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Engaged to Mr. Wrong

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MOOSE’S NOSE IS PRESSED up against the car’s window. He’s watching the houses go by as I slow down and turn toward the wide drive.

This is the last trip. The movers have arrived with everything else, and I’ve done the final clean on my apartment. I turn toward our new home in Brookline, Massachusetts.

I told Jesse I could move into his place, but he insisted. He said we wouldn’t be able to make a home together if I moved into a place that was only his.

So, we bought a new place. It’s not far away from his old house, but it’s a bit smaller. Instead of being a huge McMansion with too many bedrooms and bloated foyer spaces, it’s smaller, with a cottage-like feel.

It’s perfect.

Moose and I turn down the long, winding driveway. Trees stretch overhead in a high, green canopy. Dappled sunlight falls on the road in front of me and I take a deep breath.

“We’re home, Moose,” I say, smiling in the rear-view mirror. Moose looks at me, tilting his head, and I chuckle.

“Yep. All this space will be yours to explore.”

After a year in my small apartment in Boston, I know my little French Bulldog will love all this space. He seems to read my thoughts, and yelps happily as he looks out the window.

The driveway widens and our new home appears. It’s a two-story cottage, with a big yard and tons of flowers in bloom. It looks like it should be in a Disney movie, and there might be magical little birds waiting to say hello to me.

The movers’ van is still there, and I pull my car up beside it. As soon as I open the door, Moose runs out and starts rolling in the grass. I laugh, crouching down to play with him.

Another tiny, high-pitched bark makes me turn my head. Jesse is standing in the doorway, smiling. In his arms is a wriggling ball of fur. He sets it down and it comes bounding toward Mr. Moose.

Moose lifts his head and freezes as he watches the incoming furry bullet. The little dog comes to an abrupt stop, sniffing at Moose hesitantly. The older dog stays completely still, watching the puppy’s movements. He dips his head and rubs it against the puppy, who then snuggles up against my dog’s body.

My eyes widen as Jesse walks toward us.

“Who’s this?”

“I thought Mr. Moose might want some company.”

“Oh my goodness,” I breathe, creeping closer and extending my hand. The puppy looks at me suspiciously, sniffing curiously. Moose jumps toward me, nuzzling his head into my hand as if to say, ‘it’s okay, she’s safe.’ The little puppy yelps and comes closer, and then both dogs are crawling all over me, licking every inch of exposed skin as I fall back onto the grass.

I laugh, screaming as they both tickle me. Jesse watches, smiling. He finally puts me out of my misery by picking up the new dog.

“She’s a rescue,” he explains. “I saw her yesterday and picked her up this morning.”

“She’s adorable,” I say, scratching the puppy’s ears. “What breed is she?”

“A mix, I think. They found her lost and alone in an alley last week.”

“Poor baby,” I say, taking the tiny dog from Jesse’s broad arms. It nuzzles into my chest and my heart melts. “She’s so cute. What’s her name?”

“I was thinking we could call her Bambi. Keep the deer theme going. And it seemed appropriate, seeing how we found her.”

“It’s perfect.”

Bambi barks in agreement and we both laugh. I put her down again and Moose continues his inspection of his little sister.

Jesse puts his arm around my shoulders and kisses my temple. I lean into him, sighing contentedly.

“Thank you, Jesse.”

“For what?”

“For pushing me to buy this house with you. For moving in with me. For getting a new dog. For everything.”

Jesse chuckles, running his fingers along my jaw.

“None of those things were hard to do. I want to live with you and be with you forever. I want Moose to be happy. I love dogs, and I love you.”

“In that order?”

Jesse laughs. “What if I said yes?”

“I wouldn’t blame you,” I grin. “I have similar priorities.”

He laughs again, touching his nose to mine. Seeing him smile still sends shivers down my spine. It’s like I can feel his happiness radiating through my own heart. He wraps his arms around my waist and tilts my chin up. When his lips touch mine, I melt into him. His hands sink into my back and my nipples harden to pebbles, pressing into his chest.

When his hand sinks down to my ass, I shiver and moan into his mouth. Our kiss deepens, and I tangle my fingers into his hair. I pull him down closer, standing on my tip-toes to feel every bit of his body against mine.

Someone clears their throat behind us, and we pull apart. The movers—three big, burly men—are standing near the front door, grinning.

“We’re finished in there,” the leader says.

“Right,” Jesse says, clearing his throat. His hand lingers on the small of my back as he digs in his pocket for his wallet. He tips the movers, and then nods to them as they leave.

Jesse throws me a glance, grinning. When the van disappears around the bend, I start laughing.

“Forgot myself a bit there,” I laugh. “You make me lose my mind.”

Jesse comes closer, putting his hands on my hips. “And you make me lose mine, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

I melt into his kiss again as a shiver of electricity passes through me. Mr. Moose yelps at my feet as Bambi climbs onto my toes. I laugh, scooping both dogs into my arms.

“Come on,” I say to them. “Let’s show you your new home.”

Jesse leads the way, and I put the dogs down inside the empty living room. We close the dog gates and Jesse grins, nodding down to the stairs.

“I think we’d better christen this place now,” he says as his eyes sparkle.

The tendril of electricity zips down my spine again, and I dip my chin down.

“I think we’d better do that, yeah.”

Jesse interlaces his fingers in mine and we walk to our bedroom. Right now, all we have is a mattress on the floor, but it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters except being with Jesse, together, in our new home.

When we lay down together, the fire in my stomach burns hotter until it consumes me entirely, and I know what it feels like to be truly happy.

A Vegas trip gets messy...and two people get hitched.


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