They slept late. Late for Kellan, anyway. When Heather opened her eyes, the clock read 8:04. She had moved away from Kellan at some point in the night and he had rolled over onto his stomach. His bare shoulders showed above the blankets and she resisted the urged to lean over and kiss them, knowing he must need the sleep if he wasn’t yet awake. So she slid out of bed and made her way to the bathroom. She would shower and get dressed, then fix breakfast while he slept.
She shut the bathroom door behind herself, took off her t-shirt and panties and turned on the water for the shower. She grabbed a washcloth and towel while the water heated up. Once she had the temperature adjusted, she stepped in, her back to the spray, facing the shower bench Kellan used. She liked showering with him. She liked the way his body felt under her hands when they were both wet and warm. She smiled and picked up her shampoo. Her stuff mingled with his in the shower now, her soap, her shampoo, her conditioner. Her toothbrush resided next to his in the toothbrush holder. Cohabitation. They were making it permanent, not just for up to 7 days at a time. It felt amazing and she was happy. She finished her shower quickly, dried off and stepped out of the bathroom wearing the towel.
Dark blue eyes watched her from the bed and she was greeted with a huge smile. “Put down the towel and step over to the bed.” Kellan teased.
“Good morning to you, too.” She didn’t drop the towel. “What would you like for breakfast?”
“You.” He sat up, grinning.
“You are insatiable.”
“Only for you.”
“Ew.” She made a face. “I think we will have cheese omelets to match your mood.”
He laughed. “That sounds great. Can I at least get a kiss?”
Heather dropped the towel. “You bet.” She climbed onto the bed with him and wrapped herself around him for a kiss. “I want you rested up for tonight.” She whispered in his ear. “I will have a serious need to be filled after the wedding, I am sure of it.”
“I hope so.” He whispered back, letting her pull away to get off the bed.
“Count on it.” She smiled as she walked over to her bag to get her clothes. “Are you showering or lifting weights while I get breakfast ready?”
He considered for a moment. “Weights, then breakfast, then shower. Then will you help me with my stretches?”
“Of course.” She fastened her bra then pulled her shirt over her head. He still asked her if she would help him, as if she might say no. Kyle had taught her how to help him with his range of motion exercises. After getting over the fear of doing something wrong, she found that she enjoyed manipulating his legs. There was something incredibly sensual about doing things for him that he couldn’t do by himself. She had never thought that would be an attraction, but, it was. She watched him transfer into his chair as she pulled on her jeans. She bit her lip. She loved his body: the contrast between the strength of his arms and upper body and his thin, paralyzed legs was maddening. She looked away before the need to go over and touch him became the only force she could obey, busying herself with her socks.
“There is cantaloupe in the refrigerator.” Kellan told her as he wheeled for the bathroom.
“Is that just for my edification or does that mean you want some with your breakfast?” Heather teased him. As good as he was at making his needs and wants very clear on a project; they were still working on it at home. Kind of the same as him asking her every time to help him with his exercises. He almost seemed afraid of asking for too much, putting too many demands on her, when in fact he asked for very little and Heather would have happily given him the moon on a chain if it was within her power to give.
“Will you please slice the cantaloupe for breakfast?” He rephrased his request.
“Gladly.” She stepped in front of him and he stopped. She put her hands beside his on his wheels and leaned down to kiss him again. She laughed.
“What’s funny?” He asked
“I am the insatiable one.”
“You won’t hear me complaining.” He answered softly.
Heather spent a breathless moment getting lost in his blue eyes.
“Now go fix my breakfast, woman.” He broke the mood playfully. There was only so much intense romance he could stand at one time.
“At your service.” She laughed again and moved out of his way.
He wheeled into the bathroom as she walked out of the bedroom to the kitchen.
Heather got out of the car, garment bag in one hand, overnight bag in the other. She turned around to face Kellan. “See you at the wedding.”
He nodded. “Have fun keeping Carrie under control.”
“I will.” She ducked back in to kiss him. “You have fun riding with Kyle.”
“Always.” He watched her as she stood up. “I love you, Heather.”
She looked a little shocked as she closed the car door. “I love you, too.”
She stepped back as he drove away. The smile on her face spanned from ear to ear. She walked inside the historical home, up the stairs to the room reserved for the bridal party
Carrie sat in a chair in the middle of the room while the hair and makeup artist put the finishing touches on her.
“Wow!” Heather said as she walked in. “You are beautiful!”
Carrie laughed. “Don’t look so surprised. Go get changed.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Heather took her dress and her bag into the changing area. Stacie and Angela were already in there. Angela was already dressed and made up. Stacie was slipping into her dress as Heather walked in.
Stacie smiled shyly. “Hi, Heather.”
“I wanted to tell you last night, but didn’t get the chance. I think you and Kellan are a great couple. You are so cute together.”
Heather looked up from pulling her dress out of the garment bag. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome.” Stacie blushed a little. “I used to have a crush on him, you know.”
“No, I didn’t know that. What happened?” She knew the answer she expected. Well, after he got hurt….
Stacie shrugged. “He was engaged and we couldn’t carry on a conversation. No common interests. But I have always thought he was adorable.”
“He is adorable, isn’t he?” Heather smiled; her eyes bright.
“From the waist up, anyway.” Angela remarked sourly.
“You are just pissed because Owen wasn’t interested.” Stacie said, staring Angela down. “Owen’s a dork, Angela. He is cute, but not your type.”
“Whatever.” Angela walked out of the dressing room back to Carrie.
Heather and Stacie looked at each other and cracked up laughing.
An hour later, they stood outside in the courtyard with the photographer. Carrie truly was beautiful. Happiness radiated from her, making everyone around her smile. Heather was glad to be a part of Carrie’s day, to feel that warmth and excitement. She hoped she would look as peaceful and ecstatic on her wedding day. Her wedding day… her mind started to drift as the photographer took the tenth shot of them in the exact same pose. When would that be? What would it look like? She began to imagine herself with Kellan, in a small ceremony in an old wooden church.
“Time to get lined up, ladies.” The wedding coordinator broke through her thoughts.
Carrie squeezed Heather’s hand. “This is it.”
“And it is right.” Heather squeezed back.
The weeding coordinator led them into the house, careful to avoid Reid and his groomsmen. About 15 minutes later, they walked back outside, Heather walking perfectly timed behind Angela. She took one look at Reid and knew that Carrie was going to be a very happy woman. He beamed, just as happy as she was.
Heather looked out at the congregation and found Kellan on Reid’s side of the courtyard. He caught her eye and blew a kiss at her. She had to look away to keep from laughing.
The wedding march music began and the crowd got to their feet. Carrie came down the aisle, escorted by her father. Mr. Stallworth looked just as happy as the bride and groom.
Happy, happy, happy, Heather thought. I want this for myself. She looked at Kellan again. I can have this for myself.
The ceremony was much quicker than Heather assumed a wedding ceremony would be. In less than thirty minutes, her best friend was no longer Ms. Carrie Louise Stallworth. She became Mrs. Carrie Stallworth Blackwell.
The crowd swarmed around Carrie and Reid for the receiving line. Heather went to find Kellan. Servers had begun to circulate with hors d’oeuvres and wine. It would be an hour or so before dinner began.
Kellan sat with Kyle at a table in the far corner of the stone patio between the house and the courtyard. Kyle’s girlfriend, Daria, smiled brightly as Heather approached. They had met in passing.
“You look so pretty!” Daria bubbled.
“Thanks.” Heather slid into the chair beside Kellan. “Hi, gorgeous.” She kissed his cheek. “Miss me?”
“Of course” He took her hand. “And you are the gorgeous one.”
Kyle rolled his eyes. “I guess you two will be headed to the altar next. It seems to be going around.”
“Hmmm?” Heather broke her gaze away from Kellan to meet Kyle.
“Tell her, Kellan. She is going to love this.” Kyle grinned.
“We have been invited over to my parents’ house tomorrow night. Brianna is engaged and is coming over to show off her ring and her fiancé.”
Kellan didn’t look as happy as Kyle about this announcement.
“Dinner with the whole Tierney crew.” Kyle raised his wine glass. “Daria and I will be there too.”
Heather swallowed. She hadn’t met Kellan’s parents yet. Her wish for happiness was replaced by nervousness and she grabbed a glass of wine from the next tray that passed her.
Dinner was a lavish affair, followed by dancing. Heather got caught up in the festivities and forgot her nervousness for a while. She and Kellan talked with Kyle and Daria until they went out on the dance floor.
“You can dance with someone else, Heather.” Kellan said softly. “I don’t mind.”
She laughed. “Are you kidding? I am a terrible dancer. My place is here with you.”
But as luck would have it, Carrie eventually dragged her out on the dance floor when the music changed over to all of the stuff they had listened to when they went clubbing. Heather kept looking back at Kellan, wanting to enjoy this with him. Every time she caught his eye, he was smiling. She wasn’t a great dancer, a little self-conscious, but she could see that he was thoroughly amused by her. She stuck out her tongue at him. He raised his eyebrows and she couldn’t hear his voice over the music, but she knew he had said, “Promise?”
“Dancing with me and still having a great time with Kellan.” Carrie teased. “You don’t seem to be missing out on much.”
Heather shook her head and let herself move with the rhythm of New Order’s Everything’s Gone Green.
Finally, the cake was cut and the crowd breathed a weary sigh. It was late and Heather was tired. She stood in line with the eligible ladies and caught Carrie’s bouquet. Reid got Kellan out on the floor under duress, then made sure to toss the garter in Kellan’s direction. Since no one stood any closer than a foot away from him, he caught it easily.
After sharing a celebratory kiss with Kellan, Heather stood in line with the other members of the wedding party to blow bubbles at Carrie and Reid as they exited to their waiting limousine. And finally, the wedding was over.
Heather was exhausted and happy to climb into Kellan’s car so they could go home.
“Visions of weddings dancing in your head?” He asked as she stared out the window.
“Not so much.” She turned to look at him. “It was a beautiful ceremony. They looked so happy.”
“And you look absolutely beautiful.”
“You are sweet.” She reached out to touch his cheek.
“I will show you sweet when I get you home.”
“Promise?” She grinned.
When they got back to the apartment, Heather bee-lined for the bedroom to change out of the velvet dress. Kellan followed. She began to unzip her dress.
“Don’t.” Kellan stopped her as he unlocked his braces and sat in his wheelchair. “Not yet.”
“Why not?” She looked at him.
“Because.” He pulled her into his lap and began to wheel out of the bedroom.
“What are you doing? Aren’t we going the wrong way?”
“Just trust me.”
Heather sighed contentedly and relaxed against him, enjoying the closeness and the ride.
He stopped in the living room, took his hands from his wheels and put his arms around her, kissing her deeply.
“There is wine in the kitchen.” He said, still holding her close.
“Another comment for my edification?” She teased him, running her fingers through his hair.
He made a face. “Would you mind pouring glasses of wine?”
“Not at all.” She gave him a quick kiss on the lips and stood up.
While she was in the kitchen, Kellan turned on some soft music. Damien Rice. Heather smiled when she heard it, wondering what he had in mind. Whatever it was she knew she would enjoy it. She found the corkscrew in the drawer of miscellaneous kitchen tools, opened the bottle and poured red wine into two glasses. She walked back into the living room to find him still in his chair. She handed him his wine glass then sat on the couch. He took a sip of wine and set the glass on the coffee table.
“Come here.” He invited her to sit on his lap.
She complied with a smile, wrapping her arms around his neck as he wrapped his around her back. She accepted his kiss hungrily. He slid his hands down her back, then gripped the wheels of his chair and pulled up into a wheelie. Heather gasped and giggled as she lost her balance, tightening her grip around his neck. He began to sway slowly from side to side with the music, then spun them both around and the casters came down, putting them on the ground again. He kept up the gentle side-to-side motion, then spun them around again. Heather leaned her head against his shoulder.
“Do you like dancing with me?” He asked quietly, shyly
“Very much.” She answered, kissing his neck.
“Good.” He continued to sway and turn, kissing the top of her head.
Heather’s smile broadened as he began to sing with “Cannonball.”
There’s still a little bit of your ghost, your witness
There is still a little bit of your face I haven’t kissed
You step a little closer each day….
She loved it when he sang. She closed her eyes and snuggled closer to him. It was perfect.
To be continued...