This was never going to work. The wedding was just six months away and we hadn’t accomplished anything yet.
Okay, I know that isn’t exactly true, but it still felt that way. And at the moment, feeling trumped logic.
Sure, we set up our website. We registered for gifts. We sent out the invites. (Which were beautiful, by the way). But still. Our checklist is a mile long. And did I mention we decided to make and do everything ourselves?
Yep. No wedding planner for the soon-to-be Mr. and Mrs. Valdez. They were all too expensive and we’re trying to save up to buy a house. Plus we thought this would be a great way to express ourselves creatively. A bonding experience of sorts. We would make our own decorations. Arrange our own center pieces. Design those cool photo booth props for our guests to use during the reception…
All of it.
I still think we made the right decision and I know in the long run it’ll work out in our favor.
Sometimes there are moments when I doubt just a little. Moments where every surface of our two bedroom apartment seems to be covered in strands of white lace and cutouts of card stock in every shade of blue. And I do mean every shade. Sometimes, at just the right angle, and in just the right lighting, it looks like the sky had fallen.
Moments like this. Moments where I’m up to my elbows in periwinkle ribbon, tulle, and spools of thread at what used to be our dining room table. It hasn’t been a dining room table in a while now. Now it looked like a sewing machine threw up all over it.
“Ow! Motherfu-!” I shake my hand and quickly suck at the blood beginning to well on the pad of my finger.
“Babe, are you alright?” I can feel Gaven’s concerned gaze as he peers at me from across the table, already halfway out of his chair.
“Yeah,” I mutter from around my finger, my own eyes glaring at the offending needle. I take a deep breath to steady myself. My emotions have been all over the place lately. With all the wedding stress, it doesn’t take much for me to go from zero to sixty. And by zero I mean crying over every little thing. And by sixty I mean getting pissed over every little thing.
But no. I refuse to allow this damn needle to be one of those things. Little prick.
Gaven kneels beside me and gently takes my hand to examine my finger. “That’s my sexy vampire,” he smirks. “Hardly any blood left.”
I smile weakly at him. “Don’t joke. I’ll blow a gasket if I get blood on this material.”
He squeezes my hand a little, before lacing his fingers with mine. “How ‘bout we take a break?” He peers up at me through his dark lashes – a mix of hope and mischief dancing in his eyes. “It’s almost dinnertime anyway.”
“I don’t know. There’s still so much to do…” I slouch back in my chair and tear my gaze from his to look at the sea of fabric on our table. And just like that, our long to-do list looms before me.
Gaven reaches up to slowly rub his thumb along my lower lip, freeing it from the clutches of my teeth. I hadn’t realized I was biting it. “Alex,” he intones softly. His thumb slides from my lips to caress my cheek and chin, slowly turning my head away from our disaster of a dining table and toward him instead. I feel the tension leave my body as I relax into his palm and close my eyes.
This is what I need sometimes. What we both need. To remind each other to be in the moment. To live in the here and now when things get stressful and overwhelming.
“Let’s go out and call it a night. You shouldn’t be this stressed on your birthday, anyway. Besides, I’ve got a surprise for you.”
My eyes fly open to find him grinning at me. God, my man is sexy. And not just because he’s talking surprises. Although, I am admittedly a huge fan of surprises. But no. It’s not that. It’s the way his hazel eyes light up when he smiles and flash when he’s up to no good. The way his wavy dark hair curls around the tips of his ears and at the base of his neck. The way his golden brown skin warms mine, rain or shine. But it’s not just that either. It’s the way he makes me laugh. The way he challenges me. The way his soul calls out to mine. It’s everything.
I lean into him, running my hands up his arms and around his neck, feeling his muscles as I go. “Babe,” I bring my mouth up to meet his in a quick kiss and smile against his lips. “You already surprised me this morning.” And a lovely surprise it was. I got breakfast in bed, and then some.
“Well, I’ve got another one for you.” Gaven’s eyes dance as his grin broadens even further. “For both of us really.” I raise my eyebrow, intrigued, inviting him to continue. He brushes his lips lightly against mine before reaching up to grab my hands from around his neck. He gives them a little squeeze before standing up, gently tugging me along with him. “I’ve got dinner reservations. At Pierre’s.”
“Are you serious?” My eyes almost fall out of their sockets. “How did- but you-“ I’ve apparently lost all ability to speak. I shake my head and try to get a hold of myself. Pierre’s is the fanciest restaurant in town. I’m talking suit and tie, little black dress, high heels, live music, the works. They opened a year ago and we’ve never been able to get a table. I thought things like that only happened (or didn’t happen?) in movies. Boy was I wrong. “But they’re sold out. They’re always sold out. Like, you’d have to reserve a table waaaay in advance.”
“And I did,” he smiles proudly. “Six months ago.”
I guffaw at him. Actually, guffaw. “Wow, Gaven.” I shake my head, stunned. “Thank you. You really didn’t have to-“
“But that’s not my only surprise,” he cuts in.
“It isn’t?” I tilt my head to the side.
He just smiles and shakes his head, walking backwards into our bedroom, fingers once again laced with mine. As we pass through the doorway, he turns so that I’m the one walking backward. He guides me until the backs of my knees hit the bed and I sink slowly onto the mattress. He winks at me and walks to our closet. I stretch out languidly on the bed, my eyes raking his back, wedding plans already forgotten. I watch as his muscles go taut as he reaches up to grab something on the top shelf. My nerves are on fire and it’s as if he can feel the heat from across the room.
Gaven turns with a smirk and arches an eyebrow. “Don’t get too excited. We’re still going out to eat.” He returns to the bed with two matching black paper bags. “This one’s for you,” he hands me one. “And this one’s for me,” he holds up his matching bag. “Why don’t you go ahead and open yours first.”
Removing the tissue paper, I reach in and pull out a pair of incredibly sexy black lace panties. “Mmmm, thanks, babe,” I purr, my eyes flashing back to his. I grin and nod at the black bag still in his hand. “Are you sure you need your own present? I think this one’s a treat for both of us.” I lay it nicely in my lap. I already can’t wait to put it on.
“Well, then I guess this next one’s a treat for both of us, too.” Gaven reaches into his bag and pulls out what looks like a tiny key fob.
My brow crinkles in confusion. “Did you…buy me a car?”
He lets out a rich laugh and I can’t help but join in. “No,” he says. “Not a car.” He presses one of the buttons and I jolt in surprise as the black lace vibrates in my lap. My mouth falls open and I look back up at Gaven, my eyes alight with excitement. “I’d like you to wear that tonight,” he says, his heated gaze holding mine. “At dinner.”
I can feel my face split into a grin of its own accord. Challenge accepted.
To Be Continued…