by Nicole DeVincentis
When he woke in the morning, he ran his hands through his wavy blonde hair and turned toward the sleeping figure lying next to him. His clear blue eyes settled on her face, as the morning light caressed her cheek, finding the red in her dark hair. He shifted closer, curling on his left side, not wishing to wake her just yet.
Her hair was strewn across the pillow, and her face was turned toward him. One hand rested beside her head, and the other was lying lightly on her slender stomach. He rearranged the blankets, covering her up, and then settled back against his pillow. He exhaled gently and her thick, black lashes fluttered, though she remained asleep. Her white tank top contrasted sharply against her tanned skin, and her breathing was deep and even. One thought ran through his head, repeatedly: how lucky he was to wake up to her each morning.
He leaned forward to place a kiss on her nose, and felt her stir. As he leaned away, he noticed the smile on her face, and she opened her eyes. Her doe-like, brown eyes stared back at him in adoration. He held her gaze for a few seconds, before saying, “Good Morning.” He reached forward to tuck a strand of hair that had settled on her cheek, back behind her ear.
She stretched slowly against the pillow, “Is it morning already?” she asked, squinting into the sunlight playing across the sheets.
He smiled broadly, “Yes, it is.” He covered the hand that was placed over her stomach with his own. “Back to reality.”
“Reality?” she laughed. “Is this a dream?” She said, turning on her side and facing him. She curled her fingers with his and closed her eyes, relaxing to the feel of his thumb stroking her hand.
“If it is, I don’t ever want to wake up.” She kept her eyes closed, but a smile curved her lips upward. Her fingers squeezed his lightly in a loving gesture.
She lay listening to the sound of his gentle breathing, lulling her back to sleep. He was content to stay exactly as he was, admiring each of her features. She must have felt his eyes on her, because suddenly, she smiled. “Stop staring,” she said, keeping her eyes closed.
His hand moved to play with her long hair, running his fingers through the even strands. She snuggled closer, nestling her head against his shoulder and letting her hand rest on his bare chest. He rested his cheek on the top of her head and continued playing with her hair. It was a while before he spoke and when he did, it was almost too quiet for her to hear. “How did I get so lucky?”
Her eyes flicked open, and she inclined her head to look directly at him, stating in a sober tone. “I’m the lucky one.”
His face was mere inches from hers and he shook his head, “You’re perfect.” She started to say something, but he put a finger to her lips. “I love everything about you.”
She squinted her eyes at him. “Everything?” she asked, slightly teasing. But what he said next made her heart race, reminding her why she had fallen in love with him.
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed each of her fingers, ticking off the reasons for his devotion.
“You are the most precious thing in my life,” he said, with a kiss to her forefinger. “I love the way your eyes shine when you smile.” A kiss to her middle finger. “I love the sound of your laugh, and the way you snuggle with our children before bed.” Another two kisses.
At this point, he looked up from her fingers to see her staring intently at him. He released her hand and moved to hover over her. She lay back against the pillow while he looked down at her, resting his weight on his forearm.
“I love hearing you sing in the shower,” he kissed her forehead, and then added, “even when you’re off-key.” He said, laughing lightly. She playfully smacked his arm, laughing along with him. He pulled her close, and rolled them so that he was lying back on the bed, with her chest flush against his. Her hair fell like a dark curtain over her shoulder, tickling his bare arm.
He smiled and cupped her cheek, so that he could look directly into her eyes. “I love the way you look at me. The smile that stretches across your face every morning, when you open your eyes. I love the way you love our children. I love how you take care of us, and how gentle you are with my heart.”
Her lips parted and her eyes began to tear. His thumb stroked her cheek, “As yours is mine, my heart belongs to you and it always will.”
Tears started slipping down her cheeks, “I never imagined someone could love me like you do.”
“I do.” He curled his hand behind her head and brought her forehead to rest against his. “And if you let me, I will spend the rest of forever proving it to you.”
She lowered her lips to meet his, and kissed him sweetly, then nuzzled her head into the crook of his neck. Placing her palm against his chest, she felt his heartbeat and sighed contently. She was very aware of her own heartbeat, and how it had slightly accelerated when they kissed, and now, had settled to a steady pace, beating in rhythm with his.