Authors: Charlie Winters
“Fuck,” he whispered with a laugh, pressing a kiss to my shoulder. “One for the books.”
“You say that every time,” I reminded him.
“Well, that’s because every time is amazing. I should marry you, I think,” he teased.
“You definitely, definitely should.”
here was a knock at the door as I was adjusting my tie. “Come in,” I called.
My father stood in the frame with a smile. “You done? They’re ready, I think.”
I could hear the faint sound of a piano playing through the thick wood as I took my final look in the mirror. Emily had fixed my hair to perfection, the soft curls pulled off of my face with some light molding wax. My face was relaxed… happy.
“Yeah, I’m ready.”
“Mum says that you’ll slip out through this door and meet Matt in the piano room. You’ll walk out together.” He smiled softly. “You ready for this?”
I nodded. “I really am. Is he?”
He nodded back. “I had the same talk with him a few minutes ago. He’s in this for the long haul, Finny. He loves you like your mum loves me.” He straightened my tie and pressed a kiss to both cheeks before releasing me. “Go.”
When I entered the room, Matt’s back was to me. A sharp, fitted charcoal suit hugged his elegant figure. He was even more handsome as he turned. His hair was styled perfectly – still long, but sleek and behaved. The beard was shorter with a hint of gloss coating the polished bristles.
“You trimmed,” I said softly, touching the hair on his face.
“Emily said that I was starting to look like a Yeti. She said that I wouldn’t want the pictures of the most important day of my life to haunt me forever. Once Karen started to refer to me as Serpico, I figured it was time.”
“Well,” I said, pulling his lapels, “I think it’s incredibly sexy.” I kissed his full lips, breathing in his scent. “You can start growing it back out tomorrow.”
He placed his hands on my backside, pulling me up onto the tips of my toes. “You look beautiful. I see Emily got a hold of you too,” he responded, tugging the hair at the nape of my neck. “You’re very runway coiffed.”
“You hate it?” I asked, suddenly second-guessing my appearance.
“I just said you looked beautiful, Fin. Stop. You’re perfect.” He looked toward the door. “They’re waiting. You good?”
I squeezed his hand and turned in the direction of our waiting guests. “Never better.”
The faces around me were all a blur as I focused on the one man I would spend the rest of my life with. I noticed things about him in those moments that I’d never quite observed before. One of his eyebrows had a microscopic scar running through it. He bit the side of his lip when he was nervous. When he smiled, two tiny wrinkles formed around his right eye.
I couldn’t wait to find something new every day. To run my fingers through his hair and find the one gray strand. To study his back and develop a new constellation amid his freckles. To massage his neck and find his favorite spot – the one where he moaned aloud with contentment.
To watch him hold our children… to kiss their skinned knees and explain the rules of football. I imagined him letting them go for the first time after removing the training wheels from their bikes. Teaching them how to love and be loved.
I wanted to watch him grow old and complain about the changing times. To read the comments section of every article to him in the worst British accent I could muster until he muffled my mouth with his aging hands. I wanted to write a song for him and play it whenever he was feeling uninspired. I yearned to argue with him, even if it was about money – my least favorite subject.
To have him hold me when I was sick. To feel his arms around me in our bed… the bed we would share forever.
Until death took one of us away.
When Matt slid the platinum band on my finger, I closed my eyes, desperate to regain my composure. With shaky hands, I reached into the pocket of my jacket and retrieved his, cementing it into place.
“Do you, Matthew, take Finlay to be your husband? To cherish him? To be there in the best of times and the worst? To be faithful, to trust, and promise your unconditional love – as long as you both shall live?”
“I do,” he returned immediately, squeezing my fingers in his.
“And do you, Finlay, take Matthew to be your husband? To cherish him? To be there in the best of times and the worst? To be faithful, to trust, and promise your unconditional love – as long as you both shall live?”
“Yes, I do.”
“By the powers vested in me by the State of Indiana, I now pronounce you married. You may kiss your husband.”
I heard it – the applause – but all I felt was that kiss. His lips pressed against mine tenderly as I opened my mouth a half-inch, accepting the small bite he delivered to my upper lip. The laugh he emitted reverberated against my opening as his tongue lightly touched mine. A moment later, it was over, and Matt was lifting our clasped hands toward our audience with a hearty laugh.
The first person I saw was Pam. She swallowed thickly before wiping the escaped tears from her cheeks. Her smile was genuine and full of love, proud of her son on that day. Recognition filled that face, knowing this was the path he was meant for – that he had finally found the true love he deserved.
His hand tightened against mine, turning back to face me with a look of sheer bliss. “I love you, Fin… forever.”
I lifted onto the balls of my feet and wrapped my arms around his neck before kissing him senseless. “Forever.”
He would either laugh or love it. Either way, I was following through, locked in the hotel bathroom, adjusting the hat.
It was heavier than I would have thought – the whole thing was – but this was for my husband on his wedding night. The costume shop had many options, most of them of the novelty variety. I wanted the real thing – the service dress whites – and they came through a few days before, making the final adjustments for my size.
I cracked the door to find Matt on his back, lazily stroking his thick, bare cock, as his eyes locked on that uniform.
“Oh my God,” he said with a laugh.
I moved my hand over the top of the zipper, rubbing my erection through the heavy white material. “Do you like it?”
“It’s just like his,” he choked. “Like Harm’s.”
I unbuttoned the top two jacket buttons with my left hand, still caressing myself with my right. “I’m just here on leave for one night,” I teased. “I ship back out tomorrow morning.”
“Fuck,” he murmured as his hand gripped his own swollen cock tighter, squeezing until the tip turned a dark shade of purple. “Well then, Officer, let me help you remember this night for the rest of your life.”
He moved to the side of the bed, planting his feet on the floor as I walked to stand in front of him. His fingers lifted to the jacket, opening each button with sloth-like speed. When my bare skin underneath was exposed, his hands reached to either side, peeling the weighted material off of my shoulders and onto the floor with a substantial thud.
He unzipped me next, but kept the clasp at the top closed, along with the white standard-issue belt, clasping his hand around my dick before lowering his lips onto the head. I watched him take me deeper with each swallow, moaning desperately as his fingers dug into my cloth-covered backside.
When he pulled away after a few minutes, his blue eyes stared up innocently, the words on his lips anything but virtuous. “Fuck me… please.”
I smiled at my new husband, lowering my mouth to his for a deep, tongue-laced embrace as he unbuckled the belt and quickly tugged the pants down my trembling thighs. I kicked them off to the side and went to remove the hat when Matt clasped my hand.
“Don’t,” he whispered. “Keep it on.” He lay back on the bed, moving his palm back between his legs. “How do you want me, Officer?”
I moved onto the mattress and slipped between his legs, lowering my fingers to caress gently against his opening. He was convulsing with need, his hips continuously lifting from the down-covered bed. I reached for the bottle of lubricant and slicked my fingers before coating my swollen length.
Matt opened his mouth to release an expletive when I pushed my fingers inside of his waiting body, bucking down onto them with urgency. “Fuck me
, baby. Now…”
I pulled them out carefully, lifting his leg up to my shoulder before pushing inside of his snug opening with one even thrust. He bucked into it, tossing his head back in ecstasy as I quickly developed a rhythm, driving in and out of his wanton body.
“Oh fuck… fuck,” I shouted, watching as his abdominals tightened with each advance.
“Yes… Fin… harder,” he begged, gripping my sides with frenzied fingers.
Sweat escaped from every pore in my body as I lunged repeatedly inside of him. It was a bit easier this time as I put every ounce of concentration on keeping from releasing too soon. The hat was awkward, sinking down farther with each buck. Matt noticed, tugging it from my head and tossing it gently over the side of the bed.
He brushed the unruly hair from my eyes as his mouth opened with a low murmur. “I wanted to see your face… my beautiful husband.”
I lowered his leg back to the mattress and settled between his muscular thighs, pushing slowly into him as our chests pressed together, languidly running my tongue over his kiss-inflated lips.
Every movement brought us closer. Every brush of his lips to mine was ecstasy.
Every grind of his hips told me how much he wanted me. Every squeeze from those hands told me how much he needed me.
His near-bursting cock rubbed against my stomach as I continued to move against him. I gripped it, squeezing him tightly as he closed his eyes with a moan. “I’m… fuck… I’m coming,” Matt announced breathily, short bursts of fluid quickly coating his sweat-slicked stomach.
As the last drop squeezed from his body, I lowered my head to capture the sticky substance between my lips, licking him unashamedly as his fingers twisted into my unruly mane. My thrusts grew more aggressive, plunging into his body with a lustful desperation. His cries were vulgar as his hips ground against mine, sending me over the edge.
My release was hot, filling Matt completely as I bottomed out and stilled inside of his quivering entrance. It took whole minutes before I started to soften, pulling out with a gentle ease and collapsing next to him. It was my turn to laugh, smacking his bare thigh with my palm as I watched his breaths even.
“Better?” I asked, referring to my previous topping disaster.
He rolled into my side, his fingers lazily drifting over my navel. “I can’t remember ever coming so hard.”
I kissed the salt-tinged skin beneath his ear and let out a long sigh. “I can’t believe you’re my husband.”
“I almost thought you weren’t gonna make it today,” he teased. “Every time I looked at you, I thought you were gonna run.”
“I was just thinking about everything… how fast things moved for us. How I couldn’t wait to discover everything about you.” I shrugged. “How much I loved you.”
“You do?” His smile was wide as he cuddled into my side.
“I do. I probably don’t deserve you, but I’m never giving you back.”
“Fin,” Matt responded, his eyes void of all humor. “We deserve each other. We
deserve this love. Say it.”
“That we deserve each other. This isn’t a one-sided relationship, honey. Look at me. Say it.”
“We deserve love,” I said softly.
deserve this love,” he repeated.
“I know.” I closed my eyes as a lump in the base of my throat quickly started to develop.
“Fin,” he demanded. “Look at me. Remember when you told me that the one thing you always wanted was physical love? That the other kids could have it, but you couldn’t?”
“I know,” I choked. “I have it now.”
“You have so much more than that now, don’t you see? Physical love means nothing if you don’t have it in here.” He placed his hand over my heart, rubbing gently. “I love you in
I wrapped my arms tightly around his neck, a quiet sob escaping from my traitorous throat.
He rocked me gently, whispering over and over as I wept, “I love you, Fin... in
don’t want to go, Fin… not yet,” Matt whispered, clutching my sweater and lifting it to his nose. He breathed in slowly, closing his tired eyes in defeat.
“I know, my love.”
The sun beat down on my face as I lowered my feet into the water. The heat of the plastic raft nearly burned my arms as I struggled to find a comfortable position.
“It’s here,” Matt shouted, holding up a large envelope as he tugged the sliding glass door shut behind him. He lifted his bare feet one at a time into a march, avoiding the hot brick below. “From ABL!”
I immediately lurched off of the raft and made my way up the slick stairs, heading directly toward my husband. “Open it for fuck’s sake!”
He ripped at the long packet and pulled out a letter, handing it directly to me. I skimmed over the contents as he pulled another piece from the packet, nudging me wildly with his elbow.
She was wearing an oversized pink dress, her fine hair sticking up in every direction. A faint smile ghosted over her lips as her black eyes widened in surprise.
“Jing-Wei,” Matt whispered. “Fin… honey. It’s our daughter.”
“I’m missing too much,” Matt said softly, watching as Jing tugged at the back of her leotard. “She has to show this to me two days after her recital because I wasn’t there. I need to be here more.”
“Then quit, Matt. We talked about this. Retire.”
“I’m thirty-eight, Fin. Who retires at thirty-eight?”
My father had sold the company a few years after Matt and I were married, emptying nearly half of the sale into yet another trust account. “
do,” I told him. “
do. I miss teaching, but I would miss this more. I want to go places, honey… I want to take our daughter to Disneyworld, but we can’t because you work every weekend. The off-season isn’t enough – you’re still there even when you’re here. You get all of this vacation time, but you can’t ever use it. Please, Matt. Say you’ll think about it.”
He sighed with a smile, pressing his lips to mine as Jing smacked him on the thigh.
“Daddy, pay attention. This is the best part.”
He lifted her up and pressed a kiss to her rounded cheek. “
part is the best part.”
“Jing,” Matt groaned. “Don’t. We’re not talking about this. You’re barely eighteen and we’re not just letting you run off for the summer to Europe with that boy.”
She crossed her thin arms over her chest and wiped at a few crocodile tears, turning to me for support.
I lifted my hands in frustration. “No,” I told her. “I’m with your father on this.”
with him. You never let me do what I want. It’s
summer, Dad. You never traveled when you were eighteen?”
“With your grandparents, yes. By myself, never,” I returned.
“I wouldn’t be by myself,” she huffed. “Riley would be with me.”
“Jing, enough,” I barked. Matt sat down quickly at the kitchen table, his breaths heavy and uneven. I ran to him, kneeling at his side. “What’s happening, baby?”
“I’m fine. I just got dizzy for a second. I don’t know… I’m okay. I mean it.” He stroked my face and gave me a gentle smile.
Jing lowered to the opposite side, clutching his leg. “Daddy… I’m sorry. I won’t go. I won’t ask again.”
He brushed her long black hair from her face and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “I’m fine. Dad and I will talk about the trip, okay? Just give us a few days. Maybe you can stay at Grandpa and Grandma’s place in Montparnasse. I don’t want you staying in some hostel. Do I make myself clear?”
“I don’t want to go anymore,” she responded softly. “I’ll stay home with you and Dad for the summer.”
“Jing.” I pressed my hand to her face. “I’ll talk to Grandpa. Will you get your father a glass of water?”
When she went to the refrigerator, I lifted Matt’s chin and studied his eyes.
“Are you cold?” I asked.
He shook his head. “I’m fine.”
“Shortness of breath?”
“No, Fin… I’m fine.”
I rubbed the wrinkles at the side of his eye. “What day is it?”
“Fin, you’re being ridiculous. It’s Tuesday.”
I eyed him wearily and took the glass from our daughter. “Drink this. Tomorrow, you go to the doctor. No arguments.”
“Shouldn’t we go somewhere too?” Jing was only gone for one week and, already, Matt was restless. “We’ve always wanted to go on a cruise.”
“The doctor says—”
“Fin, the doctor said I’m fine. I feel great, okay?” Matt assured me. “I’m fifty, not a hundred. You can’t get rid of me that quickly.”
“I’ll call the office. If he thinks it’s okay for you to travel, we’ll go somewhere. Your pick.”
“Paris,” he said, cocking an eyebrow.
“To check up on our daughter? I don’t think so. Besides, do you really want to know what she’s doing with Riley?” His shoulders shook involuntarily in disgust. “I didn’t think so.”
“I know what we can do in the meantime.” He joined me on the sofa and lowered his lips to mine. “We’re all alone in this great big house. When’s the last time that happened?”
I kissed him feverishly, straddling his lap in a slow grind. “Let’s go to the bedroom.”
“We always do it in the bedroom these days,” he responded breathlessly. “Remember when I sucked you off in the elevator at our old apartment?”
I laughed aloud, pressing my lips to his neck. “I was so paranoid, I could barely stay hard.”
“You did though,” he mumbled. “You were always hard.”
I smacked him in the chest. “
was always hard? I’ll ask you to recount that time we were at my mom’s house when you trapped me in my childhood bedroom.”
“I fucked you against the wall while your parents waited for us in the living room.” He ground his hips into mine with a low growl.
I smiled, pulling back to capture his face with my hands. “Well, we don’t have an elevator, but we do have a kitchen table.”
“You’re too young,” I told her.
“Dad, how old were you when you and Daddy got married?” Jing asked.
“Older than you.”
than me, actually. Grandma said that you were twenty-two.”
I smiled at my daughter. “Grandma’s a liar.”
“I love him.”
Daniel loved Jing, I knew, but still I wasn’t sure. I wondered if there was real passion there or if he was just a stepping stone along her life path.
“Madly?” I asked. “I still love your father madly... I have since the day we met.”
“Ew,” she responded. “I know. You’re disgusting.”
“It’s not disgusting. It’s amazing. Do you know how difficult that is to find?”
“Lucky me, I have too.”
Pam passed away just one month before the day Jing would be married. She wrote Jing a letter – even going so far as to mail it – knowing that her days were numbered.
My dearest Little Bird,
It’s your time to fly away. To leave the comforts of home and into the arms of your love. Your fathers are both so proud of you, watching you become the strongest woman in our little family. A musician, a writer, a poet, a traveler. You’re everything I wished I was at your age. Now, Daniel is lucky enough to spend his life getting to know you like we have.
I wish you love and happiness. I’ll watch you grow from Heaven, my sweet girl.
Matt died with her a bit that day, asking me to sleep alone for the first time in our married lives. He said he needed “time to think” – I obliged him for a few hours, making it until almost two in the morning before slipping back into our bed to wrap my arms around him. He wept as I held him close, feeling her loss in a way that he’d never felt for his father. Our daughter, her only granddaughter, would never see her grandmother again.
She would never see Jing walk down that aisle, arm in arm with Matt and me. She would never hear the toast that Matt made in her honor as Jing pressed her tear-stained cheeks to the front of Daniel’s lapels. She would miss the way Jing tossed the bouquet over her head, only to land on the two-thousand dollar wedding cake.
Pam would have liked that. She would have liked all of it.
We attended more services over the next two years. My father first, followed by my mother six months later. We had sold the house on the Mississippi and moved her into a smaller one, hiring a full-time staff to care for her. Even after his death, she refused to move to Indiana with us.
She couldn’t bear to leave my father. He was buried in Arnold and she wanted to be near him. She visited his grave every day, sometimes talking for hours. We saw her often over the course of those six months, but she was fading fast – lost without him.
The only solace she had was visiting that plot, staring day-in and day-out at her own tombstone. All that was missing was the date.
She got her wish, being laid to rest beside him at a (very young) seventy-seven years old.
Matt was too young.
I was too selfish to let him go.
So that morning, when he clutched his chest in pain, I prayed. I dialed emergency services and prayed for the first time in my life. He grabbed aimlessly for me as they wheeled him out of sight.
“Sir, you can’t go any farther.”
Sir, you can’t go any farther.
I waited for three hours during that surgery, only to be dumped into a room with a man I didn’t recognize. He had aged ten years in those three hours, looking frail and worse for wear.
“I don’t want to go, Fin… not yet,” Matt whispered, clutching my sweater and lifting it to his nose. He breathed in slowly, closing his tired eyes in defeat.
“I know, my love.”
I lowered my head onto his chest, turning to stare into those blue eyes. They were the same; the only remnant of him that I had left.
He lived three days in that hospital, but then his (weak) heart just gave out, leaving me alone at fifty-two with a frantic daughter and an irreparable broken heart.
“What are we supposed to do without him?” Jing asked as her face twisted in grief. “What, Dad?”
I gave her the only answer I knew. “I don’t know.”
I sat on the grass, leaning my back against the cold stone. I could feel his hand on mine as I closed my eyes.
“The baby’s finally here… can you believe it?” I spoke aloud. “They named him Matthew.”
A group of women walked past as I chatted to my late husband, giving sympathetic smiles as I wiped errant tears from my eyes.
“He’s beautiful and perfect, just like our Jing. You remember when we brought her home? She clutched to your chest the entire time, petrified to let go. Even when I tried to take her, she clung tighter. She always loved you more,” I said with a short laugh.
“I’ve thought about volunteering lately, maybe. It’s just a thought, but there are things I’d like to do, I guess. Jing wants me to go on a date. She thinks I’m too lonely… she knows I’ll never go, but it makes her feel better to tell me what I need.
“I’m thinking about selling the house. It’s too much for me… besides, it was
house and everything in there just reminds me of you. I… I’m afraid to change anything.” I sniffled into a fresh tissue. “What am I supposed to do, Matt? When is it supposed to stop hurting so goddamned much?”
I thought of the night before. Curled up on Matt’s side of the bed, blankly staring at the bottle of sleeping pills.
I could take one.
I could take five.
Instead, I took none, staring at the photograph of my new grandson that Jing had sent.
“I had that dream again. The one where you wake up in the hospital and, instead of you being sick, you look so fucking beautiful that my heart hurts. You get out of bed and press me against the wall, kissing me until I can’t breathe.” I placed my fingers across my lips as if I could feel him. “I could almost taste your tongue.”
I laughed quietly, blowing my nose one final time before standing and brushing off the back of my trousers. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” I pressed my fingers to my lips before touching the top of the stone. “I love you, Matt… forever.”