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|Throttled(Men of Inked #3) by Chelle Bliss|
Chapter 10 ~Never Say Never
Never in a million f**king years did I think I’d be standing in a church dressed in a tuxedo, not as a groom at least. I wasn’t a cynic. I just never found anyone worthy of my time or commitment until Suzy walked into my life. Sometimes when we least expect it and stop looking, fate has a way of playing its hand. Mine came in the form of a drop dead gorgeous girl broken down on a deserted street. I thank my lucky stars each God damn day that her car was a piece of shit.
“You look a little nervous, son,” Pop said, slapping me on the back, pulling me from my thoughts.
I rubbed my hands together; they slid easy from the sheen of sweat that formed over my entire body. I wiped my brow, feeling more nervous than I had ever felt in my life. “I am, Pop. Just never thought I’d be standing here.”
“Amazing the place hasn’t burst into flames,” Anthony said and laughed. “We surely aren’t the church going crowd and Lord knows we’ve broken more than one commandment.” He fidgeted with his bowtie, pulling it away from his neck.
I laughed, his words were true, but that wasn’t why I was nervous. I turned to my Pop who had a smile on his face. “Did you feel this way when you married Ma?”
He nodded, his smile growing larger. “I was scared as hell, son. It’s a big step to take in one’s life. It’s a serious commitment, but times are different now. I didn’t live with your mother before we got married like you’ve lived with Suzy. It was a leap of faith.” He grabbed my shoulder, squeezing it gently. “Do you love her, son? The type of love you can’t be without for even a day?”
“I do, Pop. I know she’s the one. She makes me a better person, and I want to be surrounded by her and make a family. I want to be in your shoes one day. Suzy is more than I deserve.”
“She isn’t more than you deserve. You two were made for each other. Just like your mother and me. She brings peace and tranquility to my life and gave me an amazing family. My life would’ve been meaningless without her.”
I didn’t doubt that marrying Suzy was the right decision. The events of Friday night scared the shit out of me. The thought of losing her drove me half-insane. I’ve never wanted to need someone in that way, but I did with her. I needed her in my life, needed her to be mine, and wanted to spend the rest of my days on earth with her.
The door creaked open, as Ma poked her head inside. “Where’s my baby boy?” she asked, opening the door with tears in her eyes.
“Why ya crying, Ma?” I asked, as she wiped the tears.
“Damn, I’m going to mess up my makeup.” She pulled a tissue from her bra and blotted the skin under her eyes. “I just saw Suzy and she looks stunning. I’m the happiest woman in the world today. They’re tears of joy.”
“How is she, Ma? Is she okay?” My heart pounded, my throat feeling constricted by the button up shirt.
“She’s better than okay, she’s glowing and ready for the ceremony to start.” Ma wrapped her arms around me, holding me against her as she spoke. “You’ve made me a happy woman, Joseph. I couldn’t love Suzy any more than I do if I had given birth to her myself.” She rubbed my back as she kissed my cheek.
“You just have baby Gallos in your mind, Ma,” Michael said as he kicked back in a chair against the wall. He looked so put together and calm.
“So what?” she asked as she placed her hands on her hips and turned toward Michael. “I’m old, boy and all I want is a baby…just one damn baby. Is that too much to ask?”
“Not really, Ma, but it’ll happen when it happens. We’re still young and enjoying our life,” Michael said, leaning forward resting his elbows on his knees.
“By the time I was your age, I had four children. I enjoyed every bit of my life and maybe more so since it was filled with such love. Children don’t end your life, Michael, they add to it.”
“Bullshit,” Anthony muttered, covering his mouth and coughing.
Ma narrowed her eyes at him. “Anthony, you better stop acting like a playboy and living your hollow existence. You have to settle down sometime and when you do, you’ll regret all the years you spent alone.”
“I’m rarely alone, Ma.” He smiled, his hair flopping over his forehead.
“I mean emotionally alone.” She stared at him, waiting for him to respond, but he didn’t. “Okay, I want a picture with my son on his wedding day. Where’s that damn photographer?”
Pop walked toward the door, pausing as he opened it. “I’ll go get him.”
As the door clicked shut, my ma turned to me. “Nerves are normal, son. Once you see how breathtaking Suzy is in her dress, everything else will fade away.” She rested her head on my chest, as she held my hand.
“I know, Ma. I’m just ready to get this started. I hate waiting; I’ve never been a patient man.” I kissed the top of her head, getting lost in the strawberry scent from my childhood.
“You don’t say.” She laughed, squeezing my hand. “Just like your father.” She sighed, drawing her body closer to mine. “I wish Thomas could’ve been here. I’m more worried about him than I’ve ever been, Joseph.”
“I know, Ma. I haven’t spoken to him in a while. He’s too deep undercover now. I don’t like it, not one f**king bit.”
“Ya’ll are going to burst into flames with the language in this room. We are in a church,” Izzy said as she entered the room with Pop and the photographer.