Mended Page 37

River hugs me. ’’Welcome to the family.’’

Dahlia squeezes me. ’’It\s so amazing that you both found your way back to each other.’’

Before I know it, River tugs on the cork and it goes flying. I jump, startled by the noise. Laughter fills the room when he spills a little on the floor and flashes a grin. ’’I always say I\m not much of a bartender.’’

Xander whispers something to him that I can\ hear. River nods and then the two embrace, pulling their sister in as well.

River turns back to the crowd and hoists a glass high for a toast. ’’To Ivy and Xander. To true love.’’ We all clink our glasses and tears of joy well up in my eyes. Bell makes a sweet toast, then whispers in my ear that she has to leave but she\ll be calling me to plan the wedding. That makes me laugh I\m sure she will. Aerie, Jagger, Leif, Garrett, Nix, and Phoebe join us. Several more toasts are made, not only to us but also to a successful album. At this moment life just couldn\ be more perfect.

Looking around the room, I see us surrounded by a group of people who have become my family, and the man in the center of this universe who is my life, my love, my happily-ever-after. He wraps his arms around my waist and holds me tight. ’’I love you,’’ he breathes in my ear.

When I turn to look at him, to tell him how much I love him, I catch a glimpse of that boy I loved so long ago, and it makes me think about my life growing up. I wasn\ a little girl who played dress-up, had tea parties, or even liked the color pink but I was a girl who dreamed of her prince charming and a fairy-tale wedding. That\s why the girl who always wore black clothes and combat boots melted when she laid eyes on him for the first time. At first glance, I just knew he was my prince charming, my happily-ever-after. Now, his teeth find my shoulder for a nibble and I shudder. Xander Wilde the boy may have broken my heart once upon a time . . . but Xander Wilde the man, is the one who mended it.


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