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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 30)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(30) by Chloe Neill
  • “Oh, I’m paying him all the mind. Please continue!” I called out.

    “Ethan, of course, did not partake of the less honorable offerings. But he was running from a human who suspected Ethan of demonic leanings. So, of course, Ethan pitched out the window. Landed in a horse trough, to the amusement of all.”

    I snorted, glanced at Ethan. “Why do you always end up on the ground?”

    “He’s choosing selectively,” Ethan said, shaking his head at Amit.

    “But there is more, of course,” Amit said. “More stories, good and bad. Because while I have seen Ethan at his worst, I have also seen Ethan at his best.” He glanced at me. “And he is at his best when he is with you. That, I think, is the best kind of love. Love doesn’t guarantee happiness or wealth or success. But if you’re willing to commit to it, to work at it, it guarantees partnership. So that no matter the trials or tribulations, no matter the joy or loss, you are not alone.” He raised his glass. “To Ethan and Merit.”

    “To Ethan and Merit!” the crowd responded, punctuated with more clapping and the ringing of crystal, which hopefully distracted them from the tears I swiftly wiped away.

    Amit handed the microphone to Mallory, then stepped down and moved to us. He shook hands with Ethan, then pressed a kiss to my cheek. “Congratulations and Godspeed.”

    “Appreciated on both counts,” I said with a smile.

    “My turn!” Mallory said. “I wanted to do a skit, but our illustrious wedding planners ixnayed that idea. I also proposed to learn how to play the ukulele and honor our Merit and Ethan with a song, but that was a no-go. So I guess I’ll have to use my words.”

    “You can do it!” Catcher yelled out.

    “Thank you, honey,” she said with a chuckle. “I debated how much detail I should get into on this stage, whether I should embarrass her completely, or just a little bit. I’ll probably take the high road.” She put a hand on her hip, getting into the speech. “But I will note for the record that she has an unparalleled love of chocolate, and she was, for a brief time, obsessed with the Backstreet Boys.”

    “Oh God,” I murmured, and covered my face with a hand.

    “What’s a Backstreet Boy?” Ethan whispered.

    “Never you mind,” I said. “Never you mind.”

    “There’s the ‘vacation’ to DC, in which she spent three full days in the Library of Congress, the one time I took her bowling. One time,” she repeated, with a dramatic eye roll and headshake. “And the incident involving the marathon she basically ruined when she tripped the front-runner.”

    “It was an accident!” I insisted. “He ran into me.”

    “Mmm-hmm,” Mallory said. “Our girl, our bride, is a little bookish, obsessed with chocolate, and prone to become obsessive about the weirdest things. Newsies,” she added through a fake cough.

    “But most of all,” she said, settling her gaze on me again, “there is Merit. There is joy and curiosity and bravery that’s almost ridiculously terrifying. And there’s loyalty. There was loyalty at a time I didn’t deserve it, which probably makes it the best possible loyalty of all.” She sniffed, looked away, obviously holding back tears. And when she’d composed herself, she looked at Ethan.

    “You have that loyalty now, and I don’t have any doubts that you feel the same way about her. We may call you Darth Sullivan, but you’re really her knight in shining armor. You let her see a side of herself that she didn’t know existed, and it’s a pretty kick-ass side. For that, the world is forever grateful.” She raised her glass. “To Ethan and Merit!”

    There were more cheers, and then Amit helped her step down again. She wrapped her arms around me, squeezed me tight enough to bruise ribs.

    “I love you.”

    “I love you, too, Mallory. And I will get even for the Newsies comment.”

    She pulled back, thumbed a tear away from my cheek, winked at me. “Do your best, vamp.”

    “Looks like you’re having a good time.”

    I glanced back, found my grandfather smiling at me, hands in the pockets of his suit jacket. Both the gray jacket and pants were a little too big for him, the pants bagging a little over his thick-soled shoes. It was perfectly grandfatherly, and just made me love him that much more.

    “It’s been a pretty good night,” I said.

    “It’s been a beautiful night,” he said. “A beautiful wedding, a wonderful couple, and some damn good food.”

    My stomach rumbled. I could smell steak but hadn’t had a chance to try it.

    I glanced over the crowd, happened to catch sight of my father, who was walking across the room with my mother. No, not just across the room, I realized. Toward the door. His hand was at her back, her wrap over her arm.

    They were leaving. They waited just long enough for pictures and toasts, and that was apparently enough. I guessed there’d be no father-daughter dance.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire