They have one job: get my man to the end of the dock before the sun sets on the lake. Well, I should say that Greg has one job since, as I look down at the backyard, I meet the very emotional eyes of Axel Reid, and I smile as my daddy visibly struggles to get a hold of his emotions.
“You look like a little princess,” his awestruck voice whispers hoarsely. “I can’t believe this day has come. My baby is getting married.”
“Do you need a tissue, Daddy?” I joke.
“Very funny.” He reaches over and carefully pulls me against his body.
I dust a piece of lint off of his tux-covered chest.
“No matter where you are in the world, you will always be my little princess, Dani. Married or not, you were my girl first. I love you, baby. I know I don’t say it often, because we wouldn’t want him to get a big head, but I’m thrilled with the man who won your heart.”
I struggle with the lump in my throat and, in the end, settle for a nod of my head.
“I knew you would grow into a beautiful woman, and I’m damn proud of who you’ve become. I know, with Cohen by your side and Owen in your arms, that beauty is just going to blossom even further.” He leans down and kisses my head before walking away.
I let him go, knowing that he needs the same moment with his thoughts that I do.
I keep my eyes on the family as they move around the tables set up on the back lawn and smile when I see the lights strung out along the railing on the deck. They light the way that will bring Cohen to me in just one short hour.
Fucking pointless afternoon. My dad and Maddox kept me up to my elbows in old case files. Anything from the last ten years that had gone cold was suddenly something I needed to help them with right that second.
I finally had enough when I realized it was getting closer to dinnertime and the only thing I had on my mind was getting to my girl and getting her back home.
“I’m done. We can pick this up another day? Right now, I’m going to Axel’s house and I’m taking my girl home for our first night alone.”
“Alone?” Dad questions.
“Her parents offered to keep Owen tonight so we can have some alone time.”
He gives me a knowing look. “Ah. It’s all-clear time.” He throws his head back and gives a booming laugh. “I completely understand, son.”
“I hear you,” Maddox adds in. “One of the best nights with Emmy was when the doctor finally cleared her after having our girls. I swear she turned into an animal.”
My dad goes to open his mouth, but I stop him with my hand. “Don’t even think about adding to that. I don’t want to know about it and I damn sure don’t want to think about it.”
They laugh, and I narrow my eyes.
When I stand from the conference room table, Dad reaches his hand out and grabs my arm. “Go into the back bathroom There’s something in there for you.”
“What the hell?” I ask his back, and he and Maddox walk out of the room. “Crazy old man.”
I walk toward the back bathroom, and when I walk in to see a perfectly pressed tux, I feel my eyes narrow in confusion. Seeing the note that’s attached to the hanger, I snatch it off and read the words that bring a rush of overwhelming love through my body.
I turn the paper over and feel the lump in my throat grow when I look at the picture Dani wrote her message on. The picture she’d had blown up and placed over her bed when I was overseas.
The one of her in my arms at the end of her parents’ dock when we were just children.
It takes me no time to shed my clothes and don the tux. The promise of marrying my girl is all I need to get to the Reids’ house as quickly as possible.
Today, I’m marrying my girl.
I’M NOT SURE WHAT I expected to happen when I got to Axel and Izzy’s house. I was prepared for anything. I think one part of me expected Axel to jump my ass the second I stepped foot on his property.
However, what I am met with almost brings me to my knees. My mom opens their door with tears streaming down her smiling face, and without a word, she hands me my son. I watch her walk away, her light-blue dress flowing behind her, before I look down at my wiggling boy.
Owen is dressed similarly to me, a little tux looking as out of place on my little baby’s body as I feel like it does on mine.
“Hey, little man,” I say softly and notice the piece of paper sticking out of his mini jacket. “What do you have for Daddy, baby boy?”
He looks me in the eye, his mouth puckering up with the cutest little pout. He’s content to be held in his father’s arms. He’s filled out so much in the last two months that he’s started to get the most adorable chubby cheeks.