Sometimes I felt guilty for feeling happy, but then I’d think God would want me to savor the goodness in my life after such a loss. Not my parents’ God, but the one of love and mercy.
The first few weeks after losing the baby were hard, but the counselor Chase arranged for us helped. She encouraged me to go back to journaling, which I’d stopped when I moved to Manhattan. She also gave me some books on grief. Through it all, I’d come to accept that it wasn’t my fault, and that there was nothing I did, or could do to stop it.
I also learned more about Chase and how he’d never really grieved the loss of his mother, or dealt with his resentment, feeling abandoned by his father as a child. His father pushed the company as the most important thing in their lives, and Chase took on that mantel as a way to seek his father’s approval. It didn’t really describe the man I’d come to know, but Chase said his father had changed in recent months.
The counselor helped us both grieve but then also begin to heal and look forward. I could now see the light and have gratitude for what I did have. I had a husband who loved me. I had a family that I knew would always be there for me. I finally got my wish that my past was gone. Glen would be going to jail. The professor had been fired and was mired in lawsuits from other female students. On occasion, I missed my parents, or more accurately, the dream of what parents should be. But Cam Raven filled that role, for which I would be eternally grateful.
With the light, I began to live again. I went to lunch with Alex on occasion. Two of the women I’d met at our party invited me to volunteer with them at a children’s center, which I did two days a week. Chase was supportive of this, although James not only drove me but also was now acting as a bodyguard. I liked James, and I understood Chase’s fear, so I accepted that situation.
I was glad when Chase started going back to work, because I didn’t want him to get lost in me or his grief. Of course, he couldn’t quite let go. He sent his brothers and father to visit me.
When Hunter showed up, I’d been surprised, especially when he asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the park. A part of me wondered if he was concerned that I’d be afraid to go to the park after what happened. As we walked and talked, I learned that he’d had his share of trauma in the military. He didn’t tell me the details, but I could sense it was there and that it still impacted him. I appreciated that he didn’t want what happened to me to negatively impact my life. I’d told him that his support as well as the counseling helped. I hoped that maybe he’d consider counseling too.
The next day, Ash showed up with decadent pastry. We had coffee and pastry on the terrace. We talked a bit about loss and grief, and he spoke in a way that I thought he knew it intimately. Well of course he did, he’d lost his mother, but I had a sense that maybe he lost someone else too.
When Kade showed up the following day, I knew Chase had something to do with all these visits. Out of all the brothers, he was the one that I felt I knew the least. He was also the one that made me the most nervous. Not that he’d hurt me, but he was always so snarky and negative. He took me to a private lunch at his restaurant and taught me about the proper way to use formal dinnerware.
“Chase said you worried about it. Truth is, most people don’t know and don’t care what the fuck spoon you use,” he said.
Still, I appreciated the effort. I didn’t walk away feeling like I knew him better, except that he seemed to have a chip on his shoulder. He was bitter and resentful about something, but I couldn’t get a sense of what it was about. To me however, he was kind. I felt like a protected little sister.
When the buzzer rang announcing a visitor the next day, I knew it was Chase’s father.
“Mr. Raven.” I greeted him as the elevator door opened.
“Please, call me Cam. Or… Dad.”
I burst into tears. The truth was, in the few weeks I’d known him, he’d been more of a father than my own had ever been. He accepted me from the beginning and had stood up for me against my parents.
He hugged me. “Ah, my sweet girl.”
He took me on a day trip out to The Hamptons to a house he had out there, and told me stories about Chase and his brothers growing up.
“I wasn’t there for them like I should have been, and it shows in how they act sometimes. But they’re good boys deep down,” he said.
“They are,” I agreed. They were rough around the edges, but deep down, they had good values and strength of character.
“I have to admit, when Chase married you the week after I gave them my new terms of inheritance, I thought I’d made a huge mistake. He was going to ruin a young woman’s future. In the end it worked out. He loves you more than his own life. Thank you, Sara, for saving my boy from becoming like me.”
“You’re not so bad,” I said, holding his hand as we walked on the beach.
“Chase will be better. He won’t neglect you or any children you have.”
I flinched, as I still was raw from losing the baby. Even so, I knew someday Chase and I would have children, somehow.
“Now, do you have any girlfriends as patient and sweet as you? I have three other boys that need to learn what Chase has.”
I laughed. “Sorry, no.”
And now, six weeks after being so demoralized and experiencing the worst loss of my life, I was engaged to my husband. I woke the next morning in bed, reaching for Chase and hoping he’d make love to me again. The bed was empty and as I listened for him, I heard a lot of commotion going on in the house.
I rose from bed, put on the robe Chase left for me and headed out to the main area.
“Mrs. Raven. I have breakfast ready if you’d like on the veranda,” Matilda said.
“Yes, where is—”
“There’s my gorgeous wife and fiancé.” Chase wrapped me up from behind and kissed my neck. “How’d you sleep?”
“Perfect. Once we went to sleep.” The beach wasn’t the only place he made love to me the night before.
He turned me in his arms. “Me too.”
“What’s going on?” I looked around as people were busy setting up tables, hanging decorations, and scurrying about.
“We’re getting married.” He grinned. “Dad and my brothers will be here shortly.” He frowned. “I went to talk to your parents about coming, but—”
I put my finger over his lips. “You and your family are my family now.” I’d already accepted that. When I left Staten Island, I thought my goal was to build my life around a career. But what I really wanted and needed was the unconditional love I hadn’t had before. To that end, my dreams had come true.
“I want the perfect day for you, baby,” Chase said, his gorgeous gray eyes shining with such love and happiness.
I looped my arms around him. “Every day with you is perfect, Chase.”
He kissed me. “Have some breakfast and then Mathilda will show you everything you need to get ready to marry me.”
“That’s it? I don’t need to do anything?” I asked.
“Just walk up the aisle and marry me.”
“I think I can manage that.”
Chase sent me off with Mathilda. He’d taken care of everything, including getting me a pretty, flowing white dress.
As she led me to the beach, I saw a beautiful wedding set up. His brothers stood, two on my side and one on Chase’s, as Mr. Raven… uh… Dad, walked me up the beach to where Chase waited. His pant legs were rolled up, and he was barefoot. His white shirt was unbuttoned at the collar. He looked devastatingly handsome.
A minister performed the ceremony, giving me a flashback to when Glen said my marriage to Chase wasn’t real because it wasn’t done before God. This time it was real but not because of the minister. It was real because Chase loved me and I loved him. Our vows were true and pure from the heart.
Along with his family, Alex and other people from work, plus some of the friends from our party a few months ago attended. I was as friendly as possible, but all I wanted was Chase. He looked so happy and relaxed. My goal in life was to make him feel like that as often as possible.
While the party continued, Chase found me and pulled me away.
“Where are we going?”
“To the other side of the island,” he said loading me into a car. “Too many people on this side.”
The driver edged us along the beach until we reached another, smaller house.
“We’ll be able to watch the sunrise on this side, if you’re up by then,” he said.
“I might be too tired.”
He leaned over and kissed me. “It’s possible we’ll sleep right through it because we have a long night ahead.”
He helped me out of the car and led me to the house. He lifted me into his arms, and carried me inside. It was filled with flowers and candles.
“It’s beautiful.” I couldn’t believe how much thought and work he’d put into all this.
“I was going to have champagne, but after last night, we have seltzer or sparkling cider,” he said putting me down next to a table with an ice bucket and bottles of water and apple juice chilling.
He tilted his head. “For what?”
“For everything. For all this. For loving me. For agreeing to make another baby.”
He rested his forehead against mine. “Don’t you know, Sara? I want to give you the world.”
I would have melted into a puddle, but he took me in his arms and kissed me. I was sure he meant it to be a short kiss, but I wanted him, so I bit his lower lip and sucked on his tongue to let him know I wanted him now.
He groaned and maneuvered me to the bedroom where a wide window opened out to the beach. I could hear the lapping of the waves on the sand.
I unbuttoned his shirt and his pants. “Since the moment I saw you on the beach, I wanted to get you naked.”
“You did?” he asked. “You have marvelous restraint.”
“Not anymore.” When he was naked, I pushed him back on the bed. He laughed as he scooted more fully on the mattress and watched as I shucked off my clothes.
I climbed on top of him, loving how in control I felt, and loving him for letting me take over. I crawled up his body until I was over his dick, already standing in salute just for me.
I sucked him deep into my mouth, feeling triumphant when he gasped and let out a loud groan mixed with a “fuck yeah.”
He reached for me, making me move my body to the side of him, and he fingered me as I continued to love his dick with my mouth until he pushed me back.
“You need to fuck me now, Sara or I’m going to come in your mouth.”
I loved tasting him, but more than anything, I wanted us to be joined as one. So, I straddled his thighs and positioned him at my entrance.
He looked up at me. “I’m all yours Sara.”
I smiled as I lowered my body, taking him fully inside me. His hands squeezed my thighs. I put my hands over his and began to rock.
“Yes, so good,” he said.
“You’re the only man I’ve ever fucked, Chase.”
His eyes flashed with wild heat, though I wasn’t sure if it was from what I said or because I used the f-word.
“I’m honored to be the man you chose.”
“You’re the only man who’ll ever fuck me. Did you know that?”
He growled and levered up. “It’s been my mission to make sure that’s the case.” He suckled at my nipple, sending a delicious wave of pleasure through me.
“From now on,” I managed to say. “I’ll be the only one you’ll fuck.”
“That goes without saying.” He squeezed my ass and guided me to move faster.
I started to ride, loving every bit of friction from his dick inside me.
“Ah fuck,” he groaned, dropping his head back. His face was a mixture of pain and ecstasy. “Sara,” he growled, and pulled his head up, his hands reaching for my face.
“Yes?” God I was so close. I could feel my release teetering on the edge.
“You’re the only one I’ve ever made love to.”
My heart turned in my chest.
“Do you understand what I’m saying?” He bit his lip, as if he was on the edge too but wasn’t ready to jump over.
I nodded. “Yes.”
He kissed me hard and then his hands moved to my hips, and drove me faster, harder. “I’m there, baby… make me come.”
His words combined with his driving up inside me, sent me flying into bliss. He cried out, flying with me, filling me with his essence. Together we soared and then drifted back down until I collapsed in his arms. I held on to him, savoring the feel of his arms around me. The hot wetness of his cum filled me, perhaps creating life. The beat of his heart was under my cheek and I knew it beat only for me. Finally… finally I knew love.