Dan’s heart exploded at the sight of her. She was too exquisite for words, radiating the purest form of beauty he had ever seen. Her hair hung loose the way he loved, falling in masses of chestnut curls across her shoulders, her dress strapless and simple, the bodice embroidered and beaded, the waistline accented with a fabric in an incredibly soft shade of pink. She was beautiful, she was perfect, she could bring him to his knees with a smile, and he was totally, completely, deliriously out of his league.
Cheryl gave him a little nod, and he locked eyes with Stacy, stepping forward as he brought forward the microphone he had hiding behind his back. Confusion mixed with delighted surprise in her eyes, and she stopped dead in her tracks with a gasp when he started to sing one of her favorite songs, “Out of My League” by Stephen Speaks. She stood frozen for one heartbeat, two, then squeezed Cheryl’s hand tighter as she started to move again. She blushed an extremely sexy pink, her body gliding up the aisle, as he heard her heart ask his, “What are you doing, kochanie?”
“Loving you,” his heart answered as the room disappeared. She was all that he needed, and all that he saw, the history of their lives together flashing through his heart’s memory as he sang straight to hers.
They were two years old again, her wispy, baby curls standing on end, her face decorated in a chocolate smudge, giggling as she peeked at him around the well-loved blanket she always carried pressed to her cheek.
They were six, her smile capped with a cherry red Kool-Aid moustache, her body a blur of tangerine swimsuit and deep summer tan as she turned endless cart-wheels through the sprinkler in his backyard.
They were eight, wide-eyed and breathless in the dark, her bubblegum filling the closet in the back bedroom of Gram’s house with the intoxicating scent of strawberries, his mouth watering in anticipation before she pressed her lips to his and he tasted her sweet breath for the very first time.
They were twelve, her feet bare, her skin tanned into caramel, a child developing into a woman, wearing a pale pink sundress as she danced around catching fireflies in the moonlight on Chelsea Lake.
They were sixteen, she was pink-cheeked, a mass of chestnut curls on a bed of pure white, making angels with her eyes closed in the first snowfall of the season.
They were twenty-two, her head resting on his shoulder, their fingers laced together, his heart bursting with pride as they sat side-by-side and watched his brand-new bride dance with her father on his wedding day.
They were thirty-two, her incredible strength bearing his full weight as he collapsed into her arms, their tears falling in a shower around them as the sun set in a blaze of orange the day his heart died.
And then, after a cold, black night that lasted a lifetime, she took him into her arms once again, resurrecting his heart and his soul as she made love to him for the very first time.
In that moment, the sun finally rose again, and it had not stopped shining since.
As Stacy let go of Cheryl to take the final step toward him, she smiled a smile that stole his voice along with his heart. The song trailed from his lips and his eyes filled with tears as he reached for the woman he had loved his entire life.
“Aw, kochanie, you made yourself cry,” she whispered in her sweet, teasing way. She wiped the tears from his cheek and then brushed her own away with the back of her hand. “I love you so much I can’t breathe.”
“I can’t either,” he whispered and kissed her light on the lips. She squeezed his arm tight and lifted on her tiptoes, so he could kiss her again. He couldn’t bring himself to stop kissing her until Pastor Tom cleared his throat and giggles filled the air.
Cheryl kissed them both on the cheek as Dan handed her the microphone. She took her seat in the front pew beside Martha, who couldn’t take her eyes away from Jimmy and Brayden, silent tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Are you ready, kochanie?” Stacy asked on a breathless whisper. He could only nod in reply. She smiled and gave him a little wink as they turned toward their next chapter together.
The actual ceremony happened so fast, Dan barely knew what was happening before he was told to kiss the bride.
“And, this time, I won’t make you stop,” Pastor Tom promised.
Their first kiss as husband and wife took him back to the first real kiss they shared exactly one year earlier, on Thanksgiving night, complete with the crowd cheering them on and the room spinning, just as it had before.
When the kiss ended, Stacy rested her forehead against his. “Kocham Cię.”
Dan whispered, “Milcz i całuj.”
She laughed in surprise, but she did as she was told. She shut up and kissed him, and he kissed her again and again and again.