Barbara held onto Ambrose’s hand as he led her back to their table.
I feel like I’m floating. I feel like this moment isn’t even real.
“Can I take you home with me, Ambrose? Can I really take you home? Are you really mine to keep?”
He smiled lovingly. “For all the days of our lives, my love. No matter how long or short they may be.” He twirled the loose strands of hair hanging by the side of her face. “I am yours. You will never have to worry about Elsie Vansing coming in between us ever again. I will never chase after her scent again. It is you I love.” He put his mouth close to her ear and whispered, “C’est vous que j’adore.”
Ambrose kissed the rim of her ear.
Ohhh, I want him so much.
He looked into her eyes. “We really should give our guests the You All Can Go On Home speech. Otherwise, we’ll be here all night.”
He let her go, which disappointed her.
I want him to keep touching me. Even if he’s just twirling my hair, I don’t want him to stop.
She didn’t project those thoughts, but he smiled at her as if she had done it at full volume.
Flummoxed, Barbara quickly picked up an empty water glass and tapped it with a fork.
Everyone’s crowd noise died down.
She set the glass and fork on the table and gave Ambrose an expectant look.
He spread his hand on her lower back. “I’ll let you start.”
They warmed her skin.
“Thank you.” She cleared her throat. “Thank you, everyone, for coming to our wedding and sharing in our happiness.”
“It was a privilege and an honor to meet all of you.” Ambrose said. “All of her friends. Friends of her family. So many relatives.”
“Ambrose and I have had our fair share of ups and downs, but I am proud to stand beside him as his wife.” She looked up at him. “I am so proud of him, of who he is.”
“I am a better man because of you, Barbara. You inspired me to become someone better than who I was. I will always love you for that.”
“Oh, go on and kiss that girl already!” Aunt Nora yelled.
Ambrose laughed and Barbara giggled.
“Well!” Barbara said. “We don’t want to disappoint Aunt Nora.”
“Indeed.” He relocated his hand from her back to the side of her face. “We definitely don’t.”
Barbara closed her eyes as he moved closer. She tilted her head back and held her breath in anticipation.
Their lips met.
Barbara’s heart soared.
What did I do right in my life to deserve a moment like this…to merit so much happiness?
He broke off and touched foreheads with her. “I love you. I know I say it a lot. But believe me. I mean it every time.”
She opened her eyes. “I know. And it amazes me every time you say it.”
He smiled. “It shouldn’t.” He kissed her again.
She dug her fingers into his hair.
I’m glad Raven didn’t cut your hair too short. I love how it feels between my fingers. I want…
Quick images of what she really wanted flashed through her mind.
Ambrose’s hands on her skin.
Ambrose’s hands all over her body.
She startled and quickly backed away.
He gave her a questioning look.
“Umm. I.” She turned back to their guests. “Again, thank you all for coming.” She could feel him still looking at her. It made her heart beat far too fast. “It’s late so be careful out there on the roads. Be safe.”
“Kiss him one more time!” Aunt Nora and Aunt Maura shouted in unison. Several of the men in attendance let out approving whistles and whoops. “Go for it!” Barbara’s Great Uncle Peter hollered in his whispy voice. Everyone else tapped their forks against their water glasses.
“Well, if they’re all going to be that insistent.” She cupped his face in between her hands and kissed him.
Ambrose had no objections.