A For Both are Infinite short story – Stephanie Alba
“Darling,” Rhys calls from our closet. “Have you seen my cufflinks? The ones from our wedding.”
“I think you put them in that case over there.”
I point to one of his many closet shelves. He might be a man, but he’s accumulated so many clothes from stylists and designers. And me. I love dressing him. He looks adorable when he’s casual– and like sex on a stick in the dressier ones. Right now, he’s definitely tempting me. He’s wearing a hell of a tux that fits him and accentuates his body. The pants are tailored to highlight his long, lean legs and his ass. Jesus, that ass is still the death of me.
Rhys turns from his shelf and notices me watching him from the closet entryway. I shift on my feet and look away for a second before meeting his blue eyes again. They never fail to stun me, leaving me exposed in the best way possible. He grins knowingly, biting his lip as rosy color comes to his cheeks.
“I never get sick of that, you know…” Rhys whispers.
“What?” I play dumb, shifting my body and adjusting the fit of my lacy, black thong and my bra.
“You watching me.” He jerks his chin at me. “You always assumed I never noticed you doing it. Especially before we started dating. Before you even agreed to give me chance. But I always caught you, Ellie.”
He walks over and puts his hands on my stretching belly. I melt into his soft strokes on my skin. His gentle touch moves me and I lean in further. His warm hands cup my stomach as if cradling something so precious and delicate, he’s afraid to tarnish it.
“I especially love when I catch you and see you like this. I know you said you feel like a whale, but it’s the sexiest you’ve ever looked. Impending motherhood is my favorite look on you so far.”
Overcome, my response forms a lump in my throat. I swallow it down and put my hands on top of his. His abundance of love has always affected me like this.
“How’s she doing?” he asks.
His eyes always glaze when he does this. When he has moments with her from the outside and it turns into a moment with me. Sometimes, the emotion takes over and we make love because Rhys becomes untamed at the thought of me carrying his child. He doesn’t hold back and it takes over his politeness, his typical gentleness when he’s inside me. It’s the best it’s ever been, and it’s because he’s making me a mother. I know he still can’t believe it. I suppose I can’t either.
I never thought I’d get here. To love again. To be loved again. To have a baby with him.
Life used to seem so different with Aaron. And then after that loss, I always pictured a solitary life. No loves and definitely no kids. It took everything for Rhys to convince me to try for a baby. I had to go to therapy on my own because no matter how much time passes, the fear of loss, of losing him or anyone else I love, is debilitating.
It sneaks up on me, too. Sometimes I just have a bad day, and the grief and fear crawls in under the covers with me. It taunts me as I try to sleep. But other times it slams me against a wall with sudden force during the happiest moments, like when I found out I was pregnant. I was overjoyed at the thought and simultaneously terrified to know that I could bring someone into my life and have them taken from me. I hid it for weeks before having a breakdown. But Rhys was there. He understood. He always does. Unconditionally.
“Beating me up from the inside,” I whisper.
“She’s a fighter like her mum, then.”
I shrug, meeting his eyes. “I suppose so…”
“I know so.”
I smile at the challenge in his words and eyes. For a moment, I pause admiring how far we’ve come.
“So, is she going to call me ‘mum’?” I mimic his accent with a smirk.
Raising his eyebrow at me, Rhys laughs. “She can call you whatever you like: mom, mummy, ma…”
I hum in agreement. “We have to decide on a name, you know. We can’t keep calling her ‘she’ forever…”
“I know.” He nods, bends down and kisses my belly. His lips linger there for a second, before travelling across my abdomen. Warmth spreads through my body at the touch, and the love behind it. Rhy’s lips move against my skin as he whispers something to the baby. I can barely make it out, but he says, “You’ve got the best mummy possible, baby girl. She loves fiercely, just as fiercely as I love her and you.”
He presses his smile to my stomach again before standing up and wrapping his arms around my waist. I have to crane my neck back to make eye contact. His citrusy smell infiltrates my space, drugging me a bit.
“She has the best daddy too, Rhys,” I whisper back.
“I can’t wait to meet her. I hope she looks like you because I love the idea of a little Ellie running around the house.”
I laugh and just lean into him, forcing him into an embrace he willingly accepts. His arms squeeze around my back and pull me as close as possible until I can barely breath. The belly has made it tougher to be this close, but it’s also made positions in the bedroom interesting. It’s been fun discovering different sides of ourselves through it.
Rhys pulls away and places two fingers under my chin to kiss me. His lips caress mine, remaining still over them. My heart is hammering in my throat. He still makes me nervous, still steals my breath and causes stomach to fill with butterflies. He makes me feel like a walking cliché, one that I have no shame in being. I love this man. I love him with a lack of control that I never knew I needed and that only he allows. He has set me free, and after all this time, I can finally embrace it as I embrace him.
Even with all my fears about having a family and the worry of losing them, I know Rhys will always be there to keep me grounded.
His mouth moves over mine after moments of stillness. I can hear his breathing changing and feel his muscles twitch in his back as he grips my neck and penetrates my mouth with his tongue. Lately, all his kisses start like this, tender, doting, before becoming uncontainable. An uncontained Rhys is my favorite. But we don’t have time for this right now.
I pull away enough to speak. “Rhys, we can’t…I want it, but we have to get going or we’ll be late. I want you, but not as bad as I want to go to this wedding.”
He leans his head back and barks out a laugh. “Really? You’d prefer the wedding to me under you?”
My cheeks flush. He likes me on top and it’s always his favorite image to reference when we sext each other. It’s the only position lately thanks to this pregnancy. Not that I’m against it.
“Yes, for now,” I giggle and shove him. “Rhys, this might be my only chance to witness a royal wedding in person! I have to get dressed and we have to get going. The car will be here in twenty minutes.”
“I can take care of you in ten if you need me to be quick.” His voice is gravely. He’s serious, but so am I. My resolve cracks when he kneels in front of me.
“You never take ten minutes and you know it. I mean, I’m not complaining, but I can’t get all sweaty, Rhys. I already had my hair and makeup done.”
Rhys leans in again and licks his lips. “I can take care of you without damaging your hair or makeup. I promise.”
His tongue darting out had distracted me, but it’s the sight of him kneeling before me, his masculine hands dusted in brownish red hair that makes me clench my legs.
“Rhys,” I say, in some incoherent mumble.
He ignores his name that comes out as a warning and a plea. He chooses the latter and slips his long fingers into the sides of my thong and slips it off. My head tilts back as he bites on my hip, the flesh stinging deliciously. Somehow, my underwear ends up thrown on the floor and my eyes roll back as his love bites continue down my leg.
Rhys’ mouth starts to climb up my inner thigh, gnawing and licking my skin. Tasting it before he tastes me completely.
He kisses me there, once. A taunting. “Remember the first time I did this to you…” again he bites my other thigh and I feel his breath dancing on my skin. “You were so nervous, so was I, I admit. I was just as nervous as you are now. I think part of me still is, because I am so desperate to always make you feel that good, like the first time that surprised us both.”
He is speaking so softly, it’s sinful. A quiet secret that causes my body to betray me and reveal all my tells. I can hardly breathe. My heart is floating and sinking over and over in some wild rhythm that he commands.
I nearly lose my balance when he licks me, his tongue intruding between my lips and teasing me. He stops at my bundle of nerves and starts twirling his tongue in tight circles. I lean further into the doorframe and grip his shoulder for balance. Rhys takes it a step further by grabbing one of my thighs and wrapping it over his other shoulder.
While he continues devouring me, he slips two fingers inside and all the sensations take over. Pregnancy has made me insatiable, and he knows this. It’s something that makes him greedy as well. I’ve never seen him so uncoiled.
Somewhere between penetrating me with his fingers and kissing me between my legs, he mumbles, “I’m sorry for taking advantage of you in this state…but it makes me want to be on my knees for you all day.”
“That’s a nice image,” I reply, a self conscious laugh escaping my throat. “Maybe I’ll knight you, Sir Rhys.”
I feel his laughter against my clit. The vibration stimulating me further.
It is so nice to laugh with him during sex. To be as intimate as possible and comfortable as possible. I never thought I’d have that perfect balance again, either. But I do. With a man that is as sweet as he is sexy.
My climax starts to climb through me, my limbs tightening and I know Rhys feels it because his grip on my legs stiffens and his mouth works at me faster. The rhythm of his breathing and moans is a sound I know I’ll play every time he’s away on location. It is carnal, a secret soundtrack only I know and feel so possessive over. I moan back as I lose control.
He knows I’m close and he loves it.
I make the mistake of looking down at him as he devours me. I can barely see him past the bump. The evidence of our love. The story that’s unwritten in our book of chapters. He must feel my gaze because he looks back up and in his eyes I see it all. Love. Desire. An unquenchable need to savor me. He sneaks one hand up to my belly and just lingers there before he closes his eyes and moans again.
It undoes me. His stare. The way he can’t look at me too long because it might undo him. His protective touch on my stomach as he licks me. All of it unravels me from deep within my belly and my own eyes seal shut in a rush of pleasure. I see stars and almost fall over. But Rhys catches me like he always does.
Almost three hours later, we are sitting in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. It’s filled with six-hundred people that are a mixture of celebrities, royals, and other extended family members. It took us a while to get here with all the traffic, but the congestion allowed me to take a nap on the car ride over. Rhys had worn me out. Completely. And I’m sure he’ll want it again later. I told him the wedding will likely leave me feeling romantically wild. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m already pregnant.
As we wait for Harry and William to walk in, I can barely contain myself. The vaulted ceilings entrance me. The amount of detail in the chapel appeals to the history nerd in me and I am hypnotized by my surroundings. I can’t imagine getting married in a place like this—it’s not like Rhys and I. Doesn’t match our style. But it is spectacular. The Queen is sitting inside already, wearing the sunniest, warmest yellow. She contrasts and pops against the dark wooden benches typical in most historical churches in England. Every time I think I am flabbergasted by a sight, whether it’s a person or part of this sacred building, I’m surprised again.
I am so excited because despite my husband being one of England’s biggest celebrities, I still get star struck. I’d seen Harry once before, years ago, when I’d first moved to London. He was working a charity event at the university and I even got to shake his hand. I always pick on Rhys by telling him that I wish Harry had asked me out. He still gets a bit tiffed over it and almost didn’t accept the wedding invitation. I almost killed him.
As much as I find Harry attractive, I’m mostly glad to see him so happy. I can’t imagine what pressure he must have been under from the public and his royal obligations. After you lose someone, a little piece of you dies and you kind of hope to find it in someone else. I can’t imagine the weight of loss with the additional pressure from the public. The loss they felt was partially theirs. But she was his mum.
As I look over at Rhys, I wonder if Harry feels that way about Meghan. She’s likely a little bit of salvation for him. Like he found himself again but in another person. The thought warms me in the cold chapel and I tighten my shawl around my strapless shoulders.
Everyone around us is dressed in impeccable outfits. Women are wearing gowns I’ve only seen on the red carpet when I’ve joined Rhys and they all have fascinators. It’s almost like a contest of who can have the biggest, wildest, most colorful one. Of course, Rhys insisted I get one since I find them captivating. I opted for a vintage blue hat that has a large felt-like flower over it. Its color and style matches my dress that’s has a sweetheart neckline and a drop waist just underneath my breasts. Otherwise, my belly wouldn’t fit. I’ve got a month to go before I can meet our daughter and I’m not sure how much bigger I can get. It’s all people notice and touch when they greet me nowadays. Even Elton John, who’s worked on films with Rhys before, grabbed it and kissed it. He’d blush if he knew how Rhys was holding it and kissing it earlier. I cringed a bit as Rhys bit back a shameful laugh.
We’ve been waiting a while, so I sneak a small granola bar because I’m starving, and let’s be honest, this wedding day will last forever. As I hide my mouth behind my purse, Rhys turns toward me.
“While you snored next to me on the drive, I was thinking of baby names.”
“I do not snore,” I grumble through my last bite.
He puts a hand in the air. “You most certainly do, but not the point.”
I scoff. “It’s not my fault you exhausted my entire body with your mouth.”
“Ellie, for goodness sakes, we’re in a church. There are kings buried here,” he drops his jaw and places his hand on his chest.” After I giggle, he continues. “I thought of an interesting name.”
“Well,” I nudge. “Out with it.”
“How do you feel about Eryn, spelled E-R-Y-N?”
I look away, fixating my sights on some insanely ridiculous fascinator across the aisle. I can’t look at him when he does this. When he’s perfect.
Every time I think he can’t surprise me, he catches me off guard. It shouldn’t shock me anymore. Not after 4 years together, more than two of them as his wife. He was always like this before, and it feels like every day that passes Rhys loves me in such an encompassing manner, that I almost float in his love. What kind of man considers naming his child after his wife’s first love? Sure, the spelling is different, beautiful too, but it’s clear who he’s thinking of.
Me. Rhys always thinks of me.
He notices my lack of eye contact. The way my throat is clogged with emotion. How quiet I am. Rhys grabs my hand and squeezes it.
“I just thought,” he pauses, clearing his throat. “I presumed it would be nice to give her a part of him even though she’s ours. I think it’s a beautiful name. I like that it’s with an E like your name. We could also spell it E-R-I-N, if you prefer that. I want you to know that I don’t have an issue with him being a part of her. He still lead you to me, one way or another… it’s up to you, please don’t be sad…”
He’s rambling. He does it when he’s nervous and especially when we talk of Aaron. Even after all this time that he’s been mine, he knows Aaron is mine, too. He knows I carry him deep in the folds of my heart and he respects it so much. It always means the world, too.
My eyes well up thanks to his sweet ways and my pregnancy hormones. I look at him and cup my hand around his sharp cheekbone. My other hand squeezes his.
“It is a beautiful name. And I love it,” I say, wiping a tear before people notice. “You are the best person, I hope you know that. Forever. You are the best person…” I repeat, emotion overwhelming me. “But, I think I prefer it as a middle name, so that she’s got some of him, but can also be her own person. Does that make sense?”
“I understand.” He nods, a hint of a smile on his thin lips. “It’d be great as a middle name, too.”
“So, we still don’t have a name.” I smile back.
“No,” He laughs quietly. “We don’t. But something tells me we’ll figure it out. We always do…”
Just as he says this, music begins to play from the church’s organ and everyone’s eyes dart to the entryway. Harry and his brother begin their march down the aisle and you can see it in Harry’s eyes that he is inundated with emotion. He tries to look around the room and greet people with a smile or nod here or there, but he mostly stares forward.
I think about how Harry lost his mother and had to find his person. How he went about it in rebellious ways and didn’t find a conventional partner. He went against everything people expected of him and found someone that fixed an irreplaceable hole in his heart.
I would never have pegged myself as someone who would’ve married a celebrity… who would have gotten sucked into the whirlwind of my life with Rhys, but it works… it’s wonderful. It’s perfection.
Shortly after the two princes have settled at the foot of the altar, Wagner’s Bridal Chorus floods the walls of the chapel. They open the doors and everyone stands. Rhys helps me up as it’s become a struggle in the last month or so, especially on these hard, old benches.
Meghan stands in the doorway, with multiple children in position ahead of her. They all look so sweet, especially George and Charlotte who keep turning around to look at their future aunt.
Someone is fixing her train and veil behind her. She looks stunning, as perfect as anyone can look on their wedding day. It feels like I’m witnessing a real life fairytale. She begins walking down the aisle and Rhys looks down at me, somehow sensing my need for it. He wraps his arm around my back and starts to rub the side of my belly. Always devoted, always adoring.
I look up at him, stare at him despite the future princess walking directly in front of us. I only see him, just as he’s always only seen me.
I lean into his grasp and whisper to him, “I love you, Rhys. You’re the only prince I need. Forever.”
He kisses my cheek with that same mouth that undid me earlier. It’s half sinner, half saint. His lips graze my ear and he whispers, “I love you, too, Darling. You’re mine and I’m yours…Forever.”
The End…for now.