Long Cold Winter: Chapter Forty-Seven

“I think this calls for a toast.” Albert’s voice broke through the impromptu cheering and whistles. He looked at Matt. “Will you be alright with a glass of bubbly?”

Matt smiled. “Of course. One glass a drunk does not make. A whole bottle, now, that is a different matter altogether.”

laughter acknowledged the joke behind the comment.

Sam stood. “So tell me, Oh Lady of the manor. Will it be against the rules to steal your future husband from you for a night of frivolity?”

Amanda grinned. “Only if it is against the rules for us ladies to have our own bit of fun. Nothing risque, though.”

Albert looked at Sam. “Well, there goes the strippers I rented.”

Matt rose from his knees and looked at Albert. “Mister Senator! How dare you deny those poor strippers! have them dance for you in private!”

Al smiled. “I doubt Mary will understand. After twenty years of marriage, I can’t afford to have her walk out now. She’s the only woman who has been able to put up with me for very long. Besides. I love her too deeply.”

Albert’s marriage had been blessed despite his run in politics. He had been blessed with four beautiful daughters who looked just like their mother. And his wife loved him deeply. And he had been faithful beyond the call.

When many Senators were falling to the temptations of younger women, Al had kept his eyes firmly on his wife. His sense of loyalty and honor had kept him faithful. His love for Mary had only grown more over his six years in Senate.

He had never once gone to a strip-club. Not even as a youth. Or even as a young adult. He had been with Mary since high school. And she had stuck by him through college as well.

Hell. They had married right out of high school. And she was going to college even as she was pregnant with their first child. They were perfect together.

Sam, on the other hand, was much like Lady Jane. He was open in his relationship with Jack, his partner. He wasn’t ashamed to be seen in public with him. And Matt was happy for them.

But, then, he was happy for all his siblings. And his children. They had all done well for themselves. All had found their calling.

That was all that mattered. And they remained close as a family. No matter how much he had tried to push them away. And it made him love them all the more.

He cleared his throat. “Can I have your attention? Please?”

Sam chuckled. “Since when does the great Matt Morrow ask please?

Al elbowed Sam. “Go ahead, oh brother of mine.”

Matt looked around the room. “I don’t know exactly how Amanda is going to arrange you women, but I would like the men to stand with me.”

Sam smirked. “Which ones?”

Matt tried not to laugh. “All of you. Even you, Diva Sam. You are my brother and I will always want you to stand with me.” He turned to the others. “I hope that all the family can be present, even Ty and all at the company. But I am not sure that Thomas and those still teaching will be able to get off for this, but I hope so.”

Amanda smiled. “Girls, I guess that means that he is passing on having you behind him. But I would be proud to have you as my bridesmaids. I have no family, at least none that I know of, that can be here so Egypt,” she turned to her friend, “If you would do the honors of being both Maid of Honor and the one who gives me away, I would be so happy. Especially since you were the one who brought your father and I together.”

Egypt cleared her throat. “Actually, this has been coordinated between myself and Uncle Ty. We have been working on this for nearly ten years. Ty should receive the honor of giving you away.”

Matt smiled. “So. The truth comes out. How many more was involved?” He burst out laughing. “Seriously, though, I thank both of you. And whoever else conspired with you. All of those involved saved my life.” He turned to Amanda. “And you saved me from myself. For that I love you all the more.”

Lynne raised her hand and snapped her fingers to get everyone’s attention. “Just remember. This means we all need to get them the biggest wedding gifts possible so they either have to return some or re-gift them as Christmas presents.”

Tawny giggled. “Yes. We all know how Pops is with those who think that bigger is better.”

Lynne looked over at her, and the whole group spoke in unison. “Been there, done that. Ain’t goin’ back.”

It was late when the festivities and prewedding roast wound down. Amanda took Matt’s hand and led him up the stairway after Sam and Albert left. They had all had fun. And all felt like a family again.

She put her head on his shoulder. “We have a lot to talk over and plan.”

He smiled wearily. “Yes we do.” He stopped at the door of their bedroom and turned to her. “I have never been more sure in my whole life than I am right now. I Want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want you. I need you. More than I have ever needed anyone or anything else in this life.”

She smiled happily back. “I will be proud to walk through this life beside you. I need you too, my love.” She moved closer to him.

He pulled her to him, into his arms. He sought her lips with his own and they stood there in a long, passionate kiss. He swept her off her feet, into his arms and carried her into the room. He laid her gently on the bed.

She marveled. He was full of surprises tonight. First the proposal, now this. She had never really noticed how strong he was until he picked her up. For a man with such a slight build, he was strong. Looks were definitely deceiving.

She smiled as he gently undressed her, kissing the length of her body as he went. It sent shivers down her spine. And lit fires. God, he knew how to please!