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Sugar Plum Isabella Starling, Jenika Snow 2022/8/5 16:59:18

My eyes filled with tears and I mouthed a thank you at Daddy as we clapped and returned to our meal. I was so emotional, and the fact that Dad had accepted our love so easily was such a pleasant surprise.

Once we’d eaten our fill, Bastian asked me to grab my things before heading to his place. Though Daddy raised his brows at it, he didn’t say a word, and I collected my pjs, another outfit, and some makeup. Then, Dad walked into the room.

“I have a feeling you won’t be spending much time here after tonight.” He laughed, but it was tinged with sadness. “I’m just feeling a bit nostalgic about the old times.”

“Oh, Dad.” I squeezed his hand. “I think it’s time for some new memories.”

“Yes.” I nodded. “I’m already making some, and we’ll also make some together. But you need to start living your life again.”

“I suppose,” he muttered.

“Surely there’s a woman who’s caught your interest,” I insisted. “Why not ask her out?”

“Oh, I couldn’t possibly—”

“Dad.” I gave him a strict look. “You can and you should. Please. Do it for me.”

“Oh, all right,” he groaned. “You’re pushing my limits today, Holly Halliday.”

“Someone has to.” I grinned, pressing a kiss against his cheek. “Have fun tonight, Daddy. I’ll see you soon.”

I ran down the stairs toward Bastian’s car that was waiting in the driveway. We waved goodbye to Rosie, and he drove through the city to his apartment. I was in seventh heaven, thinking about how well the evening had gone and how many promises my life held now.

“Penny for your thoughts, sugar plum.” Bastian smiled at me.

“I’m just… happy,” I admitted. “You make me happy.”

“Good.” He nodded, his hand sneaking into mine again. “Because I want to make you happy for a very long time. Can I ask you an odd question?”

“Your mom—” He gave me a nervous look. “—I’ve just been wondering. Do you think she’d approve of me? Of us?”

I gave it a moment’s thought, realizing how important the question was to him. “Well, she wouldn’t be as giddy about it as Dad.”

He laughed, shaking his head. “Like a kid with a shiny new toy.”

“It was kind of cute.” I grinned. “But Mom… she would be a tough cookie. She’d make you work for her approval.”

“She’d probably want to meet every one of my exes.” Bastian grimaced.

“We’d have a line down the street.”

“Oh, shush.” He laughed. “Maybe we can have another line for your admirers. You barely notice it, but every man we pass stares at you.”

“It’s true.” He winked at me. “At least you have me to protect you now.”

“I’m so lucky.” We arrived home and he helped me out of the car, his fingers intertwining with mine. “So, do I officially live here now that we’re engaged?”

“Yes,” he said firmly.

“Do I get a say?” I grinned.

“No.” He grabbed me and carried me to the elevator. “And I’m doing this every time we get home from now on.”

I knew Holly would be mine the moment I realized what she meant to me on her eighteenth birthday. It was at that moment I’d seen her as a woman, as the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

It had been two years since we’d spoken to her father about our relationship, when we’d finally told the world, so to speak, that we loved each other. And ever since then, my love for her had grown.

I saw her as someone I needed to look after, to grow and build a life with. I didn’t see her as my best friend’s daughter. She was a woman, not just beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well.

For as much as I’d wanted this since I knew she was mine, I couldn’t believe this was happening right now, that this was my reality.

My heart was thundering, my breath starting to come in fast, hard intervals. Fuck, had I ever been this nervous? No. Never.

Over the last two years, we’d been focusing on us. She was still going to college, working on her career, and I loved that. I loved her independence, her drive for life. It was one of the reasons I knew she was perfect for me. I’d never hinder her goals.

And as much as I’d wanted to make things official and legal, slip that ring on her finger and make her my wife, I would have waited forever for my girl to be ready for this life with me.

And I knew I was a hard man to love, a jealous, possessive partner at the best of times when it came to Holly, but when you had something as good as I had, when you had her, you wanted to protect that at all costs.