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Keeping Her (Losing It #1.5)

By:Cora Carmack

And God knows I was good at screwing things up.

So I sat in my seat on the plane as everyone else around me slept, including Garrick, and I drove myself crazy with worry.

If the weight of my stress were real, there was no way this plane could have stayed in the air. We'd start plummeting and spinning and then some brave soul would throw me out the side door for the good of everyone and scream, "Lighten up!" as I fell to my death.

That was another thing that could go wrong. I could fall to my death on the stairs at Garrick's house. Wait . . . did they have stairs? I should have made him detail it all for me. Maybe I should wake him up and ask him now about the stairs. And for a description of the entire house. And backgrounds on his parents and everyone he had ever met. Maybe he could just keep talking, so that I could stop listening to my own thoughts.

I started to reach for him, but then brought that same hand back to thump against my forehead.

Seriously, Bliss. Chill out.

That was my mantra for the rest of the trip. I repeated it in my head (and possibly out loud) as I pressed my forehead against the cool glass of the airplane window, and tried to get some sleep.

The mantra worked about as much as my attempts to sleep. Fitfully I moved between the window, the seatback tray, and Garrick's shoulder, trying to find a place to lean my head that didn't feel horrendously uncomfortable. I didn't get how I could sleep on Garrick's shoulder anytime at home, and now when it was my best option for slumber, it was like trying to rest my head on a pillow of glass shards covered in ants dusted with anthrax.

I'd switched back to the seatback tray, folding myself over onto it, when Garrick sat up and unbuckled his seat belt.

I woke him up.

Girlfriend Fail.

"I'm sorry," I whispered.

He reached between me and my current resting place, found the metal fastener of my seat belt, and clicked it open.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

He didn't even talk, just gestured with his hand for me to stand.

I fumbled to put up the tray and stand in the low space. My head craned to the side to fit under the overhead bins, and he pulled up the armrest and slid over into my spot. With his hands on my hips, he deposited me in his old seat, and then he turned toward me and leaned his back against the window. He opened his arms to me with a sleepy half smile, and I fell gratefully into his arms. With my head perched atop his chest, I sighed in relief.

"Better?" he asked, his voice raspy with sleep.


His lips brushed my temple, and then sleep was almost as irresistible as he was.

I WOKE A few hours later to find light peeking through the plane windows. Two women were whispering quietly a few rows behind us in a familiar lilting accent. And it hit me. We were almost in London.

I was going to be in London.

God, all those months of seeing Kelsey's pictures and hearing about her travels, and I had been raging with jealousy. And now it was my turn.

I wanted to mind the gap at the tube station and eat fish and chips and try to make the Queen's guards laugh. I wanted to see Big Ben and the Globe and the London Bridge and Dame Judi Dench. Or Maggie Smith. Or Alan Rickman. Or Sir Ian McKellen. Or anybody famous and British, really.

Holy crap. This was really happening.

And I wasn't just a tourist. I was visiting with someone who'd grown up in the city. With my fiancé.

Take that, world.

"You look happier."

I pulled my head away from the window to find Garrick awake and staring at me. I gave a small squeal and launched myself at him. I locked our mouths together, and for a moment he sat still and shocked beneath me. Then his eyes closed, his hand cupped the back of my neck, and he kissed me so thoroughly that I almost forgot about London. Almost.

I broke away, grinning, and he said, "Not that I will ever complain about moments like that, but what's gotten into you? You waited a little late if your goal was to join the mile-­high club."

I swatted his shoulder playfully, and then placed another quick kiss on his mouth because I couldn't resist. I said, "You're English."

He smiled and blinked a few times. "Yes. Yes, I am."

"And we're about to be in England."

He nodded slowly, and I knew I sounded crazy, but I didn't care.

"Yes. We've only been planning this visit for a month."

"I know . . . I just . . . it didn't hit me until now that we're in London. Or about to be, anyway. I've been worrying so much about your mother that I hadn't really thought about it. I'm going to London! Eeep!"

He chuckled, small and quiet, and brushed his fingers across my lips to quiet me. Right. ­People were sleeping. Then, like he couldn't contain it, he laughed louder, completely disregarding his own warning to be quiet.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

Slowly smothering his laughter, he used the hand hooked around my neck to pull my forehead against his. Our lips brushed just barely when he said, "You make me happy." I smiled my approval, and he added, "Marry me?"

My heart flip-­flopped, like my unsuccessful pancakes from this morning were supposed to.

"You've already asked me that, and I already said yes."

"I know. It's unfair that I only get to ask you that once, though."

Melting. So much melting.

I reached up and brushed my fingertips along his jaw. He hadn't shaved in a few days, so the hair there was rough and masculine and unbelievably sexy. He closed his eyes and leaned into my hand the way that Hamlet did when anyone but me was playing with her. Stupid cat.

I said, "Yes. The answer will always be yes."

He took my hand from his jaw and brushed his lips across my knuckles. My insides went as gooey as the nearly congealed breakfast the flight attendants had passed out. He kissed the ring on my third finger, and who knew the engagement ring was an eroge