Authors: Lexie Ray
“I love you, too, Jon,” I said, unable to keep the tears at bay any longer. He kissed them away, kissed me breathless, kissed me so deeply that I forgot about everything — including the minister clearing his throat in front of us.
“I believe Michelle has some things to say before you start kissing again,” the old man said, making us both flush. All of our guests laughed good-naturedly at us.
“I’m sorry for cutting you off,” Jonathan said. “I hate seeing you cry, baby. I’ll do anything to stop you from crying.”
“Are you ready, Michelle?” the minster asked.
Was I ready to renew my vows to the man I’d loved all along, through everything? Was I ready to put all of the horror and tragedy of the past behind me? Was I ready to pick up where we left off, but without all of the fear and angst over the unknown?
Was I ready to be Michelle Wharton again, pledged to the man I loved?
“Absolutely,” I said.
I didn’t have a piece of paper to lean on. In fact, I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to say. How could I put into words how I felt about the man standing right there in front of me? We had hurt each other so profoundly, and I had never thought I’d come out on the other side of it, loving Jonathan even more now that he was whole.
Was it complicated? Definitely. But was I afraid of it? No. I was supposed to be with this man. I was supposed to find him in the woods that stormy day, and we were supposed to end up back here, one way or another.
Jonathan peered at me, his face inquisitive, and I realized I was supposed to be making a speech — the one that I hadn’t known how to write — for his and our guests’ benefits.
“The universe meant for us to be together,” I said, smiling as I repeated Jonathan’s own words from our very passionate reunion in his office, “and may no one — not even ourselves — forget that. I love you so much, Jon, and I can’t believe how lucky we are for another chance to do this right. We are already well on our way, and with the support of the people we love, there will never be another tear again.”
“That’s right,” Jonathan said softly, rubbing his thumb across my cheek as another tear traced down it. “So no more crying, okay, baby?”
“Okay,” I said, smiling for him. “I want to kiss you now.”
“Ask the old man,” he said, holding his hand out to the reverend, who shook his head and tried to hide his smile.
“Let us all bear witness to this renewal of vows, this reaffirmation of love,” the reverend intoned. “Jonathan, you may now kiss Michelle — again.”
Everyone laughed as my husband did just that, dipping me backwards so that the flowers in my hair tumbled to the ground. I didn’t care. I had flowers in my heart.
It had been difficult coming back to the cottage after everything that had happened, but the best thing was having Jonathan at my side. I could face anything as long as we were together.
However, I hadn’t been able to bear to go into the cottage knowing what was in there — all of the baby clothes and supplies I’d been stockpiling for the child we’d lost. Jonathan volunteered to box it up and get it out of sight, which I was grateful for. I spent my time in the garden, weeding the errant plants that had grown in the time I’d been away, repairing the bird netting around its borders, and investigating the state of the barn. The chickens were long gone, which I expected. I liked to think of them out in the woods, feral, but the reality was that a predator had likely had quite a feast.
George the goat, on the other hand, surprised me by bursting out of a hole in the barn, where he’d apparently been taking shelter all this time.
“George, buddy!” I cried, hugging the little guy to me. “I can’t believe you stuck around.”
He nosed at my pockets for some treats, but I had nothing to give him.
“Let’s see what I can find for you,” I said, rustling through the various sacks in the barn. He’d done a good job of foraging for food, plus he had the offerings of the field at his disposal. I didn’t know how he’d come out on the other side of winter all right, but I was through asking questions when good things happened.
“Here we are,” I said, coming upon a sack of dried corn that had been too high up for him to get at. “Have all you want, buddy. You definitely deserve it.”
I’d have to replace the chickens, but at least George was still here. It was something of a miracle seeing him again. He was a link to bittersweet times, but I wouldn’t hold it against him.
There was much work to be done in the barn, but I knew that Jonathan was having the worst time of it. He was in there, looking at all the things I’d gotten when I was so sure I’d be bringing a new life into the world. I drew on my strength and turned to the house to help him with it. Nobody should have to package up baby stuff that they couldn’t use because of a tragedy, and I wasn’t about to let Jonathan do it alone.
I walked into the cottage, but all of the bottles and blankets and books and toys were nowhere to be seen.
“Hey. I thought you were going to be down at the barn.”
I turned to see Jonathan standing in the doorway, looking a little sweaty and out of breath.
“I decided you needed me more up here,” I said, “but I was wrong.”
“I boxed everything up as quick as I could,” he explained. “Figured there wasn’t any reason to draw it out.”
“That’s for the best,” I agreed, trying not to cry.
“Come here, baby.”
After being strong on my own for so long, it was so wonderful to have somebody else’s shoulder to cry on for a change. Jonathan held me to his chest until I was all cried out, empty and ready to start anew.
“Let’s get this place ready for all of our loved ones,” I said, leaning back and smiling up at Jonathan.
“I think I have a better idea,” he said, raising an eyebrow in a way that made me laugh.
“We don’t have that much time, Jon,” I said, giggling as he nibbled at my neck. “Seriously. Everyone’s going to be here in just a couple of days, and the place is a mess. Besides, shouldn’t we save this for after the ceremony? It would mean more then, don’t you think?”
“It would mean just as much now as it would any other time,” he said, tracing first the line of my jaw, then my hairline. My hair had grown out just enough to curl, and I’d gone to a salon to give me back my original color. The brunette dye would’ve eventually faded, but I was more interested in going back to normal as soon as possible.
Jonathan wove his fingers through my curls and brought me close to his face, kissing me deeply. All of my resolve melted away, and I knew that I wanted nothing more than to rechristen this cottage with my husband.
This is where everything began, after all. It was only fair for us to celebrate the rest of our lives beginning, too.
We undressed each other sweetly, each piece of clothing dropped and forgotten until we were naked in front of each other. Jonathan touched me everywhere, making me shiver and shudder and crave even more. We’d had sex plenty since we’d hashed everything out and reconciled, but it still felt like Jonathan was getting to know my body all over again, like a long absence had passed.
It had been a very long time since we’d been together at the cottage. I didn’t count the night I lost everything. We hadn’t been in our right minds — neither of us — during that terrible evening, and I had no wish to think about it any longer.
Especially not with the way Jonathan dipped his hand between my legs and palmed my clit, pressing against it in the most cloying way possible.
That was one pretty kinky perk to him having all of his memories back. He made love to me now in ways I didn’t expect out of him. That wasn’t to disparage our love making from before. That had been sweet, tender, and innocent, both of us acting as each other’s firsts — mine literal and his figurative.
But now everything had a raw edge to it, and it was completely sexy realizing that my husband knew exactly what he was doing in bed. I was never left unsatisfied.
That day, however, we didn’t quite make it to the bed. My knees got so weak from him pulsing his hand against my pussy that he took us to the floor right there in the kitchen, lying on his back and drawing me astride him. The wooden planks digging into his back couldn’t have been comfortable — they dug into my own knees as I sank onto his steely cock, impaling myself in the most delicious way possible. When Jonathan noticed me wincing at the hardness of the floor, he readjusted me, drawing my knees toward him and positioning my feet on the ground.
Oh — this position was incredible, stretching me and filling me in new and intoxicating ways. I was able to, essentially, squat over him and control each and every thrust — its pace, depth, and intensity. Jonathan had not only taken away my discomfort. He’d given me complete and utter control of our first encounter at the cottage in this brave new existence.
It was my prerogative to make us both feel good.
Moving myself up and down was a workout, but it wasn’t impossible. With Jonathan there to guide me and give me the strength I needed, I could go for as long as I needed to. This was what it was supposed to be about, being with him. We were supposed to lend each other the strength to go on, take away everything bad that was going on in our lives, and work together to make it all positive.
Which we were definitely doing now.
Jonathan looked up at me with his beautiful blue eyes, and I knew he was giving it all up — all of the anger and insecurity and regret. He was giving himself over to me, and whatever was said at the ceremony later, whatever we would vow to each other, it was all being said right now with the ways our bodies were moving together.
He filled me up and emptied me out, showed me the world with each tiny movement, with the way he kissed the palm of my hand, the touch of his lips against my sweaty skin.
It was my pace. I was controlling our session completely, but I wouldn’t have anything without him. He made me feel so incredible, so helpless, and in so charge all at once. This was marriage. This was partnership. This was the beginning of the rest of our lives together.
Up until now, Jonathan had been only lifting me when he felt that I needed the assistance. I’d been doing all the work — and sweet work it was. Each time I lowered myself, his cock made contact with my G-spot. It was well worth the burn in my thighs and ass that I was sure would be an ache tomorrow.
But when he began to thrust upward, to help me lift myself and squat back down and rise up to meet me when I did, that’s when things got really interesting. We worked in tandem, both of us moaning at exactly the same time, both of us crying out at the exact same movements.
We were one. This was our moment. This was our life that we were sharing, and it was only going to get sweeter.
We came at the exact same thrust, both brought to our mutual pinnacle by the other. As my reality shattered, as I became aware that Jonathan was filling me with his essence at the exact same time, I realized that tears were tumbling down my cheeks. I wasn’t sad, though; I was filled with joy, filled with love, filled with wonder that we would get another crack at this. Jonathan held me tightly, and I finally collapsed on him, both of us breathing hard on the kitchen floor.
“It’s officially home again,” he panted.
“I don’t know,” I said, smiling against his chest.
“You don’t?” he asked, bewildered. “That was a good a christening as a place ever gets, baby.”
“Sure, we christened the kitchen,” I said, lifting up my head with a little bit of difficulty to look down at my husband. “But this can be a pretty big place, when it comes down to it. We have the porch, the doorway, the living room, the laundry closet, the bathroom, the bedroom …”
“The barn,” he added, “the garden, the field, the woods, the swimming hole … you’re right. We’re in trouble. We should probably try to knock a couple more things out before our ceremony, don’t you think? I don’t want to fall behind, do you?”
“Absolutely not,” I said, kissing him on the lips. “Let’s kill two birds with one stone and go ahead and christen the shower?”
“I like the way you plan,” he said, kissing me back.
And that was how we’d barely had time to get dressed before our guests arrived, let alone get the rest of the cottage and barn together. It had been fast and furious the morning before the ceremony, trying to resist Jonathan’s hands all over my body as I struggled to get dressed, to do one more chore, to do anything at all.
“This is really a beautiful place out here, Michelle,” Ash gushed after the ceremony, his arm hooked through Hans’. “Seriously. And you guys are so brave to want to come back out here to live.”
“Brave?” I scoffed. “You’re brave to keep living in the city. It’s too much activity for me. I’ve always preferred the woods.”
“But you’ll come back and see us, won’t you?” Hans asked, pouting a little bit. “We’ll miss you, otherwise.”
“Of course I’ll come back and see you,” I promised, giving them both a peck on the cheek. “We’re friends, aren’t we? And the city isn’t that far away.”
“You’ll have to bring us some of these delicious confectionaries,” Ash said, taking a bite out of the cupcake he was holding. “I’ve never tasted anything so amazing — not from any of the bakers in Chicago.”