Authors: Erin Noelle
Published by Erin Noelle
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Cover design by Hang Le
Cover photo by Mighty Aphrodite Photography
Editing by Kayla Robichaux
Formatting by Kassi Cooper
One thing I’ve learned about life in
short time here is that it never goes as planned. Getting up each time it knocks you down is hard; some of us get knocked down more than others, but in my opinion, we’re the ones that are stronger in the end. After Ash died, I truly thought I’d never love anyone again. Even after I’d come to terms with all of it and began to love myself for me, I didn’t think I could make myself susceptible to feeling pain like that again. But when Mase showed up on my door step that morning, all of that went out the window. I realized that loving yourself is vital because then, and only then, do you realize you deserve the love of another.
I’d love to say he walked in that day, swept me off my feet again, and we rode off into the sunset happily ever after, but that isn’t reality, and actually it isn’t even the ending of most books anymore.
“Mommy, Auntie Andi says it’s time for us to get married,” a sweet, tiny voice interrupts my thoughts.
I turn around to see my precious daughter standing in the doorway, dressed in her light pink sundress and flip flops. Laughing, I walk over to her and pick her up. “Did Auntie Andi say that you can get married in those shoes?” She nods her head with a big grin on her face. “Well, in that case, I’m wearing my flip flops too. You don’t think Daddy will mind do you?”
“No, Daddy and Everett have on their new black Chucks. He said you’d like them,” she says with a giggle.
I roll my eyes as I set Ashlynn down on the ground. “I don’t care what they wear, as long as we all get to get married.” I bend down to kiss the top of her head. “Now go tell Auntie Andi that Mommy will be there in five minutes.”
As she takes off down the hallway, I spin around to look at myself one last time in the mirror, taking a deep breath. Mase and I didn’t get to this point the conventional way, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone else, but it is how our book had to be written in order to get the ending just right.
The wedding ceremony is perfect - even with Ashlynn announcing her need to pee in the middle of the vows - and the reception is even better. I couldn’t stop smiling as I witness our friends and family eating, dancing, and having an overall great time. As the evening comes to an end, Mase comes up to me and grabs my hand. “I’ve got a surprise for you.”
He leads me and all of the guests outside, then walks over to the event coordinator and whispers something in her ear. Returning to me, he stands behind me and circles his arms around my waist, pulling my back close to his chest. A song begins playing through the outside speakers and he starts singing lowly into my ear. Then suddenly, the sky fills with butterflies -thousands of them. I stand there in complete awe, looking up into the heavens as the beautiful creatures blanket the sky.
He continues his serenade “Come to me my sweetest friend, this is where we start again…” When the song was over, he turns me around in his arms and presses his forehead to mine. “Scarlett Alexandria Templeton, I have finally found my euphoria.”
Collapsing on the cool, hardwood floor of our new living room, I close my eyes and press my overheated cheek against the smooth surface, silently wishing it was a week into the future. Hopefully then, this place would be unpacked, organized, and somewhat decorated. Forcing my lids open, I peer at the sea of boxes and storage containers surrounding my limp, exhausted body. As I scan the room, mentally assessing the damage, my gaze lands on two black Chucks in the pathway leading to the front foyer, one of the toes tapping. I can’t help but smile, knowing that shoe holds a small part of a body I’ve grown to love so much. Automatically, my eyes lustfully journey upwards, traveling first over the long, denim-covered legs, then across the Sublime t-shirt plastered with sweat against the toned torso. I finally reach the face that stars in both my sweetest and naughtiest dreams
I repeat the words in my head, still somewhat in disbelief we’ve made it to this point.
“Scarlett Alexandria Templeton, what in the world are you doing?” His attempt to scold me is unsuccessful as the edges of his lips curl up in a cheeky grin.
Rolling over onto my back, I move my arms and legs back and forth, making angels in the pretend-snow. “I’m being the angel you always tell me I am,” I reply deadpan. “This is my role in the marriage, right?”
In the blink of an eye, he’s on top of me
his damp, sticky body blanketing mine while he tickles my sides relentlessly. Wiggling, squirming, and flopping like a fish out of water, I try desperately to escape his grasp, but to no avail. Straddling my hips, his weight keeps the lower-half of my body prisoner as he manages to somehow pin both of my wrists to the floor above my head with only one of his hands, leaving his other hand free to taunt and tease the most sensitive areas of my body.
“Stop it! Please! I’m sorry!” I frantically plead in-between my gasps for air.
“Nope,” he says with a wicked laugh. “You wanted to be funny, now I’m showing you how funny I can be.”
For what seems like hours
but is actually only a few minutes
he tortures me with those five fingers, alternating from my ribcage, to my waist, to under my chin. All I can do is lie there with my eyes closed and pray I don’t pee in my pants. Eventually, his movements grow slower and the frantic motion is replaced with a light stroking of his hands across the bare skin of my stomach. I open my eyes to look up at his scruffy but still extremely handsome face, and the playful, mischievous look in his steel-colored irises has morphed into a lustful hunger. Without thought, my body reacts, my hips lifting up and pressing into him as my core floods with desire.
“What are you doing?” he asks, feigning innocence, his stare glued to my chest as he pushes my cotton tank top further up to expose my pale pink bra.
doing?” I respond breathily, now unashamedly grinding against his crotch.
His fingertips lazily trail along the edge of my demi-cup, coming ever-so-close to my hardening nipples straining to be freed. “I’m trying to remind my wife that we have lots of things we’re supposed to be doing, and napping on the living room floor isn’t one of them.”