Saved By The Lumberjack

Page 25

I know he’s only joking, but I could kick Stephen. I love him, but he can be such an insensitive ass. I glance at Annie, and she looks as annoyed as I feel. Before either of us can say anything, Burke lets out a snort of laughter.
I blink, and out of the corner of my eye, I see Annie staring at Burke with her eyebrows raised.
“You don’t stand a chance, Stephen. She’s mine. I don’t know what I did to deserve her, but I’ll continue to make sure I’m worthy of her love every damn day for the rest of my life.”
My heart flutters in my chest, and I can’t help but make googly eyes at Burke. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And now, finally, he’s my husband.
“I know you will,” Stephen says, his face unusually serious. He looks back and forth between Burke and me, and a strange expression passes over his face. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he looked sad. Before I can think about it, Stephen’s usual smile returns.
“I need a drink,” he says. “And to see if any of these lovely ladies,” he gestures vaguely toward the other guests, “are single.”
Stephen turns and walks away, and Annie lets out a long-suffering sigh. “I wonder if he’ll ever change.”
I shrug. “I mean, as long as he’s happy, it’s okay, right?”
She sighs again. “The thing is, I don’t think he’s happy. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even realize it.”
“People can change, Annie,” I say, squeezing her arm. “Roger was a mean drunk, and he managed to turn his life around.”
A year ago, a letter from Roger arrived. In it, he apologized for everything he’d done. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and neither could Burke. Roger said that losing me was the wake-up call he needed. He checked himself into rehab and got sober. I didn’t write back. Roger is my past, and what I care about is my future. Still, I’m glad that the person I loved as a girl might not be completely lost after all.
“I hope you’re right.” Annie shakes her head, and a smile replaces the brooding expression on her face. “Anyway, I’ll get out of the way so everyone else can congratulate you. I’ll see you later.”
With a wave, she vanishes into the crowd, and before Burke and I can even look at each other, we’re swarmed by people who want to congratulate us.
Dinner follows, and then it’s time for the first dance. Burke leads me out onto the dancefloor, and then the first notes of Crazy Love by Van Morrison play through the speakers. We sway together awkwardly, neither of us a very good dancer, and not caring one bit.
I’m just happy to be here, in the arms of the man I love; the man who’s finally my husband.
“Thank you,” Burke murmurs in my ear, his stubble scratching my skin.
“What for?”
“For everything. For loving me, for marrying me, for showing me I can be a better person. For giving me a second chance when I messed up. For being strong, and patient, and kind, and for showing me how beautiful life is.”
Happy tears pool in my eyes and I hold on to him tighter. “You don’t have to thank me for that. Not ever.”
“But I do,” he insists. “You’re remarkable, Daisy. I’m so fucking grateful you’re my wife.” He kisses the top of my head. “I still can’t believe you’re giving me a daughter. I know she’ll be just as brave as her mom.”
I smile against his chest, breathing in his familiar scent. “And just as kind as her dad.”
“Kind?” I can hear the amusement in his voice.
“Kind,” I say again, pulling back so I can look at him. “You saved my life, Burke. You might have been grumpy, but you were always kind in the ways that matter the most.” I place my hand on his chest, feeling his heart thump against my palm. “You have a good heart. And you’ll be the best dad in the world.”
He smiles down at me. “I can’t wait to meet our little girl. I’m sure it’ll be tough, with all the sleepless nights and everything, but…”
“But we’ll do it. We can do anything, as long as we’re together.”
Burke kisses my cheek and holds me a little tighter. The song ends, but we continue swaying together, lost in our perfect little bubble of love and joy and everything in between.