The Billionaire's Temporary Bride

By: Avery James

"Then what happens?"

"Then we start our life together. I want to be with you every step of the way. The pregnancy, labor, everything after, every baby step, first word, birthday party, every scraped knee and homework assignment, I want to be there for all of it. I don't want to miss a moment with you, or any of our children."

"Children? More than one? One step at a time," Charlotte said. "I've been thinking about names. If the baby is a girl..."

"We'll name her Emma," Jack said. The look in his eyes said, And you thought I had forgotten.

"What about names for a boy?"

Jack grinned. "I think anything other than Jack will do."

Charlotte leaned in and kissed him. "Sounds good to me, but I don't think we'll have to worry about that." She placed his hand on her stomach. "We're going to have a girl, I have a feeling about this."

Jack took both of Charlotte's hands and helped her to her feet. He kissed her on her forehead, then her lips. "A girl, huh?" he said. "My mother and sister are going to insist on buying her more dresses than you could imagine."

"Jack, are you sure this is what you want? You said you didn't want a permanent marriage," Charlotte said. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to."

"I want you," Jack said. "Whether that's as Charlotte Coburn or Charlotte Crowley, I don't care. As long as I have you, I'll be the happiest man alive."

"Of course you have me," Charlotte said. "I am yours and you are mine."

"Then let's go introduce our baby to the world," Jack said.

"And then we can be in private?" Charlotte asked.

"Then we can be in private for the rest of our lives. After today, all I want in the world until my dying day is to have you and Emma and the rest of our children by my side."

Jack took a step towards the front door, still holding Charlotte's hands.

"Are you coming?" he asked.

"Sure thing Congressman Coburn," Charlotte said.

"I think I'm going to go by Mr. Coburn from now on. Let's go, Charlotte."

"I believe you meant to say, "Mrs. Coburn," Charlotte said. She smiled and stepped outside with her husband, hand in hand, ready to begin their new life together.


Jack stood before the crowd, smiling and holding the microphone in his hand. Charlotte watched the warm light of sunset fall across his face. He looked more happier than she had ever seen him. She followed his gaze out across the crowd of family and friends who sat assembled on his family's Cape Cod yard. The ocean lulled behind him as he cleared his throat to speak.

"Since I left office, I haven't had to give many speeches. So forgive me if I'm a bit out of practice. In four years as a member of the US House of Representatives and in ten months as a candidate for Senate, I gave hundreds of speeches. I gave speeches on employment and infrastructure, conservation and progress. I've given speeches about so many important issues, but I've never given one about the one thing that matters most: love."

Jack turned to Charlotte as he continued, taking her hand. "Charlotte, when I met you two years ago, I didn't believe in love. I didn't know its mystery or majesty or its redemptive power. I didn't understand how it could take root in someone's heart and mind and just never let go. Of course, that all changed the day you walked into my life, and while I wasn't willing to admit it to myself then, I was in love with you from the moment I saw you. It took a little while longer to convince you to give me a chance, but I thank God every day that you did.

As hopefully everyone here knows, Charlotte and I married last January in a small ceremony in DC. We did it because we wanted a marriage without all of the fuss and attention of a big wedding. We didn't want the speeches and the toasts or any of that, but today, we're here to stand tall and shout for everyone to hear that we love each other."

Jack shifted, and looked deep into Charlotte's eyes. He might no longer be a politician, but he hadn't lost his affinity for giving speeches, she thought. She wanted him to keep going forever. She never tired of hearing him say how much he loved her. Charlotte gave him a little wink and a smile

Jack continued. "Before I met you Charlotte, I thought I knew what family was. I thought I knew who I was, but you've shown me that life can be so much more, and that I can rely on you and the rest of my family for a strength I could never have alone. You've shown me what it truly means to be part of something bigger than myself. You are my everything, and I love you now and forever." He slipped the microphone into Charlotte's hand. "Your turn," he whispered.

Her pulse quickened as she looked to the crowd. Her parents were standing next to Jack's mom, and her sister was with Jack's siblings. Her mother was holding baby Emma in her arms. Charlotte found it hard to remember a time when the Coburns and the Crowleys weren't one big, happy family.

Both families had spent the week at the house in the lead up to the renewal of vows. Unlike her first visit, the house had felt alive with laughter and conversation. Every morning, after Charlotte would come downstairs to her father and Jack's mother having spirited debates about politics, or to everyone fussing over baby Emma. The week had been such a success that Angela had already insisted on having her parents back for two weeks the next summer.

Even Jack and Caroline were getting along better than ever. After Jack left politics, he and Caroline co-founded the Coburn Family Foundation. They had spent the past year and a half working together to fund projects that were near and dear to their hearts. Jack had brought several members of his congressional and campaign staff to jumpstart the organization. Caroline was able to use her social connections to raise even more funds and awareness for the foundation's core causes: conservation, education, and assistance for single mothers. Whit even helped set up a micro lending program in the Caribbean.

Jack had resigned from political life in order to prove his love for Charlotte, but he ended up saving his relationship with his family as well. It was like he had freed them from the ghosts that had haunted them for years and years. By choosing to move on with Charlotte, he had helped them to move on too. Charlotte couldn't help but think that they had never looked happier than when they joined hundreds of family and friends to witness Charlotte and Jack renew their vows.

Jack squeezed Charlotte's hand. "You've got this love," he said. She smiled and looked down at her simple white dress. She thought about the beautiful home they had built together, the joy of waking up next to Jack every morning and all the times they had taken turns to soothe baby Emma back to sleep in the middle of the night. Jack was right. She had this. She had everything she could possibly want.

Charlotte turned to the crowd. "I used to have this theory that you could see true love, that two people who loved each other could light up a room with the raw power of their love, but now I know for sure. As I look to all of you today I'm so overwhelmed by love that I feel like my heart might burst." She turned to Jack. "'Every day I watch you light up the lives of the people you love, family and friends and, most of all, me. I can't imagine what it would be like to spend another moment without you, and I never want to find out. Jack, I love you more than I knew possible."

"I love you too," Jack said. His voice broke halfway through his words, and Charlotte could see the tears welling up in his eyes. "Now that's how you give a wedding speech."

Charlotte laughed and kissed him. She felt like she could slip into the warmth of that kiss and stay there forever. Forever, she thought, that sounds just about right.

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