God, my son is perfect.
Carefully, I adjust Owen in my arms and unfold the paper I pulled from his little jacket.
I smile when I read the words and feel my heart beat wildly in my chest. With my son in my arms and a smile on my face, I take off in the direction my mom went—through their large living room, then through their kitchen, and out on the back deck. I still don’t see anyone, so I keep walking until Owen and I are standing against the railing, looking down at every family member and friend we love.
My dad is standing with my mom, my sisters and brothers at his side, all of them beaming. Axel is next to him with Izzy between his arms and Nate at his side. Again, not one of them is missing a huge grin. I follow the lines of Maddox’s family, Beck’s, Cooper’s, and Sway’s. I see Megan and Molly and Chance before my eyes follow the white flower trail that leads me to the end of the dock.
Where I see a vision in white that has my eyes stinging. There, waiting with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes, is my Dani-girl.
“Let’s go get the girl, son.” I whisper to Owen.
I walk down the stairs that bring me to the backyard and walk through the lines of our loved ones until I reach our parents. I look to my left and smile at my parents and siblings, handing Owen to Lyn when her arms come up.
“I love you, son.” My dad says gruffly.
“We’re so happy for you and Dani,” Mom says. “I love you, handsome boy.”
I give them each a kiss before facing Dani’s parents.
Her mom wraps her arms around me, giving my cheek a quick kiss. Her eyes are wet and shining with happiness. I give Nate a slap on the back and laugh when he puckers up. Then I look at Axel.
I am prepared for battle, but when I see his eyes—bright with happiness and not anger—I am momentarily struck dumb.
“You didn’t think I would be able to do it, did you?” he asks me.
“Not for a second,” I laugh.
“If you make her cry one tear that isn’t out of happiness, I’ll cut your balls off,” he warns.
“I’m proud of you, Cohen. Of the man you’ve grown to be and for the love you have for my girl. I mean it when I say that I couldn’t have picked a better man for her myself.”
“Thank you for that,” I tell him honestly. No matter what I said in the past, having his blessing was something I desired when it came to Dani becoming my wife. “She’s my life,” I remind him.
“I know the feeling,” he says and looks down the dock. “Go on and stop keeping my daughter waiting.”
I nod, taking a few measured breaths before I turn and let my eyes take her in.
She’s wearing a simple, long, and flowing, white dress. It fits tight to her body while still rippling in the slight breeze around us. Her shoulders are bare, and with her hair swept away from her face, she looks so angelic with the sun setting behind her and casting a soft glow around her body.
I take the last remaining steps that take me to where she is standing with the man I assume is the minister.
“Surprised?” she asks.
“Are you ready to be my husband?”
I smile. “I was born ready, my Dani-girl.”
And with the sun setting around us, our family surrounding us, I marry my unexpected fate.
By the time we were able to get away from the family and I was able to pull Dani away from Owen without having her melt down, the sun had long since set and my girl had become my wife. We danced and ate. Laughed and smiled. It was a magical night full of love. We danced our first dance together as man and wife to Brett Young’s “Kiss by Kiss,” and I held her in my arms while she softly cried. When my lips dropped to hers and I heard the all-familiar growl at my side, she threw her head back and her laughter rained down on me.
It was equal parts joyful and torture because all I could think about was getting her home. Since the second my lips touched hers after the minister pronounced us man and wife, I’ve been rock hard to take my wife and make her mine in every way that counts.
“Slow down, husband,” she snickers when I pull her from the truck and up to our porch. Her squeal when I pull her up into my arms is like music to my ears.
“Are you ready for me to carry you over the threshold, wife?”
She smiles her radiant smile and nods her head.
I don’t waste a second. The key hits the lock, and in a flash, I have her rushed through, slamming the door behind us. She reaches out and keys in the code to our alarm, and the second I hear her reactivate it, I bound up the stairs. Her pearls of laughter trail behind us and don’t stop until I prowl into our bedroom and toss her in the air and onto the middle of our mattress.