Quil and Claire, now twenty-seven, are getting married. The darkest days are past. Perhaps further danger looms, but all on their minds now is the wedding. In the series For Her.
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3. Chapter 3
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She froze for an instant, only an instant, a painful pause that stretched so briefly into agonized indecision…
She was afraid. That was only natural. A bit of jitters. But Claire was never one to be frightened of fear.
“I, Claire Uley, do take Quil Ateara to be my lawfully wedded husband, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, until death do us part.”
The old black-garbed priest smiled. “I now pronounce you man and wife.”
She threw back the veil. It was like the sun coming out.
“You may kiss the bride.”
I closed the distance between us in a second. I kissed her then, really kissed her, my arms wrapping around her waist and pulling her closer.
Neither of us pulled away to breathe. This was far more essential than air. She was the most important thing.
Her lips were soft and smooth. I wished desperately that this moment would never end.
Man and wife.
Until the day we died, and then we would be together in whatever life is after.
In the eyes of the law and everyone else… it was nice and official, stamped and sealed and filed on our tax returns…
The whole world knew that Claire and I were one, that we loved like no one else, that we meant to never leave each other. Never again would we have to be alone.
Finally, the need for oxygen combined with the impatient shuffling of the crowd’s feet motivated me to pull my lips from hers for a brief instant. I slipped a second, slender ring onto her finger, and she returned the favor.
The bands, for the curious, were identical. They were perhaps an eight of an inch thick, plain gold, shining polished and smooth. There was no decoration on the exterior. However, on the inside of Claire’s I’d gotten an inscription. I wondered idly how long it would be until she found the words.
Thank you, Claire, for being the world to me. I love you more than you can imagine.
We’d decided together on the rings, but I snuck hers back to the jeweler’s.
A little more special. Maybe it would be years from now, but I looked forward to the day she discovered the small token of my immense love.
I twisted the ring on my finger and offered Claire my arm. She took it, and we began the brief walk across campus.
We were having a reception, at Embry’s insistence, sponsored by the pack members current and former. I didn’t object too hard, but I was a bit uncomfortable with the idea. “Cool it,” he’d said. “The bride’s parents are supposed to pay for everything, and you know that isn’t precisely an option.”
I glowered at him for that.
He’d merely given me his famed, “You don’t want to get me in trouble” smile.
Claire looked up at me, and any other thoughts became impossible. This was my wife. Another part of me. I was one with the most important, the most precious, the most adored and adorable being on earth.
“My god, Claire, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
The fire blossomed in my heart as she looked into my eyes.
Finally, finally, after so many years, we knew.
We would never be apart again, never be alone.
And together, we would always be content.
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