Life On Stage: Beat Part 31

"No. That's underwear. And you're sporting morning wood."

Nolan scratches his head and looks down again. I turn my head, but only after getting an eyeful. "Oh. Sorry, man. I'm just grabbing some juice."

I take the opportunity to pack away my notebook and laptop, hoping out of sight is out of mind.

"We'll be there in about an hour," Flynn says. "Don't forget I'm crashing at your place tonight."

"Fine. But I'm not putting pants on in my place. You get to make the rules on the tour bus, I get to make 'em in Chez Nolan."

Flynn grumbles and Nolan goes back to his bunk. "You know this is ridiculous. Kicking me out of our place."

"It's tradition. The groom isn't supposed to see the bride before the wedding."

"Since when are we following tradition? I proposed in front of fifteen thousand people, and that little peanut growing in your belly isn't because you're a virgin."

I crinkle the napkin on the table and throw it at his nose. Flynn's not wrong. We haven't exactly taken the traditional route to get to where we are today. The day after the incident at Lucky's, our lives turned into a media circus. Pictures of the fight between Dylan and Flynn were sold to tabloids and our faces were flashing on TV for days. While it gave us an excuse to stay holed up in my apartment, I was nervous about what it might do to Flynn's long-term career. He, of course, was not. Unlike me, the man could seriously shrug off almost anything. He stayed true to his "everything happens for a reason" mantra and kept doing what he always did-writing songs, playing music and enjoying life day by day.

Not long after, the reason everything had happened came to light. Apparently, the old adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity is true. In Like Flynn's alb.u.m sales doubled the week after the media frenzy, and within a month the band had its first Billboard Hot 100 top-ten hit. Things steamrolled from there. Instead of dumping In Like Flynn, Pulse Records asked the band to headline its own tour. It started out slow...twenty-two shows in smallish arenas...but with each city they visited, another two were added. By the time the band finished the last show yesterday, they'd played one hundred and eleven shows, and the last ninety were consecutive sell-outs.

Billboard just posted its predictions for the top-grossing tours of the year. In Like Flynn is slated to come in at number three-one rung above Easy Ryder. Speaking of which, four months after our split, Dylan Ryder wed a retired p.o.r.n star-Jamie something-in a shotgun wedding. It wasn't confirmed how far along she was, but from the looks of her belly at the wedding, I'd guess she was already pregnant when we broke up. Everything happens for a reason.

Three months ago, Flynn proposed to me in front of a sold-out crowd in Miami. At the close of the show, I was standing stage-side when he told the audience that the American Airlines Arena was a very special place to him. His words were cryptic; he spoke of a fearless city and how the city had given him his first real kiss. Only I knew he was referring to me conquering my fear and walking on stage for the first time, and the first kiss we'd shared right in the very place he was standing. Then he treated the audience to an exclusive first-I hadn't even known he'd set the "Blur" lyrics we'd finished together to music. By the time he was done playing the song, I was an emotional mess. I was just so overwhelmed with love for the man and so joyful that I'd found him, I didn't realize what he was doing when he asked the audience for quiet and began speaking. I'm not sure who was more shocked when I ran onto the stage to accept his proposal...him or me. Who knew I was ready to make the final leap and walk on a stage in front of an arena full of people? Flynn, that's who.

I'm still not ready to sing on stage in front of a large audience. But I've made progress. Flynn and I even recorded a duet, which Pulse is producing and hopefully will be released in a few months. Step ten, Dad. I'm almost there. With Flynn beside me, I have no doubt step twelve is not too far away. Who knows, maybe I'll be standing next to Flynn when I finally stand on stage again.

Three weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. It wasn't something either of us planned, but seeing how much Flynn adores his niece, I knew he wouldn't be upset. Turned out, he was the opposite of upset-completely over-the-moon ecstatic.

Neither of us wanted a big wedding, so we decided to do it as soon as the tour ended. That brings us to tomorrow.

"I don't remember you complaining when I told you last week. Avery is sleeping over."

"When did you tell me?"

"We were at the Emerson Hotel."

He leans back, sipping his coffee. "You had just flown in and we hadn't seen each other in two weeks."

"So?"

"Were you wearing black lace boy-short underwear, a T-shirt and no bra?"

"I don't know. Maybe?"

"I wasn't listening."

"What?" I'm thoroughly confused by this conversation.

"Your nipples were poking out through your shirt and I really love the black lace boy shorts."

"So?"

"I wasn't paying attention. I would have agreed to anything."

I chuckle. "I'll have to remember that for the next time we're arguing over something."

Taking my place at the back of the small aisle in the chapel, I pause for a moment. My dad should be giving me away today...walking me down the aisle. It's only about a thirty foot walk, but it seems I won't be making it alone anyway. I shouldn't be surprised when my barefoot husband-to-be walks to me and offers me his arm. Just like every day since the day we met, he's stood beside me. It's probably what made him the most irresistible to me. He doesn't want to carry me, he wants to walk side by side.

With Avery and Nolan as our witnesses, along with a small circle of close friends and family, including my Mom, we walk to the altar and stand in front of the minister, ready to become husband and wife. Beaming at us is the most adorable flower girl, in a tiny version of my dress.

We didn't discuss our wedding vows, so Flynn is surprised when I tell the minister I wrote my own. In sonnet form, I pour my heart out in fourteen lines of ten syllables. When I'm done, he wipes my tears and kisses me on the lips.

"Uncle Sinn." Laney tugs at her uncle's jacket and whispers loud enough so the rest of the room can hear her. "You're supposed to wait until he says you can kiss the bride."

Everyone chuckles, including the minister. But my soon-to-be husband leans forward with his usual c.o.c.ky arrogance and reminds me, "Now that you're legally mine, I'll kiss the h.e.l.l out of you in public, wherever and whenever I want."

Finally.

I found the man of my dreams. Only this time, he was real.

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Acknowledgements.

Thank you to all of the amazing bloggers that have dedicated your time to read my books and help share your experience with reviews. Without your voice, it would be difficult to find new readers.

A special note to some people I am incredibly thankful for- To Penelope Thank you for finding a productive use for our hours of chatting. How did I function before finding the other half of my brain?

To Julie For being an opinionated New Yorker and always being honest-even when the truth sucks.

To Dallison For reading my words, especially when the content isn't your favorite subject.

To Lisa For organizing some amazing releases and telling it like it is.

To Sommer for making this absolutely stunning cover!

To all my readers. Thank you for allowing me to tell you my stories. It is truly a gift and an honor to occupy your mind for a few hours. I love your emails and reviews, so please keep them coming!

Much love,

Vi.

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