She’s got a mug in her hand, sitting sideways in a chair, legs dangling over the edge.
And there’s something about the sight of it. Of her. It’s like my past, present, and future are inexplicably tied together.
And that’s when it hits me with such force that I walk over to her and drop down on both knees in front of her. I’m not sure where it comes from, but I catch her gaze and say, “Do you want to get married?”
She narrows her eyes at me. “You do realize that you are down on two knees. It’s supposed to be one knee,” she says with a laugh.
I take her coffee cup and set it on the table beside her, then take her hands in mine. “Devaney, I want to marry you more than anything. I want to be with you all the time. Wake up with you like this every day. The idea that we have to live on campus in separate dorms is so antiquated.”
“You’ve been busy, Chase. We both have.”
“Maybe we should get un-busy,” I suggest.
“How do we do that?” she asks sincerely.
“One, a new mindset for me. I need to try to start treating football like what it is—a job.”
“Except it’s not just that. It’s your passion. That’s why you’re so good at it.”
“Yeah, but I feel like I have no life. I’ve always been able to juggle football and still have time to live. I miss you. I miss us.”
I feel desperate, I want to say, but I don’t.
“Things have been a little different than I expected.” She says this while absentmindedly playing with a strand of her hair.
And this worries me. “Different how?”
“Well, when you were still back in KC, I’d come home for the weekends, and we’d make up for lost time. I guess I just expected it to be more—”
“Perfect. Yesterday, here, was perfect. Thus, my sentiment.”
She grins at me. “Oh. Are you talking about the proposal that’s not a proposal?”
“Yeah. Like, what if it were? What would you say?” I ask her, my heart in my throat.
She taps a slender finger against her chin. “Are we talking now or a few years in the future, like after graduation sort of thing?”
“Now. Today if you want. We’re both eighteen. We could just go to the courthouse.”
She holds her hand up in the air. “You can stop right there.”
I can’t help but flinch when she says that. I thought we’d cleared the air about everything yesterday. “I take it, the courthouse is a no?”
“Chase, how many times have we already gotten married?”
I think back to our childhood, to us pretending. “Numerous.”
“And in all those times, was it ever just us? At a courthouse?”
I purse my lips, then break out into a smile. “No. There were many dolls and stuffed animals in attendance as well as your brother and my dog, Angel.”
“Angel was my flower girl. What else?”
“You’d decorate. I remember, sometimes, you’d put streamers in the tree in the backyard. And if we were inside, you’d gather either my mom’s candlesticks or a bunch of potted plants. But your favorite time of the year was when we could pick daisies first. For your hair.”
“Right. So, my answer to your question is, if you could conjure up my dream wedding today, yes, I would marry you.”
I lean in and kiss her. Like I would at our wedding. It’s passionate but soft, full of hope, love, and meaning.
“I love you,” I tell her.
“I love you, too, Chase. And I was thinking, if you can’t whip up a wedding”—she leans her head toward the bedroom—“how about instead of pretending to get married—because let’s face it, we’ve had plenty of practice—we work on practicing for our honeymoon?”
I don’t say anything. I don’t have to. I just pick her up and carry her into the room. The bacon can wait.
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