He glanced over to the mothers sitting in the front row. Both had tissues and were wiping their eyes. He’d had an opportunity to talk with William and Rhonda Morris and found them to be warm and caring people. Damian assured them he would always love and protect their daughter. They expressed their joy in gaining him as a son, and he felt blessed to have them as in-laws.
The doors opened, and when he saw Karen standing at the back holding her father’s arm, he thought his heart would beat out of his chest. Beautiful didn’t come close to describing how she looked in the strapless white dress that shimmered with every step. It took everything he had not to rush down the aisle. Kyle must have sensed his urgency because he placed a staying hand on Damian’s arm.
It seemed to take forever for her to reach him, and when she did, Damian took her hand, brought it to his lips and kissed the back. He mouthed, I love you, and turned toward the minister. They repeated their vows, and Monte sang the song he’d sung for Janae on the cruise. Just like the last time, it moved Karen to tears. Throughout it all, he never took his eyes off her. At long last, he heard the words he had been waiting for.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife. Damian, you may kiss your bride.”
“Finally,” he breathed.
Karen reached up and gently touched his face. “This is the happiest day of my life. I love you very much, Damian.”
“And I love you more.” He gently wiped away her tears and lowered his head for their first kiss as husband and wife. He tried to convey just how much he loved her in the tender but passionate kiss.
Applause sounded all around them, but he kept right on kissing his wife.
Kyle elbowed him. “All right, that’s enough. Save it for tonight.”
Reluctantly, he lifted his head. They filed out along with the bridal party, then came back to take pictures. Damian noticed the subtle touches and heated looks Kyle and Melissa were trading and shook his head.
After taking pictures, they got into the back of a limousine waiting to take them to the reception hall.
Damian pulled Karen onto his lap. “So, Mrs. Bradshaw, are you sure you’re okay with delaying our honeymoon?” School would resume on Monday, and Damian and Kyle had three scheduled conferences in San Francisco.
“Yes, Mr. Bradshaw. Although I do expect you to make it up to me.”
“I know just the thing,” he murmured, placing kisses along the column of her neck.
“Oh? And what might that be?”
“Ooh, that sounds like fun. You owe me two nights anyway.”
He chuckled, and their lips met again in a deep, provocative kiss that held the promise of more to come.
That first day, Kyle had said she had permanent and keeper stamped all over her, and he had been right. Karen was a definite keeper. Damian had been given a second chance, and he intended to love and cherish her for the rest of his life.