Our wedding is a week later. I don’t know how she did it, but my mom managed to pull it all together in that short amount of time. We have it at Sam’s house in his big backyard, the fall leaves the color of fire, falling down around Deacon and me as we stand with the preacher beneath an archway of orange roses. It’s a fall country theme, with bouquets of dried flowers and sugar maple leaves. Guests sit on hay bales. I wear a knee-length white dress with a long veil and cowgirl boots. Mason jars with candles hang from tree branches and there are icicle lights everywhere. It’s quaint and beautiful and absolutely perfect. The entire neighborhood showed up. There’s a tent in back and a dance floor with a live acoustic band. As the sun goes down, it starts to get chilly, so propane heaters are brought out and the fire pit is stacked and lit.
The service itself was wonderful. Deacon and I held Bailey in our arms during it. I vowed not only to be a devoted wife, but a mother to Bailey as well.
It’s still hard to believe I’m Deacon’s wife. Just a couple months ago I was thinking about what I was going to do with my life now that high school was over. There were no real plans, but I’d been tossing the idea of traveling to Europe around in my head because that’s what my mom had wanted me to do at the time. I never really wanted that, but I wanted to make her happy. Maybe we will still have the chance to do that. It’s where Deacon wants to take me for our honeymoon. Somehow I think my mom got in his ear because he once told me he was afraid of flying.
I’m married. I’m a married woman. That’s crazy. Especially because the man I’m with is the man of my dreams, and I’m having his baby. Life would be perfect right now if I didn’t have Karen haunting my thoughts. I still can’t get that smug look of hers out of my head. The threats she made to Deacon about taking Bailey. How does she live with herself? How does a woman get married and have a child and then just abandon her family, only to return months later and threaten them?
I have a feeling it’s because of me. I think if she hadn’t seen me in my robe—clearly nothing underneath—and Deacon in his sweatpants and no shirt, things would’ve happened much differently. I may be young, but I know jealousy when I see it. She must’ve thought Deacon had sat around pining for her while she went off to party.
“Hey.” My thoughts are interrupted when Deacon comes up to me. He’d been on the dance floor swing dancing with my mom while I sat down to rest my feet. My ankles are swollen. I’m showing more and more signs of being pregnant now even though my belly still hasn’t grown enough to where it’s noticeable. It’s only obvious when I’m naked.
My thoughts had gotten away with me. I’m angry that I was thinking about Karen on a night that should be just about me and Deacon. “Everything okay?” he asks.
I stand up and hug him. “Everything is perfect.”
A slow song comes on. Guests flock to the floor with their partners. I put my head on Deacon’s shoulder and we start to dance.
“Something’s on your mind,” he says.
“Just nervous about the court date.”
We’d gotten a court summons earlier this week. I thought Karen had been bluffing, but it seems she was angrier than I thought.
“Me too,” Deacon says, “but this is our special night, and I’m not going to let that bitch ruin it for us.”
I smile up at him. “Me neither.”
We spend the rest of the night dancing with our friends and family. It’s a blast. I never want it to be over. By the time everyone starts to leave, my feet are aching. It’s time to go home.
My mom takes Bailey for the night. Those two have gotten close and Bailey even calls her “gamma.” It’s so sweet.
Deacon and I go home. His friends had tied cans to the back of his truck and so we rattle down the busy road, people honking as we pass. When we finally get home, he helps me out of my dress and boots and takes off his tux, then we collapse in bed.
He’s had a bit to drink, but not to the point of being drunk. Just a nice, mellow buzz. He gets horny when he drinks. Actually, he gets horny whenever we’re alone together, and that’s fine by me.
He rolls over on his side to face me, tracing circles around my belly button with his fingertip. “What do you want to do?” he asks playfully.
I shrug. “I don’t know.” I glance down at the giant bulge in his boxers. “Go to sleep?”
The crestfallen look on his face has me laughing out loud. “You’re a cruel woman,” he says.
I roll over on my side to face him. God, he’s beautiful. That sculpted jaw, big green eyes. I’ve never met a more handsome man. And now he’s all mine. My husband. He wants to spend the rest of his life with only me. It’s still hard for me to wrap my mind around that. How did I get so lucky?