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It's a small ceremony on a remote beach. Just the team, Tara and Maggie stand with them and – though their surprise guest thinks they don't see him – James Sterling will receive a thank you card for being there.
Sophie's dress is ivory silk charmeuse, thin straps and a gently fitted bodice flowing smoothly into the skirt that floats softly on the sea breeze, dancing down to where her bare feet are nestled in the sand. Her hair is down, framing her face, and she has not stopped smiling since she stepped in front of him. Neither has he. How could he?
He wears sand-coloured cotton trousers and a loose fitting ivory shirt. The sand is warm under his toes; the breeze cooling on his skin while the hot sun illuminates his bride. It's beautiful, this tranquil bubble they're standing in; it's perfect. She is perfect.
He supposes it should feel strange to be so completely captivated and smitten, to be unable to tear his eyes away from Sophie, while his ex-wife is watching. Ex-wife. But it doesn't. He doesn't feel anything but absolute contentment. He's glad he finally got here; that he came to his senses and realised what he had. Of course, he wishes Sam could be there with them, but still he knows this is right. So very, very right.
They've written their own vows. They make more sense to them and to their guests than to the gentleman conducting the ceremony. Julio probably thinks the references to 'evading capture' and 'stealing' hearts are just romantic. They know better. And the widening smiles they share as their promises are made confirm that. And that this was certainly meant to be.
Further knowing smiles are exchanged when Sophie's real name is used for the formal vows. She's still known as Sophie. She may have taken time, those years ago, to find herself, but she never actually laid 'Sophie' to rest. She returned to her, mostly to taunt him by not revealing her real name, but, regardless of the initial reason, she kept her. And she confessed, the night of their engagement, that she could never give her up. It was Sophie who fell for Nate; Sophie who brought her to Nate: She had no desire to be anyone else anymore. (Unless the others called and needed them for a job.)
Finally, finally, they reach the part when he's permitted to touch her. First, just her hands while they exchange rings. Her skin feels softer beneath his touch than he remembers. They spent last night apart (her homage to tradition) and it is ridiculous how much he has missed her.
She is in his arms and his lips are upon hers before Julio has even started his "you may kiss your bride".
He kisses her softly, tenderly, and then more firmly. Making sure she knows how much he loves her; how lucky he feels; how happy he is. They stay close when their lips part. Their guests are applauding but they remain fixated on each other, grinning inanely until they both move in for another kiss.
Though he doesn't want it to, Nate knows this kiss, too, must end. This time, when it happens, he shifts his lips to her ear, inhaling the coconut scent of her hair, before whispering softly, "I know we've got dinner plans with our friends, but at the first opportunity - "
She cuts him off by suddenly moving her head and then she is whispering to him instead. Her words make his grin widen, pre-empting, as they are, what he had been about to say: As if he had needed anymore evidence of her perfection.
She drops back and offers him a sensual smile, her dark eyes sparkling, then she turns towards the waiting group. They applaud again now they have the happy couple's attention. And, though he is delighted to have them all here, when Sophie takes hold of his hand and entwines their fingers, Nate begins a countdown, in earnest, to the moment they can implement their plan: And go steal them some alone time.
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