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I'm Not Letting Go

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“One more step,” he says.

He's got both hands covering my eyes. I’ve had them shut for several minutes now, ever since halfway up the driveway. He wants our honeymoon accommodation to be “a surprise”.

“Okay, can I look now??” I ask. “This is actually terrifying!”

“Okay, okay, but I promise it will be worth it,” he replies. “Okay, stop.”

I stop, nervously waiting for him to say or do something.

“On the count of three, open your eyes, okay?”

“Okay!”

“One… Two… Three!”

I open my eyes as he drops his hands. I squint, suddenly back in the light. But I focus on what lies ahead of us. A wood cabin, nestled between the trees, with a well kept garden long the edges of the wooden veranda.

“So…” He says, wrapping his arms around my waist. “What do you think?”

“Uh…” I say, not sure what to say.

“I know it's not a lush hotel with our own chef, but…” He says. “I thought this is more romantic.” He kisses my cheek, before whispering into my ear. “And I’ll be your personal chef.”

I raise my eyebrow. “What are you going to cook?”

He steps round me, smirking. “You’ll find out as we go,” he says, bending his knees to be on my level. He presses his lips to mine. He then takes both my hands as he steps back. “Wanna see the inside?”

“Yes,” I reply, smiling.

He grins, stepping back and pulling me with him- making our way to the cabin.

“What about our bags?”

“I’ll get them later,” he says, pausing for a second so he can turn around cause we're at the steps up to the veranda.

He leads me up the steps & to the front door. He unlocks the front door, pushing it open a bit before turning to me.

“We going in or are we just going to stand here?” I ask.

He smirks.

“What?”

“Just admiring how beautiful my wife is.”

“Awwww!” I reply, blushing. I roll onto my tiptoes & kiss him.

He rests his forehead against mine, & we stand in each other's embrace for a long minute.

“I want to carry you over the threshold,” he softly says.

“Is that a good idea? You're still recovering-”

“Let me do this, Paige,” he says, eyes pleading. “I want to carry my wife in.”

I nod- how can I resist when you call me your wife? I can't believe we can call each other husband & wife now!

He steps to my left, & lifts me up- his right arm behind my back, left arm behind my knees. I wrap my arms around his neck. He then steps towards the door, turning just at the threshold so his left side & my feet enter first.

He stops a few steps inside, & I take in the cabin’s exterior. It's more beautiful than I thought. A simple kitchen to our right, looking out the front, with a beautiful oak dining table. On the other side of that, is a door into the bathroom. To our left, the lounge- a couch, two armchairs with a coffee table on a large rug… And, oh my! A fireplace!

“Oh wow!” I say.

He puts me down, slips his hand in mine & leads me across the room to the back left corner.

“You haven't seen the best part,” he says.

He pushes the wall, revealing a hidden door. He leads me through, leading me up a staircase to another door. He stops, hand on the handle.

“Ready?” He asks.

“Ready.”

He opens the door, pushing it all the way open and waiting for me to go first. I step past him, letting go of his hand, & gape. It's a large bedroom- lots of space, a large bed, & across the other side, instead of a fourth wall is a balcony. I cross to it, discovering it looks down to the level below. I turn back to him, & gape.

“I’ll take that as you love it,” he says, leaning against the doorframe.

“I’ll love it more if you come over here,” I reply.

He crosses to me, smiling as he places his hands on my hips. I take hold of his shirt, pulling him in so we can kiss.

****

I head out to the car, to get our bags like I promised her. I open the boot, reaching in to grab our bags- but stop as my fingers brush the handles. I freeze- something doesn't feel right. Like I'm being watched...

I straighten, & scan the surrounding area- aware of every noise. But nothing strikes me as unusual. I sigh, turning my attention back to our bags. It's nothing. Just relax, & enjoy your honeymoon.

I grab our bags, shut the boot & head back to the cabin. I pause on the veranda, taking a moment to push the bad vibe from my mind. I don't want to worry Paige.

****

2 hours later

We're lying in bed, her on top of me, both of us naked. Her head is resting on my chest as I lazily trace patterns on her back.

“Can we spend our whole honeymoon right here?” She asks. “I don't want to move.”

I smile. “Sure, babe.”

“How about forever?”

I chuckle. “You won't want to be lying on me like this in a few months,” I reply. “Soon enough, our little one will be big enough you'll be showing.”

She groans, lifting her head up. She lays her hands on my chest, one on top of the other, & then rests her chin on her hand. “I'm going to be so biiiiiiiiig!” She whines.

“Awww, but I’ll still love you, & find you so beautiful.”

She smiles.

“And look at it this way,” I add, rubbing her back. “In eight months, we’ll have our little one. With your cute nose…” I tap her nose & she smiles. “And your lips,” I add, brushing over her lips with my thumb.

“And your smile,” She replies. “And your beautiful eyes.”

“Yours are too.”

“They're nothing compared to yours. They're so beautiful. I love staring into those hypnotising hazel pools.”

I smile. “I can't wait to meet her.”

She frowns slightly. “Do you think we're having a girl?” She asks. “What about having a son?”

“I’d love a son,” I reply. “But I really want a daughter.”

Tears fill her eyes. “Awwww!!!!!” She says. “You're going to be the best dad.”

“Just like you’ll be the best mum.”

She shakes her head. “No, I won't.”

“Hey,” I softly say, cupping her cheek. “Stop thinking you're going to be terrible. Cause I know that you will be amazing.”

“Nothing compared to you,” She replies. “You're so good with kids.”

“And so will you,” I reply. “You just have to not let your fears hold you back, Paige. I’ve seen how amazing you can be. You just have to follow your instincts.” I gently rub my thumb back & forth over her cheek. “Besides, once you have our little girl in your arms, all these fears, all these worries… They're going to fade away.”

“I hope so.”

“I know it will,” I reply. “Your maternal instincts will kick in. And you’ll have me there to support. And your Mum is just across the road… So is Susan & Sonya. Oh, & Amber! You're not alone.”

She leans forward, pressing a soft kiss on my lips. She pulls back, but I slide my hand around to the back of her head & pull her back. She moans as I deepen the kiss, pressing herself against me. I roll us, so she's now underneath me, & we make slow, passionate love.

****

I stir, reaching out my left arm to touch him… But finding only sheets. I open my eyes, confirming that I’m alone in the bed. I sit up, wondering where he could be- & that's when the smell wafts up from below. I get out of bed, pulling on my robe. I cross to the balcony as I tie my robe shut. I smile as I clap eyes on him, busily working away in the kitchen.

I come downstairs, almost reaching the kitchen before he sees me.

“Heyyyy,” He says, smiling as he steps over to greet me with a kiss.

“Hey,” I reply. “Waking up to find you not there isn't a very nice feeling, especially when we're on our honeymoon.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” He says, wrapping his arms around me, his hands splayed across my back. “But I had to come get started on our dinner.”

I raise my eyebrow. “And what are we having?”

I try looking around him at it, but he stops me.

“That, my dear,” he says. “Is something you’ll find out when it's ready.”

I pout. He kisses me.

“Now,” he says. “Go back upstairs, get dressed & this will be ready.”

“Okay,” I reply, before kissing him.

****

When I come back down, dressed in a loose-fitting dress, barely any make-up & my hair out, I find him kneeling in front of the fireplace. He's shifted the coffee table to one side, arranged pillows on the rug for us to lean against, & is currently trying to light the fire.

“I’m really liking this very romantic side of you,” I say, leaning against the wall.

He looks at me, & smiles. “Just spoiling my wife on our honeymoon.”

“You are aware that, by doing so, you're setting the bar extremely high for future events, right?”

He stands, crosses to me, taking me in his arms. “The only thing I care about right now is showing you that I love you,” He says. “I just want this to be about us- you, me, & our little one.” He tucks my hair behind my left ear. “Our peaceful, romantic getaway… Secluded & a world away from all the troubles.”

He leans in, claiming my lips.

****

“Mmmm-mmmm!” I say as I lean back on the cushions. “That was deeeelicious!”

He smiles, placing our plates on the coffee table beside the now empty platter that once held our dinner- lasagna cupcakes, honey-lime chicken skewers (that were devine!!!) & veggie skewers. He turns back to me & shifts closer.

“We’ll rest for a bit, let that all go down, & then I’ll go get our dessert out of the fridge.”

I raise an eyebrow. “You made dessert too? Oooo!”

“It's nothing spectacular,” he replies. “Just… Chocolate dipped strawberries.”

Ohhh, that sounds sooo good!”

He smiles. “Strawberries, dipped in dark chocolate,” he says, leaning in to kiss me. “Drizzled with white chocolate.”

“Oh, you definitely know how to spoil a girl with food.”

“Only for you,” he whispers, lips ever so slightly brushing mine.

We're about to kiss when glass shatters. We both look in the direction, rising onto our knees to see beyond the couch. One of the nine panes of glass in the kitchen window above the sink is broken- a bullet hole.

The other panes are next, all being hit at once- the train of bullets making its way along the front side of the house, a few piercing through the door. Mark tackles me, pushing us onto the rug. He covers me with his body, shielding me just as the nearest window is hit with a slew of bullets. He rests his head on mine, his arm shielding our faces from the glass as it shatters all over us.