“Mr. Gray, I want to marry your daughter.” A smile grew on Jeff’s face as he thought about how nervous he had been when he first asked Alistair for his daughter’s hand in marriage. It was a moment he had thought a lot about. Not because he didn’t know if it was right for them, but because he knew it was and the thought of having her to call his own officially made his stomach do flips. He was utterly in love with Charlotte Gray.
“That’s it?” Zayne snickered. “You just asked him? No big speech?”
Alistair’s eyes were shut, but he was smiling. “He didn’t have to convince me. Jeff has been what my daughter needed. He has given her someone to rely on when I wasn’t there, and someone to care about more than herself. I am forever grateful to him. To you too Zayne. And you, Erik. Even if you have lied to my face.”
Erik looked away, not wanting to ruin the happy moment. But he felt like his presence was putting a damper on the situation.
“It’s been quite the journey,” Ethan said, to cut the tension. “But I share my son’s sentiments. I’m glad it’s you, Jeff. I’m happy knowing that you and Charlotte have already made it through so much. it’s not often you find someone you can’t live without.”
“No, it is not,” Alistair added. “Take it from me, you are beyond lucky to have Charlotte in your life.”
Jeff smiled. “I know, she reminds me that every day when I wake up next to her. And our kids, they show me that too.”
“Every time I look at you, it’s like the first time all over again. You were even trying to get
my attention back then.”
“Oh, shut up,” She whispered, a smile gracing her perfect lips. He loved every part of her. Her vibrant smile, her illuminating anger, her quiet thoughtfulness, the way she fought so hard for what she cared about, the way she raised their wonderful children…
“You’ll have to make me, you know.” He drove her wild with the constant teasing, but she couldn’t imagine herself with anyone else.
“It won’t be hard to do that, you know,” She mimicked, sliding her arms around his neck. This was everything she had ever wanted and was too embarrassed to admit. A lover, a husband, a friend, a father to her kids. Jeffrey was everything. But she couldn’t help but wonder if he would go back if he had the opportunity. Even if he had told her himself, he wouldn’t. But, why wouldn’t he? It must have been easier in the past. He had children he must have missed. Here there was trouble. Constant trouble, and a wife who couldn’t reign her anger in to save her life. Her grip around him loosened and she saw him frown.
“What’s wrong?” He asked. The two of them seemed to have forgotten that they were in a church full of other people. They were focused only on each other.
“Did your other wife make you feel this way? Were you excited at your wedding?”
“Charlotte.” His hands tightened around her waist. “I was excited to marry her. But it’s what came after that wasn’t so exciting. The fights, the constant working…it was just a pile of things. But with you, we’ve already lived the hard parts and you haven’t once tried to blame me for things that went wrong. you didn’t try to control me or our family. You’ve just been here, loving me. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Honey, if I could replay my life, I’d find you sooner. You’d love my kids, Tommy especially. Quite the firecracker just like you.”
She sniffled, not aware she was crying. Thank goodness for waterproof mascara. She was not having a repeat of Millie’s wedding. “I think you came at the right time, just when I needed you most.”