Chapter 32

The next morning, Liam awoke on the couch to the smell of breakfast being cooked in the kitchen. It smelled like… eggs, toast, bacon, coffee… his stomach growled. He groaned, rubbing his eyes, and decided he needed some water most of all. He shuffled into the kitchen and found Jen in the kitchen, poking at scrambled eggs and wearing a sheepish smile. "Good morning," he said dryly. "I need some water."

"Here." She reached into a cabinet and grabbed a glass for him. "So… I'm sorry about last night."

"Not a big deal." Liam shrugged, although truthfully he was holding a bit of a grudge against her since he would have spent the night in their guest bedroom, spooning Sara, instead of crammed onto the couch, which was just a little too short for his 6'4" frame. But there was nothing Jen could do about it now.

"I wasn't too drunk to notice that Sara was upset when I demanded, irrationally, that she sleep upstairs with me." Jen smiled sheepishly. "So… apology breakfast?"

"No big deal." Liam assured her, but smiled and patted her arm.

"Is that bacon?" Sara mumbled as she shuffled into the kitchen. She was wearing an oversized shirt that revealed her delicate collarbone and gray shorts… Liam saw the long expanse of bare leg and forced himself to look up into her eyes. She was smiling sleepily at him… "Hi." She wrapped her arms around his waist and he hugged her back. Then she whispered in his ear, "I missed you last night."

"I missed you too." Liam whispered back, running his hand over her hair.

Jen loudly cleared her throat and then announced, "I'm making an apology breakfast since I'm sorry that I interrupted you guys last night."

"You don't have to do that." Sara assured her, but she sounded touched by the gesture.

"No, I do." Jen sighed. "I shouldn't drink like that… it makes me act like a crazy person. I'm glad I stopped drinking like that."

"No big deal." Sara waved her hand, but Liam thought he saw a flash of relief cross her face.

"There's coffee." Jen smiled, motioning to the coffee pot.

"Hallelujah." Sara and Liam both moved toward the pot at the same time.

Aidan joined them a few minutes later, just as Jen finished ladling eggs into a serving dish. "Smells good, baby," he said softly, kissing Jen's forehead, which made her smile. "I missed you last night." Sara smiled and turned away from the lovebirds. Liam took her hand in his and gave her a squeeze.

They sat down at the kitchen table and chatted about the previous night as they ate breakfast. Sara and Jen cracked up laughing when they heard about Aidan and his need to dance. "Since when do you love dancing so much?" Jen teased.

"I've always loved dancing." Aidan waved a hand dismissively and then paused, looking thoughtful and apprehensive. "Wait. Am I remembering this right? You punched… Marcus?" Aidan asked, looking at Liam and then glancing at Sara.

Liam nodded, looking at Sara. "He did." Sara answered flatly for him, jamming her fork into her eggs a little harder than necessary. "I was already planning on breaking up with Marcus… so this just seals the deal."

"Sorry, sweetie." Jen smiled sympathetically.

"It hurts, knowing that he did that to me, but… it's not really a big deal." Sara said softly. "I mean, it is, but it isn't." Liam understood: it was hard to be upset when she had already turned away from Marcus. She took Liam's hand in hers and squeezed. He smiled and squeezed back. "So… I have to move my stuff today."

"Where are you moving?" Jen asked.

Sara looked at Liam and he nodded before he explained, "She's moving into my dad's house."

"Wow." Jen raised her eyebrows. "I mean… is that fast? It's fast, but not really since… you guys already dated."

"I'm not sure." Liam said truthfully. Then he reminded her, "I won't really be there anyway. The house is just going to be empty anyway."

"So… you're keeping it?" Aidan asked, obviously remembering Liam's initial reluctance when he had found out that Kelly passed the house onto him.

He looked at Sara and then smiled. Her cheeks warmed as he said, "Yeah… I'll keep her too."

"You've got it so bad." Aidan laughed. He cracked an imaginary whip over his head and laughed, "So whipped!"

"Aidan!" Jen scolded. "I think it's sweet." Aidan just smirked at Liam. Then she offered, "We'll help you move."

"That would be great." Sara said, looking relieved.

After breakfast, they headed over to Marcus's apartment (Liam no longer thought of it as Sara's place and he was thrilled by that). They packed her stuff relatively quickly… most of it was already packed anyway and Liam got the feeling that she wanted to be away from Marcus as soon as possible. Luckily Liam still had his truck, so it only took two trips to move all of her boxes. "What about a bed?" Jen asked, looking at the air mattress in Liam's room.

Sara shrugged. "I guess I'll have to save for one."

Jen looked imploringly at Aidan, who nodded, and then said, "Just borrow our guest room bed." When Sara opened her mouth to protest, Aidan said quickly, "Seriously. Nobody spends the night at our place anyway."

"Really?" Sara asked, surprised but also relieved.

"You two will get much more use out of it." Aidan smirked at Liam and Sara, who both blushed.

"Aidan!" Jen squealed, giggling.

"We can pick it up while you guys do a final sweep at your old place." Aidan suggested. Sara nodded and then smiled at Liam as Aidan climbed into his truck. "Let's go, Romeo!" Aidan shouted from the front seat.

"I'll be back as soon as I can." Liam promised and then kissed her quickly. She leaned in for more but he pulled away, saying, "I can't," and then hurried over to his truck with a smile. "I'll be right back."

"Okay." Sara nodded, waving. Her phone rang and she checked the screen… Chloe was calling. When she answered, her tone was guarded: "Hello?"

"Hey, it's me." Chloe said softly. "How are you doing? Daniel told me what happened with Liam and Marcus after we left last night… that's pretty messed up that he did that to you."

"Yeah, it is." Sara sighed heavily. Jen looked at her questioningly and she mouthed,

"Chloe," back at her. Jen's eyebrows rose and she nodded, looking away.

"Look, it's not that I wanted you to be with Marcus." Chloe said softly. "I just… want you to be happy."

"In the last five years, Liam has been the person to make me happy the most." Sara answered honestly. "Doesn't that count for something? He's apologized for stuff that happened the first time around and I've forgiven him. I think you would be familiar with that aspect of our relationship since you and Daniel broke up for a while too."

"I get it." Chloe agreed. "I just… I'm going to have to learn to like him."

"I guess so." Sara shrugged even though Chloe couldn't see her.

Sophie started fussing in the background. "Oh no. I'll have to call you back." Chloe said quickly and then hung up.

"That sounded like a cease fire to me." Jen remarked dryly.

"Something like that." Sara agreed with a faint smile as they climbed into their cars.

She walked back up to her apartment with Jen on her heels. She unlocked the front door and commented, "I think I have everything—" She walked inside and stopped at the sight of Marcus, who looked bewildered as he looked around their sparsely decorated apartment. Marcus had brought most of the furniture into their union, but the decorations had been all Sara… and now they were gone, leaving the space muted and barren. She was less than thrilled to see him. "Marcus," she said flatly. "You're here."

"What the hell is going on? Where is your stuff?" Marcus demanded, turning to face her. His face looked bad… his nose was bandaged and he had a cut above his eye. Liam had hit him hard… but she expected nothing less from Liam. Technically, as a former Marine, he probably could have done much, much worse. "You just moved out behind my back without telling me?" He was mad that she moved out without telling him? Oh, that was rich.

"I'll wait outside." Jen said flatly, grabbing the last two boxes next to the door, and then closed the door behind her.

"Liam told me what happened last night at Pulse." Sara said, her tone equally flat.

"That was a misunderstanding." Marcus said quickly with a wave of his hand. "I'm lucky he didn't seriously injure me… or that I didn't injure myself fighting back. I wouldn't be able to perform any surgeries…" He looked at his hands and then at her.

"A misunderstanding?" Sara repeated sharply. Seriously? "He said that you were with another woman and that you guys have been dating for six months!"

"Is that what he told you?" Marcus demanded, looking aghast. "Ashley is just a friend!" Seriously? That was the story he was going with? That they were "just friends" and that he hadn't told Liam they had been together for six months while he had dated— no, not just dated, he had lived with Sara at the same time? Sara remembered all the times she had felt guilty for merely looking at Liam, for wanting to kiss him… that whole time, Marcus had been with someone else behind her back. And he apparently had no qualms about being fully with someone else.

She stared at him for a long moment and realized how wrong she had been about him. She had thought that he was a good guy, a good man to love, but he was really a liar. The opposite, she suddenly realized, could be said about Liam… when she had met Liam, she had thought he was bad news, but it turned out that deep down he was a good man, someone who fell in love with her, just her. She looked at Marcus's smug, bandaged face and fought against a wave of anger that rose up inside of her.

They were done.

"Marcus. Hear me now: This is over. We're done." Sara waved her hands and then turned away. "Goodbye, Marcus."

"Sara, wait—" Marcus began, but she didn't look back as she closed the door behind her.

Jen was leaning against the railing next to the staircase. She smiled faintly when she saw Sara exit Marcus's apartment. "All done?"

"Yep." Sara replied, deciding that if she had left anything behind, Marcus could keep it for all she cared.

They were over. Finally.

And when one chapter finishes, another begins…

After Liam and Aidan had grabbed the guest bed out of Aidan's house and put it in Liam's dad's house— no. Now it was Liam's house. It was still weird to think about it like that. Regardless, they had just finished setting up the bed in Liam's old room (he couldn't quite bring himself to sleep in his dad's room, it was just too weird, and probably wouldn't be able to until he did some extensive renovating), he heard tires crunching the gravel in the driveway. "Is that the girls?" Aidan asked Liam. Liam shrugged and he checked the window… yep, they had just pulled into the driveway. He motioned for Aidan to follow him and then walked through the house and outside, Aidan hot on his heels. Sara and Jen were carrying two boxes from their cars. "Everything out of the apartment?" Aidan asked.

"Yeah." Jen nodded. She glanced at Sara and then said softly, "Marcus was there."

"Really?" Liam asked, raising his eyebrows at Sara, who nodded without taking her eyes off of Liam. She looked like she was… glowing… like she was trying to suppress a smile. Liam's spirits lifted and suddenly he wanted to be alone with her so badly that his body ached.

"We should go." Aidan said immediately to Jen. "We have uh… things to do."

"But—" Jen began as he took the box out of her hands and passed it to Liam.

"Bye, lovebirds." Aidan smirked at Liam, grabbed Jen's hand, and dragged her to the car. They were gone in less than a minute.

"Wow." Sara said softly, watching them drive away.

Liam watched her for a moment, just drinking in the sight of her, and then asked carefully, "So… what happened with Marcus?"

Sara blew out a breath and headed into the house. He followed her inside as she explained, "He tried to twist everything around… he tried to make it sound like she was just a friend and that it was all a misunderstanding that you twisted around to make him sound like a bad guy." She sighed as she set her box down in the bedroom and then looked up at Liam. "So… I broke up with him. That's it. I don't care if he thinks we're still together, I don't care if he wants space… we're over."

Finally. "Good," he said softly. She stared at him for a moment and then smiled softly at him. He slowly crossed the room to her and cupped her face in his hands… she was finally all his. She wrapped her arms around his waist and closed her eyes. He breathed her in… and suddenly; he didn't know what to do next. He felt an irrational wave of shyness wash over him. This was Sara… Sara, who he hadn't been able to get out of his head for four years. She was finally all his and… he suddenly felt frozen.

When he didn't kiss her, her eyes fluttered open. "Liam?" Her voice was soft with longing and love… and then it felt right. He smiled softly at her and then pressed his lips to her. She sighed against him, wrapping her slender arms around his neck, and he pulled her against him. The minute their bodies were completely against each other, he knew that he wanted her naked and against him, skin on skin. He deepened the kiss and she gasped against him, threading her fingers through the hair on the back of his neck. He reached down, grabbed her ass, and picked her up, pinning her against the wall. When he pulled back for a second, she moaned, "Don't stop."

Disorientated, he pulled back and asked, "What?"

When her eyes slid open, they were glassy with need and lust. "Last night… you said that if you kissed me, you didn't think you could stop." He nodded once after a moment, his thoughts cloudy from being so close to her. She smiled, her eyes hooded with lust, and ordered, "Don't stop." He grinned at her and then peeled off her shirt, revealing a black lace bra. When he tore his eyes away from her breasts, she was grinning like the Cheshire cat. "Maybe… I picked this out on purpose today." Her eyelids lowered halfway as she brushed her fingers along the edge of the lace. Her skin looked perfect, creamy, and pale against the lace… Liam couldn't wait to taste her.

"You tease." Liam growled, pulling her away from the wall, and then sat down with her on the edge of the bed. She automatically straddled his lap as he lifted her up slightly and then he kissed both of her breasts. She let out a breathy moan, tilting her head back to give him better access, and dug her fingernails into his shoulders. This all felt so familiar… and then he remembered doing the exact same thing to her the first time he had gotten her naked. Old habits died hard, apparently… and he was getting zero complaints from her.

After a few torturous moments, she pulled back and kissed him as she lowered herself down onto his lap and then grinded her hips against his, putting delicious pressure against his hardness. "Sara…" Liam gasped, his fingers shaking with need as he found the clasp on her bra. Uh oh. When was the last time he had been with a woman? Was this going to be embarrassingly short? Oh no… they hadn't slept together in four years and he might finish in under four minutes? He'd have to make sure that this was good for her before it was too good for him.

He picked her up, tossed her on the bed, which made her let out a squeal, and then smiled as he undid her jeans. He could see hunger in her eyes and was sure that his eyes mirrored the same feeling. Her fingers wrapped around the collar of his t-shirt and they pulled it off together. She glanced down at his chest and then grinned salaciously at him, her eyelids almost completely closed. He smiled back as he pulled off her jeans and her underwear in one fluid motion and then she was naked, sprawled in front of him. Still beautiful, still perfect… he had to restrain himself from just climbing onto her and pounding into her, taking what she laid out before him. He couldn't be selfish… this wasn't just about him anymore. He cupped her breasts in his hands, which elicited another moan out of her, and then kissed both nipples as she tugged futilely on the top of his jeans. He moved away from her hands, down her body, kissing her soft skin as he went, and then kissed her right where she needed it, right where it made her gasp and attempt to jerk up. He splayed a big hand on her stomach to keep her anchored to the bed as he kissed her again and moved his fingers inside of her, pleased to find that she was already wet.

She moaned, louder and louder, and tried to beg him ("Please… please… please, I need you now…") but he didn't stop until she let out a full-fledged scream and dug her fingernails into his shoulders as she came. Then he pulled back, grabbed a condom out of his wallet, and slid off his jeans and boxers while she recovered. She watched him roll on the condom and then her eyes widened eagerly as he climbed on top of her. Their eyes locked for a moment and he paused. This was real… this was really happening. She sensed the moment too and her expression softened. "Liam," she whispered. "I love you."

"I love you too," he whispered back, positioning himself against her. He gave a little push into her and her eyes slammed closed while she sucked in a breath through clenched teeth. She felt… so good… even better than he remembered. He gritted his teeth as he slowly slid all the way in… he tried to think of anything (car parts, names of muscles from his textbooks, ways to rehabilitate after injury) that could distract him from how amazing and perfect she felt around him. She wrapped her legs around him and that didn't help one bit. "Sara…" he hissed, pulling back slightly, which sent a jolt of pleasure up his spine. Almost mindless with pleasure, he muttered, "Perfect… amazing…" He slid back in and she let out a whimper, her eyes locked on him. He picked up the pace and she moaned louder, her hands splayed on his back. Yep… he wasn't going to last long at all. He reached down between them and began rubbing her… she immediately tightened around him, tilting her head back in pleasure as he moved faster and harder against her. Luckily for him, she came, letting out a long moan, mere seconds before he couldn't hold back any longer. He let out a groan as he lost himself in her and then slowed, relishing in the feeling of her against him… "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he immediately apologized, breathless. "I'm sorry, baby."

"Sorry for what?" Sara asked blearily, a smile on her face, her hands in her hair.

"That was horrifyingly short." Liam smiled a tight, apologetic smile.

Sara touched his face with her hand and he leaned into her touch, holding himself up over her. Then she said very firmly: "Trust me: it was amazing."

He slid out of her and lay down beside her, grabbing her by the hip and dragging her over to him. "Usually it's not that… quick."

She let out a giggle and then said very quickly when he grimaced at her, "This isn't my first time with you, remember? Trust me… I know things can be much longer than that." She lay her hand on his chest and he closed his eyes, relieved that she didn't think that he was now the "one minute" man instead of the "one and done" man. "We'll just have to… try again." She smiled coyly and then hooked her leg over his hip. He groaned, it was too soon but he already felt himself tighten anyway, and she grinned at him. She touched his face with her hand and her face stilled, filled with warmth. "I love you." He would never get tired of hearing her say it.

"I love you too," he whispered. "Always."

Her eyes closed and she whispered, "Forever."

She was right: their next time was much longer.

Sara didn't even realize she had dozed off until she felt Liam slide away from her. She let out a groan as she reached for him and he caught his fingers in his hand: "Shh, baby. Just rest." He brushed a kiss across her knuckles and she smiled sleepily without opening her eyes. She dozed as he quietly shuffled around, unzipping his bag, re-packing all his stuff so that he could head back to school. Finally, he sat down next to her and lay a hand on her back: "I need to go, baby."

Her eyes opened completely when he said that. He looked reluctant and sad to leave her… she was sad to see him go. She pressed her lips together, feeling tears rise up inside of her, and then managed to ask evenly, "Call me when you get back?"

"Of course." He smiled sadly and then pressed a kiss to her lips. The lump that had formed in her throat grew bigger and she wasn't able to hold back the tears that rushed to her eyes. "Baby…" Liam looked devastated… he clearly hated leaving her just as much as she did. "I wish I didn't have to leave you."

She nodded, tears escaping from her eyes. "I'll miss you," she whispered.

"I'll be back soon." Liam said before kissing her. "I love you."

"I love you too," she whispered back. He would come back to her…

This time, it was forever.

One month later, Sara smiled reassuringly and said, "Stop fussing. You look amazing!"

Jen nervously fluttered her hands, critically eyed her dress in the mirror, and then turned back to Sara and the rest of the bridesmaids. Then she wailed, "I don't know why I'm so nervous! I love Aidan! Of course I want to spend my life with him!"

"You'll be fine." Sara said soothingly.

"I was nervous on my wedding day too." Chloe chimed in. Jen seemed more placated by her, but that was probably because Chloe was actually married. All Sara had done was manage to keep a long distance relationship going for a month… it was hard, she missed Liam by her side, but so far they were making it work. So while Chloe was married and Sara wasn't, it was more like Chloe was married and Sara wasn't married…


There was a knock on the door and everyone jumped, turning toward it. Sara, as the maid of honor, decided to take charge and opened it.

Liam filled the doorway, his suit perfectly fitted to his muscular, athletic body. Yum. "Hey." He smiled at her and then his eyes widened when he glanced past her, presumably at Jen, who was a vision in flowing creamy white satin. "Wow, Jen… you look… amazing."

"Thanks!" Jen smiled, perking up. Oh, so when Liam said it, she finally believed it… Sara didn't roll her eyes but only because it was Jen's wedding day.

"I need to borrow Sara for a moment." Liam looked at Sara and her skin prickled with warmth… that wasn't fair of him, looking at her like he wanted to peel her dress off before he pinned her against the wall. He smiled apologetically at Jen, grabbed Sara by the wrist, and pulled her away.

"Hurry back!" Jen shouted as the door swung closed.

"What do you need me for?" Sara asked, confused, as Liam dragged her through the hotel. Liam shot her a smile over his shoulder and kept moving. Why the mystery? "Liam…" Sara sighed, trying not to be as impatient as she felt. "The ceremony is in thirty minutes!" He opened a random door and yanked her inside. She only had a second to look around and see that they were in some sort of storage area… stacks of chairs were against the wall and there were tables leaning against the wall. With all the furniture, there was only an inch of space between Liam and her, which he promptly eliminated when he pressed her simultaneously against the door and himself. She let out a gasp as he kissed her hard, avoiding her perfectly done hair, and then clicked the lock in the door behind her. She jerked away and gasped, "Liam! Thirty minutes!"

"Bet I can make you come in less than ten." Liam answered, sliding his big hand up her leg that she had wrapped around his waist when he had kissed her. She didn't even remember wrapping her leg around his waist… and then she promptly forgot about everything when he slid his big fingers under the hem of her underwear. He moved against her and she groaned, digging her teeth into his neck. He pulled away gently and reminded her, "I can't have a hickey in their wedding pictures, Jen will never forgive us." She nodded, her legs shaking, as he hiked up her other leg so that her legs were wrapped around his waist.

She tightly gripped the lapels of his suit as he murmured in her ear, "Do you think you can be quiet?" He slid his fingers deeper inside of her and she groaned, biting down on his ear, and then shook her head. "I didn't think so… thought it was worth a shot." When he pulled back, he already had a condom wrapper in his hands. He passed it to her and she opened it quickly, forgetting about "thirty minutes," forgetting about her hair, forgetting about everything except the feeling of Liam moving against her. She passed him the condom, which he took with one hand, and then unbuckled his pants as he kept her pinned against the door. When she freed him, she almost forgot about the condom when she felt him in her hand. "Wait…" Liam hissed before rolling on the condom. He positioned himself against her and then slid her down on him, which made them both groan.

She kissed him hard as he began moving against her… her back thudded against the door and she knew that anyone passing by would know exactly what they were doing. So much for being quiet. Her head rolled back against the door and he kissed her neck as he moved, coaxing, moving, thrusting against her. They moved so fast and urgently that one would think that they hadn't done the exact same thing this morning when they had woken up in their bed at Liam's house. "Come on, baby." Liam hissed at her, sucking softly on her earlobe. She gasped, tightening her muscles, and he hissed quickly, "Come. Come for me." She let out a long moan, burying her face in his neck as she came, and he quickly followed. As he moved slower against her, her head fell back against the door again and he smiled, satisfied, down at her. "I knew it. Less than ten."

"So smug." Sara smirked back.

He eased away from her and carefully stood her back on her feet, which buckled slightly since she was still shaking a little. "Not smug," he correctly. "Confident."

Surprised, a laugh bubbled out of it. "You used to say that all the time!"

"That's because I was a bit of an arrogant douchebag." Liam chuckled back.

"A bit?" Sara questioned, raising an eyebrow.

"More than a bit." Liam corrected himself with a sheepish smile, tossing the condom into a small trash can next to the door. "Good thing that's here." He gestured to the trash can.

"Yeah, no kidding." Sara snorted, glad that they wouldn't have to slip out of here with the evidence of what they had just done in his hand. Talk about red handed… more like red faced.

He cupped the back of her neck with his hand and kissed her again. "I'm sorry, baby," he said softly as he pulled her out of the room. "I just… couldn't…"

"Wait until later tonight, after the wedding?" Sara teased back, clutching his hand in hers as they hurried back to the bride and groom's dressing areas. She saw a hotel employee smirk knowingly at her and blushed.

"Promise?" Liam asked as they got to where the hallway split, one direction heading to Aidan's room and the other heading to Jen's.

"Absolutely." She stood on her tiptoes, even in her heels, and pressed her lips to his. He put his hand on her lower back and brought her tighter against him as he kissed her fiercely back. "Soon," she promised when she pulled away. "I love you."

"I love you too." Liam said softly and then backed away without taking his eyes off of her. It sometimes still amazed her that the words seem to roll so easily off his tongue… she would never grow tired of hearing him say it. She grinned back and headed down the hallway to Jen's dressing room. "See you at the altar," he called after her. "I'll be the one next to the groom."

"I'll be on the other side of the bride." She smiled back and then headed back into Jen's dressing room.

"Where have you been?" Jen immediately wailed.

"What happened?" Sara demanded immediately, feeling guilty for slipping away.

"Oh for fuck's sake." Chloe barked from the couch, throwing her hands up. "Your hair looks fine! We've all told you multiple times! Sara, your opinion, please?"

"Your hair looks great." Sara answered dutifully. Jen bit on her lower lip and looked in the mirror again.

Chloe caught her by the wrist and smirked knowingly at her. "How was the coat closet?"

"Coat closet? Yeah, right!" Sara answered, but her voice went up in pitch tellingly. Chloe just smirked at her. She smirked back, shaking Chloe off, and then headed over to Jen's side. "Stop fretting. You're a beautiful bride. You love Aidan. You want to marry him. Everything is going to be great. If you keep gnawing on your lip, your lipstick is going to be non-existent by the time you get to the alter."

Jen's mom Susan bustled into the room and announced, "Five more minutes and then we're going to start lining up!"

"Oh!" Jen fluttered her hands nervously.

"Calm down." Sara soothed as she reapplied Jen's lipstick. "Calm down."

"You look stunning, Jen." Susan cooed, her eyes welling up.

"Mom, don't…" Jen's eyes welled up too.

"No! No crying!" Chloe chimed in anxiously. "Your make-up!"

"Right!" Jen said, looking up at the ceiling as she fanned herself. "I'm okay. I'm okay."

"All you have to do is make it ten more minutes and then you'll be by Aidan's side." Sara kept reassuring her that she looked beautiful as she passed out the bouquets of peonies to the other bridesmaids. She passed Jen the final bouquet of peonies and grinned at her. "Let's do this!"

When she left Jen's side before walking up to the front of the ballroom, she couldn't pretend that she was nervous for her friend, who was almost shaking with nerves. She winked at Liam when she reached the end of the aisle and he grinned back at her. The violinist swelled and grew louder, indicating that the bride was entering next, and then the officiant asked the crowd to stand. The doors opened and there was Jen, beaming, no longer nervous. Sara let out a breath she didn't know she was holding as she watched one of her best friends walk up the aisle to someone, who was clearly the love of her life, and felt a pang inside of her. She hoped to be in Jen's shoes someday… she glanced past Aidan to Liam and found him watching her. She smiled and he smiled back before mouthing, "I love you." She grinned wider and mouthed it back before masterfully fanning out Jen's train and taking hold of her bouquet. She actually got a little teary as she watched them exchange vows… she was just glad that Liam loved her as much as Aidan clearly loved Jen.

Later, after a whirlwind of pictures, speeches, cake cuttings, and tears, Liam held Sara close as they danced to "Breathe" by Faith Hill. It was the first time they had managed to be alone and talk all day. Liam smiled down at her and then asked softly, "Did you get choked up during the vows?"

"A little bit." Sara admitted, her cheeks flushing. "They were sweet." She usually hated handwritten vows, but (for once) Jen and Aidan's vows seemed sweet and heartfelt.

"Yeah, they were." Liam agreed, pulling her closer to him. She smiled back and he brushed his nose along her cheekbone. "You smell so good, baby."

"Really?" Sara asked, a little surprised. "I'm wearing the same old perfume I always wear. I've worn it since I was twenty."

"Trust me, it's not just the same old perfume to me." Liam remarked. She pulled back slightly, questioning, and now it was his turn to blush. "Your perfume…" He paused and seemed like he was searching for the right words… she waited patiently. "When we were apart, I couldn't get it out of my head. It… it smells like home to me."

Sara was surprised she didn't melt into a puddle at Liam's feet. Overcome, she simply leaned in and kissed him. He kissed her back, hungrily, like he was trying to memorize her. When they pulled back, she whispered against his lips, "I love you."

"I love you too, baby." Liam answered, tightening his arms around her.

"Caught up in the touch. Slow and steady rush. Isn't that what love's supposed to be?" Faith Hill sang.

Yes. Absolutely.


Author's Note: One chapter left! A little mushy and fluffy, I know!

until next time,

a smile that explodes