Winnie looked at me for confirmation, and I nodded my head with wide eyes. “Uh-huh.”
Tilting her head to the side, she murmured, “She doesn’t look so sure to me.”
“I cannot believe I’m going to do it this way, but you’ve left me no choice,” Wilder grumbled as he pushed his stool away from the counter. Getting to his feet, he turned to me with an apologetic smile. “Sorry, baby.”
“Sorry for what?” My question turned into a squeak when he scooped me off my stool to carry me out of the room.
“Oh, I think he’s going to do something romantic again,” his mom cried.
“No following them, Winnie. Leave the boy alone,” Archie chided. “You can offer them your congratulations when he’s done.”
“Congratulations?” I echoed, my brows drawing together as I gawked at them while Wilder stomped out of the kitchen. It wasn’t until he kicked the door shut behind us, set me on the edge of our bed, yanked open the top drawer of the table on his side, and pulled out a small jewelry box that my brain finally caught on to what was happening. My fingers trembled as I pressed them against my lips. “Oh, my goodness.”
Wilder dropped to a knee in front of me. “I was going to do this while we were in Tahiti. Had a whole thing set up with flowers and everything.”
“Really?” I asked, happy tears welling in my eyes.
He flicked the lid of the jewelry box open with a nod. “I thought it would be perfect since you said you’ve always wanted to go there when I asked you to join me.”
I stared down at the rings nestled in velvet in awe. The two-carat diamond flanked by sapphires was gorgeous, but it was the wedding band that held my attention. The eternity ring had been designed with diamonds and sapphires in an ombre pattern. “They’re gorgeous.”
“I wish I could say that I searched high and low for the right ring, but this set was the first one the jeweler showed me.” He tugged the engagement ring from the box. “With how much you love the ocean, it seemed perfect for you.”
“You could have searched for a decade, and you wouldn’t have found anything I liked better,” I assured him as he slid the band onto my finger. “And I don’t need the perfect moment. I just need you.”
“Is that a yes?”
I beamed a playful smile at him. “I don’t remember you actually asking a question.”
He brushed his thumb over my skin, just above where his ring circled it. “Chloe Bannister, will you spend the rest of your life with me? Be my wife and the mother of my children?”
“Yes.” I threw myself into his arms. “One hundred thousand percent yes.”
He captured my mouth in a deep kiss that quickly turned hot and heavy. I let out a little whimper when he tore his lips away from mine. “Sorry, baby. Our celebration will have to wait until my parents leave. I wouldn’t put it past my mom to be listening at the door.”
“You shouldn’t,” his dad called out, confirming that they’d come close enough to be able to hear us. My cheeks heated, but I didn’t really mind. Nothing could dim my happiness when I had everything I’d ever dreamed of and more.
Winning the WCT had always been my dream, but when they handed me the trophy, I knew it wouldn’t have meant half as much if I hadn’t had Chloe there to cheer me on.
She was grinning at me from right in front of the stage, and I was impatient to celebrate with her, so I walked to the edge, set the trophy down, and reached for her. She grabbed my arms, and I lifted her onto the podium, then wrapped my arms around her and kissed her.
There were hoots and hollers from the audience, and the kiss would be all over social media within an hour, but I didn’t give a fuck. Eventually, I ended it and kept an arm around her as I bent over to retrieve my trophy.
The MC was grinning as he stepped over to us. “Since this is the same girl who you kissed at the US Open, I assume you’re together?” he asked before sticking his microphone in my face.
“More than that,” I answered happily. “We’re engaged.”
The crowd went wild, and a pretty blush stained Chloe’s cheeks. Knowing how far down her body that color spread when she was in the throes of ecstasy made me hard as a rock.
“So she was here to support you?” the MC asked.
“Best cheerleader in the world. Now, we’re off to celebrate.” I kept my desire from bleeding into my tone, but it wasn’t easy. Still, the guy smirked, but I ignored him and guided Chloe off the stage.
We had to wade through a sea of congratulatory handshakes and back slaps, but I was on a fucking mission. Literally. I made all the acceptable responses but rushed through the crowd, and when we finally broke free, we dashed to our rental car.