Waking up to the rainy, foggy view of London is nice. Waking up next to the man I love is even better. He’s sound asleep, stretched out next to me with his head turned toward me, breathing softly. His eyelids flutter against his whiskey colored eyes. I’m content. The room is cool, and the sheets are soft. I’d be happy to lay here all day. But we have plans. Some sightseeing this morning, lunch with friends this afternoon, and a rehearsal dinner tonight. A full day of things to do. And I suddenly have no motivation to do any of it. We’ll be here for three more days. The wedding is tomorrow. And the last two days of our trip will hopefully be spent alone, just the two of us, getting some quality time in before we get back to the real world.
“Mornin’, Beautiful,” comes a husky voice from beside me, as Ace reaches over to draw me closer and kisses my neck gently.
“Good morning,” I greet, snuggling into his chest, placing a small kiss to his collarbone.
“Ready to start the day?”
“Mmm. Not yet,” I hum, stretching my tired muscles out. He chuckles.
“We gotta. Come on, we’ll grab some coffee and head out to check out what this place has to offer, eh?”
“If we must.”
“We must,” he replies, sliding up into a sitting position before standing up, his naked ass becoming uncovered on the way, giving me a hell of a view to start the day off with.
London is nice. And Rosa seems to fit right in. From her riding boots and trench coat, to her loose sweater and skinny jeans. She looks like any other London girl you might pass on the street. And she seems so at ease. Maybe it comes from the fact that she’s somewhere where no one knows her, so she can be herself without her past clouding her present. Or maybe it’s that the bustle of the busy European city drowns out her thoughts. Either way, she’s never been more beautiful. She’s glowing with happiness and excitement.
The diamond ring in my pocket suddenly weighs a thousand pounds. And I know. Now is the time. We’re across from a large, ornate church; and the walkway is crowded, but I know that this is the place. I tug on her hand, pulling her to a stop. She turns to me with a soft smile and questioning eyes. I kneel, one knee dropping to the cobblestones below, and slide my hand into my jacket pocket, pulling out the small velvet box. I open it and turn it to face her. Her eyes grow wide, and a hand flies up to her mouth.
“Rosa, I love you. I love you so damn much it hurts. And I know I never want to love anybody the way I love you. I know I never could. And we’ve been doing this thing for a long time. And well, I want you to have my last name. I want you to be my wife. Will you do that? Will you be mine forever? Will you let me love you until my last breath?” I profess, nerves knotting my stomach.
She nods shakily. “Yes,” she breathes out, quietly but certainly.
I’ve never smiled wider. I take her hand and slide the ring onto her finger before standing up to sweep her into my arms and kiss her. Around us, people clap and cheer. I feel Rosa’s smile against my lips, and I return it. This moment is perfect. I know I’ll never forget it. I want to freeze time to take it all in. To memorize every detail. But mostly, I just want to kiss my Rosa a little longer.
I look down at my finger. Ace did an amazing job picking out this ring. It’s rose gold with a champagne princess cut diamond surrounded by smaller white diamonds. And it’s perfect. But holy shit, I can’t believe I’m engaged! I never thought I would be engaged!
“Earth to Rose,” our friend, Bridget calls, snapping me out of my daze. We’re at lunch with Bridget and her fiancé, Ryan. They’re the couple getting married tomorrow, and Ace and I have known them for years.
“Sorry,” I apologize, blushing slightly. Bridget laughs.
“It’s ok, Honey. So, tell me, how’s that column of yours doing?” And the conversation flows from there. Ace sneaks me secretive smiles and winks every now and then, and I return them, my smile growing wider each time.
“Hey, Babe, don’t forget to pack a tampon in case you need it tonight,” Ace calls as we get dressed for the rehearsal. And that’s when it hits me. Like a ton of bricks. I’m late.
My OB is the best. And thanks to her, I haven’t had a pregnancy scare in three years. She’s got my birth control down to the letter, and I take it religiously. I’m never late. Until now. And now I’m nearly four days late. Shit. I shouldn’t get worried. It’s too early to stress over it. I’m sure I’ll get my period soon. Right? I groan as I bury my head in my hands.
“Ok, yeah, I will,” I reply, hoping desperately that I will, in fact, need a tampon.
Something is off with Rosa. I can tell. She’s trying to play it off, but I know when something is bothering her. And something is definitely bothering her. She mingles with the other bridesmaids, but I can tell she’s in default mode. She’s not really here. I’ll be sure to keep a better eye on her.
Rosa’s head slumps over onto my shoulder on the elevator ride up to our suite. She’s exhausted. I kiss the crown of her head and smile. This woman is going to be my wife.
“Thank you,” I say, breaking the silence. She looks up at me questioningly.
“For saying yes,” I reply, bringing her hand to my lips and kissing her ring finger.
“Thank you for asking,” she says, kissing my cheek.
“Bridget, this infernal dress is killing me!” I grumble as I once again pull up my burgundy colored, strapless, lace bridesmaid gown. Bridget simply laughs.
“Sorry, Love. You look gorgeous, though.” I snort and plop down in a nearby chair so one of the makeup artists can try and do something with my face and hair. Bridget frowns. It’s only her and me in the room. Her maid of honor, Clara, Ryan’s sister, is downstairs supervising everything. And Bridget’s niece, who is a junior bridesmaid, is in the adjoining room playing on her phone. Bridget looks at me closely.
“What’s up, Rose?” she questions, always able to read me like a book. I sigh.
“I’m late,” I confess.
“Oh shit, you’re never late,” Bridget exclaims quietly.
“I know,” I groan, laying my head back.
“Here,” she says, digging around in her purse. She pulls out a long, foil package and passes it to me. “I always keep one on hand. Ry and I quit contraception a few months ago.”
I stare at the pregnancy test like it’s diseased. “No, I can’t,” I reply, shaking my head.
“You have to,” she insists, thrusting the test into my hands. Nervously, I take it, holding it as if I’ve never seen one.
“Go on,” she urges, nodding to the bathroom. Standing reluctantly, I make my way to the en-suite.
I’ve got my tux on, and my tie is secure. I’ve got Ryan to take a shot of Jaeger to calm his nerves, and now we’re ready to go.
I meet Rosa at the opening of the aisle and hold my arm out for her to take. She gives me a small smile, and I notice her handshake slightly as she places it on the inside of my forearm. I raise my brows at her, but she shakes her head and pats my arm, signaling me to walk. I’m worried about her. But she looks stunning. The dress fits her perfectly, cupping her breasts and flowing over her body. Her ombre hair is pulled back in a braided bun, curls spilling out slightly. Her makeup us light and natural. And the orange, red, maroon, and yellow of the flowers in her bouquet offset her eyes. She’s a vision. And I hope she knows it. My ring sparkles on her finger. I smile. Could she be more perfect? As we reach the end of the aisle, I kiss her softly and send her on her way.
The ceremony and bridal party pictures are over, and now it’s time to party. I pull Rosa over to the bar and get in line.
“Your usual, Baby?” I asked, slinging my arm around her waist.
“Uhh…nah, a ginger ale, maybe?” I furrow my brows.
“Are you feeling alright?”
“Sure. Just not in the mood to drink. I’m going to go check on Bridget,” she says, trying to duck away, but I shake my head.
“No, you’re gonna come with me.” I take her head and pull her gently but firmly to the wings of the ballroom.
“What’s going on?” I demand, trapping her between me and the wall.
“Uh huh. Spill it. Now.” She frantically shakes her head.
“I can’t you’ll be mad,” she answers in a panicked voice.
“I’m not going to be mad, Rosa. Tell me.” I assure, hoping I can keep that promise.
“I-I’m pregnant,” she confesses, immediately dissolving into tears. The breath leaves my chest.