Raquel blew out a breath as she stared at her reflection. She couldn’t believe that the person looking back at her was indeed her. Her hair was in massive waves around her face with a white and pink flower adorned to the side of her head. Her makeup was flawless thanks to Teri. Teri had spent at least two hours on it. Teri had helped her pick out a beautiful dress before they’d left Georgia. A white strapless gown with sequins. The upper part of the dress was a fitted bodice and the lower part billowed around her legs.It kind of reminded her of fluffy sheets that came out of the dryer. She had been a little apprehensive about how the dress exposed more cleavage than she would have liked. But Teri said it looked great on her and Derrick would love it. Derrick. She sighed. She hadn’t seen him in two days and she really wanted to see him. Nervousness was not even the word to describe her fluttering insides. She kept getting cold feet about the whole thing. There was no doubt in her mind that she wanted him as her husband but what if things went south after they said their vows? What if he changed his mind during the ceremony? What if he didn’t show up? Okay, that last one was highly unlikely so she put that one out of her head. She was trying to sort it all out in her head when Addison walked in. Tears brimmed at the edges of her eyelids and she fought furiously to keep them at bay.
“Oh dear. It appears I arrived just in time.” Addison said while walking over to her.
Rae sniffled. “I’m sorry. You weren’t suppose to see that.”
Addison smiled. “You’re panicking, my lovely girl. It’s okay. You’re not the first to do so and you won’t be the last.”
“Do you think me panicking makes me love him any less?”
“No, of course not. If anything it makes you love him more. You’re weighing your decision to be his wife and there is nothing wrong with that. Just remember that he so in love with you and his baby. You’re everything to him.”
She sniffled again. “I know he is and I am in love with him too.”
Addison smiled and pulled her into a hug. “I’m going to love having you as my daughter. I know I’m not your biological mother but I will love you as if I were.” Addison paused to gather herself before she cried. “Now don’t fret, both of you will be fine. Take it one day at a time.” She pulled back to look at her.
“Thank you.” Raquel said.
“You look beautiful. I have something for you.”
Rae waved her hand dismissively. “You didn’t have to do that.”
Addison rolled her eyes. “Now stop that. Of course I did. I brought you something borrowed. These pearl earrings were worn on my wedding day to Joshua. My grandmother Lucille gave them to me and I’m giving then to you. I also have something blue. It’s a blue garter that I’m sure Derrick will happily take off of you. And your something new is a twenty-four karat gold tennis bracelet that we’ve given to all of our son’s wives. It’s our way of saying thank you for making him so happy. I hope you like the gifts.”
Now the tears were falling. Teri was going to kill her. “I love them. Thank you so much. You’ve been more of a mother to me then my own mother. I appreciate you so much.” She embraced her again and cried for the mother she would never know.
All the while, Addison continued to hold her and rub her back soothingly. She saw Teri open the door to the hotel suite and waved her in. Teri looked over at Raquel crying and almost started crying too but she gathered herself quickly. Addison figured that Teri felt she had to keep it together. Someone had to.
Raquel lifted her head. “I’m sorry to cry all over you.” She turned to find Teri in the room with them. “I guess we have to redo my makeup now. I’m sorry. You worked so hard on it.”
Teri grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently. “Its okay. We still have a little time before the ceremony starts. Come on let’s fix you up.” She pulled her over to the vanity table and began reapplying the make up. Rae noticed her lips were trembling. What the hell? Teri on the verge of crying? She would ask her later about it. Knowing Teri, she wouldn’t want to talk about it now. Rae closed her eyes and thought about Derrick and if he was experiencing cold feet like her.
Derrick ended the call on his Blackberry. “That’s it! I have to go see her. Now.” Derrick said as he jumped up from the love-seat he’d been sitting on for the last fifteen minutes. For two days he’d wanted to see her, be with her, reassure,and hold her. His mother had just contacted him to tell him that Rae was having cold feet and that he should consider seeing her before the wedding. It must be detrimental or least close to it because his mother would never allow such a thing. He couldn’t have her backing out on him. He didn’t think he could take it if she did. He watched as Rafe blocked his pathway out the door.
“No, Derrick. Haven’t we been over this already?”
Derrick sighed. “Look, Rafe, mom just called. Rae is having second thoughts. I need to get down there.” Rafe looked as if he was about to give in when Trevor spoke up.
“No. I will go. She will listen to me.”
Derrick shook his head. “Trevor-
He held up his hand. “Listen, she is only having second thoughts because of what happened with our dad and her mom. Just trust me on this.”
Derrick sighed and nodded tersely. “Don’t let her back out, Trev. Please.”
“You have my word. She’s just scared. Don’t worry though. She won’t back out.” He tossed as he walked out the door.
Derrick could only hope she wouldn’t.
Trevor strolled down the steps to the second floor to go see Raquel. He thought about Teri as he walked. She had been avoiding him since they’d landed here in the Bahamas. They’d had a fight this past week. A pretty big fight. He’d said some hurtful things and she did also but he just didn’t care anymore. He missed her so much and without her by his side just didn’t seem right. At this point, he would grovel if that’s what it took to get her to talk to him. He’d had an ulterior motive when he’d suggested he go talk to his sister. He’d wanted to see Teri and find out if she still loved him. He truly hoped she hadn’t changed her mind about them. His palms began to get clammy as he approached the door.
Reaching his hand up to knock, the door swung open. Teri nearly collided into him and he had to grab onto her waist to steady her. She looked so beautiful in her strapless pink dress that molded to every curve on her body. Damn. He heard her sharp intake of breath and he fought a smile. No doubt she hadn’t been expecting him. Which meant he’d caught her off guard. Before he could think about what he was doing, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her bare shoulder. He felt a shiver pass through her body as he trailed his tongue across it. He willed himself to stop before he lost control, which would be very dangerous right now.
He looked into her eyes and saw the desire that lay in their depths. He swallowed hard and somehow made himself speak. “We will talk later. Right now, I have to talk to Raquel. You look beautiful by the way.” He whispered in her ear.
She cleared her throat and tried to form a coherent thought. Trevor had a way of making her forget the simplest thing. Dammit. She had done a good job avoiding him for a few days but now that she was in his arms, she could hardly think. “I, um, thank you.” Great, now she was stammering.
He placed a gentle kiss on her lips. When she attempted to put her arms around his neck, he eased back. “Later.” He winked and walked around her to talk to his sister
“Raquel we need to talk.”
Raquel sighed, knowing what he meant. “Who told you?”
“Derrick. He’s about to go out of his mind thinking that you aren’t going to marry him.”
“What? I never said that.”
Trevor’s brow rose. “So you aren’t getting cold feet?”
She avoided his piercing gaze and answered. “Yes, I suppose I am. Can you blame me though?” She said softly
He sat beside her and grabbed her hand. “No, I suppose not. Rae, listen to me. He’s not dad and you’re not mom. That was a different situation, sweetheart. In love, you have to take risks. Otherwise, what’s the point of loving? I know you didn’t come this far to give up now.”
She nodded. “I know. I just don’t want to make the same mistakes they did. I want my marriage to work.”
He understood. “That’s understandable, but remember one of them stopped trying to repair the marriage and then our dad fell for my mom and well you know the rest.”
She smiled. “Yes, I know. I love you Trevor. Half brother or not. Thank you.” She took a deep breath and stood. Teri walked in at the same time. She watched as Teri’s gaze connected with her brother’s gaze then she looked at her.
“It’s time. You ready?”
“Yes, I’m finally ready.” This time she was sure.
Raquel was in awe of the view that lay before her. In a private alcove just north of the main island, was where her wedding was being held. A trail of orchid petals were spread down the aisle. Small white lights covered the sheer netting that surrounded her guests. An abundance of small white candles were lit everywhere. Such a romantic scene. Her thoughts were temporarily interrupted when Teri placed a bouquet in her hands and placed a kiss on her cheek.
“I’m so proud of you.” Her voice shook
“Oh no. Please don’t cry because then I will cry too.”
Teri dabbed at her eyes. “Okay. We will cry later then?”
“Deal. Let’s get going. You first.” She watched as Teri nodded and turned to walk down the aisle. Trevor came to her and placed her arm around his.
“I’m sorry, Dad couldn’t walk you down the aisle. His knee has been bothering him a lot.”
She smiled. “It’s alright. At least he got to come here. That’s all that matters.”
He nodded. “Let’s get going. They’re playing your song.”
She slowly walked down the aisle to the song “Spend My Life With You” By Eric Benet and Tamia. She felt Derrick’s gaze on her and she turned her head to meet his eyes. Her stomach clenched as she saw the love he had for her shine so brightly in his eyes. How could she have ever doubted him? I’m sorry, she mouthed to him. He shook his head “It doesn’t matter.” He mouthed back to her. She smiled.
She watched as his gaze traveled every inch of her body. His eyes met hers again and this time they were full of desire. She was so caught up in his gaze that she hadn’t realized that she and Trevor had stopped walking. Derrick walked to her. It was then that she noticed the tuxedo he wore along with his best men, Rafe, Stephen, James, and Zane. She smothered back a whimper of appreciation. Oh my God, he looks stunning! Her mind screamed. He wore a black tuxedo and his feet were bare. His look told her to behave. She would. For now.
“Who here gives this woman away?” The justice of the peace asked
“We do.” Trevor and her father answered. He kissed her cheek and handed her over to Derrick.
She placed her hand in his and he drew her in for a short but gentle kiss that stole her breath away. They turned to the justice of the peace so that he could continue with the ceremony.
“We are gathered here today to bring Raquel Simone Williams and Derrick James Whitfield into holy matrimony. I believe the couple has written vows. You can start first, Derrick.”
He let out a shaky breath. He was so overwhelmed right now. Words couldn’t express how happy he was to see her walk down that aisle. “Raquel, I love you so much. I’ve waited…it seems like forever for you. You’ve been my friend, confidant, encourager, and my strength. You’re like a light to me when everything seems to be darkening around me. I’m so thankful for you, my love and promise to cherish you forever and ever.” He smiled and wiped a tear from her face.
“Raquel, it’s your turn.”
She tried to compose herself. Derrick’s words had left her shaky. They were so beautiful. “Derrick, I’ve loved you for such a long time. Being together now almost seems like a dream but I know it’s not. I’ve never experienced a love that was so overwhelming and powerful. Only you could give me that and I’m so full of joy and contentment. I’m blessed to have found you and I promise to be everything you need and more. You are my world and I love you so very much.”
“The rings, please.”
Raquel took the ring from Teri and Derrick took the ring from Rafe.
“Both of you say these words with me. “With this ring, I thee wed, to have and to hold…”
“With this ring, I thee wed, to have and to hold” They repeated
“To love and to cherish, in sickness and in health”
“To love to cherish, in sickness and in health”
“For richer or for poorer, from this day forward til death do us part.”
“For richer or for poorer, from this day forward til death do us part.”
“I now pronounce you man and wife. Derrick, you may now kiss your bride.”
Derrick smiled and linked their hands together. He gently, tugged her to him. He placed a small kiss on her lips but when she sighed, he deepened the kiss. His tongue stroked hers intimately. He wanted more but decided against it for the time being, although his body protested loudly.
“I love you.” He whispered against her moist lips
“I love you too.” She whispered back. Then they turned back to their guests so they could wish them well.
Teri stood in the back watching Rae and Derrick dance in the moonlight. She was so happy for them. She wished she could be as happy for her own relationship with Trevor. They had said some things earlier in the week. She had accused him of just wanting to have sex with her all the time instead of dating. She remembered the hurt look that came across his face. She sighed. She shouldn’t have said that and from there the fight had escalated until he slammed the door on the way out of her house. She hadn’t seen him or heard from him until he’d come to the Bahamas. Now with him being so near, she couldn’t focus or think clearly. She’d stayed away deliberately. When he’d had her in his arms earlier, she wanted nothing more than to go elsewhere with him so they could make up.
“Hey, pretty lady.” Trevor whispered in her ear.
She jumped slightly then relaxed. “Why aren’t you enjoying the party?”
“Why do you think?” He rasped in her ear.
A shudder passed through her body. God, he smelled so good. She inhaled his scent. A woodsy blend of whatever he was wearing. “I don’t know, Trevor.”
“Teri, is my behavior not obvious to you? I missed you. I have for days now and you act like you don’t. Just tell me, Teri. I’m a big boy. Do you want to be with me or not?”
She swallowed and turned to face him. “Yes, I do want to be with you. I just want our relationship to be based on more than sex.”
He smiled. “Teri, I love you. I don’t take those words lightly. Now, I can’t apologize for loving to make love to you. I’ve wanted you for a long time.”
She laid her forehead against his and a expelled a breath. “This is so overwhelming. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.” She admitted
“I haven’t either, baby. I’m not fighting it though. You shouldn’t either. Come with me, baby.” He groaned when she pressed the lower half of her body against his.
She flicked her tongue out to trace the outline of his upper lip.
“Ri Ri, take me out of my misery and kiss me.” He pleaded. When she placed her full lips on his, he moaned. He reached up to remove the pins from her hair. Once it was loose he plowed his hands into her hair and plundered her mouth with his tongue. Over and over again, he stroked and sucked on her tongue. When she began to buck her hips against his, he abruptly broke the kiss.
“Okay, we gotta go. Otherwise, we are going to make love right here.”
“I don’t know. Give me a second.”
“Why don’t we just go my suite and use my hot tub?”
“Can we make it that far?”
She grinned and pressed her body against his again. “We’d better make it that far.”
He chuckled. “You’re going to be the death of me. Let’s go.”
She squealed as he pulled her along.
Derrick and Raquel-After the party
“So, you were going to chicken out me huh?” Derrick asked while they continued dancing long after the party was over.
“No.” She said softly. She laid her head on his shoulder and inhaled his scent.
“Then what, baby?”
She sighed softly and snuggled closer to him. “I was just apprehensive about our marriage working. Just needed some reassurance is all.”
He kissed the top of her head. “Well I’m glad that you got what you needed. You look so radiant, Rae. I’m glad we took a chance on us.”
She lifted her head to look into his eyes. “I am too. Now it’s time to get naked. I haven’t seen you for two whole days and my hormones are out of control. Care for a swim?” She asked as she shimmied out of her dress.
His gaze landed on the garter on her leg. He groaned. “Raquel, where did you get that?” His voice rasped
She smiled. “Your mother gave it to me.”
He would remember to thank her later. He pulled off his jacket then his shirt. His slacks and boxers followed. Then he lifted her into his arms. “I’m going to enjoy taking that off of you.”
She wrapped her arms around his neck. “You’ll have to get to it first.” She challenged.
He chuckled. “Oh trust me. I plan to do just that. I love you, baby.”
“I love you too, Derrick.”
“Forever?” He whispered against her lips as he walked them into the ocean.
“Forever, my love.” She whispered back then surrendered herself to his kiss.