Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Lisa Mondello, author of the The Knight and Maggie’s Baby. Welcome Lisa! Here’s the first kiss between Jonah Wallace and Maggie Bonelli.
“Is it going to happen here? Right here in the lobby?” Rhonda asked, glancing around the bland surroundings.
“In the office,” Maggie said, staring down at the bouquet of white tea roses Jonah had just given her. She looked like an angel, delicately touching the soft petals of a rose.
She wore a simple cream dress that hung almost to her ankles. It was fitting in the bodice, accentuating her full breasts, but not revealing any cleavage, and fanned out, flowing over her hips. She wore her hair pinned back in a twist of some sort, anchored with a large comb decorated with tiny pink and yellow flowers. She was quite a contrast from the woman wearing a dried food stained waitress uniform the day they’d met. He thought she was beautiful then, but it didn’t compare to now.
And she was as nervous as he felt. That much was evident by the way she tapped her cream pumps in a staccato rhythm on the beige tiled floor.
Rhonda leaned close to Maggie. “It’s not right. You should have married in the church.”
“Ssh. Mom, we’ve been through this.”
Rhonda lifted her eyes to Jonah. He would have takenvenom from a rattle snake to the stare she’d cast him.
“It’s just not right. A girl dreams of a real wedding. You know, flowers and bridesmaids and…dried baked stuffed chicken at the reception that nobody wanted but her mother.” Rhonda rose up high in her chair. “You’re marrying my daughter with no church wedding? No honeymoon? Is that how you plan to treat–”
Maggie grabbed Rhonda’s arm and stood just as the door to the Justice of the Peace’s office opened. “Mom, it’s time.”
She peered up at Jonah with her blue eyes wild with suddenexcitement and a smile so sparkling it stole his breath away. He had to tell himself tobreathe. It was easy to forget that this was just a marriage for show, that he and Maggieweren’t really in love.
And yet, her excitement was so contagious, he found himself getting dizzy. Hooking his arm around hers, Jonah led her into the room.
There was no aisle to walk down, no father of the bride to give her away and that made Maggie’s reasons for marrying him abundantly clear. The enormity of what they were embarking on crashed down around him. Was this really worth it? Marrying a stranger just to fulfill the insane wishes of an old man?
They recited their vows in utilitarian fashion, sitting down in front of the desk while the Justice presided. When it came time to kiss his bride, Jonah was struck with a sense of guilt. Everything they were doing seemed so sterile.
Maggie hadn’t asked for anything. Although marriage had never played a part in his life plan, he knew weddings were something women dreamed of.Somehow it didn’t seem right that he hadn’t given her at least something more of awedding for her to remember.
“Well? What are you waiting for?” the Justice said.
Jonah looked at the Justice, then at Maggie.
Standing on the opposite side of Maggie, Rhonda propped her fists on her hips. “It’s not legal in my book if you don’t kiss the bride.”
Jonah couldn’t help himself. A quick kiss would have sufficed under the circumstances. But Jonah couldn’t help but let his mouth linger on Maggie’s full, sweet lips. She tasted of mint and smelled of lilac. But not heavy like perfume, more clean, like the fragrance of soap. No other part of them touched. When he pulled away, he saw that her face was flush as he felt, and he wondered if the temperature gauge in the room had suddenly been turned up to 100 degrees.
“Welcome to the family, Jonah,” Rhonda said, her eyes heavy with unshed tears. She lifted her finger and pointed to him, her venom stare slicing through him. “You take good care of my daughter or I’ll shoot you.”
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