Home > Eden (Providence #3)(10)

Eden (Providence #3)(10)
Author: Jamie McGuire

I looked up to Jared, and noticed his content smile. “Was it exactly what you hoped it would be?”

“Something like that,” he cooed. “Everything and more.”

My head felt heavy, and I rested it against my husband’s shoulder. My eyes swept across the landscape, seeing Beth and Chad dancing. They weren’t talking, but smiling as they shared a sweet moment. It reminded me of the first time Jared and I had experienced Little Corn, and it was heartwarming to see the island make Beth and Chad feel the same way.

As the sun set, the vil agers lit the primitive lamps that bordered the sidewalk. Jared and I stood with Bex, listening to Cynthia and Lil ian discuss how beautiful the ceremony had been. I waited to hear some indication that Lil ian knew of Gabe’s presence, but if she knew, she wasn’t letting on.

“Wel , daughter,” Cynthia said, dabbing her forehead with a handkerchief, “I have an early appointment that Jared promised I would make. I best be off.”

“Thank you for coming, Mother,” I said, leaning in to hug her. Her embrace was more than the usual awkward squeeze. She held me to her, and whispered in my ear.

“Be safe, dearest. I love you.”

Cynthia turned on her heels and walked quickly to a waiting pickup truck. She didn’t look back as the truck slowly faded into the dark jungle. I waited until I could no longer hear the engine, and then turned to Jared.

He offered a half smile. “She loves you.”

“I heard,” I said, stunned. “I mean, of course she does. She’s just never…she’l make her appointment?”

“I’ve made sure of it,” Jared said. “Bex is at the boat dock, now. He’s going to ride with her to the mainland and get her on the plane on time.”

“Good. Remind me to thank Bex later.”

“Oh,” Lil ian put a thin arm around me and pul ed me to her side, “he’s happy to do it. I’m going to catch a ride with Chad and Beth. She’s a sweet girl.”

“Yes, she is,” I smiled.

“See you at home. Come over for dinner soon, okay?”

“Promise,” Jared said, kissing her forehead.

“I love you both!” she waved, fol owing Beth and Chad to another waiting vehicle.

“Where is our car?” I asked.

“I have the bike I drove over.”

I looked down to my dress. “You’re kidding.”

Jared laughed once. “No. Not at all .” He crouched and then brought up a bunched wad of my dress in his hands. “It’s a nice night. It’l be fun.”

I shook my head and shrugged. “Why not? Cynthia’s not here to freak out about it.” I took the bunched tul e and silk under my arm and then took Jared’s hand. He led us past the band to a smal dirt bike. We took several back roads that led us through a vil age or two—it was so dark I wasn’t sure if it was tin buildings passing by or just shadows cast by the trees. Before long, the trees thinned, and Jared slowed to a stop. Sounds of waves caressing the shoreline weren’t far away.

Jared took my hand, and we walked beyond the trail until I could feel wet sand breaching the borders of my sandals. The half-moon stubbornly glowed behind a thin, broken layer of clouds. We ambled to where the ocean met the sand, and walked along the beach. We didn’t talk, just walked hand in hand, listening to Little Corn.

The moon final y broke free of the clouds, and its silver light danced on the water. We came upon a large rock, and Jared motioned for me to sit.

“You must be exhausted,” he said, sitting next to me.

“I’m tired, but you only get one wedding day. I can feel a second wind coming on.”

Jared eyes turned soft, and they lingered on my lips. “I just wanted to be alone with you and the island for a little while.”

His eyes seemed to glow in the silver light, and suddenly I was nervous. It was sil y to feel that way—I was pregnant, after all —but the pressure of our wedding night made it new again. We had no constraints; no worries about a pregnancy, or being walked in on, or nightmares. It was just us, and the knowledge that we were about to consummate our marriage. For whatever reason, that made me incredibly anxious.

“What is it?” Jared asked.

Knowing I couldn’t comfortably explain my feelings without some embarrassment, I pul ed him to me and touched my lips to his.

He pul ed away, laughing once. “I’m a bit nervous about tonight, isn’t that ridiculous?”

“No,” I said, tugging on his shirt. “I’m right there with you.”

“Yeah?” he said, relieved.

I nodded, and then looked behind us. I returned to him, biting my lip. “How far are we from the casita?”

“It’s right there,” he said, nodding behind me.

“Maybe we should…I don’t know, get it over with isn’t the right word.”

Jared cleared his throat, and then offered an ornery smile. “Get naked and get the nerves out of the way?”

My mouth fel open and I laughed out loud. “Jared!”

He laughed and lifted me into his arms, walking in the direction of the casita. “I didn’t say it was a bad idea.”

He carried me a few yards, past the trees, to the familiar surroundings of our casita. He opened the screen, and then brought me inside, softly leaning me against the mattress. The moonlight faded away, and the wind picked up. With a hand on each side of my shoulders, Jared hovered over my body. Distant thunder rol ed somewhere over the ocean. He leaned down and touched his lips to mine just as the first raindrops began to spatter against the tin roof.

Jared’s lips traveled in a line down my neck, and he anchored himself with a knee as he lifted me with one hand, and unzipped the back of my wedding dress with the other. With both hands, I pushed back his jacket and slid the sleeves off of his arms, and then unbuttoned the first two buttons of his white dress shirt. Impatient, I grabbed the hem and pul ed it over his head.

Watching his bulging muscles tense and move under his smooth skin did nothing for my nerves. Determined to enjoy the comfort I usual y enjoyed when we made love, I focused on undressing him. I worked on the button of his slacks, and then ripped down the zipper.

“I said it was a good idea, but I didn’t promise not to take my time,” Jared said, kicking off his pants. He bent his elbows, letting his body press against mine.

“You can take your time,” I said. “We have all night. I think if I just get past this part I can relax,” I said, pressing my fingers into his back.

He reached under the skirt of my dress, and pul ed the thin, lacy fabric of my panties down my thighs, over my knees, and then past my ankles, letting them fal to the floor.

His hand traveled back up my leg, disappearing under the layers of silk. My legs tensed, and I sucked in a quick bit of air. A few moments later, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and let myself sink into the mattress.

“I’m glad you said that,” he said against my lips. “I ful y intend to take all night.”

Chapter Five

The End.

I sat on the beach, listening to the waves. The last time I had come to this island, I pretended to be Mrs. Ryel. Now it was reality. I sighed, and placed my hand on my bel y. I wished things could be different; that I was like any other new bride, enjoying the beauty surrounding me on my first day as a wife. Wishing wouldn’t help, and I knew that. Another life would mean the absence of Jared. If we had never met, most of the chaos wouldn’t have happened, and the worst-case scenario would have been to find out my father was a different person than I believed him to be. Apart from that disappointment, life would have continued on—mundane and mediocre. I would have married Ryan, and worked at Titan. Bore a child or three. We would have lived day in and day out with a respect and love, facing day to day chal enges of ordinary life.

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