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“I won’t.”

He turned to leave the room and paused. “Your mother would’ve been so proud of the person you became.”

That meant the world to me.



I inhaled slowly and exhaled even slower. “I get it, you know…you falling for my mother. I loved her, too.” I gave him a smile, and I hope he felt the forgiveness in it. “I mean, how could one not?”

He moved over to me and gave me a hug. I saw it in him, the hurt from losing the love of his life. I understood how that would haunt him forever; therefore, there was no reason for him to feel as if I’d hate him for the rest of his life.

He was already heartbroken.

No one would be as hard on him as he was on himself.

So, I let him free.

“Thank you for that, Jackson,” he said to me, his voice low.

“Always and always.”



“Am I supposed to be panicking like this? I don’t know if I’m supposed to be panicking like this.” I swarmed in my dress. “I look fat, don’t I?” I asked Judy. Then, I turned to Mama. “Do I look fat?”

“You look beautiful,” a person remarked.

I turned to the door and saw Mike standing there, leaning on the doorframe. “Sorry I didn’t mean to interrupt, but I’m just doing my rounds. I know you’re on a tight timeline, but I was wondering if I could steal you for a minute to give you something?” he asked me.

I smoothed out my dress, the nerves still strong in my stomach. “Yes, of course.”

He held his hand out to me, and I took his hold.

“So, I know the saying is something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue,” Mike remarked as we walked down the hallway, stepping through a set of doors that led us outside. “But I figured pink would work just fine.”

In front of us was a car.

Not just any car, but my car. My pink Rosie with a big bow on top of it. “Mike,” I breathed out. “What…”

“It took a lot of time,” he told me, shrugging his shoulders. “And a lot of the parts are new, but I figured after all I put you through, I could at least fix your car.”

I walked over to it and ran my fingers across the hood. “It’s beautiful. I cannot even thank you enough for this.”

“You don’t have to,” he told me. “You saved my son, and in saving him, you saved me. You are the most graceful woman on this planet, and we are so lucky to know you.”

I pulled him into a hug and held on tight. “I’m glad you’re here today, Mike.”

The words hit him hard because he knew the meaning. There were so many roads that could’ve led to Mike not being around to celebrate his son’s wedding day, yet he was standing beside me. We all made it through the storm.

We all felt the sun.

“Want to know a secret?” he asked.

“What’s that?”

He smiled a smile just like his son’s and sniffled a bit as he stared my way. “I always wanted a daughter.”

We headed back into the building and crossed paths with my father, who seemed to be on a search to find me. “Grace, there you are. It’s time to get this ball rolling.” He looked up to Mike, and for a split second, there was tension.

The two men who loved the same woman stood face to face.

The silence at that moment was so loud, but then magic happened.

At that moment, they chose me over their own struggles.

Mike held his hand out to Dad. “Congratulations today,” he expressed.

“You too,” Dad replied shaking his hand.

And my heart exploded with love.

Dad looped his arm with mine, and I looped mine with his. “Are you ready, Buttercup?”

“Ready as I’ll ever be.”

We walked down the aisle, and I smiled as I saw Jackson standing there waiting for me. He smiled my way, and I smiled back. He cried, and I cried back. He was everything I never knew I always wanted.

“Hi,” he whispered.

“Hi,” I replied.

“You look beautiful.” He grinned, wiping at his eyes as he took my hands into his. “You are so beautiful.”

We didn’t drop hands as the ceremony took place, and when it came time for our vows, I smiled as Jackson began to deliver his to me.

“I lost my first tooth when I was six years old. I can’t pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time. I hate pickles unless they are on burgers.” Oh, my heart. Jackson Paul and his random facts. He squeezed my hands as his words grew more serious. “The first time I saw you, I thought you were beautiful. The first time I held you, I didn’t want to let go. The first time you kissed me, I knew I was yours. You are the definition of everything pure in this world. You taught me what love is. What it looks, feels, and tastes like. You taught me how to be my best self. You taught me that my struggles aren’t flaws; they are just part of what makes me whole. So, today, I give you the random facts of our future. I promise I will show up each day, even when it’s hard. I will breathe life into you whenever you need me. I will be your best friend, your person. I will love you in every way, shape, and form. I will give my all to you because you are my world.” He took a deep breath. “You are my whole world, and I will never stop loving you. That’s what I promise you, Gracelyn Mae. I promise you, me.”