With every happy ending, there’s a new beginning, and with every up there’s a down, a yin to the yang, an opposite to attract.
Dominic and I went through the ups to our downs. It was only three months later, I found out that he’d signed on to be my kidney donor. And that I needed his kidney. Lupus affected us daily, sometimes in a tiny way and sometimes in a big way. That day, it’d been a big down. Catastrophically big.
We’d fought about him giving me an organ for days but, in the end, he wouldn’t lose that fight. Within a week’s time, his whole family was there acting like I was a part of the family too. His parents hovered around, his brothers and sisters made themselves at home, and no one listened to him at all when he yelled that he wanted them all to go home. They stayed and were there for us through the surgery. It was a testament to the highs coming with the lows. I had a new family that would always be there for me.
And kissing him before surgery, crying in his arms, that might have been a down. But seeing him wheeled into my hospital room after the surgery, that was a ginormous up. Especially when that gorgeous man smiled at me, laced his fingers through mine and said, “Well, I owed you my life, and now I got to give you back yours. Guess I’m a part of you now, huh, little fighter?”
We were back in our home healing, but after five weeks, I’d felt ready to get back to work. After three more, the bakery was back to normal. And we both were living a healthy life.
Although Dominic didn’t seem to understand that I was able to do anything with that life even on the days he was supposed to be flying around the world while I handled our wedding preparations.
“What are you doing?” I heard his voice at the front of Sugar and Spice Bakery.
“Why are you here?” I questioned as I set the finishing touch on the cupcakes I was making.
“No. That’s not the question. Why the fuck are you here?” he growled as he walked in and then around the counter to the kitchen door to shove it open angrily.
“Don’t be a grouch, Dom,” I mumbled but didn’t look up because I was concentrating on frosting the last cupcake.
“It’s midnight.” I’m sure his jaw was ticking.
“I’m aware that it’s late. Your flight was supposed to be coming in tomorrow.” I took a step back and stared at the art. I’d started taking event orders for the resort and this order was for a six-year-old girl having an unicorn party. The mother didn’t seem to care if the unicorns were done to perfection on top of the cupcakes, but I did. And it’d been an extremely busy day, so the only time to get this order done for her daughter’s birthday at the resort tomorrow was now.
“The bakery opens up at six.” Was his shoe tapping, too, like he was waiting impatiently for a response?
“Can you come here and tell me if the eyelashes look like the unicorn is smiling?” I ignored his statement because I needed help. I hadn’t done cupcakes like this in a while.
When I finally glanced up to take him in, I almost gasped at the way his hair looked like he’d combed his hands through it numerous times, the way his muscles bunched in frustration, and how his eyes drilled into my soul.
For a second, his brow furrowed, and he opened his mouth like he was going to say more before he snapped it shut and rounded the counter to come to the back of the bakery.
I attempted to step to the side, but his hand shot out and gripped the stainless steel prep table blocking my way. His body shoved up against mine, and his other hand went to the metal too, caging me in. Dominic surrounded me, looking over my shoulder at the cupcakes, and there was no controlling how my breathing picked up the pace. “You stayed here to make cupcakes until midnight while I worried about you across the damn country? Do you answer your phone ever?”
“I put my phone and watch away today. They were bothering me.”
“How am I supposed to check on you then, cupcake?” His hand wrapped around me, and he nestled into my neck.
I sighed but couldn’t hide the tremble in my breath. I dragged a finger across the cool steel edge of the table, trying to focus on that rather than the equally hard man up against me. My thighs quaked from how close he was, how I felt his cock right up against my back. I let my hand drop off the table just as it was about to touch his though. I couldn’t feel his skin against mine right now, knew if I did, I would indulge in what I shouldn’t. “I’m an adult.”
“And you’re my fiancée. I need to make sure you’re okay 24-7, because knowing you, you’ll be out planting flowers without sunscreen or painting walls without a mask or, in this case, staying up way too late working.”
I scoffed. “We actually do need to plant flowers tomorrow outside, and I needed to get this order done so that it can be off my mind over the weekend.”
“No. We’re not going out in the sun with—”
I rolled my eyes. “Don’t start, Dominic. Being outside is good for you. The sun provides us with vitamin D, too, which—”
He turned me to face him and placed his hands on either side of my face, his thumbs rubbing back and forth on my cheeks that I knew were reddened by the sun just today. “You love the sun, and yet you’re practically allergic to it. It’s life’s biggest joke. Just like it’s life’s biggest joke that I’m so in love with you that I can’t say no to you even though it’s what should be done.”
“So, does that mean you’re going to say yes to a lattice above our wedding walkway?”
He groaned immediately. “Why are we discussing a wedding that I told you I wanted to plan after our lives have settled down?”
“Because it takes a long time to plan.”
“How long?” He frowned.
“I don’t know. Probably a year. We have to send out invites and—”
“I’m not waiting a whole year to marry you, cupcake,” he growled. “We don’t need a big wedding, and you have a whole resort and all the staff to plan it for you. Marry me this summer.”
“Dominic, what if your family can’t make it?” I said it with a smile though because I didn’t want to wait to marry him either.
“I can barely get my family to leave me alone, Clara. They’ll make it. We’re getting married in three months.”
“What if I want a certain band. They book out,” I pointed out, just to irritate him now.
He shook his head and stepped close, grabbing my ass, and yanking me against him. “I’ll get whatever band or singer you want. Just let someone else plan the thing. Actually, I’ll take care of it. I don’t want you stressed.”
I felt his length growing against my stomach. “Or you want me focused on other things.” I pushed away from him and turned to pick up the last tray of cupcakes to put away. “You also are going to agree to the opening of four more Sugar and Spices, right? And we’re pushing the poppy cupcakes to be sold at bakeries around the country, correct?”
He eyed the open refrigerator and pointed. “Give me a poppy cupcake, and I’ll think about it.” He said it like he truly had a say. Dominic had watched me grow in the past few months fast, in a viral way almost. He’d told me every time I got nervous, “Own it, Clara. They see your worth. It’s time for you to see it too.”
And I’d started to. I’d just started negotiating with large brands, pushing my product into the right hands, and wasn’t hesitating to tell anyone no if I felt uncomfortable. I’d done it all on my own, and Dominic had stood by to watch, smiling the whole damn time.
I played with his cupcake necklace on my neck as I acted like I was thinking about it. “I don’t know if you deserve a cupcake. You didn’t give me my present yet.”
“Present?” he questioned.
“You got my necklace there?” I murmured and glanced at his hands.
Confused, he flicked his gaze over my neck and then saw where I was staring. Immediately, he smirked as he flexed his hands before he slid one up my neck. “I thought I’d wait to get you home but forget it. My wife in her bakery taking the cock that’s hers is all I really want. I’ll say yes to everything else for you just to get what I want now.”
I hummed, “Good, the flower walkway in our wedding is going to cost you millions,” I told him as I lifted my skirt, holding his gaze over my shoulder as I bent and arched my back a little.
“Don’t give a fuck, cupcake. You can have anything you want as long as you take this cock.”
I laughed. “At least you’re owning it, future husband. At least you’re owning it.”