Lizzy’s hand in mine was cold and clammy. I squeezed it tight.
“It’s going to be fine,” I told her. “More than fine. This is going to be an amazing night.”
“I hope so,” she murmured fervently. “What if I didn’t size the clothing right? What if they don’t fit the models perfectly? What if I forgot to sew something the right way and the entire outfit falls apart as they walk on stage?”
I gave Lizzy a fond smile and brought her hand to my lips, pressing a kiss on the tips of her shaking fingers.
“That’s just nerves talking,” I told her.
We were seated right in front of the catwalk in a special VIP section meant only for the people who were a part of the show, including sponsors, celebrity hosts and, of course, the fashion designers who were going to be featured that night.
When Lizzy had looked at the seating row on our tickets she almost hadn’t believed it. When we took our seats and found ourselves beside a famous reality TV show host, she’d almost fainted on the spot.
“This is so surreal,” she said. “A real fashion show with real models on a real runaway,” she said, awed and in disbelief. “Wearing my own designs.”
“I know you’re anxious,” I said, “but trust me, you’re going to be the star of the show.”
Lizzy gave me a grateful look.
“Thank you for being here with me,” she said. “I know watching a fashion show isn’t exactly your thing.”
“You’re my thing.” I pulled her in close and wrapped an arm around her waist.
Lizzy rested her head on my shoulder but before she could respond the lights went down and the show began. Her face turned to the stage with rapt attention.
As for me, I spent the entire show watching her. Lizzy was right that I didn’t really have any special interest in the fashion, but watching the expressions on her face as the models walked out, one by one, wearing her own personally designed clothing, was entertainment enough.
I was so proud of her. She’s worked so hard, and been through so much, and now all that hard work was paying off. I was happy I could be by her side through all of this.
Well, most of it anyway. Every time I thought about what that Carling asshole did I was overcome with fury. And then immediately afterward, shame.
I’d let Lizzy down. Worse, I’d broken her heart. I’d left her alone to be preyed upon and taken advantage of by an evil bastard.
I hated myself for what I’d done. I hated that Alana had walked into my life just as I’d began to think everything was perfect. I hated that I’d let the pain I’d experienced in my past almost ruin my future with Lizzy.
Of course, I couldn’t blame it all on Alana. It was my fault for jumping to conclusions.
That night when I’d shown up at Lizzy’s place and tried to explain, I’d been hoping she would ask me to stay. I’d been hoping she would tell me what she wanted me to choose her. I was hoping she’d tell me she loved me.
But she hadn’t. Instead, she’d told me to go to Alana.
I should have known that was just the hurt talking. I should have known she was just trying to protect her heart. Instead I’d taken taken her words at face value.
I’d been an idiot.
I sometimes still couldn’t believe Lizzy had decided to take a chance on me again, but I thanked god every day that she had.
The show eventually came to an end. Lizzy was grinning ear-to-ear, her cheeks flushed and eye sparkling.
“Did you see that?” she said enthusiastically. “Everything went off without a hitch. No one’s clothes fell apart!”
I chuckled softly and pressed a kiss to her temple.
The TV show host who was sitting beside us turned in his chair and started chatting her up, asking her questions about her design process. He seemed genuinely impressed with her work, which seemed to be please and surprise Lizzy.
I wasn’t surprised. She was smart, and talented and she deserved all the praise she received.
I stood by her side for the next hour as celebrity after celebrity wanted took a few minutes with the up-and-coming designer who had stole the spotlight that night. The attention flustered her at first, but she soon eased up.
Despite seeming a little intimidated, she always loved to talk about fashion, no matter who it was with.
People finally began to trickle out, heading off to after-parties. Lizzy had been invited to a few, but it had been a long evening and by the time we got to the car she was ready to go home.
“Don’t you want to schmooze with all those famous people?” I teased as we pulled out of the parking lot.
“I’ve had enough schmoozing for one night,” she said. “I think I talked to every single person there by the end.”
I put a hand on her knee and squeezed.
“I told you so,” I said.
“Told me what?” she replied.
“That you were going to be the star of the show.”
Her cheeks flushed pink, but she let out a contented sigh.
“I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading this night for months,” she said. “Now that it’s over I just want to go home and sleep.”
I began to rub her knee, moving my hand upward to caress her thigh.
“Sleep?” I asked. “Are you sure that’s all you want to do?”
She side-eyed me with a laugh.
“Maybe I can muster up enough energy to stay awake for another hour,” she conceded.
I didn’t exactly break any speed limits on the way home but I definitely got us there in record time.
“Let me slip into something a little more comfortable,” she said with a coy, teasing smile as she headed to the bedroom.
My cock twitched with anticipation. Lizzy’s business partner started her fashion brand with lingerie and that meant Lizzy often got to take home samples to try out at home. Sometimes she would put on a little fashion show just for me.
The lingerie never stayed on her body too long on those nights.
I gave her a few minutes to get ready and took my time closing the window blinds, double checking I’d locked the door, and turning off the lights.
By the time I got to the bedroom, I was half-hard and eager to see what little number she’d put on tonight.
When I opened the bedroom door, I found Lizzy laying on the bed dressed in a pure white one-piece lacy thing. She looked like a angel. Like a goddess.
She also looked like she’d fallen asleep the second she’d laid down. Her blond head rested on a pillow and her pink lips were parted with sigh, sleepy sighs.
I smiled softly at the sight.
My sleepy angel.
I kicked off my jeans and joined her on the bed, being careful not to jostle the mattress and wake up her. I pressed my chest to her back and wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her to me. Her lithe body warmed mine.
My heart swelled. I loved her so much.
I pressed a kiss to the top of her head and whispered the words out loud,
“I love you,” I said quietly.
“Mm,” she mumbled. “…Love you…”
I clutched her close to me and thanked every star in the sky for this moment.
This moment with her, and every moment after, for the rest of our lives.