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Rules of Engagement & Marriage

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Kat’s hands felt clumsy as she unraveled the cobolt blue hijab. “You’re trembling, aziz-am,” Adena murmured, holding her new wife’s abdomen.

“I...I don’t know why I’m so nervous. It’s silly, really. I’ve done this many times before,” Kat replied with a shaky voice. Her eyes, framed by dark mascara, lifted up to meet Adena’s, as her hands kept in motion.

“Is okay, baby. Not silly at all.” Adena reached up and held Kat’s cheek with a delicate warm hand. She gave her a sympathetic smile, “This is our wedding night...I’m nervous too.”

The two stared deeply into each other’s eyes. For a moment, time seemed to stand still. Kat pivoted her arm to the side and let the loose silky material drop onto the hotel dresser, unpinning and combing her fingers through Adena’s hair to smooth it out. She lowered her hands to Adena’s waist and gently turned her around, reaching up again to move long black locks to one side, exposing her wife’s neck, pressing tender lips to her skin. “Mmmm,” Adena feebly responded into the air, reaching back with both hands, pulling at Kat’s hips to bring their bodies even closer together.

Kat drew her head away and continued on her task, pinching and unhooking the plastic pearl button at the top of Adena’s ivory gown with her fingers. She slowly pulled the metal zipper downward past her wife’s slender back, sliding the fastener to its end. Then slid the delicate material off Adena's shoulders until it met the floor in a quiet swoosh.

“So...so gorgeous,” escaped from Kat’s lips with a short breath, as she studied the hourglass figure before her. She leaned away, turning Adena back around, pausing for a few seconds to enjoy the view from the front side, too. Her wife looked up at her with hooded eyes and an uncontrollable little grunt escaped the back of Kat’s throat, as her eager eyes took in the sight. “Yes,” she hushed then smiled, confirming to herself that her friends had also gifted Adena incredibly sexy lingerie for their wedding night.

Adena encircled Kat’s neck with both hands and reciprocated the broad smile, moving to drag a thumb slowly across Kat’s throat while whispering, “You’re so beautiful too, my love.”

Kat stepped forward and pressed their bodies closer together, relishing in every curve she felt, wrapping her arms around the woman she was going to spend the rest of her life loving. Adena arched her back and Kat nestled against her, leaning to join their lips, sliding both hands downward, taking a firm grasp of Adena's exposed derrière, and fingering the scant lace on the back of her thong. “Ohh...Kaat,” Adena whined in her mouth.

Adena pushed her knee up between Kat’s legs, and Kat let out another grunt, “Hmpf,” then began gliding their lips together faster, pulling up on the stretchy bikini underwear, causing friction in her wife’s sensitive middle.

Adena gasped and began blindly reaching up behind Kat to unzip her tuxedo jumper, as emotions poured out and mouths opened. Kisses became deeper, more passionate.

Kat felt a cool draft on her back and immediately separated their faces, panting and pushing Adena backwards into the nearby wall, latching her open mouth back onto her wife’s earlobe. “Oh god,” Kat grumbled into Adena’s neck. She could taste the salt of perspiration on the artist’s skin and feel her rapidly increasing pulse. Adena shivered and became more aroused, gripping at Kat’s bare back.

Kat’s greedy hands moved over exposed skin while Adena frantically clawed at the loose tux material, until it too hit the floor, revealing Kat’s see-through undergarments. Adena gently pushed Kat away, allowing her hungry eyes to study Kat’s chest, tugging down her bra cups to free her breasts, brushing at both erect nipples with open palms.

As loud moans and heavy breathing filled the air, Kat hooked both thumbs onto Adena’s panty elastic, dragging them down slowly, dropping to her knees.

=====
Day 1:

As they boarded the jumbo jet, the jovial stewardess announced their seats were located on the left and five rows back. Kat had spared no cost and purchased two first class tickets to their romantic destination.

Adena led the way on their brief journey down the narrow aisle, stopping in front of two spacious leather seats, looking up at the numbers displayed. “Here we are,” she signaled with her index finger. “Joon, do you want the window seat?”

Kat pressed up against Adena’s back and let out a warm breath into the exposed nape of her neck, whispering into her ear, “You take it sexy, I’m good with the aisle.”

Adena giggled and reached back to playfully swat Kat’s thigh, “Okay, we can trade later if you’d like.” She turned and scooted into place, stuffing her camera bag and carry-on under the seat in front of her.

Kat poked Adena's shoulder and pointed down at her stuff, “Here babe, take out what you need and let me have your carry-on, I’ll place it overhead with mine. It’ll be nice to have the extra leg room.” Kat took off her navy colored bucket hat and threw it on her seat, shuffling through her large backpack for her iPad and neck pillow. Adena dug out her novel, journal and purple pen, and handed her wife the small bag. Once everything was secured in the overhead bin, Kat plopped down and buckled her seatbelt, reaching over to hold her wife’s left hand. “Give me some sugar,” she teased, and pecked Adena's lips twice.

Just a few hours earlier, Kat had surprised her new wife twice while packing up to leave the Plaza Hotel’s honeymoon suite behind. First, with a wrapped gift box containing a red string-bikini she wanted Adena to wear for her at the beach. “Wow baby, there’s NOT much material here,” Adena had noted holding it up with wide eyes, as Kat grinned and nodded happily. “I may get kicked off the beach.”

“Nah. I can’t wait to see you modeling it for me. Sutton and Jane helped me pick it out at Bloomingdale’s a few weeks back.”

The second surprise came at JFK International. The wives had arrived at the airport’s ticket counter to check in their two large rolling bags and, as Kat slid the paper documents on the countertop to the official, Adena was very surprised to hear the agent say, “Alrighty...just two of you for this morning’s direct flight to Liberia?”

Adena scrunched her face in confusion and silently turned to face Kat with parted lips,“ Yep, Katherine and Adena, that’s us.” Kat turned towards her travel partner and gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, “Surprise babe, I’m taking you to Costa Rica for our honeymoon, not Miami Beach.”

“Okay...and your passports please,” the redheaded employee interrupted with an extended hand.

Kat reached into her leather fanny pack and pulled out two passport booklets and Adena’s work visa, “There ya go.” The man took the documents, inspecting and flipping through various pages before typing something into his computer. The business printer made a grinding sound and the agent stapled the fresh papers to their tickets, handing them back, “Okay, there you go. Gate 27 to your left,” he gestured, “Have a safe trip. Next!”

As the plane pushed back from the gate and approached the tarmac, Adena rubbed and massaged Kat’s hand on top of her lap, “I’m SO excited, Kat. I can’t believe we are about to escape to paradise together for 15 glorious days.”

Kat silently gazed into dark eyes with admiration, then leaned over and stole two more quick kisses from Adena. “And, I can’t believe I am sitting here next to my spectacular Persian wife, on the way to our honeymoon.” She lifted their joined hand and kissed Adena’s wedding ring, “Have I mentioned you mean the world to me, jāné del-am.”

Adena nodded and leaned across, gently caressing Kat’s cheek with the back of her other hand, beaming. She held back happy tears, reflecting on the start of her new life with the gorgeous curly-haired woman sitting next to her. “You mean the world to me too, hamsar. I am so lucky.”

Forty-five minutes later, with the seatbelt signs turned off, Kat leaned in close to her wife’s ear, “Hey, wanna join the Mile High Club?”

=====
In the early afternoon, Kat and Adena arrived at Liberia International Airport and were soon headed in a taxicab to the Playa Conchal Resort. They were both running on adrenaline, very excited for the start of their adventure, and were marveling the lush tropical landscape speeding by their backseat windows. “Babe, I’m going to take THEE BEST pictures here! Just look at all the beauty and flowers,” the photographer eagerly pointed to Kat’s window, restless in her seat.

Kat turned her head back to Adena and scrunched her nose at her. “Yes, I can see all the beauty- -” she winked, “- - outside, but mostly inside this car.” Kat giggled and Adena gave her a peck on the shoulder.

The hour-long drive was very picturesque, winding through a narrow paved road, with vine-covered treetops, whose massive canopies shaded and covered the road below. There were colorful birds perching along the lower branches of fruit trees, and an amazing waterfall by a wooden bridge they slowly crossed. The women quickly learned their driver Raul was very animated and resourceful, giving them tips on different activities and places to see on their two-week paradise vacation.

“So you two beautiful ladies visiting my lovely country for the first time?”

Adena perked up and met Rauls eyes in the rear view mirror, as Kat was currently too busy making goofy faces at her in the back seat, trying to crack her up. “Yes...yes, this is our first time in Costa Rica. It’s lovely indeed, Raul,” Adena responded, patting Kat’s hand.

“So what brings you two here? Work or pleasure?”

“Hopefully lotta pleasure, and - -” Kat mumbled against her partner’s ear. Adena's hand lifted and swiftly covered Kat's mouth.

“Uhm...we are here on vacation and looking forward to relaxing on the beach, going for long walks, trying new delicacies, and enjoying your lovely culture. We welcome any suggestions for places to visit and restaurants near our resort, Raul.” Adena moved her hand back down from Kat’s face and patted her knee, again. “Behave,” she whispered back into Kat’s ear.

“Ooh, why yes. Yes, of course. There are many, many beautiful places to see around there. Where you are staying, Playa Conchal, is considered one of the most exotic beaches in the Pacific Ocean. Surrounded by wildlife and flowering arboretums. Depends what you like, but there is beach horseback riding, biking, snorkeling, shelling, fishing, and lotta good eateries near the resort. Also a great cultural center and indigenous museum. There’s also good golf, if you are golfers. I know Americans love their sport.”

Kat sat up taller and joined in the conversation. “Never got into golf myself, but my parents are avid golfers. Guess it’s something you do after turning 50. We are more into swimming, long walks on the beach, dinner and dancing, poetry readings, photography, and maybe some tennis.”

“Ah, si. Yes, you will have lotta opportunity for all those activities at the resort. My wife’s youngest brother works there at their stables, sometimes he’s even at their pool cabanas, and he can give you more information on activities available. His name is Gustavo and tell him Raulito sent you. He is good people and will treat you right.”

Adena turned to face Kat, “Maybe we should try horseback riding. I haven’t been on a horse since I moved to Europe and you never have, right?”

“Only one summer when I was eleven, the time my parents sent me to Camp Chinkequa for six weeks. They had stables and we rode often.” Kat closed her eyes reflecting, “God that was fun. Met the most wonderful counselors and 17 other girls there.” She opened her eyes back up and looked towards the driver. “ I still keep in touch with a couple of them after all these years.”

“Aw, how sweet Kat,” Adena chuckled. “I love learning new things about you.”

Kat turned her head back and kissed Adena’s nose, “Likewise, babe.”

Raul continued, “I know there are several excursions on horseback from the resort. Gustavo and his wife take vacationers on a half-day beach ride. I think the participants also stop and hike to a waterfall. Ask him about it. I’ve heard this from my wife.”

=====
As the taxi pulled up to the hotel roundabout, a gentleman wearing a white shorts and guayabera uniform opened the car door and greeted the wives happily, “Bienvenidos, welcome to Concha Resort! I’m Adán. Please allow me to take all your baggage for you. I will meet you at the check-in desk shortly, madams.”

Stepping out of the cab, Kat swiftly leaned back inside the open passenger window, “Well, muchas gracias Raul.” She handed the friendly driver cash for the fare plus a generous gratuity. “We will look for Gustavo and say you sent us.”

Raul tipped his fedora and waved goodbye, “Thank you, kind ladies. Enjoy paradise!”

Once inside their large hotel room, Kat laced their hands together and pulled Adena by the hand towards the French doors that lead to their private outdoor space. They parted the sheer long curtains to witness a small swimming pool overlooking the majestic Costa Rican Gold Coast. There was a negative edge on one end and comfortable-looking pool furniture around the deck.

“Oh my gosh, this place is amazing baby! How did you find it?”

“This is pura vida, bayy-bee!” Kat exhaled, pulling her shoulders and arms back into a long stretch. She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes, releasing it slowly.

Adena looked up at Kat, watching her diaphragm contract. “Oh yes, is paradise indeed.” She reached down and intertwined their hands together again. “I’m so elated with your honeymoon surprise.”

Kat opened her eyes and kissed Adena’s forehead, unlocking the doors and moving them both outside to the intimate patio area. “Mina from sales and advertising once mentioned it to a group of us during a lunch meeting...years ago. She had visited here with a group of college girlfriends. Couldn’t stop ranting and raving about it. Guess I always kept it in the back of my mind as a place to bring someone very special.” Kat turned and winked at Adena, wrapping both arms around her midsection. “And when I googled their website six months ago, saw they had a few suites with private pools for lovers...well, heck I was sold,” she laughed.

Adena squeezed Kat tighter and gently pressed their noses together, “Well, I’m very happy to be your very special someone.”

“No one can take my special love for you away, Adena. No one.”

The two wallowed in the embrace and the moment, as a warm light breeze made the surrounding bushes and trees sway. Some loose flower petals tumbled into the pool and colorful butterflies fluttered by, as exotic birds chirped hidden in greenery. Kat tilted her head forward and began to kiss her wife. Adena pulled Kat’s face closer by the back of her head, deepening their kiss. Soon hands were slipped down the back of Adena’s pants, under lace panties, kneading at her butt cheeks. Adena broke the kiss and exhaled with, “Why don’t we freshen up and then go investigate the hotel grounds, first. Yes?”

Kat smirked at her and joined their lips again for another hot kiss, before answering her. “Mmmm...maybe?”

Adena tried to stop Kat’s advances in vain, shortly succumbing to them. Kat pulled her up by the thighs and she wrapped her legs around Kat, shortly ending up back inside the room, lying in their big bed, pretzeled together. An hour-plus and a shower later, they went downstairs to visit the hotel consierge and plan out their Costa Rican excursions.

=====
The two pressed heads and shared a colorful brochure they had picked up from the lobby when they first checked in. Adena had encircled a few of the activities with a pen, and Kat listed them off to the hotel employee , “Yes, we’d like to do the one-day scuba diving trip and island hop, the beach horseback and hiking exploration, and photographer’s wildlife refuge dream tour.”

The metal nameplate on the glass desk read ‘Magdalena’, and the bubbly concierge tapped on the keys of her laptop as Kat finished speaking. “Excellent choices. Anything else, girls? Perhaps the shopping excursion to neighboring towns, or bar-hopping night? There are a lot of eligible men who frequent our bars,” the young woman raised her eyes and smiled up at them from her computer.

“Nope. The rest of the time my wife and I are just gonna hang out at the beach or enjoy our private pool. You know...have romantic dinners? I think the hotel knows we are on our honeymoon.” Kat gave Adena a side view and smirked. Adena pressed her lips together to keep from laughing.

“Oh? Oh yes. I, I apologize,” the woman stuttered and blushed. She quickly looked back down at her screen. “I...I see it here. You are staying at one of our glamorous honeymoon suites. Yes! Very well miss, I will set those up for you both and have the itineraries delivered to your room in a bit.”

Kat could see the girl felt bad, over-correcting her mistake. So she softened the situation, “It’s okay. We are all good. Thank you.”

The wives exited the main hotel building and proceeded to investigate all the resort grounds and restaurants. Later on, when they returned to their suite, they found their excursion itinerary on a table with a note and small bouquet of fresh cut flowers, ‘Congratulations on your nuptials, Mrs. and Mrs. El-Amin-Edison. Please let me know if I can be of any further service. Regards, Magdalena’

=====
Day 3:

The scuba diving trip was a day long experience. It started out very early on the private beach of the resort, with a two-hour lesson on how to use the equipment safely, then a practice dive in the adjoining shallow lagoon. Once the small crowd of participants boarded the boat and headed for deeper waters, the real adventure began. Kat and Adena were wide-eyed as they dove and enjoyed the warm ocean waters, swimming with tropical schools of colorful fish and marine life everywhere. The trip included an underwater disposable camera for every couple, and a small white board and special marker to communicate underwater. Adena had a lot of fun with the camera and Kat’s funny messages for her to photograph.

Around noon, the group was called back onto the boat for a lunch break. Afterwards, it was back in the water for more scuba diving and snorkeling, before returning back to the resort in the late afternoon. The ocean had been calm in the early morning, but in the afternoon it had become rougher, more choppy. The rocking and swaying of the mid-sized vessel by aggressive waves, coupled with the intense heat and sun glare coming off the water, made a few of the tourists seasick. Unfortunately, Kat was one of the unlucky few. All Adena could do for her wife was softly scratch at her scalp as Kat puked over the edge of the boat, then laid her forehead on Adena’s shoulder. She encouraged her to keep hydrating, using the moist beach towel to shield Kat from the sun.

Kat quietly whined and gripped onto her empty plastic water bottle, as the old diesel boat motor churned away. Adena readjusted the towel around Kat’s shoulders and head, kissing her damp forehead. “Maybe we should have done the more relaxed morning-only snorkel trip, babe. This rough water and scorching sun is not so good for us New Yorkers.”

“Live and learn, Dee,” Kat muttered, praying the shoreline was soon in sight. She lifted her head up at Adena adding, “But I’m hoping you got some awesome undersea pictures. So it was worth the sacrifice and heat.”

Adena nodded sympathetically at her wife, reaching deep into their beach bag for her own water bottle, offering it to Kat. “Here, you must stay hydrated. Once we get back to our room I’ll draw you a cool bath to soak in. You just need to cool down and then sleep it off, joon.”

“Thanks baby.” Kat took a couple of big gulps of the tepid water and handed the bottle back. She looked up at Adena again with sunken eyes, revealing, “I like when you take care of me.”

Adena gently rubbed Kat’s shoulder over the towel, “Well, that’s good. Because I like taking care of you.”

=====
Day 4:

Kat had spent the prior day’s late afternoon and night sleeping. It was very early and she was wide awake now. It wasn’t that she couldn’t sleep anymore, it was more of she didn’t want to sleep. Right now she had Adena’s head pressed up against her side, face smushed up into her warm skin. Little whimpers and snores were being released by the petite woman into the silent room, and Kat deemed them precious. She did not want to miss a moment of this. So no, falling asleep again was not an option, if she could help it.

Adena began to mumble and twitch, suddenly waking herself up from what seemed like a lucid dream. She lifted her head up and scanned the dark room finding her bearings.

“Hey,” Kat sighed.

Adena turned towards her and smiled, laying her head back down on a soft pillow, “Hey.”

Kat softly traced Adena’s arm with her fingertips, “What were you dreaming of?”

Adena cleared her throat and tangled her leg over Kat’s. I was just dreaming we were back at work and I dropped the expensive Nokia in a huge fish tank in Jacqueline’s office.”

Kat let out a chuckle, “Oh boy, that’s mind blowing. Must have been brought on by our scuba trip.”

“Yes, perhaps,” Adena answered, rubbing her sleepy eyes with her left hand, then placing it atop Kat’s chest. “Are you feeling better, baby? Did your headache go away? Your heartbeat is back to normal.”

Kat scratched the top of her head then rubbed her temple, “Yes. I just needed to drink lotsa water and get some rest and air conditioning.”

Adena let out a soft laugh, “I’m so glad. What time is it? Do you know?”

Kat reached over to the top of blue bamboo table where her phone laid. “It’s 20 after 3 a.m. Ha, our sleep schedules are so screwed up.” She twisted back to Adena’s side and smiled. “But I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather spend all hours of the day and night awake with.”

Adena yawn and buried her face in Kat’s chest, “Mhmm, me neither sweetheart.”

The yawn was contagious and Kat followed suit. She nuzzled her face against her wife’s messy locks, “Mmmm, love the coconut shampoo we bought at the hotel gift shop yesterday. Makes me hungry,” she jested.

Adena lifted her head up tenderly gazing at her girl, then both let out little giggles. Kat rolled onto her back pulling Adena with her.

“You sure you’re feeling better, Aziz-am?” Adena rested her forehead against Kat’s and her dark locks draped down on either side.

“Yes, much better thanks.” Kat reached up and gathered Adena’s hair into a ponytail and held it in place. “I’m sorry I ruined the scuba trip and wasted all yesterday afternoon in here sleeping. And - -“

Adena reached over and placed three fingers over Kat’s lips, “Shhh. You did not ruin anything. We still saw amazing stuff underwater and I got to use my disposable waterproof camera you bought me.” She gave a sympathetic smile. “And, I can't wait to see pictures of us in our scuba gear like we’re experts. I’m going to print and frame the best one for my desk.”

Kat blinked up and let out a small chuckle, “Yeah?”

“Yeah! And...while you slept I sat out by the pool and caught up on my journal writing, finished my mystery novel. I also FaceTimed Maman and Zareen.” Adena rolled partially off Kat onto the mattress and Kat released her hair. “They send their love, by the way. So there. You see, it was a successful day-three for us.” Adena pushed Kat’s stray curls back with her hand, onto the pillow. “Besides, we are not Jane. We do not have to be on a strict, non-flexible schedule.”

Kat nodded and smiled, “Thank goodness. I love Jane, but I could never be married to her. We’d kill each other.”

Adena chuckled, “Yes, we wrote out a list of all the activities we want to try and do while we’re here. But nothing is written in stone. Remember, this is our honeymoon. As you said, the El-Amin-Edison sexy time, love each other until death do us part, honeymoon. We can digress from the schedule and do whatever we like. No judgment here.” Adena finished her speech, crashing their lips with a languid kiss that turned into a 20 minute make-out session on the king sized bed.

They finally stopped kissing and Kat gazed at Adena with a funny look on her face. “What? What are you so pensive about, joon?”

“Just that sometimes I feel like this is all a dream, so perfect that I never want to wake up again.“ Kat noticed Adena got misty eyed. “Given a choice, I’d stay here forever in your arms, kissing, not caring about anything else in my life.”

“Aww, that’s so sweet.” Adena rearranged and laid on her stomach, head sideways on her crossed arms, staring at Kat. Kat sat up and dragged her head over Adena’s back, creating goosebumps along its path with her loose curls.

“Hahaha! Stop! Stop, that tickles!” Adena laughed and squirmed uncontrollably before Kat flopped back down next to her, using her short nails to scratch her torso.

“Did you ever imagine you’d be married to a tall, sexy social media head, with massive amounts of wild curly hair, that made you laugh like a child?”

Adena giggled and briefly looked up the ceiling before locking eyes with Kat again. “Uhm, no. But I guess I never imagined being able to marry at all. Especially being a Muslim woman.”

“Hmm, true.” Kat moved up and combed her fingers through Adena’s long hair now. “Did you ever wish that for you and Coco?”

Adena thought that was an odd thing for Kat to ever bring up, especially on their honeymoon. She knew Kat was always insecure when it came to her past relationship with Coco. She paused and knitted her brows in confusion, looked away, then gave a firm, “No. Never with her. I never saw a real future with that woman. I’m glad I came to my senses and ended it all with her. She made me so miserable frequently. She could be so patronizing and deceiving.” Kat could see the hurt in her wife’s expression.

There was an awkward silence between them before their eyes met again. Adena leaned over and began to make out with Kat once more. When they paused to catch their breath, she asked Kat, “Did you ever imagine being married?”

“To a woman? Not in a million years,” Kat laughed. “To a dude...maybe, but I honestly thought I’d never get married. Just live life single, enjoying one night stands. Focusing on my career and friendships, instead. I just never found an intimate connection with men I dated.”

“But wouldn’t that just get old, be empty eventually?”

Kat shrugged her shoulders, “Yeah, I guess. I just never had such an incredible relationship with anyone before I met you, Adena. No one moved me the way you did. You stole my heart from the moment we packed that contraband in your suitcase that one night.”

=====
Day 6:

The horses trotted down the sandy beach kicking up sea foam all around. The group rode for about 45 minutes following the shoreline until their guide Gustavo, a man about 40 with what Kat described to be the biggest mustache she’s ever seen, summoned everyone to stop. “Whoa! We stop here amigos and tie the horses to that wooden fence,” he pointed ahead. “Then, those of you that want, may take that trail through the mangrove to the waterfall. Lucia María will lead the way,” he explained. I will stay here with the horses and anyone who wants to just play in the sea and sand. Set up some fishing poles. We’ll have a delicious lunch waiting for you when you all return.”

The participants dismounted and walked each horse to where Lucia stood. Kat got off her animal first and helped Adena down. Adena hugged her and Kat kissed the top of her head. “How are you holding up,” Adena asked, kissing Kat back on the shoulder.

Kat smiled and nodded, “Great, I’m ready to hike and see this majestic waterfall with my majestic girl.” Adena giggled and the couple shared a loving gaze, until Lucia began to explain the activities ahead.

“Alright, the hike to the falls will take roughly 20 minutes through jungle and a well-marked path. We will eventually descend 128 wooden steps down to the edge of the Catarata. Hope everyone is wearing their bathing suit underneath their clothes because the water is clean, refreshing, and crystal clear. I will allow you to climb, explore, admire, and swim the falls for approximately an hour. Then we’ll head back upstairs and back to the beach. Any questions?”

A newlywed couple from Arizona raised their hands. The young husband asked, “Will we see any exotic wildlife near the falls?”

“Most likely. The area is surrounded by white-faced capuchin monkeys, Scarlet Macaws and a myriad of smaller exotic birds, just like back at the Concha Resort. If we are lucky, today we may even encounter a three-toed sloth.” The group let out a simultaneous small gasp. “Also, there will be small fish and freshwater shrimp in the fall’s basin. Of course, this is jungle, so bugs, lizards, and snakes may be found along the path. But don’t fret, as long as you keep your hands and feet to yourselves, everything will leave us alone. That’s why we ask you wear closed toe shoes. And, I will protect you,” the woman ended with a laugh. “Anyone else?”

A woman from Germany raised her hand next, “My wife is allergic to poison ivy. Will she be okay, or should we stay on the beach and wait for your return?”

“Please, don’t miss seeing the falls. You will not encounter this plant here. The trail is very clean and cut back so nothing will bother you. But be aware of the Manzanillo Tree near the beach, the one with small apples. Some people may react to it with a bad rash, if they touch it.” Lucia adjusted her hot pink cap and wiped the sweat off her brow with the back of her wrist. “These are all great questions. Anyone else?”

Kat and Adena laced their fingers together and smiled at each other. Kat leaned close to her wife and whispered, “Is now NOT the right time to mention to Lucia you are terrified of spiders and I of snakes?”

Adena booped Kat’s nose affectionally with her index finger. “Probably too late. But we’ll be alright. I have faith in our guide,” she concluded with a grin.

“Okay good...stop me along the path anytime with new inquiries. So again, we will give you an opportunity to revel in all our beauty on this hike and I’ll point out anything amazing we encounter along the way,” the dark haired woman added. “As my husband mentioned, when we return to the beach, before riding back to the resort, we will be treated to a tasty lunch made by our local nearby restaurant, ‘Sabor’. The business sets it up for us on the beach, under the shade of the coconut trees.” Lucia loudly clapped her hands twice, “This is a wonderful excursion people, and you won’t be disappointed.”

=====
Up ahead in the jungle clearing, a thunderous sound could be heard. The fit brunette led the hikers to their final destination, where they witnessed the incredible, a roaring river moving towards a steep edge, foaming, bubbling and tumbling over boulders and branches, pounding on rocks. The water descended 200 feet into a large plunge pool below. There was a musty odor emanating in the air all around, surrounding all the landscape. The salinity of the freshwater could also be tasted.

The landmark was bright and very scenic. The entire group was in awe, and Kat stood next to Adena with jaw dropped. “Wow Dee, I’ve never seen such vivid, marvelous turquoise colored water before. So sparkling!”

Adena held on to the smooth wooden railing, glancing down the edge below. “Is truly stupendous, Aziz-am. You know, in many cultures, waterfalls are held sacred, said to have spiritual cleansing powers.” She reached to take Kat’s hand and momentarily closed her eyes. “I read it is a symbol of a great release of emotion, a rejuvenation. Denotes the renewal of the human spirit.”

Kat lovingly smiled at her smart girl, adding, “Water does represent life, associated with fertility, birth and purification. It has some connection to...eternity, too. I remember that from my theology 101 class in college. Dang, I actually paid attention in that 8 a.m. class,” she giggled. Adena smiled at her and nodded proudly.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Catarata Vida Hermosa. The Catarata, or waterfall, is named by our indigenous people for its cleansing and continuous flow of energy and life. Like they say in English, ‘Life is Good’, and Vida Hermosa is proof of that.” Lucia shifted to her right and gestured, “Let’s all now carefully take the wooden stairs to the bottom of the viewing platform. Please move single file and watch your step, it tends to get slippery towards the end. We will cross a rope bridge and then gather under those two huge trees.”

When the group reached the bottom of the stairs near the falls, they stopped and stood under a couple of immense trees with massive crowns and cascading greenery. The guide pointed and turned everyone’s attention towards the top of the conifers, where their joined long branches twisted and pretzeled together into the shape of a large heart. “These majestic beauties are known as ‘Los Árboles de Amantes,’ or ‘Lovers Trees’. They are our National tree, the Guanacaste. They serve our native people with many things. Its water-resistant wood is very good for making furniture, and our steps and railings here,” she rubbed the smooth handrail a couple of times to accentuate her lesson. The leaves are medicinal and can be used to treat colds, respiratory problems. And, the bark extract can be made into soap.” Lucia knocked on the base of one of the trunks and paused momentarily to admire the arbors. A couple of members noted that there were many carved initials on both trunks. Lucia reached behind to her nap sack and pulled out a three stubby carving knives. “Yes, these are the marks of many, many past visitors to the falls. I encourage couples to do the same, leave your initials and today’s date with my knife, tell Mother Nature who you are madly in love with.”

Adena coyly smiled at Kat as she, along with two others, approached Lucia to borrow the tools. She walked over to the lover’s tree and carved out, ‘Adena + Kat 2021’ on it. Adena took the knife from her and finished it with a heart engraved around the letters.

“There...is beautiful! Marked forever into history,” she stated with a pressed lip smile.

“Yes, it’s beautiful as you are. And the trees will forever guard our union and love sweetheart,” Kat summarized with tear filled eyes, kissing Adena softly on the lips. Others stepped forward to do the same on the trees. And they were all instructed to freely hike and swim at their leisure.

The next 60-plus minutes were spent swimming in water that was, “Bluer than the clearest sky I’ve ever seen,” Kat confessed. The wives took turns climbing partially up the slippery rocks to pose for pictures. Kat liked to do a cannonball into the water after Adena snapped her photo, making the artist giggle uncontrollably at her. They stood and swam together under the refreshing cascading water, basking in its glory and soothing massage, releasing happy chemicals through their bodies.

With some exploration, they found and swam to a more secluded grotto area of the basin, away from the crowds, where they were able to share more intimate kisses and embraces, slipping their hands in each other’s bikini bottoms.

“Ohhh...I love you so much, Deena,” Kat sighed into her wife’s shoulder.

“I love you too, my love.”

The excursion concluded back at the beach, with a scrumptious lunch of seafood, chicken, rice and beans, and sweet plantains. There was fresh chopped mangoes and guayabas for desert, and coco frío for anyone that liked the taste of the sweet water, just picked off the beaches’ coconut trees by Manuel, a restaurant worker handy with a machete and tree-climbing expertise.

With full bellies, and re-saddled horses, the tourists mounted their rides for a leisure trek back to the resort.

=====

DAY 9:

As the screen came into focus, Kat yelled into her tablet and teased, “Hey, hey, hey losers!! Y’all keeping out of trouble?! Have you managed to kill Adena’s plants yet?” She had a big smile plastered on her face, and a few of her stray curls floated freely in the ocean breeze. She also wore fresh flowers in her hair, curtesy of Adena.

“Kat!!!

Katherine?!” she heard screeching back from the screen. Both Jane and Sutton were pressed close together, fighting for camera space.

“Look at you in your sexy yellow bikini, girl!” What on earth are you doing calling us from your sex-crazed honeymoon?” The blonde bellowed with a hand on her head.

Jane leaned into the screen, blocking out her friend. “No, no Sutton. She can call and dedicate a few minutes to her bridesmaids and best friends, too.” The brunette grinned then rambled off a bunch of inquiries - - “How are you guys?...how’s Costa Rica?...how’s the food? And, where’s Adena?!”

Sutton shoved her back, “Jane, you’re hogging the phone screen! I can’t see!”

Kat threw her head back with a belly laugh, “Tee-hee! You guys crack me up! Guess nothing’s changed since I left you both alone to fend for yourselves last week.” She shook her head and focused her attention on her bickering friends for another minute, before answering. “Ahh, we are doing great! CR is fabulous...the food, the people too...and here’s my beautiful wife,” Kat quickly pivoted her tablet lense to show Adena lying next to her on a beach towel. Kat cooed, “Isn’t she hot, girls? I am sooo fucking lucky.”

Adena was wearing her new red string bikini, yellow and red flowered hijab, and a pair of big, dark round sunglasses. Sutton was quick to notice, “Oh my gawd...she’s wearing that next-to-nothing bikini you bought at Bloomies. Hot? More like she’s smokin’ hot, Kat, you lucky devil!”

Kat giggled and kept the camera on her wife. Adena now lifted up onto both elbows and grinned widely. “Well hello there ladies,” she greeted, blowing a kiss at the screen. “This place is paradise. We are having a lovely time...and, I am the lucky one with MY smoking hot wife.” Adena reached her hand out, off screen.

“You both are getting so tanned. Hope you’re using lots of SPF 50,” Jane noted. “Oh, before I forget, your fern and houseplants are doing great. I went over there yesterday, checked and watered everything as instructed. And no, I didn’t water the succulents, Kat,” Jane stuck her tongue out at the screen in front of her.

Adena smiled, “Thank you so much, Jane. You’re an angel. I know you’ll be great with our place and plants. No worries, please.”

“My pleasure,” Jane sat up proudly with a smug smile on her face.

“Cool beans, Tiny Jane.” Kat focused the camera on a large flock of long-billed foul by the shoreline.

“Aww, wish we were there. Look at that beach and wildlife!” Jane exclaimed.

“Yeah, I’m sure Kat and Adena would let us stay in the pullout of their honeymoon suite,” Sutton rolled her eyes, responding sarcastically. Jane turned and slapped her shoulder. “Ouch, Tiny!”

Kat and Adena both laughed aloud, “Nope, sorry guys. No visitors allowed in the El-Amin-Edison love chamber.” Kat flipped the camera back and laid down next to Adena, who was smiling at her last statement. Now Jane and Sutton could see both wives on the screen together.

The conversation continued for a few more minutes then Adena suggested they return up to their suite and give the girls a cyber-tour of their marvelous accommodations. They stood and shook the sand from their towels. Kat was happy to play tour guide and gave step-by-step commentaries as they walked past the resort’s tennis courts, giant pool, luscious green grounds, and up colorful tiled steps. Finally arriving at their destination.

“Here we are...Casita C5. Bienvenue,” Adena unlocked and opened the blue wooden door and led the way inside.

Kat pointed the camera in various directions as she walked, “To the left, we have our own kitchenette and spacious spa bath with large jacuzzi tub for two...and my favorite part is on the right. Here’s the king sized bed and mirrored ceiling,” Kat pointed the camera up and waved at her reflection with a devilish grin. Adena covered her mouth and giggled, and the girls let out concurrent gasps over the speaker.

“It’s like the ‘No Tell Motel’ back home,” Sutton blurted out.

Kat continued moving forward, “And...a bit further is my second favorite part.” Adena opened the flowy white curtains and French doors, exiting to a private patio area, “Our very own private pool!”

A wide-eyed Sutton uttered, “Wowza, you guys are truly in lover’s paradise. No wonder we’re not invited.”

“Yeah, all that’s missing is the champagne glass whirlpool tub like in the Poconos,” Jane exclaimed.

“A tub filled with champagne?” Adena scrunched her face up at Kat in question.

Kat shook her head at her wife and looked back at the screen, “No champagne tub here, but having access to our own private pool is really nice. We use it a couple times a day to cool off and relax. And, since it’s walled in and all super private, we go in sans swimsuits,” Kat pressed her cheek to Adena’s and continuously waggled her eyebrows into the screen to accentuate the vision.

Adena chuckled at her silly wife’s escapades, diverting her eyes from the screen for a moment. “Is been heaven sent. We are taking lot's of pictures, and I will make a PowerPoint and have you both over for dinner and photos when we are back.” Adena patted her wife’s face and walked away.

“Yes and by ‘we’, she means Adena has taken A LOT of pictures,” Kat clarified and laughed.

“Can’t wait to see all the wonderful photos, ladies,” Sutton responded.

“And eat your homemade Persian food, Adena,” Jane added. “No offense, Kat.”

“None taken, Jane.”

“What’s all that ruckus?” Sutton inquired, as the sounds of wildlife surrounded the patio area.

“Ohhh, we have bands of feral monkeys and colorful parrots that keep us entertained from these big trees behind the block fence. It’s truly amazing here.” Kat pointed the lense up to a bunch of tall foliage, then back down at her own face. “But the best seat in the house is here,” she scurried and sat down, leaning back on the double lounger, flipping the view to her wife who was now on the second step of the pool, knee deep in water. Adena smiled up and waved at the girls once more. Then put both hands on her hijab.

Kat inverted the iPad’s camera back to herself but kept her eyesight drawn to her wife, who took off her head covering, folding it neatly, placing it on the cool deck, and turned around to dive into the refreshing water.

“Uh-hum...hello? You were saying, babe. The best seat in the house is where?” Sutton drew Kat out of her temporary hypnosis and back to the conversation at hand.

“Wha-? Oh yes.” Kat looked back down at her screen. “Right here, right where I can watch my girl swimming.” Adena came up for air as she reached the deep end of the pool, then did a swimmers flip and started swimming back in the other direction. Kat turned the viewer back to the pool, where Adena was shrouded by splashing water and bubbles, “That right there guys, that’s the best thing that could ever happen to this 28 year old social media director from Connecticut. Life is good.”

Jane and Sutton heard Kat’s voice crack as she finished speaking, appearing once again on the screen. They simultaneously sighed and Sutton replied, “Aww, babe. We are so happy for you both. We love you and Adena very much.”

“Yes, you guys are goals for sure,” Jane concluded.

“Thanks guys. You both know we went through a lot of ups and downs in our relationship. Like a fool, I wasted a lot of time seeing other people. But thank goodness I finally saw the light, let go of my fears, stopped double guessing myself. I was an idiot and almost lost her twice, but in the end love won.” Kat rapidly blinked and caught a falling tear with her thumb. “Our magnetic pull was just too strong. Adena is my soulmate, and I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else.” Kat paused and her eyes became more misty. When she looked back down at her friends, Jane was drying her eyes and Sutton sniffled into her sweater sleeve.

“Well kid, I think we should disconnect now and let you go join your soulmate in the pool. We’ll talk later or see you guys soon at JFK,” Jane broke the silence.

“Okay, yes. I love you both so much and so does Adena. We’ll be together again soon. Bye!” The threesome waved and threw kisses at each other, then the screen went blank. Kat laid the tablet on the outdoor cushion next to her, relaxing her head back, joyfully sighing. Married life was indeed good, she pondered, and the best was yet to come.

=====
Day 11:

“This is wildlife utopia! Look up there. Our monkeys are back.” Kat shaded her eyes and pointed directly up into the canopy of the large trees separating their bungalow from the neighbor’s. Adena raised her camera and zoomed in, snapping a few pictures before the agile critters scurried off to a hidden branch. “They’re the same kind we saw yesterday at the Photographer’s Wildlife Refuge!”

“Yes, they’re lovely!”

“You know, time sure marches to a different drum here. All this nature makes us stop and listen, take in all the wonderful sounds around us. Make time to just breathe. This must be where that saying, stop and smell the roses, originated from.”

“Agreed, I love that saying. We may never want to return to crazy New York City. Adena drew her hands back down and placed the lense cover back on her professional grade camera. Kat turned over on her side to face her on the pool lounger they shared. Adena rolled over too and mirrored her, placing the camera down in between them.

“Your skin is so soft,” Kat said, reaching and skimming her fingertips up her lover’s leg, over the curve of her hip. She grasped Adena’s bathing suit bottom and pushed the material to the side a bit, sitting up to kiss the exposed untanned skin. “You have the best booty.”

Adena giggled and twisted her head up to respond, “I’m glad you like my...my booty. That’s always sounded like a funny word to me.” Kat laid back on her side and Adena rubbed their toes together.

“Nothing funny about your booty,” Kat teased, scrunching her nose and smiled widely.

“Well I like yours, too. Your boo...tee. Especially when you dance for me all sexy around the bed.” Adena lifted her hand and gave Kat’s ass a squeeze.

“Hmm, then I need to keep dancing for my wife,” Kat said, grinning into a kiss.

Adena pressed their noses together, “I like that plan,” and shared a few more soft kisses. “Speaking of plans, what should we do today? What’s on our lax agenda?”

“Uhm, maybe it’s time to take a dip in our private pool, again?” Kat swung her leg over the edge of the cushion and sat up. She grabbed her beach cover-up and lifted it over her head, revealing her black one piece bathing suit . She knelt down on top of the cushions and clenched Adena’s Rosalía concert shirt, easily removing it when Adena shifted up and raised her arms over her head.

“Okay,” Adena turned and stood up, and Kat joined her. Both stripping off their swimsuits. Kat licked her lips and gave Adena a seductive look before moving past her, diving head first into the fresh water. Adena followed her lead, swimming and meeting back up with her wife at the shallow end of the basin.

Kat opened her arms wide and Adena stepped between them, bodies pressed together. They kissed and eager hands glided freely on wet flesh. Adena wrapped a leg around Kat’s hips, as Kat maneuvered her open lips onto her chin, across her jaw and down to her neck. Adena grunted, nipping at Kat’s shoulder as she felt two long fingers pushed between her thighs. Whispers spilled from Adena’s lips every time Kat moved her hand. “Yes...yes...”

Adena felt lightheaded, physically weightless. She wasn’t sure if it was due to the effects of being in the water, or the avalanche of emotions crazy-mad love creates. Perhaps a combination of both. She felt tethered to Kat like they were each other’s lifelines, hugging her tightly, securely.

Kat gazed up at her wife with so much adoration, questioning the moment. She wondered how she had gotten so damn lucky to have met the beautiful courageous artist on that fateful summer morning in that art studio. Kat could never imagine her life without Adena now. She didn’t want to ever let go of such a good thing.

After a few minutes, Adena tilted her chin up and let out a shaky exhale. She melted into Kat’s arms with her eyes closed and Kat held her tight. Eventually, Kat slipped her fingers out and Adena dropped her leg, pulled away swimming to the edge of the pool, stepping out of the water. Kat followed her every move with intense eyes, as Adena sauntered towards her towel and wiped her hands dry. She knew Kat was watching her very move and it was exhilarating to have that attention. She picked up her camera once more and began photographing Kat, asking her to pose for her. Kat obliged by leaning up against the pool’s negative edge, arms stretched straight up to both sides, curls sodden, and exposed chest above the water line. She knew Adena always loved how her hair looked wet.

Adena lowered her camera and smiled, asking Kat to step out of the water for more pictures. Kat obliged and swam over to the stairs and climbed out. Her body was dripping and glistening in the sun. Kat stopped a few feet away and Adena raised and pointed her camera back at her.

“You’ve heard of Playboy and Penthouse magazines, right?” Kat asked, serious look on her face and her hand dragging across her belly.

Adena lowered the instrument and replied with a funny expression, “Yes. My cousin Esfir found a Playboy magazine hidden under her big brother’s mattress one summer when we were 15. She showed it to me when he was out of the house, and I was fascinated by the beautiful photographs of women. I’ve never seen a Penthouse magazine but I’ve heard about it. It’s more risqué right?” The artist put the camera back up to her face waiting for a response.

“Well, are these pictures of me for Playboy or Penthouse?” Kat smirked.

Adena tilted her head and lowered the camera, “Why do you ask?”

Kat made her way back to the poolside lounger and laid on her side, facing her wife. “Because it depends. If it’s for Playboy, I’ll just pose for you like this.” Kat put her elbow on the cushion and propped her head up on one hand, laying her free arm outstretched over her hip.

“Okay...,” Adena answered and quickly snapped some photographs. She removed the camera once more and her voice lowered one octave, inquiring, “And if it’s for Penthouse?”

“Well?” Kat rolled onto her back and parted her legs, sticking two fingers partially in her mouth.

Adena’s eyes widened and she fumbled with her camera. For a second she stood paralyzed, forgetting what she was doing.

Kat felt like laughing but she kept a straight face, pulling her fingers slowly out from her closed lips. She knew she was being a big tease. “Well...aren’t you going to take more pictures?”

The artist brought the camera up once again and the shutter clicked away. But she soon decided to abandone the device on the patio table and walked over to Kat’s side. She stretched her arm in front of her, offering Kat her hand, “Come.” Adena pulled Kat up and laced their fingers together, hastily leading her wife back inside the hotel room to their bed.

=====
Day 13:

Kat’s curls were damp and weighed down past her shoulders. Adena reclined with eyes closed, over a mountain of pillows against the bed’s rattan headboard. Her freshly washed hair was wrapped in a towel, and she wiggled her toes as she indulged in the soca music that was playing on the room’s radio. Kat was at the foot of the bed painting her toenails a shade of dusty blue.

“Okay babe, sit still. We don’t want to get nail polish on these white sheets, or the hotel will charge us for them.”

Adena was amused observing Kat, who was in deep concentration with her mouth slightly open, delicately applying the second coat of polish to her toes. She gently twisted sideways, grabbing her phone to capture pictures of Kat hard at work. “Hmph, you’re so adorable. You know that?”

Kat paused and briefly drew her sight up at the artist, smiled, but quickly looked back down to continue her task. “Welp, that’s why you couldn’t let me go after we met for the first time in your studio.”

Adena let out a short laugh, “True...very true. So beautiful. You were also the boldest woman I had ever met. Very relentless and that was such a turn on.

Kat leaned back and cautiously screwed the little black bottle top closed. “There, all done. Now we have matching toes,” she giggled and stood up, strolling over to the nightstand to place the nail polish and take a sip from her water bottle.

“Yay! I love them,” Adena announced, flexing both feet up towards her to get a better view. She patted the space next to her with the flat of her hand, and Kat laid down beside her. “Thank you, zan.”

Kat dragged the tip of her nose up Adena’s forearm and smiled. “I love it when you call me that.” She pulled herself forward and gave Adena a soft kiss on the base of her neck.

“Mmm,” Adena moaned. “You’re going to make me mess up my lovely toes. My hot manicurist will be very upset with you.”

“Um-hum, we better then be careful and wait a bit. We don’t want to get her mad.”

=====
Day 14:

On their final full day, the wives slept-in until mid-morning, ordered room service, and ate a hearty breakfast out on their terrace. They finished and headed down to the uncrowded resort’s beach, wearing tiny bikinis and matching wide brim straw hats. They swam in aqua-blue warm sea water, then laid on a large hammock under a palapa umbrella enjoying their surroundings. They relaxed and indulged in fresh cut sweet mango and cold lemonades the barman delivered to them.

The sun was fierce but an afternoon cluster of fluffy white clouds had made it more tolerable. Their senses were filled with the smell of the ocean and cocoa butter suntan lotion, the soothing sound of waves lapping on the shore, and children’s laughter. A small group of adolescent vacationers, and a family of three, flew colorful kites over the pale yellow sand near Kat and Adena.

“Ah, so sweet,” Kat commented with an honest smile. She was watching in awe as the littlest hands tugged at a kite string. The child’s mom and dad took turns helping the rainbow colored kite stay airborne.

“Yes, so adorable,” Adena replied, pushing her dark sunglasses down her nose for a better look.

Kat faced Adena and rested her elbow on top of her bent knee. “I can’t wait until that’s us with our child. I want to return here someday and fly kites, too.”

Adena smiled and nodded, “For sure, Kat. It’s a date my love.” She extended her hand out and Kat took it, pulling it upwards and kissing Kat’s fingers.

Kat swiveled over and ducked down, finding her wife’s lips for a kiss. Then reclined back to keep watching the family nearby. Only diverting her view further beyond when a school of dolphins put on a show for the beachgoers, eloquently flipping out of the water one-by-one.

There was the familiar sound of a camera shutter next to Kat. “Wow, did you see that joon!”

“OMG, yes! It couldn’t be a more perfect final day in Playa Cochal, huh Adena?”

“I’m going to miss this so much,” the artist announced, placing her Nikon inside her canvas bag that hung next to her.

Kat laced their fingers together and replied, “Life is good, babe. “I will miss this too, but we’re gonna have so many wonderful pictures to remember it all. I can’t wait to see your creations at home.”

The women faced each other and shared a loving smile. Adena cupped Kat’s cheek and pulled her face forward for a quick kiss, and Kat reciprocated.

“What time is our romantic beachside dinner scheduled for, again?”

“Seven-thirty,” Kat replied in between kisses.

“Well then, how about we go back to our bungalow and shower, rest a little.” Adena leaned back and gave Kat a big grin. “You want me to give you a head to toe massage after we clean up?”

“Mmm, yes please.” Kat smirked and quickly sat up, swinging her legs off the hammock and helping Adena collect their belongings. The lovers were soon heading up to their place, all giggles and smiles.

=====
Day 15:

It was an early morning rise and long trip to the Liberia airport by cab, as Kat and Adena had a mid-morning flight back to New York. As the plane’s wheels touched down with a piercing screech at JFK International, the wives faced each other in their seats with warm smiles. They had just spent a magical 15 days together in paradise, and they both looked forward to a lifetime of shared romance and happiness.

“I love you so much, Kat.”

“I love you too, baby.