The Wrong Bride: Chapter 70


My heart is pounding wildly as I lead Raven to the helicopter that’s waiting for us. I’ve negotiated more multi-million dollar deals than I can count, and never before have I felt fear like I feel today.

“Are you okay?” she asks as I buckle her in. “You’re so quiet.”

I nod, unable to suppress my nerves as I sit down next to her.

“Where are we going?” Raven asks through the headphones.

I smile at her. “You’ll see.”

I hold her hand tightly as we fly toward the cabin where our story started. I know that there’s no point in pondering on what-ifs, but lately I can’t help but wish things had played out differently. What if I’d drank a little less and actually remembered my night with Raven? Would we have been happily married years ago? We’d have made so many more memories together, and we’d both have saved each other from so much pain.

“Wow!” Raven points out the window, a huge smile on her face when she sees the hundreds of flowers spread across the lawn. She’s so ridiculously beautiful. I still can’t believe she’s finally mine.

“Come on,” I tell her once we’ve landed, offering her my hand. The way she looks at me… yeah, I’ll never get enough of it.

My heart races as I walk her to the platform I had built, hundreds of flower arrangements surrounding us. I’ve tried my best to make the scene look as romantic as possible, but I’m scared it’s not enough.

Raven giggles when I turn toward her. “What is this, Ares?”

I bite down on my lip for a moment, gathering my courage. Fucking hell. My fucking palms are clammy, that’s how nervous I am. This is definitely a first for me. But then again, it’s only fitting, since she’s the only one I ever lose my cool over.

“Raven,” I tell her. “I wanted to take you back to the place where it all started, because there’s something I need to ask you.”

I take the ring box I’ve had for far longer than I care to admit out of my pocket and pop it open. Raven’s eyes widen, and I drop down on one knee.

“Raven Windsor, you are the love of my life. If you were to ask me when I fell in love with you, I’m not sure I could answer… because the truth is that I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love you. All I can tell you is that with each passing day, I love you more. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, the light of my life, my favorite part of every day. You are the woman of my dreams, the one I thought got away. I wish I could go back in time and right the wrongs we’ve endured, but I can’t, baby. All I can do is promise you that I will make up for the time we lost, each and every single day we spend together. If you let me, I will do everything in my power to protect your smile, to bring you happiness. There is nothing I won’t do for you, Raven.”

I inhale shakily, my hands trembling slightly.

“When you and I got married, there’s a lot we missed out on. There’s a lot you didn’t get to experience, so let’s start over, my love. I want you to have everything you deserve, everything we would’ve had. So here, in the place where we shared our first kiss, I’d like to ask you again… Raven, will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?”

I look up at her, a strange sense of fear holding me captive.

Raven smiles, her eyes filled with tears, and then she nods. “Yes, Ares. I’ll marry you. If I could do it all over again, I’d still choose you. I will always choose you.”

I grin as relief rushes through me and push the engagement ring I bought her onto her finger, right against her wedding ring. It’s a perfect fit.

I rise to my feet and wrap my arms around my wife. “I love you, Raven. Let’s do it all over again. Let’s start at the beginning. I want you in a wedding dress of your own choosing, in a venue we both love, surrounded by people we actually care about. I want a wedding that’s all about us, and not about our obligations or our families. I want you.”

She looks at me with tears in her eyes and nods. “You really are my every dream come true, you know that?”

She glances down at her ring in wonder before looking back up at me. “How did you know?” she asks. “This is exactly what I wanted.”

I hesitate and brush her hair out of her face. “Do you remember that day I asked you to come shopping with me, and I took you to a jewelry store? You were glancing at rings for a moment or two, your eyes lingering on a ring similar to this one.” She nods, no doubt recalling that it’s Hannah we were buying a present for that day. “I called Laurier a day later and requested that he make this ring. I wanted something reminiscent of the ring you loved in that store, but I wanted something no one else in this world would have. It was stupid, because back then there was no way I could give it to you, but I had to have it. I don’t know… maybe a small part of me knew that someday, we’d be together.”

“That day,” she whispers. “When I saw that ring, I remember thinking to myself that I couldn’t imagine marrying anyone but you.”

I drop my forehead to hers, my heart aching. “We lost so much time,” I murmur. I’d do anything to go back in time and have a second chance. If I could do it all over, I’d never let anyone or anything get between us.

“Maybe we did,” she says, “but maybe this is for the best. We both had time to grow, to become better versions of ourselves than we would have been when we were young. Our lives shaped us, Ares, and while I’d do anything to have had those moments with you, to erase some of the memories I have of you… part of me is also grateful that we’re standing here together as the people we are today. I’m grateful for every lesson, every twist and turn our lives took, because in the end, it all led me back to you.”

I cup her cheek gently and nod. “It did,” I whisper, leaning in, my lips brushing over hers. “And I will never let you go again.”


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