The splash of warm water against my back is the only warning I have before I feel Beth’s soft body pressed against me. I turn and she loops her arms around my neck and uses the water’s buoyancy to lift herself up and wrap her legs around my waist.
I wrap her in a hug and then slide my hands to palm each of her ass cheeks for a squeeze.
Her lips move against my ear and I can feel the vibration of whatever she’s saying against my chest.
“I can’t hear you,” I shout over the music blasting from the speakers mounted all over this part of our backyard.
She says something in reply, but the music is too loud for me to make it out.
I tug her arms, but she holds on tighter. The sound she’s making resonates, but I can’t hear what she’s saying.
She resists my tug, but I’m strong than her. I peel her wet, bikini-clad chest off mine until I can see her face. She’s pouting.
“I can’t hear you,” I enunciate my words, but don’t bother raising my voice, she wouldn’t hear me, no matter how loud I spoke.
She reads my lips and her eyes widen in understanding.
“Ohhhh.” Her plush pink lips pucker to form the word. She turns her head almost 90 degrees to the right, then to the left, to look around our packed backyard.
Her hands slide up my water slicked shoulders and link behind my neck, almost absently, and I watch her while she takes in the carnival like atmosphere in our backyard.
She’s beautiful, even more so now than she was at nineteen. I admire the tanned and creamy skin of her shoulders and make a note of the new freckles that have joined the constellation I’ve been mapping over the decade we’ve been married.
Her hair is short again and I love it. She’s been wearing it this way again for almost a year, and I think maybe she’s settled on the look. But, I’ve learned better than to try and predict what Beth Bosch will do.
When she looks back at me, she’s grinning. She takes in my unamused expression and her smile instantly turns upside down. She shakes her head as if she disapproves of the ruckus, too.
I roll my eyes and smack her ass and her grin reappears, bawdy and suggestive this time. “Let’s go inside,” she mouths. I nod and without putting her down, wade toward the steps.
Beth clings to me, rolls her hips and tightens her legs so that her wet heat is pressed to my hips. She drops her head to pepper my throat with hot kisses and my entire body responds to her silent command,
She gets turned on in crowds, and normally, I’m down to take her to the nearest bathroom or broom closet and make her come. But, in our backyard surrounded by hundreds of people, there’s no way. She’s kissed her way up my jaw and is almost to my mouth.
I growl and squeeze her ass under the water, but I pull her hips back and give her warning look. She steals a kiss and smiles mischievously, but stops humping me.
Unlike our yard, the pool is sparsely populated. The sun has gone down, and the two of us are one of the last to get out of the water. No one can see what we’re doing.
But, if I get out of this pool with a boner, there’s no way I’ll make it all the way across the packed yard and into the house with no one noticing.
Just the thought of that being caught on camera shrivels my wood.
I put her down when we get to the steps and link our fingers as we climb out. The sun’s gone down, but it’s still almost eighty-five degrees. These hot summer nights are one of the only things I like about living in Houston.
We cut our way through the crowd of similarly clad people. They’re facing the stage set up on our back lawn singing along to the music, dancing, kissing, and having a great time. I squeeze my mom’s shoulder as we walk by her and Joe. Rose, Nadia’s daughter, sits perched on Joe’s shoulders. Phil and his wife stop kissing long enough to smile when we squeeze past them.
Beth and I exchange surprised smiles. If he’s smiling, then we must be doing something right.
We hit a dense patch of revelers and find our way blocked by a cluster of women dancing in a tight circle. I tap the shoulder of the woman in front of me. She turns around, a toothy, ecstatic grin on her face. When she sees me and Beth, she grins even wider. “Great party!” she yells, exaggerating the movement of her lips as she speaks.
I don’t recognize her, but clearly she knows who we are, so I smile and yell back, “Thanks.” Then, I point past her, indicating that we want to pass. “Ooh,” she smiles apologetically and hustles her friends out of the way.
We’re about halfway through the crowd when our song starts to play. It’s the one I wrote from our wedding vows.
Almost nine years later, Between Now and Forever is still a favorite cover for bands, including the one entertaining this crowd.
The crowd hoots and claps as the opening strains start and I wrap my arms around her from behind and pull her warm, still damp body against mine. She relaxes against me dropping her head as we sway to the music.
“You asked me when I’d stop trying; I said never.
You asked me how long I’d love you; I told you forever.
Because from the moment I saw you, I knew I’d found my always.
The paradise in your eyes is where I want to spend the rest of my days.”
The light from the stage casts us all is shades of blue and white. And even with all the noise, with her in my arms it’s like being in the labyrinth garden we built as a replica of the the original’. We dance there nearly every night when we’re at the lake house. And, almost always to this song.
This is the beginning of a new us.
This is the start of our new world.
One where we can see forever.
One where we’ll always be together.
Our love story isn’t your everyday romance.
And I know it’ll never end.
Because this is us…
And us, is forever.
She turns around and looks up through her lashes. Those still lavishly expressive, heart-slaying eyes of her make my heart stand at attention.
I drop my head and take her mouth with mine. When my tongue sweeps along her lower lip, I taste the mango and the vanilla from cake she made for our son’s birthday. I love this woman so much, she’s the flavor, feel, and sound of my happiness.
A body slams into my back, making us stumble and breaking our kiss. A beefy damp hand pats my shoulder a few times and by the time I turn around to see who it, they’ve blended into the crowd.
“Come on.” I take her hand again and start back through the crowd. This time, not stopping until we’re through the crowd and on our way to the house. Our backyard was the selling point of this house. It’s a little more than a full acre in size. Once we’re away from the concert area and the pool, the noise isn’t as oppressive because we didn’t set up speakers.
We approach the large carnival like tent we set up as a makeshift dining area.
“Hey,” Loretta shouts waves us over. She’s squinting and sweating from the smoke and heat, but that grin on her face says it all. She’s in hog heaven.
She’s got at least five different cuts of pig and six different flavors of sausage on the smoker grill she’s standing in front of. She ordered it for the house when she moved in five years ago.
We stop upwind of the billowing, applewood smoke, but the smell of the smoked meat and spices fill the air with a mouthwatering aroma and I make a mental note to come back and grab a few links before they’re all gone.
“Where you two sneaking off to?” she shouts, louder than necessary and I press a finger to my lips and look around for signs of our youngest children. They’ve got radar that goes off whenever we’re trying to find time alone.
“Inside for just a minute, but keep it down,” I tell her.
Beth wraps her arm around my waist, tracing the outline of the muscles at my side, but leans closer to Loretta. “We don’t want the kids to follow us,” she winks.
Loretta rolls her eyes heavenward and shakes her head in exasperation. “You two are like those horny little monkeys we saw in Bali last year,” she scolds.
Then, with the lightening fast reflexes she thanks twenty years in jail for honing, she slaps a marauding hand away from the meat she’s got cooling on a rack next to the grill. We make our escape while she scolds the unfortunate soul naïve enough to think they could get one past her.
Lolo, as the kids call her, is legendary for her eagle eyes and heavy hands.
We’re almost at the sliding glass doors that lead from our terrace to our kitchen when Beth stops and groans.
“God, this is a total shit show,” She lifts her foot up and peels a discarded pineapple wedge off the bottom. She holds it out in front of her and glares at it.
“Too bad that pineapple wedge isn’t a mirror,” I quip and hold the door open for her to step into the house.
“What is that supposed to mean?” she asks, indignantly as we step into our blessedly quiet and clean kitchen.
“That this poor man’s Coachella that you planned is turning out exactly as I predicted,” I say and duck just in time to dodge the pineapple.
“It’s not that bad,” she insists, crossing her arms in front of her and glaring at me.
I eye her coolly and wordlessly as I make slow work of peeling the pineapple off the wall behind me.
“Right, sure. This is all perfectly normal,” I say meaningfully, my eyes never leaving her face, as I drop it ceremoniously into the trashcan.
She throws her head back and laughs in self deprecation. “Fine, it’s terrible. But look at him. He’s so happy,” she says and points to the huge stage set up across the entire width of our massive back lawn. Our son, Spencer is playing his guitar, surrounded by his idols. His shoulder length dark brown hair flies like a wind-whipped flag around his head and his shirtless torso is speckled with glitter and confetti from the hundreds of tiny cannons that went off when we sang happy birthday an hour ago.
Before our yard turned into a mosh pit.
“He would have been happy if we’d gone to dinner. That is what you call euphoric.” I say sarcastically, but I’m smiling while I watch him and two hundred of his closest friends have the time of their lives.
“I’m thinking after everything he’s been through, he’s due a little euphoria. So, it will be worth the cleanup.”
“And replacing the trampled grass. And the noise complaint,” I add just to tease her with a wink before I walk over to the fridge.
“Oh, those guys only complained because we didn’t invite them. And I showed the policeman our permit for the event. He was so excited when he saw Jack and Porsha, I invited him to join us after work. He’s been here for an hour,” She volleys back, undaunted.
This party was her idea. When she told me she wanted to invite every kid in our son’s sixth grade class to his birthday party, I didn’t blink. I was just glad he finally wanted to have a birthday party. It wasn’t until I saw the bill for the caterer she hired that I realized she meant his entire grade.
It wasn’t the 21 kids we hauled pizza to his class’s end-of-year party. It more than a hundred kids, their siblings and their parents. In a few cases, all three of their parents.
“Semantics,” she’d said with an unrepentant smile when I asked her.
I open the fridge and pull out a pastry box. When I turn around, she’s moved to the huge island and is standing between me the white stone countertop. Her hands are behind her, resting on it. The position pushes her bikini-clad breasts forward and I give her an assessing once over. She’s a Pelaton evangelist and her body shows it.
The black bikini isn’t skimpy, but it’s hot. I’ve enjoyed watching her prance around in it all day. “You look good enough to eat,” I drawl and eye her breasts with unabashed hunger.
A satisfied smile spreads across her face.
“I was hoping you’d say that, I’m in the mood to be eaten,” she says and then reaches us up untie the top of her suit.
“Beth, there might be people in here.”
“Lucky them,” she says and her top falls.
I put the small boxes down and stalk over to her. Her eyes gleam, and she cups my cock through my shorts.
“Mmmm, baby you’re hard already,” she croons. I drop my head to her breast and pull one of her plump nipples into my mouth. Her skin is cool in my hot mouth. I taste chlorine and honey and life on my tongue. Her hands roam my back and her hand slides into my shorts and her cool, soft hand wraps around the throbbing erection.
I lavish her breasts with attention until she’s lost the rhythm of her stroke and is making that sweet sound that is more beautiful than any note my piano has ever made.
I press her back until her back is flat on the counter. I pull her bottoms off and take her in. She has tattooed what I call love notes all over beautiful body.
Her brother James’ name is right below her collarbone. The one on her ribs now has several lines below it.
Live free or die trying.
You are my wildest dream come true.
Below that last sentence, she’s listed our children’s names. - Ella, Jameson, Kennedy, Spencer.
On the inner curve of her left breast, my name is scrawled between two four-leaf clovers.
I kiss them all. I lick her navel and run my teeth over the swell of her hips. I stroke the swirl of stretch marks that cover her lower stomach where she cradled our daughter so lovingly.
Her pussy is bare save for the small patch she keeps shaped into whatever catches her whimsy. Right now, it’s a thunderbolt. I press her thighs apart.
“Watch me,” I command and she props herself up on her elbows and gazes down at me. And then, I put my mouth on my wife’s exquisite cunt and eat it like the life-giving fruit it is. I could do this all day. On any part of her body. It’s all mine and there’s not an inch of her I haven’t put my mouth on.
When she’s soft and wet and begging me to fuck her, I stand and push inside her in one hard thrust. Her back arches and she spasms around me. I lean over her, her hands come up to cup my face and we kiss while I make love to her like we have all the time in the world. Because we do. Even when my body fails, our love will go on.
* * *
“You’ve got barbecue sauce on your cheek.” I reach over and wipe the sauce off her face and lick it off my finger.
“This is so good. I don’t miss much when we’re away, but Loretta’s barbecue is something I wish we could take with us,” she says around a mouth full of food.
We’re sitting on the floor of our kitchen underneath the huge painting of our family that she finished when Spencer’s adoption was finalized last year.
Ella was born after a year of trying and two rounds of IVF. After her, we adopted the rest of our family. Jameson joined us when he was three years old. Kennedy when she was eleven and Spencer, the birthday boy when he was six. It’s a full and busy life.
The band tours every other year now. But even when I’m not touring we both travel a lot. It’s why we settled in Houston. Penn and Joe are here. So are Phil and Ramzi, and Dina and Tyson. Porsha’s extended family is here so she and Jack are frequent visitors from their home in London.
It’s become home and this house we built from the ground up is perfect for us. Beth’s studio is out back. She paints for her Instagram account and her website. But her real love is a boarding school she helped found. It provides tuition free, high caliber art focused education for exceptionally talented children. Her students come from all over the world. And she teaches there during the school year.
But for two months every summer, we up sticks and go to our house in East Winsome. Our kids love it there as much as we do.
"Me, too. We need to look at getting a grill set up there so we can.” I shove the last bite of sandwich into my mouth and glance at my watch.
“Jack and Porsha will be here in about twenty minutes,” I remind her. She claps her hands.
“Oh my gosh, this is going to be the best summer. The kids are so excited. I can’t believe everyone’s coming this year.”
“I can. I paid for it,” I say dryly and she slaps my arm in reproach.
“It was your idea, Carter. And it’s worth every penny to have everyone together in our place. It hasn’t happened since the wedding.”
“I know. I’m excited,” I say sincerely as I push to my feet.
“Where are you going?” she calls when I walk around the counter and out of her line of sight.
“Getting dessert,” I say and open the fridge.
The last of our party guests left hours ago. The kids are all asleep and we came down to raid the fridge in anticipation of our trip tomorrow.
I pull out the pastry box and eye the mango cheesecake inside. We usually have it on her birthday, but this year, we’re going to the lake house early and I don’t want to miss our annual tradition.
I grab two forks from the drawer on my way back to her.
“Happy Birthday, early,” I say as I drop next to her on the floor again.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you remembered to do this,” she gushes. She grins as I open the box and hand her a fork. She swoops in, her fork aimed to take a huge chunk and I grab her wrist.
“Wait, make a wish,” I say when she looks puzzled.
“Where are the candles?” she eyes the cake hungrily.
“Use your imagination, and make a wish,” I insist.
She closes her eyes and after a few seconds a satisfied smile spreads across her lips. That smile is one of my greatest sources of pride. I’ve had the privilege of putting it on her face for the last ten years.
She opens her eyes and they’re full of happiness and gratitude. “Thank you for this life of mine, I pinch myself about a dozen times a day,” she says and my heart trips, stumbles, and falls in love with her at a million miles a second.
She wraps her arms around me, I plaster my body to hers, wrapping my arms around her and holding her to me as I make love to my baby like she deserves. Gently, fully, slow, long.
Each time I push back into her, she calls my name and claims my love for her own.
I won’t let her go.
Not now that I’ve finally found the place where I belong.