It's cold, isn't it, Bridge? You warm enough?
I nod. I'm wrapped in a blanket by the fireplace in our bedroom. Four of the smallest lanterns are lit and the fireplace is the only light besides. He's poured us some champagne but as per tradition they're in little jam jar-style cups because that was what we had for special occasions.
We clink the cups together. Slàinte. I smile and take a tiny sip. He drinks his in one go and pours another. Finally, you are mine.
I was yours from the very start.
Officially, I mean.
The wedding doesn't count?
Not really, no.
This is outward. Obvious.
My tattoos don't count?
No, Bridget. Like I said, this is the big one. The one I was waiting for. Hoping for even. It's like Christmas in June.
Juneuary, you mean. I am cold.
Jesus, why didn't you say something! He takes our full glasses and puts them on the hearth and pulls me in closer to him. Skin to skin. He is so warm I feel instantly feverish in proximity. I get a kiss that would melt steel and then he swears into my mouth, picking me up, dropping me down on my back on the floor, putting his weight on me as he whispers things I can't hear, as his hands travel over every inch of my skin, as he ends with my new name, as if no one has heard it before, nevermind the dozens of times he caught me talking to myself in the mirror, introducing myself at the tender age of ten as Bridget MacIntosh and he'd laugh and promise that I could, as soon as we can. And he'd smile like everything is right with the world. It mostly is as far as he is concerned and he doesn't seem to mind that his bride with the new name is dragging some larger than life ghosts and a demon or two behind her. He seems like he has room for everything.
I nod again. Very warm now. Holy.
He pulls me back up to a sitting position after, tucking me in under his arm, pulling the blanket tight around us. The fire is too big and he lets it go down a bit. We've made our own warmth, made our own climate here. We finish our champagne. It's bad luck if you don't.
Ready for sleep?
I nod, staring at the flames. Don't pinch me. This moment is as perfect as a moment can be.
I love you. I blurt it out like it's an emergency. It is. My heart wants to explode right now and I don't think it's ever felt like this. It feels everything so deeply but not like this. Not. like. this.
I love you, Bridget, he says as he scoops me to my feet. He takes a minute and just stares at me with a smile. His hair is a soft loopy halo around his whole face. He's beautiful.
I get one more kiss and then I'm out like a light. I didn't even wake up once.