I’m doing it, Dyl. I’m loving again, just like you wanted. Thank you for bringing Jude back to me.
I sent up a silent prayer of gratitude to the man who was still watching over me, healing me from the inside out.
I rubbed my nose against Jude’s in an Eskimo kiss, our breath mingling, hands coaxing and caressing. “I love you, Jude.” My words came out in a sigh. “Please don’t break me.” I kissed him again.
“Never again, Haven. I will love and cherish you always, just like you deserve.”
Yes, I was damaged. I had eaten from the forbidden fruit and I was suffering the consequences. The scars I bared on my soul were a reminder. They were a reminder of both a tortured and treasured experience.
I took a moment to think of my family, my friends. Their own lives and love had been that of sorrow and sometimes chaos. I’d often wondered why they hadn’t given up, why they’d fought so hard? I finally understood. Love was worth the heartache and the pain.
When the broken parts of my tattered heart eased, I knew I’d look at those scars and smile. Knowing that even after we least expected it, there was a happily ever after, even if it stemmed from a forbidden love.
“I’m sweating!” I whined, dabbing my armpits with a tissue.
“Oh, stop being a baby,” Scarlett retorted, handing me a bottle of anti-perspirant. “Everyone sweats on their wedding day. Get over it. Jude doesn’t care what you smell like anyway.”
“Nope. He just wants to find the closet cloakroom and bang your brains out.” Teeny laughed, handing me my bouquet of roses and baby’s breath.
“Here,” Scarlett called out before diving under my cream lace-layered dress.
“What are you—oh, my God!” I screamed, startled by the cold spray. “What the hell, Scar?” I asked as she inched out from between my legs, holding up a spray bottle of Febreze.
“Just making sure it smells good under there. You don’t want to be hiking up your dress and smelling like a tuna sandwich do you?” She was so matter-of-fact in her argument; I was lost for words. Teeny stood off to the side, doubled over in laughter.
“You two are horrible bridesmaids, you know that?” I shot at them, trying not to crack up laughing.
“Yep,” they both sung in unison.
“Let’s go. I want to marry my fiancé and I’m afraid to be in a room with you two any longer.” I started for the door and took a long deep breath, touching Dylan’s charm on my bracelet with my fingertips.