caulter and I are both living proof of that. Caulter isn’t the person he was when we fell in love -- and hate -- that summer in New Hampshire. He’s grown up, into someone I’m proud to stand beside, and occasionally, still kick in the shin every so often. I’m not the same girl I was back then, either. I’d say that loving Caulter has made me less uptight, but it’s more than that. Caulter has taught me that it’s okay to take risks in love and in life. I love him fully and completely, without reservation. And that has changed everything.
“Come on, look outside.” Caulter grabs my hand and pulls me through the villa. The entire length of the wall is open onto a lush yard and palm trees, with a view of the ocean in the distance. The sun and the colors are so bright they’re practically blinding. We stand there for a minute, Caulter behind me, just taking everything in.
“Oh my God, Caulter,” I bring my hand to my mouth, and just shake my head. “It’s...it’s just breathtakingly beautiful. I can’t believe you brought me here.”
When I whirl around to kiss him, he’s down on one knee. My eyes go back and forth between his face and the ring he's holding. “Holy shit, yes. Of course. Yes.”
Caulter grins. “Geez, woman, you don’t even let me get the question out before you answer.”
I hold my hand over my chest, too giddy to want to wait to hear the question. “Okay, okay,” I say, bouncing up and down like a little kid on Christmas morning. “Ask it.”
Caulter sighs with mock exasperation. “Are you going to stop interrupting me?”
“Yes, yes! Just ask, already!” I can’t stop laughing. “Do you have a big speech prepared?”
“Hush, woman, before I put my hand over your mouth,” he says. He’s grinning from ear to ear. “Katherine Harrison, you are the most difficult, stubborn woman I have ever met. You’re also the kindest, most loving, creative, and sexy-as-hell woman I know. If you’ll have me, I want to be your happily ever after.”
“That is the cheesiest thing you’ve ever said to me,” I say, as he slips the ring on my finger. I look at it, amazed, as he steps up to face me. I can feel tears streaming down my face, and Caulter wipes his finger gently down my cheek. “I don’t know why I’m crying. I’m so happy, Caulter.”
He pulls me against him, and brings his mouth down on mine. When we kiss, it’s like everything in the world falls into place. I know where I belong, and it’s with him. “I hope you are,” he says. “Because you’re pretty much stuck with me.”