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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 26)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(26) by Chloe Neill
  • It was late for humans, and particularly for a child. She was probably tired and sleep-deprived, and her eyes grew wide, her upper lip wobbling. “Now.”

    Fortunately, it became “now” quickly, as the door opened, Jeff returned to his post, and “Pachelbel’s Canon” began to ring through the air.

    “Now it’s time,” Charlotte said, kneeling to straighten Olivia’s skirt. “You ready, kiddo?”

    “Flowers!”

    Charlotte nodded to Jeff and Catcher, and they opened the doors as people turned in their seats for better views.

    “Go for it!” Charlotte whispered, and Olivia took off at a run through the doors. But she stopped in the middle of the aisle, turned nearly a full circle as she stared at the people around her.

    “Livvie!” Charlotte whispered. “Throw the flowers!”

    While the crowd chuckled, Olivia turned and looked at her mother. “Okay!” She ran down the aisle, flinging petals as she moved. Then stopped again and looked back at the door, where Charlotte and Malik had taken their positions.

    “Mommy!” she called out. “Mommy! I do it!”

    “You’re doing so good,” Charlotte said, giving her a thumbs-up as the crowd laughed in appreciation. “Keep going!”

    Olivia nodded, and she kept walking, throwing petals with wild abandon. The men and women who sat beside the aisle brushed them good-naturedly from sleeves and laps.

    “Oh dear God, that might be the cutest thing I’ve seen all year,” Mallory said as Charlotte and Malik followed Olivia down the aisle.

    “She takes after her aunt,” I said with a grin.

    “You’re saying she’s cute, or bad at following instructions?”

    “Har-har-har,” I said, but I appreciated that Mallory was keeping it light. There was so much love in the room, so much anticipation, that I felt like I was standing on an emotional cliff. And if I fell off—if I let one tear fall—I didn’t think I’d be able to hold the rest of them back.

    Mallory cast a glance at Amit. “Sir, I believe it’s time for you to do your duty.”

    He smiled, offered his arm. “My lady.”

    She took his arm, blew a kiss at me over her shoulder. “See you in the funny papers!”

    And then there were three, I thought, as I stood beside my mother and father and waited for Amit and Mallory to make their walk.

    We’d decided my father would escort my mother down the aisle. Instead of being escorted, I would walk to Ethan on my own, stand beside him as his partner and friend and lover. That was how I wanted our relationship to begin.

    My father put away his phone and took my mother’s hand, then looked back at me with pale blue eyes that so clearly echoed my own.

    “Go meet your husband,” he said, and they walked through the door together.

    I guessed those four words were the only ones my father could spare, as he didn’t wait for a response but walked down the aisle and helped my mother to her seat. Then he turned back to Ethan, shook his hand with businesslike speed—the deal finally done—and sat beside her.

    The brush-off felt dagger sharp, but I wouldn’t let it hurt me. Not tonight. Not now, when the members of the wedding party were in position, and there was only Ethan and me. There wasn’t time for regret. Not here. Not now.

    Through the open door, the Winter Garden bristled with anticipation.

    Katherine and Thomas began to play again, their strings dancing through an arrangement they’d created just for the wedding. The crowd rose to their feet. Ethan and the others turned toward the door as Thomas’s notes rode along the waves of Katherine’s cello.

    I stepped onto the threshold, hands gripped around my bouquet like it was the handle of a precious katana. And then I took a breath, and took the step.

    I knew the wedding was as much about friends and family as it was about us. The spectacle was for them; the vows—a different kind of oath taking—were for us.

    But the look on Ethan’s face when he saw me for the first time, that was just for me.

    CHAPTER SIX

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire