Love Realized (The Real Love Series)
Author:Melanie Codina

EPILOGUE

Gillian rolled over and groaned as she felt the stiffness in her neck from lying in the same position for too long. Reaching up to rub the stiffness out, her hand was immediately replaced by a warm, strong one, and she felt herself begin to melt into his touch. Jake knew exactly how to rub out her stiff muscles, which was good, because she couldn’t seem to escape the stiffness. Even though her shoulder healed up as it was supposed to, it still got very stiff and achy at times. Knowing that today was going to be a long day anyway, since it was Jonathan’s graduation day, his skilled working of her muscles was a good thing.

She groaned again, but this time it was because of the sheer ecstasy that was Jake Michaels’s fingers. Feeling his body press up against her from behind, she melted a little more and pressed her bottom back into him. His hardness was always a welcome good morning for her, so without hesitation she reached back to slide her hand between them and show him her appreciation. Jake halted her hand’s progression with his, as he groaned and moved her hand away. “Don’t worry, beautiful, I'm not denying you anything. I just have to get you in a better position.” He finished that off by kissing her shoulder.

She felt him shift away from her a little, and then he was back, pressing up against her entire body with his. Confused, she attempted to look back at him, but his arm stretched forward and rested on the space of her pillow in front of her. When he moved his hand, there was a little blue box, complete with white ribbon, sitting there in its place. Her hand flew to her mouth as she gasped at the sight of what could only be a ring. There had been times over the past six months where she was actually surprised that Jake hadn’t asked her to marry him. It wasn’t like she could ask him why, but she wondered. Allie told her that it was probably because she was a giant pain in the ass, and he was waiting to see if he really wanted to. This, of course, was Allie’s way of deflecting Gillian’s concerns, and she was grateful for it.

Jake made a nervous sounding laugh behind her, making her realize that she hadn’t said or done anything yet. Cautiously reaching out, she tentatively touched the silky white bow. She rolled it between her fingers and verified it was really there. Still worried about it disappearing, she picked it up and gave the box a little shake. Yes, it felt real. Another nervous laugh came from Jake as he said, “I can’t tell if you’re afraid of it, or if you just don’t know what it is. You do know that there is something inside the box, right?”

It was her turn to giggle nervously as she attempted to untie the bow. She was having trouble doing it in the position she was in, so she maneuvered her body so she was lying on her back and Jake was on his side, looking down at her. She now had the box in both hands as she held it out in front of her, and stared at it some more. This was it, she thought. Jake was going to ask her to marry him. Slipping the bow off, she stared at the box for another few seconds before she lifted the lid. Blinking a few times to make sure she was seeing correctly, Gillian couldn’t help but be disappointed at what she found inside the box.

Looking over at Jake, who was smiling like a fool, then back to the box that didn’t contain a ring, Gillian felt the tears well up in her eyes. One rolled, unchecked, down the side of her face as she pulled out the folded piece of paper from where she thought a ring would be. She couldn’t tell what the paper was, or said, since it was folded up tightly. Looking over at Jake again, she couldn’t help but get annoyed at the fact that he looked to be enjoying her obvious disappointment. He huffed a laugh as he removed the empty box from her hand and said, “Open it, beautiful.”

Well, what else was she going to do? The anti-climactic discovery of a shitty piece of paper in a blue box from Tiffany’s wasn’t enough of a disappointment, so she needed to see what the hell could be on the stupid paper. Carefully unfolding it, since it appeared to have been folded for quite awhile, she didn’t want to rip it. Once she got it unfolded, she squinted her sleepy eyes to try and make out what the markings on it. A receipt?

Pulling it closer to her eyes, she could see that it was, in fact, a receipt. Some of the markings were worn off, and she could see that there was a few that were deliberately covered. Then her eyes landed on one that was highlighted and circled in red ink. It was a date. Looking closely, she could make out that the date was November 15, 2012. Unsure what this was supposed to mean, she look to Jake to ask when he answered before she could, “It’s the date I bought it.”

Still confused, she waited for him to continue. When she felt the receipt removed from her hands, and the box being placed into them, she gasped again. This time, it was because nestled inside the box, where the receipt had originally been, was a beautiful diamond ring. It was simple, and elegant, and everything about it screamed her style. It was perfect. Looking over at Jake again, he smiled back and in a voice full of nervousness said, “I’ve waited so long to do this, that I was worried you might say no, so I had to come up with something that would give you all that you would need to know. That way, when I asked, you wouldn’t be able to say no.” He paused and took in a deep breath, then said, “Gillian, will you marry me?”

Gillian couldn’t help the smile and giggle that bubbled up. Jake had just asked her to marry him, and he looked nervous as hell doing it. She was glad that she wasn’t the only emotional one as more tears leaked from the corners of her eyes. He was still staring down at her expectantly, waiting for her to answer. Her head started nodding before her mouth was able to get the words out. But finally she managed a breathy, “Yes.”

And then his lips were on hers, taking and taking more. She gave all that she could give and wanted to give more. Setting the ring box to the side, her hands dove into his hair to hold him against her. Their tongues battled for more of the other, and she moaned in disappointment when he pulled away too soon. Looking down her, he stroked her hair from her face as the two of them stared each other. He whispered, “Can I have you forever, Gillian?”

The sweet husky sound of his voice was enough to make her arousal spike. As her body heat rose, and her need to feel him inside her became insistent she said, “Yes, Jake. Take me, I'm yours … forever.”

Jake took her lips again, and his body began to make her body sing. The passion she felt when they were together could almost be described as overwhelming at times, but there was nothing in the world she would rather be overwhelmed by. As he claimed her body as his over and over, she fell into an abyss of pleasure that had her gasping for air, a place that only Jake could take her.

Sometime later, the two of them were still lying in bed when Jake found the ring box. Removing the ring, he smiled at her as he took her left hand in his and slowly pushed the ring up her finger. Once it was secured in its place, he leaned down and placed a lingering kiss over it. Lifting his head from her hand, he smirked and said, “I'm glad you finally listened to me when I said that you are mine, woman.”

She laughed at his words, and then without thought, blurted, “Why the receipt?”

Again with the smirk, he replied, “I tried coming up with all sorts of ways to propose to you. Romantic, sweet, all that stuff that would make it memorable. But every time I came up with something, it came back to my concern that you would only think that I was asking because you had found out your pregnant.” Pausing, he took a breath. “I didn’t want to ever hear you say the word no to that question, so I figured, if I showed you before I asked … you would have no need to say no. I bought that ring for you … before.”

It was strange to her that she hadn’t even thought of her concerns lately that if he had asked, it would have only been because of her finding out she was pregnant. She immediately felt bad that she had placed that kind of stress on him when she would have said yes no matter what. “I'm sorry, Jake.”

He shook his head at her, shrugged, and said, “I also wanted to wait until your divorce was final, so since that was yesterday, I didn’t want to wait another day. I had to make you mine.”

“Oh, Jake. I’m already yours,” she said as she pressed her lips up and met his.

Pulling back, she was met by his smile as he said, “Yeah, you are, beautiful.”

Once again, her eyes filled with tears and started to immediately overflow. Embarrassed at her girlish ability to cry at everything, she wiped them away and said, “I thought it would take a miracle for me not to cry all day because of Jonathan graduating. We haven’t even made it out of bed, and I’ve already been crying.”

Jake gave her a knowing smile as he slowly slid his body down the bed. Both of his hands cupped her oversized belly as he placed a reverent kiss on the top. Gently rubbing the overstretched skin with his hands, she felt the baby shift and move around as if she knew Daddy was there. Placing another kiss to her belly, Jake lifted his gaze to hers and said, “Well, then I guess it’s a good thing we believe in miracles around here, isn’t it?”




About the Author

Melanie is an amazing mother of four, an awesome and tolerant wife to one, and nurse to many. If you don’t believe her, just ask anyone in her family, they know what to say. She is also a devoted chauffer, the keeper of missing socks, a genius according to a six year old, the coolest soccer uniform coordinator according to a twelve year old, and the best damn ‘mac-n-cheese-with-cut-up-hot-dog maker in the whole world. Well that last title isn’t really official, but it’s still pretty cool to be called it.

When not being ordered around by any of the kids, you can find her with her nose in a book or on the sideline of a soccer game cheering on one team or another. But that’s mostly because she has a thing for the coach. When she is not doing all of the above, you can find her obsessed with a group of fictional characters all vying for a spot on the page of whatever she’s working on. It’s a fun and crazy life to lead, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

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