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Don't Go (For You 3) Alexa Riley 2022/8/3 13:49:59

“Now can I get up from the bed?” I ask, rubbing my nose against hers.

She nods with her eyes closed. She’s smiling, but she looks like she might fall asleep. When I pull out, she groans at the loss and I kiss her softly before I get up from the bed and go to the closet.

I reach for the box at the top, pulling it down and taking it back to the bedroom with me. Kory is on her side with her eyes closed, but when I sit down on the edge of the bed and watch her, she opens them sleepily.

I brush a lock of hair off her shoulder and lean over, kissing the bare skin there. “I’ve got a present for you.”

Her smile grows as she looks at me then at the box in my lap. “What is it?”

Carefully, I open the lid and push away the white tissue. Kory sits up and looks down into the box as I pull out a pair of white shoes covered in rhinestones. They sparkle in the light and it takes her a second before she recognizes them. When she does, she gasps and puts her hand over her mouth.

They’re the shoes she left on the porch the night of the prom. I look up to see surprise on her face, but I only smile at her. It was the only thing she left behind, and all I had to keep with me all these years.

“I see you remember them,” I say, and she nods, still not saying a word. “I didn’t bother letting every girl in town try them on, because I knew who my princess was, even back then. When I found them that night on the porch, I couldn’t leave them. So, in my panic while looking for you, I brought them home with me.” I look at the shoes and then back at Kory, smiling. “After I found out you were okay, I held on to them, thinking that maybe they’d be a good excuse to see you again. I kept telling myself that if I had them, then you’d have to see me.”

“Henry, I’m so sorry. All those years wasted—”

I place a kiss on her lips, silencing her apology. We both made mistakes.

“After time passed and I knew you weren’t going to speak to me, I realized I was keeping them for selfish reasons. That if I had one part of you, no matter how small, then it was real. We were real.”

I place the box in her lap and take her hands in mine.

“I saved these, hoping that one day I’d get to place them on you again. I wished with all my heart that we would find our way back to one another. That I’d get to see you wearing them one more time in a white dress. I hoped—when there was no reason to—that you’d have these on while you were becoming my wife.”

There are tears in her eyes, and I wipe them away.

“Become my wife, Kory. Finish what we started ten years ago and spend your life with me. Make me your husband and let me be a father to our babies.”

“Yes,” she cries as she throws herself at me.

She hits me so hard she knocks me back on the bed, but I wrap my arms around her and roll us over until I’m on top of her.

“Yes?” I ask, needing to hear it again.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!” she exclaims, laughing and kissing my lips.

“I’ll never get tired of hearing that,” I say, sitting up and pulling her from the bed.

“Where are we going?” There’s surprise and shock in her voice.

“To get married. You think I’m going to give you a chance to get out of my grasp? Think again, baby.”

“You’re joking,” she says disbelievingly as I scoop her up in my arms and carry her into the shower.

“When it comes to you getting away from me, I never joke.”

“I guess marrying me is one way to make sure I stay.”

I smack her ass as I walk her under the spray of the water, and her giggles echo off the tile.

“I love you,” I say, kissing her lips as the water runs between us.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, coming up behind Kory and wrapping my arms around her.

She’s holding our sleeping daughter, Anne, and though Kory looks content, I know her better than anyone else in the world. I can see the fine line of worry on the back of her neck, and all is not well.

“I’m just nervous about leaving her.”

I kiss her on the neck and rest my chin on her shoulder, looking down at our baby. “Do you think that my parents won’t be able to handle her?”

“No, that’s not it,” Kory says, sighing.

She knows they’re very capable and loving, but being a new mom has been an adjustment. There’s always family around to help, and Kory is a fantastic mother; she just worries.