This is an unprecedented moment. I’m awake before Jack Henry, studying his sleeping figure—it’s a fine one—but that’s not what makes this morning a new experience. I’m waking next to him as my husband.
Wow. I did it. I married a man who propositioned me a year ago, asking me to be his companion for three months. His idea of our pairing deciphered into something much different back then—an offer of noncommittal sex in exchange for the time of my life. Translation? I agreed to be his whore. There, I admit it, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made regardless of what kind of label we place upon it. Now he’s my husband—forever mine—and I couldn’t be happier.
No number fourteen for him. Ever.
We began as strangers—as most couples do—but our beginning was so much more complicated. That simple word makes me giggle each time I hear or say it now. There’s never a time I don’t recall the freakish control my husband displayed when he told me he was a man who didn’t do complicated. Damn, was he ever wrong. I turned his world on its head. To know I hold that power over him makes me feel invincible. And adored.
Some would consider our inception into this whirlwind a perverted one. Even I did in the beginning, but then we became so much more than either of us intended. Now we’re Mr. and Mrs. Jack Henry McLachlan and this is the beginning of the rest of our lives. We’re setting out into the world to write our own story—in stone, never sand.
I look at my husband’s face and see his eyes flutter beneath his lids, a clear indication he’s dreaming, and I wonder what a man like him sees when he’s in the deepest of sleep. Whatever it is, I don’t want to disrupt it so I slide to the edge of the bed in slow motion and place my feet on the floor of the plane’s bedroom suite. I look over my shoulder to make sure I haven’t disturbed his slumber—and he’s unmoving—so I ease from the bed with the agility of a thief in the night.
When I’m finished in the bathroom, I return to bed and repeat the same motion in reverse. I’m so pleased with myself because I’ve managed to slip into bed next to Jack Henry without waking him. But then I realize I’m basking in my accomplishment prematurely. He suddenly rises, pinning me beneath him, a huge grin wide across his face.
“Mornin’.” He lowers his mouth to mine and kisses me as his grin grows larger, a sweet kiss just on the surface of my lips. “My wife.” He places his forehead against mine. “You know … I think I like the sound of that.”
“You better love the sound of it.”
“Hmm. Maybe it’ll grow on me with a little time.”
I push against Jack Henry’s chest and we roll so I’m on top. “And maybe you’ll grow on me.” I lower my mouth to his as close as possible without our lips touching. “If I try really, really hard.”
I move my knees on each side of his hips and slowly grind against him. His hands creep up my thighs until they’re on my waist. “I think something may already be growing on you. Really, really hard.”
“You and that mouth of yours, Mr. McLachlan.”
“You love this mouth of mine, Mrs. McLachlan, along with everything it does to you.” He’s told me that before.
He slides his hands up the sides of my bare body and then quickly turns us so I’m on my back again. His mouth begins a journey at my neck and leaves a trail of wet kisses on its way down until reaching my belly button. “And this tongue of mine. Don’t forget how much you love what it does to you as well.”
He dips it inside my navel and I lace my fingers through his hair before dragging my nails across his scalp. “I could never forget about your highly talented tongue. Or how good it made me feel last night.”
He looks up at me and beams. “Our wedding night was everything you hoped it would be?”
I can’t believe he thinks he has to ask. “It was perfect—everything I dreamed plus a whole lot more I couldn’t have possibly imagined. I didn’t know I could be so happy.”
“Last night exceeded my every expectation.” He laces his fingers together and places them on my belly before propping his chin on top. “It was the same physical act we’ve shared countless times but I never imagined it feeling so different as husband and wife.” I run my fingers through his hair again but I’m speechless. I think he’s waiting for me to respond but I can’t because my heart feels like it might explode from the love I have for this man. “Come on, L. You’re making me feel pretty damn sappy since you aren’t saying anything.”
I beckon for him to come closer and caress his cheeks once we’re eye to eye. “You’re right. It was a level of intimacy we’ve never shared and I couldn’t feel more connected to you.”
He tucks each side of my hair behind my ears before pressing his forehead to mine. “You are my world and I’ll do anything to make you happy.”
“You. That’s all it takes to make me smile.”
He nuzzles against my neck and I feel the freshly grown scruff on his chin. “Your face was smooth at the wedding yesterday. I can’t believe you already have this much growth.”
He reaches up and strokes his chin with his hand. “Is it too rough for you?”
“No. I like you with stubble. It’s sexy. I wouldn’t mind you growing it a little.”
“But just a very light beard, right? Nothing heavy like I had several months ago?”
I’ve never seen him with heavy growth. “I didn’t know you grew a beard.”
“I fell into a depression and sort of let myself go for a while when a certain unnamed young lady left me without a word.”
He isn’t the only one who was in a bad place. “I was depressed too but I didn’t grow a beard. I took the highlights out of my hair—the lighter streaks didn’t seem to go with the darkness I felt.”
“When my beard grew out, I found highlights.” He points to his temples. “And several here on each side.”
I grab his face and turn it to the side for a better look. “Really?”
“Yeah. Gray ones,” he laughs. “Are you really oblivious to the fact that you just married an old man?”
I turn his face back so he’s looking at me. “You’re thirty. That’s not old. Got it?”
He playfully rubs his nose against mine, giving me an Eskimo kiss. “Your disappearance put me through hell so I blame you for giving me my first gray hairs.”