A letter. She wanted a letter.
It was my own damn fault, if I was being honest. I’d asked Magnolia what I could give her as a wedding gift and she wanted a letter. From me.
I’d expected something straightforward. Purchaseable. Like, earrings.
A letter was…neither of those things. I was no expert but it seemed less risky to drop several grand on sparkly earrings than committing words to a page and giving them to my future wife on the day of our wedding.
But here I was, sixteen hours from the ceremony and the only doubt in my mind was whether I’d fail to meet my bride’s one request of me.
And that was why I was drumming my fingers on the hotel’s front desk at one thirty in the morning as I waited for paper. Because I was writing a letter and the small notepad on the nightstand wasn’t going to cut it.
When I made it back to my room with a full ream of paper tucked under my arm, I dedicated a solid minute to scowling at the bed. The empty bed. I couldn’t remember why I was going along with this tradition when we’d shared a bed the past ten months. The night before our wedding shouldn’t have been any different.
Oh, right. Magnolia wanted that too and fuck me if I didn’t live to give her everything she desired. Including this letter.
I am marrying you today. We are getting married. It is our wedding day. I am very happy and I love you.
“What the fuck is that?” I grumbled to myself. I balled that page up and shot it across the room, disgusted with myself. “Take two.”
As you’re aware, we’re getting married today.
“Oh, no. Fuck this,” I cried, trashing this attempt as well. “Not an interoffice memo, Russo. A letter. To the woman you happen to love very much and one who doesn’t require a briefing on the events of her wedding day.”
Your eyes shimmer like precious gems and your hair reminds me of molasses. Not because it’s sticky, but because it’s dark and smells nice.
“Oh my god. Oh my god, what is wrong with me?” I said to myself. “She’s going to leave me at the altar if she reads this.”
I picked up my phone, the urge to call her intense. I wanted to. I wanted to hear her voice and listen to her as she told me everything she’d done since we parted a few hours ago. I wanted her to remind me how to exist. I hadn’t existed like this—without her—in over a year.
Instead of calling, I scrolled through months of text messages from Magnolia. There were the ordinary (“Are you still at home? Can you check if we have almond milk?”) and the ridiculous (“There’s a chipmunk single handedly destroying my backyard remodel project in Winchester and I’m not happy with that little fucker.”) and the extraordinary (“I hope you know your ass looked especially yummy this morning. Wear that suit more often. Also, I plan on giving that ass a good squeeze tonight. Feel free to be naked when I do it!”).
It took more than an hour to find the beginning, the first messages we’d shared back when we were two strangers matched on an app. When I was an absolute jackass undeserving of her attention.
Rob: Good morning.
Magnolia: Hi! Happy Monday!
Rob: How was your weekend?
Magnolia: Fine. I’m glad it’s a new week. Looking for a fresh start on many things.
Rob: Same. Yeah, I’m in the exact same boat with you.
Rob: Let me be blunt. I just got out of a long relationship and I’m fucked up in the head right now but I’m 6’3, 210, and my dick is a solid 9 inches.
Magnolia: I’m sorry about your breakup.
Rob: Thank you. You want to help me fuck away the memories of my ex? No strings, no expectations, no emotional baggage?
Magnolia: I understand what you’re going through, I truly do, but I don’t see how this could be free of emotional baggage. And I don’t really want expectation-less sex. I’m into strings and expectations and emotions. I want all of those things.
“I wanted those things too,” I said to the empty room. I put my phone down, glanced out the window at the saturated darkness of Narragansett Bay. “I just didn’t know it.”
It’s strange to be writing to you like this, on paper and without the benefit of receiving a response or an emoji reaction four seconds later. It’s strange, although it reminds me of the beginning. Our beginning. Back when the only way we knew each other was text messaging.
I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I could shut off, shut down. You let me try but you knew it wouldn’t work. Somehow, you knew me better than I knew myself, and you knew it within a handful of texts.
I’m not arrogant enough to say I knew you that quickly but I had one hell of a good idea by the time I met you.
Did you know I saw you through the window before I reached the bakery? Did you know I watched you for a minute, probably more? You were rearranging things at the table and texting your friend and just being fucking adorable. Did you know you were devastatingly gorgeous that day? You were and the only reason that was different from every other day is it was my first time being devastated by you. I’d tried to tell myself that reaction was the product of all the other problems in my life. I did a halfway decent job of convincing myself too. Whenever that conviction faltered, I filled in the gaps with completely perverted thoughts about you.
I probably shouldn’t mention that but you’ve heard worse confessions from me and it’s the goddamn truth, Magnolia. I sat across that little table from you and wondered what it would take to get you on the table. Or in my lap. I wanted to touch you, taste you, tell you all the filthy, delicious things in my head. Tell you that I was devastated by you and it meant something, even if I didn’t know how to process it at the time. I didn’t think I could live another day if I didn’t drag my tongue along the underside of your breasts while I had you under me. I wanted to tear you apart and consume you—and you weren’t giving me any of it. Not at all. No, I had to work for it and wait for it.
Here we are, hours away from exchanging vows and I know I’m really lucky you responded to my first message…and the other ones too. You picked up the mess of me and somehow put the pieces back where they belonged, even when I didn’t deserve that kind of generosity from you.
And I still want to run my tongue along the underside of your breasts. Still want you in my lap and on the table of your choosing. If I’m being honest, I want you here with me right now, traditions be damned. I want to turn off the world and bury myself in you. I want to wear your thighs as earmuffs and I want scars on my shoulders from your nails. I want entire days to pass while the only thing I do is you.
Since our weekend is booked up, we’re not getting entire days locked inside a hotel room. Just like you making me work for it and wait for it didn’t deter me, neither will an insane wedding weekend schedule.
While you read this, I’ll be sneaking into your dressing room and talking you out of that sweet little Mrs. Russo robe. You’ll walk down that aisle with wet, wet panties and shaking legs, and I’ll shed a tear over that glorious sight.
After I get my ring on your finger, I’m bribing our driver to take the long, slow route to the reception and spending every single minute of that drive with my head under your dress.
Some time between cocktail hour and cutting the cake, I’m stealing you away and we’re finding a room with a locking door and the kind of sofa that will allow me to sit back with your perfect ass in my hands. I want your dress all around us while I fuck you slow and quiet. I want every reminder in the world that you married me.
After that, when your panties are safe and sound in my pocket, we’ll celebrate this crazy thing we found in each other until we drag each other back to the hotel. I don’t know what will happen then but I know I can’t wait to have good old-fashioned bed sex with my wife…the one who wanted me to write her a letter.
I love you for that. For everything. Not simply because you devastated me while putting me back together, but because you make me work for it. You make me wait.
About the earrings…you don’t have to wear them today. I’m sure you have something picked out already. But I’d like to see you wearing only those earrings at least once during our honeymoon.
I love you, Magnolia. Today, tomorrow, and always.
I resisted the urge to read through the words I’d written and folded the pages in thirds, stuffed them into the hotel-branded envelope. I set it beside the velvet jeweler’s box on the bureau and stared at the bed once again. I didn’t want to sleep alone but the thought of seeing Magnolia in a matter of hours—marrying her—filled me with contentment.
No risks in sight.