I was nervous as hell.
Not because I worried about what she would say, but because I didn’t want to overshadow the day.
“Maybe I should wait,” I said, and Thayle made a face at me.
“No way. I told you, she’s going to love it.”
We waited in front of the new 1931 Wine Barn, a near perfect replica of the one that burned down three months ago. I still couldn’t believe how quickly they’d gotten it up once the snow melted back in March. We weren’t even fully into the summer season yet, and the Barn hadn’t missed a beat.
Today was the first day it would be open for guests.
“There she is.”
Min had gone back to the cottage to get her phone. She’s sworn she had it when we left, and was probably really confused as to why I hadn’t volunteered to go back for it. The reason was simple. I was the one who took it from her purse and put it back in the bedroom.
“I’ll meet you up there,” I’d said as we were halfway across the estate when Min “realized,” with some prompting, she’d left her phone behind.
“Go ahead in,” I said. “Let’s do this.”
Thayle smiled, patted my shoulder, and joined the others.
In the few months that I’d been at Grado, one thing was certain. As thrilled as my parents were to have me home, Min’s were her lifeblood. Her family was as close as any I’d ever seen. Which was why I wanted them to be a part of this.
All of them were already inside.
“What the hell?” Min said as she approached.
It was a chilly day for early June, the brewery behind us more than halfway finished. In a few hours, the estate would come to life, but for now, it was just us.
And her entire family.
“What’s up?” I said, acting dumb.
“I thought the boys would be here. Thayle said we were meeting to go in together, to toast to the opening before anyone came.”
“Oh,” I said, pretending not to know anything. “I’m sure they’ll be here soon. Do you want to wait?”
Say no, say no.
She shook her head. “That’s alright,” Min said, smiling. “You’re here.”
Yep, Thayle had been right. This was a good time. But I was still nervous as hell.
“Let’s do it,” I said, reaching for her hand. Together, we climbed the stairs. Min stopped as she saw her entire family inside through the glass doors.
“What the . . . ?”
Marco and Neo pulled open the front double doors simultaneously. Min was definitely confused, but she wouldn’t be for long.
I pulled her inside the Barn and immediately got down on one knee. The second I did, Min began to cry.
“Today seemed like an appropriate day to ask you,” I said, my voice shaky. I couldn’t help it. It was the most important question I’d ever asked anyone. “Dominica Antonia Grado, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
With her entire family, including her parents, and mine, standing around us, Min mumbled yes (I think) as I took her hand. The ring fit perfectly, thanks to my accomplices, Brooke and Thayle.
I stood up, kissed her and then turned to the crowd. “She said yes.”
Choruses of congratulations greeted us, but it was one in particular that I was warmed to hear. My new best friend, as coined by Min, slapped me on the back.
“Congrats, brother,” Marco said.
As Min saw my parents and hugged first my mom and then my dad, I smiled at the one man who had given me the most trouble since Min and I started dating. But also the one who took a chance on me, giving me a purpose for being here, other than as Min’s boyfriend. And a guy who, as Min said, was a dick, but was our dick, Marco Grado.
“Thanks, brother,” I said back, never realizing until this moment that I wanted or needed one. And now I had three.
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