Mending Heart

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Epilogue

Epilogue

“Completely and perfectly incandescently happy.” – Jane Austin, Pride and Prejudice


[3 Years Later]

“Where’s your lingerie?” Zoey called out from the walk-in closet.

I rolled my eyes as I threw another pair of jeans into my suitcase. “Get out of my closet, Zoey!”

This girl really needed to learn boundaries.

After a few moments of silence, Zoey cleared her throat. When I turned around, she was standing in the doorway holding a very revealing plunge neck black lace bodysuit and grinning from ear to ear. “What about this one?”

“Oh my god!” I marched towards her and snatched the material out of her hands. “You’re way too invested in my sex life.”

Although she did have good taste – I’ll give her that. The lingerie she picked out was one of my favorite pieces, and I may or may not have crumbled it up and thrown it in the suitcase hoping she didn’t see.

Zoey was almost twenty-two now and about to graduate college, but it didn’t make the awkwardness of the situation any less awkward. At least not for me. It seemed she had no issue discussing the intimate details of my relationship with Ethan, meanwhile, I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole every time she opened her mouth surrounding that.

“One of us has to be.” She replied in a sing-song voice, throwing herself onto the large bed. “You washed these sheets recently, right?”

I’m going to kill her.

“I’m sending you to mom’s if you keep this up.” I narrowed my eyes in her direction, hands on my hips. She was testing my patience today.

Zoey flew home for spring break a few days ago and had been staying in the spare bedroom downstairs. It wasn’t anything new – ever since I moved in with Ethan every time she came home she would stay here. Ethan had no objections since the two of them were practically best friends, but I, on the other hand, wanted to strangle her half the time.

I loved my sister to death, but she had zero filter.

“You love me too much to make me go through that.” She snorted. When I turned to look at her, her eyes were closed and she had tucked her arms under her head. “Is Ethan finally going to put a ring on your finger during this little getaway?”

“What?” My head whipped to the sound of her voice, completely taken off guard by her question. Quickly recovering, however, I said, “I don’t need a ring, Zoey.”

“I know you don’t need one,” She scoffed, and if her eyes weren’t closed I bet she’d be rolling them right now. “But it would be nice.”

“It would be nice.” I nodded to no one in particular. I never thought I’d hear myself say that, but then again I never thought I’d love someone else so quickly either.

Ethan came into my life like a hurricane determined to destroy every wall of protection I built around myself. He completely changed my outlook on... well, everything.

It’s true that only time can heal you, but sometimes, it helps if you have someone along to help speed up the process.

To help put the pieces back together.

To mend your broken heart.

Ethan and I hadn’t talked about taking our relationship to the next step, and in part, I think it was because he was afraid I would run for the hills if he brought up the word marriage. For me, nothing much had changed on that front. I was still a firm believer that titles don’t define a relationship, but the people do.

Whether he was my boyfriend, fiancé, or husband, he’ll always be Ethan to me.The sweetest and most caring guy in the world with a soft spot for animals and charity, and an even bigger protector.

“See,” Zoey practically shouted. “Even you agree!”

“We’ll see.” I sighed, nibbling on my bottom lip. A ring would be nice, but it would do little to change how I felt about Ethan or how he felt about me. “Anyway – why are you in such a good mood?” I asked suspiciously. Of course, there was nothing wrong with her being in a good mood, but it was strange.

Strange for Zoey at least.

“What’s wrong with being in a good mood?” She cracked one eye open.

“You’re usually more of a grump.” I shrugged, continuing to eye her suspiciously.

“I am not a grump!” She laughed, although the small blush that made its way onto her cheeks and the way she avoided my gaze, didn’t go unnoticed by me. “I found out I got an A on my biology midterm.”

“Mhmm.” I hummed, pulling open a dresser drawer and reaching inside to grab a pair of sweats. “Whatever you say. But when you’re ready to tell me the truth, just know I’m sitting on the edge of my seat waiting.”

She didn’t get to reply because the front door slammed shut, and Ethan’s voice rang out from downstairs. “I’m home.”

“I hope he stopped by Stan’s to get me a Nutella donut like I asked.” Zoey grinned as she jumped up from the bed and padded towards the door.

“When did you –” There was no point in even bothering to finish that sentence because she was already halfway down the stairs.

“Behave!” I yelled after her. Who needs children when you have a grown-ass adult sister acting like a five-year-old, I thought.

After I finished putting the last of my toiletries in the suitcase, I zipped it up and set it by the door. Ethan and I were going to Colorado for the weekend. All he would tell me about the trip was that it would be just the two of us and that I needed to pack comfy clothes, which could only mean one thing: hiking.

This man had an unhealthy obsession with the outdoors and spending time in nature. The first time he took me camping two years ago and made me sleep in a tent, I swore it would be the last. I made it clear that moving forward if there wasn’t a hotel involved, he shouldn’t even bother asking me to come along. He thought it was funny, but he never again asked me to go camping. Instead, he took Adam and Eric with him – something I was more than okay with.

Nature and I just didn’t mix. It was one thing to spend the day outdoors, but you won’t catch me outside in nature after nine.

I blame all the creepy crawlers for my distain of the outdoors.

When I did finally go downstairs, Zoey was happily munching on her donut in the kitchen and Ethan was in his home office. “We talked about you working when you got home.” I glared at him from the doorway.

Ethan’s eyes snapped up to meet mine, and he looked like a deer caught in the headlights. “I’m technically not working.” He flashed me a sheepish smile, closing the desk drawer he was rummaging through.

“And I technically don’t care.” I crossed my arms, leaning against the doorframe and raising an unimpressed eyebrow.

“I’m all done in here.” He raised his hands in surrender, tilting his head to one side with patronizing amusement. “Look –” Closing his laptop, he stepped around the desk and made his way towards me. Once he was standing in front of me, he placed his hands on my hips and leaned down to peck my lips.

“How was your day?” He asked, his green eyes studying mine for a moment. Unable to look away, I allowed myself to relax under his touch and wrapped my arms around his neck.

“Better now that you’re home.” I mastered a smirk and pushed myself on my tip-toes to be able to reach him. His fingers traced slowly down my spine, my breath coming out quicker against his wet lips.

I will never get tired of how right it felt to be around him.

“There are other people in the house, you know!” Zoey scowled, covering her eyes for dramatic effect as she slipped past us.

“We’re putting her in a hotel next time.” I deadpanned as Ethan tightened his arms around my waist, throwing his head back and laughing.

“I heard that!” Zoey shouted from the living room, thoroughly amused by the entire thing.

“Good!” I shouted back. “You were meant to!”

.............

“Next time, can we please go somewhere where there aren’t any mountains,” I whined, lifting my hand to wipe another bead of sweat threatening to roll down into my eyes. Ethan thought that on our first full day in Breckenridge, Colorado, it would be a great idea to go on a twenty-four-mile bike ride from Breckenridge to Frisco – and back.

Twenty-four fucking miles!

“I promise next time I’ll let you pick where we go.” Ethan laughed, rolling his eyes playfully before directing them back on the pavement in front.

“You always say that.” I practically growled. “Yet somehow, we always end up somewhere with fucking mountains and hills.”

“Okay grumpy,” Ethan continued to find amusement in my misery. “Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?”

“No.” It was my turn to roll my eyes. “I woke up and climbed on the side of a mountain instead.”

“We’re almost back at the hotel, and then we can go eat.” He chuckled, and if that was his way of trying to be encouraging, he certainly was failing miserably. “You’ll live, baby.”

“Will I, Ethan,” I retorted, very tempted to push him off his bike and then laugh at him. “Will I?”

After dropping off our bikes, Ethan and I each took a quick shower and got dressed for an early dinner. I wanted to order room service and have it brought up to the room because I felt like my limbs were on fire, but someone wouldn’t let me do that.

An hour later, after even more whining and complaining on my part, Ethan and I were sitting outside on the patio of a cute and dainty Mediterranean restaurant. The temperature had dipped for the day, and the cold breeze was a welcome change from the scorching sun earlier.

My eyes scanned our surroundings, while Ethan scanned the menu. Despite my lack of enthusiasm surrounding the activities Ethan picked for us, Breckenridge was a really cool place. It was typically a ski resort, but they were open all year round for tourists. With its European-inspired architecture and relaxed atmosphere, it was the perfect getaway – especially for city people like us.

After the waiter had brought out our food, I immediately draped the napkin over my lap and picked up my utensils. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until the plate of Moroccan chicken was placed in front of me. The different blend of spices invaded my nostrils and made my stomach growl.

Halfway through our meal, Ethan glanced at his phone and then back up at me. “Megan’s pregnant?” He stared at me, eyes slightly wide and eyebrows furrowed together.

“How do you know Megan’s pregnant?” I finished chewing and then swallowed the remaining bits of my chicken before setting my utensils down and leaning back in the chair.

“You can’t answer a question with another question, McKenzie.” His eyes lifted on me, and I continued to hold his stare.

Megan was, in fact pregnant.

She found out last week when she called me and told me I needed to come to her house as soon as possible because it was an emergency. My mind went to the worst possible scenarios, so I left work early and drove straight there. Imagine my surprise, when the so-called emergency was that she wanted me to be present while she peed on the six pregnancy tests she bought from the pharmacy.

When all six tests came pack positive, Megan had made me promise not to tell anyone yet. So how Ethan knew, was beyond me.

“Yes, I can.” I challenged, reaching for my wine glass. “Now, how do you know?”

“Eric just texted me,” Ethan smirked over the rim of his glass while I took a sip of mine. That explains it, I thought. Looks like Ms. I don’t want to tell anyone until I’ve seen my OB, caved, and ended up telling Eric before.

Not that I can blame her.

The two of them had been trying to have a baby for the past three years, and despite two rounds of IVF and God only knows how many fertility specialists later, they had practically lost all hope. It broke my heart to see Megan go through all of that, only to be disappointed time and time again when the test was negative.

But, things have a strange way of working out in the end.

“He wasn’t supposed to tell anyone.” I scowled, and he snorted – focusing on his drink.

“And why not?”

“Because Megan doesn’t want anyone to know yet.”

“But she told you?”

“I’m her best friend.”

“It doesn’t work like that, babe.”

“Yes, it does.”

“No,” He laughed, a deep and unrestricted laugh, as he leaned his forearms on the table. “It doesn’t.”

“Hush!” I narrowed my eyes at him, lifting the wine glass to my lips and drinking the last sip.

Clearly he didn’t understand how the girl code worked.

............

The next morning, I woke up before Ethan. Taking advantage of the peace and quiet before he woke up and dragged us onto whatever adventure he had planned next, I slipped on my discarded robe and opened the glass sliding door leading out to the balcony.

The room had a small balcony with two chairs and a round coffee table overlooking the mountains, and it was my favorite part about our hotel room. Ethan and I spent hours out there last night, just talking and finishing a bottle of wine before the alcohol kicked in and clothes started flying.

I don’t know how long I was out there for, but eventually, I heard the balcony door sliding open behind me. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw Ethan step out – his hair wet from the shower he just took. He had also changed into actual clothing, meanwhile, all I had on was a white robe covering my naked body.

“Good morning, baby.” His calm and soothing voice broke me out of my daze.

“Morning,” I mumbled, leaning against his chest while he wrapped his arms around my waist.

“I missed you in the shower.” Ethan’s mouth rested near my ear while his arm around me tightened.

A smirk tugged at the corners of my lips, and I twisted my head to look up at him. “Should’ve invited me in with you then.”

“Next time, I will.” He smiled crookedly before tilting his head down and pressing his lips against mine. He kissed me slowly, his lips skimming over mine – teasing me.

“You’re beautiful.” He murmured against my swollen lips before kissing me again. Except for this time, it was deeper and it left little room for any thoughts. His tongue probed every inch of my mouth, and I eagerly kissed him back, desperate to inch closer to him.

Kissing Ethan was dangerous because you never knew whether it was going to end with your clothes on or off.

Our kiss eventually slowed, and I was the first one to pull back. As Ethan and I continued to stand out on the balcony, in each other’s arms, he was the first one to speak again. “Thank you for being so amazing all the time and making every day an adventure.”

“You’re not so bad yourself,” I said as the heat rose from my stomach to my chest, and slowly onto my cheeks.

“Close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“Just do it, McKenzie.”

Closing my eyes, Ethan shifted behind me slightly before I heard him tell me to open them again. When I did, he was holding his hand out in front of me, and in it was a pale blush velvet ring box. Cushioned in between the padding, was a beautiful white gold princess cut diamond ring. It had one large diamond in the middle, followed by a series of smaller diamonds surrounding the band.

Simply put, it was breathtaking.

Words seemed to have escaped me as I continued to gape at the engagement ring in front of me.

“Marry me.” I felt Ethan’s hot breath tickle my ear, and my heart jumped as I tried to recall how to breathe. “The very first time I laid eyes on you, McKenzie, I knew you were going to be trouble.”

He then continued, “You’re stubborn and opinionated as hell, but you’re also the most caring and passionate person I have ever met – and someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. I can’t imagine not being able to hold you, kiss you, and grow old with you.”

“So, Mckenzie,” Ethan cleared his throat, shifting nervously against me. “Will you do me the honor of um... marrying me?”

My heart hammered hard in my chest, and my lips curled upwards in a smile.

“Yes.” I breathed out. Then, I twisted in his arms so that I was facing him. Looking up into his piercing green eyes, they swirled with specks of gold under the bright morning sun as he scanned my face. “Yes!” My voice had gone up an octave, and I couldn’t stop my grin from spreading. “I’ll marry you.”

Ethan visibly relaxed, his eyes continuing to study mine for a moment longer before he slipped the ring on my finger.

His proposal was perfect.

He didn’t get down on one knee, didn’t have a whole long speech planned out or any elaborate theme with hundreds of roses – it was just him and I.

Just the way it had been from the very beginning.

As I continued to admire the sparkling diamonds, Ethan’s voice once again snapped me back to reality. “Well – soon to be Mrs. Thomas,” He grinned, hoisting me up in his arms and walking back inside the hotel room. “What should we do today?”

“Mrs. Thomas, huh?” I playfully raised an eyebrow as I wrapped my arms around his neck.

“Yes. Do you have a problem with that?” Ethan challenged, his voice leaving no room for debate.

“Nope,” I smirked, coyly planting a gentle kiss near the corner of his mouth. “I like the sound of that.”

“Me too, baby,” He mumbled against my lips. “More than you know.”

The End

_____________________________________________

Well— that’s technically the end of the book! Brb while I go look for a box of tissues😭

A/N: Thank you so much to everyone who has read along, voted and commented! You all are what keep me writing ! ❤️❤️❤️

This book will have four additional bonus chapters I plan on releasing later on. I’m thinking the first one will be published when this book hits 500K reads on Wattpad 🤩 So keep an eye out for those, and make sure you follow me because I’ll post an announcement when each bonus chapter is released.

In the mean time, if you wouldn’t mind leaving a review of this book as an inline comment here. I’m curious to see what you all thought of the book as a whole, and anything you would change or would like to see more or less of. I plan on taking reader feedback into consideration when I go back and edit in the next couple of weeks.

As a side note, during my Q&A on Instagram I mentioned that in the future I’ll be writing a college romance. I’ve decided that when that does happen (not any time soon) it’ll be a Zoey spin off! Who’s excited?😏

Lastly, be sure to check out my other works in the next chapter if you want to read more from me and don’t forget to please please please leave a review of this book!

Love you all!

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