Was I? I wasn’t sure. All I could do was stare at him. He couldn’t have said what I thought he had. Let’s get married. The statement, because I was pretty sure it wasn’t a question, came so far out of left field that I was stunned.

A lopsided grin appeared on his face. “Okay. Your silence is stretching out further than I’d thought it would.”

I blinked. “Sorry. It’s just…what did you ask me?”

He chuckled deeply and reached over, threading his fingers through mine. “I said: let’s get married.”

Sucking in another deep breath, I squeezed his hand as my heart did another flip. “Are you serious?”

“Serious as I’ll ever be,” he replied.

“Did you hit your head in the bathroom? Because you were in there a long time.”

Daemon barked out a laugh. “No. Should I be offended by that question?”

I flushed. “No. It’s just…you want to marry me? Like, really get married?”

“Is there more than one kind of marriage, Kitten?” His lips were tilting up again. “It wouldn’t be legal, because we’d have to use our new IDs, so in a way, it wouldn’t be real, but it would be real to me—to us. I want to do this. Right now. I don’t have a ring, but I promise I’ll get you one worthy of you when things…things die down. We’re in Vegas. No better place. I want to marry you, Kat. Today.”

“Today?” My voice came out a squeak. I thought I might faint.


“Yes. Today.”

“But we’re…” We were young, but really, was there such a thing as too young for us? I was eighteen, months shy from turning nineteen. I had always pictured being at least in my mid-twenties before I tied the knot, but our future was so unknown to us. And it wasn’t the common world that people faced every day, not knowing how short their lives may very well be. We were on the sucky statistic side of things not working in our favor. If we didn’t manage to make it into hiding and were captured again, I doubted Daedalus would be so keen on allowing us to be together. That is, if we survived any of this. We didn’t have the guarantee of years to figure out our relationship.

“But what?” he asked softly.

I wasn’t sure we needed those years to determine if we wanted to be together. I knew right that second that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Daemon, but it wasn’t that simple. Something else could be driving this decision of his.

He squeezed my hand. “Kat?”

My heart was going crazy fast. I felt like I was on top of a roller coaster. “Are you wanting to do this because tomorrow may never come? Is that why you want to marry me? Because there might not be a later to do this?”

He leaned back. “Can I say that doesn’t play some role in wanting to do this now? No. It does. But it’s not the sole reason or even the major reason why I want to marry you. It’s more like the catalyst.”

“The catalyst,” I whispered.

He nodded. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure nothing bad happens. I will do anything to make sure we have the time for everything that we want, but I’m not stupid enough to disregard the fact that something may happen that I can’t control. And, dammit, I don’t want to look back and see that I didn’t seize the chance to make you mine, to really prove that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. That I lost that opportunity.”

Air hitched around the sudden lump in my throat. Tears burned my eyes.

“I want to marry you because I’m in love with you, Kat. I will always be in love with you. That’s not going to change today or two weeks from now. I will be just as in love with you in twenty years as I am today.” He let go of my hand and rose slightly, cupping my cheek. “That’s why I want to marry you.”

The tears welled up, and a few snuck out. He caught each one with his thumb. “Are the tears a good or a bad thing?”

“It’s just…that was such a beautiful thing to say.” I wiped at my face, feeling like an overemotional fool on the verge of having a stroke. “So you really want to get married today?”

“Yes, Kat, I really want to get married.”

“In a towel?”

His head tipped back, and he let out a deep laugh. “Maybe I’ll put some clothes on.”

My thoughts raced. “But where?”

“There are tons of places in Vegas.”

“Is it safe to go out there?”

He nodded. “I think so, if we’re quick about this.”

A quickie marriage in Vegas? I almost laughed because we would be just one in a million who came to Vegas and got married. Some of the numbness faded with the acknowledgment of how…common it was to do this.

To get married.

My heart did a backflip.

“If you’re not ready, that’s okay. We don’t need to do this,” he said, his eyes meeting mine. “I’m not going to be upset if you don’t feel it’s the right time, but I am going to ask one more time. You don’t even have to say no. Just don’t say anything. Okay?” He took a little breath. “Will you make me the luckiest bastard on Earth and marry me, Katy Swartz?”

My breath shuddered. Tension rolled through my entire body. I’d imagined a proposal being very different than this. It never involved a towel, and I’d have a long engagement, plan a wedding, and have family and friends witness the moment, but…

But I was in love with Daemon. And like he’d said, I’d be in love with him tomorrow and twenty years from now. That was never going to change. The emotions were complex, but the answer was simple.

I took a breath, and it felt like the first breath I’d ever taken. “Yes.”

He stared at me in wonder. “Yes?”

I nodded vigorously, like a seal. “Yes. I will marry you. Today. Tomorrow. Whenever.”

In the blink of an eye, he was standing, and I was captured in his strong embrace. His arms were tight around me, my feet several inches off the floor, and his mouth was on mine. That kiss was more a stake of claim than any marriage certificate could be.

I came up for air, clutching his shoulders. He’d started to glow a beautiful soft white as he stared back at me with a look of awe in his expression. I smiled. “Well, let’s get this show on the road.”


I wouldn’t let Kat change her shirt. I had a fondness for it. After all, it was the first shirt I’d seen her in, and I thought it was fitting.

Feeling like I might have just climbed Mount Everest in a second, I quickly changed into a pair of jeans and a shirt. Okay. Maybe not quickly. I kept getting distracted with Kat’s lips, because those lips had said yes, which made them suddenly something I couldn’t stop touching.

They were swollen by the time we made it downstairs. Still early, only Lyla was up. I had no qualms about asking her to borrow a car, because I didn’t want Kat to hoof it into Vegas. Lyla easily gave up her keys to a Jag, which I traded in for a Volkswagen I saw in the garage, along with two more cars she owned. My fingers itched to get behind the wheel of a Jag, but that would draw way too much attention.

I honestly didn’t think we’d run into any problems. The last place Daedalus would be looking for us would be at a place we could get married, but I took the same appearance of the guy I’d used in the motel, and we found a floppy sun hat and glasses for Katy.

“I look like a fake celebrity,” she said, staring at herself in the side mirror. She twisted toward me. “And you’re kind of hot.”

I snorted. “I’m not sure if I should be bothered by that.”

She giggled. “You know, Dee is going to kill us.”

We’d decided not to tell anyone. Mainly because Matthew would probably object, Dee would freak out, and, honestly, we wanted to do this alone. It was our moment. Our little slice of pie that we weren’t sharing.

“She’ll get over it,” I said, knowing that was doubtful. Dee would probably kill me for not being able to take part. Coasting the VW out of the driveway and down the access road, I reached over and patted Kat’s thigh. “Serious moment, okay? When all of this crap is settled, if you want the big wedding and all that jazz, I’ll make it work. You just need to tell me.”

She took off her oversize sunglasses. “Big weddings cost a lot of money.”

“And I have a lot of money stashed away. Enough to make sure we have nothing to worry about until we figure out what we’re doing, so more than enough to cover a wedding.”

She shook her head. “I don’t want the big wedding. I just want you.”

I almost stopped the VW right there and crawled all over her. “Just keep it in mind for later if you change your mind.” I wanted to give her everything—the ring that weighed her finger down and the wedding to end all weddings. Neither was feasible right now—and, I had to admit, I was turned on by the fact she didn’t seem to care about either of those things.

Okay. I was almost always turned on by her, but that was beside the point.

“You know where I want to get married? Married. Wow. I can’t believe I just said that. Anyway,” Kat said, her eyes lighting up under the brim of her hat. “I want to do the little church—the one everyone goes to Vegas to get married at.”

It took me a moment. “You mean The Little White Wedding Chapel? The one in The Hangover?”

Kat laughed. “It’s sad that’s how you know the church, but yes. I think there are a couple of them in Vegas. And it should be perfect. I doubt they require much but the fee and an ID.”

I shot her a grin. “If that’s what you want, you got it.”

It didn’t take us long to get into Vegas and to stop at one of the tourist vendors. Kat hopped out and grabbed a handful of brochures. One of them was about the chapel. Apparently impromptu weddings were a big theme. Duh.

We had to get a marriage license.

She frowned. “I don’t want to do it under our fake names.”

“Neither do I.” I pulled up in front of the courthouse, letting the engine run. “But it’s too risky to use our real names. Besides, we’ll need the marriage license under our useable ID. You and I will always know the difference.”

She nodded and grabbed the door handle, but her fingers slipped off. “You’re right. Well, let’s do this.”

“Hey.” I stopped her. “You’re sure, right? You want this?”

She faced me. “I’m positive. I want this. I’m just nervous.” Leaning in, she tipped her head to the side and kissed me. The edge of her hat brushed my cheek. “I love you. This…this feels right.”

Air punched from my lungs. “It does.”

Sixty dollars later, we had a marriage license in hand, and we were en route to the chapel on the Boulevard. Since our fake IDs were under the images of our real selves, I’d have to change back over once we pulled into the parking lot.

The whole drive, I kept an eye out for anyone suspicious. The problem with that was that everyone looked suspicious to me at the moment. Even as early as it was, the streets were teeming with tourists and people heading to work. I knew there could be implants anywhere, but I doubted there’d be one dressed as Elvis or hidden in a chapel.

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