Axel met Ricardo’s family and his wife, Harley was so much similar to his mom and Narmadha. Gracie was a ball of energy, reminding him so much of his sister Naina.
The guys surrounded Axel and after the first introductions, they talked and behaved as if they had known him for years. Axel never felt out-of-place for a moment, when the guys offered beer, he declined once again. Samantha gave him a broad smile, making his heart swell.
Samantha appreciated every little thing he did and he was just being him, he didn’t even do it for her sake. He wondered how easy it was to please her. It is also easy to break her, he reminded himself.
Was it going to be like this for the rest of their lives? If it was, how lucky he was to get a girl like her.
“You’re staring,” his father teased as he plopped on the picnic chair next to him.
“I can’t help it,” Axel added after a content sigh.
“I heard what Eric asked you earlier,” Henry stated. “What do you think?”
Axel sighed tiredly and rubbed his face. “Don’t know, dad. Isn’t it too early for that?”
“What does your heart says, Axel?”
“I want her, every time I look at her, I keep wanting more,” he answered truthfully.
“Then, what’s stopping you?” Henry probed softly.
“There are many things. What if I hurt her? What if I can’t make her happy?”
“Her face lit up every time she looks at you. She is happy, son. You make her happy.”
“But, Dad...” Axel drawled in an unsure voice. “What if- what if she doesn’t find me satisfying? What if she hates me if something goes wrong?” He couldn’t meet his father’s eyes as he said that. He found it hard to swallow as emotions clogged his throat.
“You got to be more specific than that, son.”
“I keep thinking this. Alicia, she claimed that I wasn’t a boyfriend material. That I was a sloppy kisser and the sex was so bad that no girl would want to be with me,” Axel confessed. Only his therapist and Samantha knew the details. Speaking about Alicia was hard, yet he needed his dad’s advice.
“Sex is just a part of the married life, son.” Gregory’s voice startled Axel.
“Were you eavesdropping?!” Axel deadpanned.
“Where my daughter’s life is concerned, yes.” Gregory shrugged in a nonchalant manner as he took a seat beside them. Axel shook his head in disbelief and shared a look with his father, his lips set in a thin line.
“If you ask me, I would say that Samantha doesn’t care about your ability in bed. If she chose you, then she will happily live with you even if you don’t have a dick.”
“Gregory!” Henry exclaimed in disbelief.
Gregory, however, shrugged in nonchalance. “What? It’s true. If a girl truly loves you she doesn’t give a damn about your flaws. Tell me, Axel, what will you do if something happened to my daughter after your marriage? Let’s say, she can no longer satisfy your sexual needs. Will you leave her or will you take care of her and continue to love her?”
Axel looked offended as he processed what Gregory just said. “That’s ridiculous. Nothing will happen to her.”
“She is my daughter, Axel. I won’t let anything happen to my baby girl. Now, answer my question.”
Axel thought about it for a moment. “Of course I will love her and I will tend to every need of her,” Axel replied in a sincere tone.
“Now, answer this. Has Samantha ever judged you?”
Axel’s gaze scanned the crowd, landing on Samantha who was laughing at something Amelia said. “No,” he whispered.
“She was beside you at every step you took in the past year. She didn’t leave when you were being a jerk and told her off. Do you think she would judge you now?”
“You have your answer, son. I knew Narmadha was it for me during our third date. She was and is, fascinating. I liked the way she looked at the aspects of life. She loved and protected what belonged to her,” Gregory stated.
“I proposed to your mother during our fourth date. I knew it the day we met, I was a goner when she met my eyes and gave me that bright smile of hers. I knew I wanted to see that smile every day in my life forever,” Henry piped in.
“Do I have your blessings, Gregory?” Axel asked, not taking his glance from Samantha. She met his eyes and gave him a smile, which said everything would be fine.
“Welcome to the family, son,” Gregory clapped on his shoulder. Axel smiled as happiness bubbled within him.
“Oh, and always remember, women like my wife and daughter are a force to reckon with. Always stay truthful and don’t try to hide anything from her.” Gregory warned and Axel’s body shuddered at the memory of Samantha’s outburst.
“I’ll never forget that,” Axel nodded.
“Looks like someone got a taste of it,” Gregory teased.
“You could say that. Fortunately, I was able to explain and make her understand before she could fry my ass,” Axel chuckled at the memory.
Gregory nodded as he took a swig from his beer. “She will jump off the cliff for you, Axel. Treat my girl with the love and respect she deserves. I believe you boy. But, be the reason for her tears you’ll see how worse the wrath of a Sinclair can be.”
Axel regarded Gregory for a moment and knew that he meant every word. He expected the warning sooner. “I’ll never even imagine something like that. I’ll cherish her for the rest of my life.”
“All right, then. Want another beer, Henry?”
“Nah... Sara doesn’t like me drinking, yet she allows me to have one or two occasionally. I already had two and I like to sleep in my bed at nights.”
Gregory boomed with laughter. “Don’t even remind me about that. Never get on the bad side of a woman.”
“True,” Henry joined his laughter as Axel watched them with a smile. His gaze once again found Samantha engaged in a thump fight with Keith, who seemed to win every time.
“Your thumb is longer than mine.”
Axel chuckled internally, hearing her whine, the pout on her lips tempted him to go over and kiss her. He traced the jewelry box once again. Mrs. Samantha Finlayson that sounded perfect.
The sun has set and the night was still young as the youngsters sprawled on the well-mowed lawn, enjoying the last few weeks of warmth before the winter started.
Samantha sat next to Axel, a few feet away from the crowd, exhausted and just observing everyone. Axel noticed the way she kept rubbing her toes occasionally.
“Are you hurt?” He asked with a voice filled with concern.
“Nah... I shouldn’t have worn that peep toe heel. It was a mistake,” Samantha grimaced. Walking around in a five-inch heel was definitely not in her pleasant experiences list.
“Let me see,” Axel said as he slowly pulled her leg on his lap. “You should wear whatever is comfortable for you.”
Samantha burst out laughing. “Then, I’ll have to walk barefoot all day.”
An emotion passed through Axel’s face and he was quick to mask it. “I’d prefer seeing you in barefoot,” his voice a few octaves lower than usual, caressed her insides. And pregnant with his child, his subconscious added.
A satisfying moan left her mouth as he massaged her foot. The youngsters who noticed their small display of affection snickered while the elder’s beamed, sharing secret glances between them.
Axel took his time rubbing her soft feet, the world around him long forgotten. He tickled her now and then. He softly pulled her toe until he could hear a satisfying pop.
“If you keep doing that, I’m gonna fall asleep anytime now,” she confessed and let out an audible yawn as a proof.
“I don’t mind carrying you back to the bed,” Axel shrugged.
Samantha hummed. “I’d say the foot massage is better than an orgasm.”
“What? You think this is better than an orgasm?” Axel asked curiously.
“That was mind-blowing. But, I should admit, this is heaven.” Samantha sighed in content.
“You’re really weird,” he shook his head with a smile. A woman who prefers foot massage over an orgasm was weird, but very Samantha like.
“That I am, come on, Axel, that’s why you love me,” she pouted and he burst out laughing.
“What? You don’t love me anymore?” Though asked in a playful tone, Axel could feel the expectation she hid so well. They never talked about love before and her hopeful look told him she was indirectly asking if he felt something more for her.
“I’ll always love you no matter what,” he admitted. Looking back into her honey brown eyes, he could see the joy starting to light her face, not literally. But, to his eyes, she seemed to glow.
“Yes, I think I am in love with you, Samantha. The more I talk to you, the more I realize I cannot be away from you. Coming here and seeing you all together as one big happy family, made me realize what I’ve lacked all along,” he continued.
“Getting attracted to you, is one of the best things ever happened to me. I don’t know when I fell in love with you, but meeting your family just made me realize how much I love you. I want this sort of happiness for me.”
Samantha squeaked when he climbed up on his knees and adjusted himself so he was standing on one knee. Her jaw dropped as he pulled out an elegant diamond ring, she had seen Sara wearing it a few times.
“I know it’s too soon. But, I have to ask this before I chicken out. I don’t want to walk around you every day with this ring in my pocket, wondering if you would accept me or not. Someone encouraged me saying that you would just know when you meet the right woman.”
“Samantha Danica Sinclair, will you make me a happy man by becoming my wife?” He asked expectantly as she stared at him, mouth agape, and eyes wide, half sprawled on the grass-covered ground.
This was definitely not the way she was expecting a proposal. Hell, she was not even standing.
A chorus and loud giggles brought her out of the trance as she blinked her eyes and looked at Axel once again. He just popped the question. He asked her to be his wife.
“You love me?” Her voice was barely a whisper.
Axel nodded in confirmation.
“You… you really want to marry me?”
Her eyes brimmed with tears as the shock wore off and she grinned widely as happy sobs erupted from her throat. She climbed to her feet and hugged him, shouting her answer for everyone to hear.
Loud claps and whistles erupted from the crowd as Axel slid the ring on her finger before sealing their engagement with a passionate kiss on her lips.