I felt a pull in my stomach as she slid her arms around my neck, the thick curls of her hair tickling my face as she leaned her head against my shoulder. God, I loved this girl. “Are you ready to go baby?” she whispered into my ear. I inhaled deeply, the sweet smell of her shampoo filling my nostrils.
“Of course. Whenever you’re ready.” Rather than move, she instead clutched me tighter to her. With reluctance, I finally pried her arms from around my neck, sighing. “We’re going to be late.”
“They’ll keep our reservations,” she laughed as she turned to walk out the door. I let her walk in front of me towards the car, admiring the impossibly beautiful way she walked, as though she were floating underwater rather than walking down the cracked driveway of the home we had shared for the last two years. Even after all this time I was still in awe that she had deigned to fall for me. I shook my head as I opened the door of the car for her, “What?” she asked.
“Nothing, I just can’t believe how beautiful you are,” I responded smoothly.
She flashed her beautiful smile towards me as I shut the door, careful not to catch her dress. I walked around the car and slid into the driver’s seat. Shifting the car into drive, I pulled away from the curb, barely containing my happiness. I turned to look at her as I merged onto the highway, laughing as I saw her fixing her already perfect make-up in the mirror. “Stop it!” she laughed back at me. “You’re gonna make me mess up! It’s going to look like a four-year-old did my mascara,” she warned.
“Please,” I rolled my eyes “you couldn’t look ugly if you tried.” With effort, I turned my focus back to the road, steering us to our destination. I hated driving, but with her the miles were inches, they skimmed by as if they didn’t exist. I could see the city lights coming into view. Their beauty was immeasurable; for a second they tore my heart from the goddess not but a foot away.
As we cruised into downtown, the lights topping the posts that lined the street made her eyes dance. I carefully kept my gaze on the road ahead of me, knowing that if I even glanced at her, I risked being sucked into the bottomless beauty of this angel beside me; unable to do anything but revel and bask in her light until the day that I died. It wouldn’t be a bad way to die, I mused. It would be rather ironic, dying next to the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
It felt strange. Thinking about the words, the words that I had longed to say but could never quite build up the courage to. But tonight… Tonight was different. Terror and yearning flashed through my body at the thought. What if she said no? What was I going to do then? They never explained that in the movies. They never had to; the girl always said yes, tears of joy running down her face, hands shaking as her new fiance slid the ring onto her finger. “What’s wrong?” She questioned, concern etching lines into her forehead as she studied my face.
I swiftly swept my gaze away from her, terrified that my face would show everything that was churning inside me. “N-nothing.” I stammered. She raised a single delicately arched eyebrow, unconvinced, yet unwilling to question me, unwilling to risk spoiling this perfect night. I shifted in my seat, the small box in the breast pocket of my suit jacket resting awkwardly against my chest. The light strings crossing the road swayed in the slight breeze, the bulbs slowly swinging to and fro. Suddenly, she giggled softly. She leaned towards me, slipping her arm underneath mine, twining our fingers together. As always, the touch of her skin made my head swim, a gentle buzzing starting in the back of my skull. She was my drug, this girl. I was addicted, and I knew that I would never be able to let her go. “Do you remember the night we met?” a shiver shot down my spine as her warm breath tingled my neck.
A smile flew unbidden to my face. “Of course,” I replied. “How could I forget?”
I still couldn’t see her face, yet I heard the smile in her voice, “You were so nervous you were shaking.” she giggled again, “I never understood why you were so sure I would turn you down when you asked me to dance.”
I chuckled, “Beautiful girls tended to look at me as though I were crazy; tell me to go away.”
She pressed her lips to my cheek, a smile floating across them. “Their loss,” she whispered. She leaned back against her seat, fingers still clasped in mine, her thumb moving slowly across the back of my hand. “How you found the courage to ask me to spend time with you, I’ll never know.” She smiled again, eyes twinkling with laughter and love.
“It’s simple really,” I began, “From the moment I saw you, I… I knew.” I paused, trying to put my feelings into words that would at least make some form of sense. “I loved you from the moment I first saw you, and there was no way in hell I was going to let you get away from me.” I shrugged. “There still isn’t.” I turned to look at her, drinking in her beauty and the adoring look on her face. “There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, baby. Nothing.”
She blinked slowly, her long lashes fluttering against her cheeks like dark fans. “I know.”
We sat in comfortable silence for the next few minutes, simply enjoying being near each other. I slid into the first parking space I found; shutting the car off. For a moment, I sat in silence, reluctant to let go of her delicate hand, even if only for a moment. At last, as the numbers on the clock flipped to 6:00, I let go of her and opened my door. She sat, waiting, knowing that I was going to open her door as well. She flashed her brilliant smile at me as I swung the door open, stepping back to allow her space to get out.
She slipped her arms around me and dropped her head on my shoulder, pulling me close. My skin buzzed where it touched hers, and for a moment I simply held her, knowing that no matter how tightly I pressed her to me, it would never be close enough. As she reluctantly pulled away, I felt her hand graze my chest, and for a moment she tensed as her fingers grazed the ring box in my pocket. There was no doubt that she knew what it was. She was far too smart for that. My heartbeat quickened as all my insidious doubts flooded in. I didn't dare look at her for fear of what I would see in her eyes.
Her fingers were cool and soft as she reached to cup my cheek, turning my face towards her. A heart-breakingly radiant smile shone on her face, matching the sparks swimming in her eyes. The tension in my shoulders fell away as I looked into the endless depths of her eyes and found my answer.
Her beautiful lips pressed to mine, her arms tightening around me, pulling me closer as though she could never get enough; I smiled against her mouth. That same sweet love crashed over me in a wave once more, drowning me in dreams of the future we would have together; the years spent living and laughing and loving, the years spent in each other's arms. As I kissed her and felt her fingers twisting in the fabric of my jacket; as I felt the same love dancing within her as swirled in my chest. I knew. With every beat of my heart and every shred of my soul, I knew: This woman, this unfairly beautiful woman, would be mine forever.