When you looked over your shoulder
For a moment I forget that I’m older
She dances when she thinks I’m not looking. It’s like there’s a beat in her head that no one else can hear. I watch her smile to herself, her hair cascading over her shoulders even as she throws her hands up in the air, shaking her head. Her dark hair is everywhere, a shock against her pale skin.
But she doesn’t care.
I think back to that first morning when we met. I thought she was just an angry kid. I still consider her a kid, still think of her as something of a china doll — breakable and frail. I have to remind myself of what she’s been through — remind myself that she’s been through hell, and withstood her fair share of adversaries. She’s not a doll. She’s a woman. She’s a true force.
She’s a hurricane.
I look up at her. She smirks and shakes her hips, throwing her head back and giggling. She holds her hands out to me, and I take them.
I would follow her anywhere.
The thought occurs to me then that I really have followed her anywhere. I have gone to the ends of the earth for this girl — this woman. I have uprooted my entire existence to follow her. And she has done the same for me. We’ve sacrificed so much — more than we surely thought we ever would sacrifice for another person.
But it was those sacrifices that brought us closer to one another. It was those sacrifices that brought us here. It’s been two years. Surely at this point no one is looking for us anymore. If they are, they’d never find us. We’ve been kept safely hidden, away from the rest of the world.
Just how we always wanted it.
I’m so in love with you
And I hope you know
Darling your love is more than worth its weight in gold
I turn the music down and slow our rhythm. “Do you remember the day we met?” I ask the question already knowing what she’ll say, how she’ll react.
She blushes and bites her lip, running a hand nervously through her hair. “It was the best morning of my life,” she says. “You were so mad.”
“You were so obnoxious,” I tell her.
She shrugs, lacing our fingers together as we stand in the kitchen of our two bedroom apartment. She meets my eyes and smiles, her cheeks still stained pink.
“I was trying to come off mature,” she admits. “I kind of had a thing for you even then.”
“You barely knew me,” I say. I say this every time we talk about that first time we met, now five years beyond us. And every time she says the same thing.
“I knew I loved you then,” she says with a toss of her hair. She reaches over and turns the music back up, taking my hands and whisking me across the floor. I follow her lead, as always, and breathe her in when she pulls me close. She still smells of coconut and honey, a combination of her shampoo and her lotion. She reminds me of a warm summer’s day.
She reminds me of forever.
“There was a point to my question,” I tell her as the song plays out. She pauses the next song and stares at me expectantly. She always looks at me as if I hold the answers to every single one of her questions. It both excites me and scares me. I’m so scared of disappointing her, of making her leave.
But I know she’d never leave. And neither will I.
I’m gonna love you ’til
My lungs give out
“I loved you then, too,” I tell her, shoving my hands in my pocket. I feel the velvet under my fingertips and take a deep breath. It’s now or never, Jude…
I’ve been prepping myself for days, wondering just when I’d have the nerve to ask her. It made the most sense to do it today — on the anniversary of the day we met. I wouldn’t kiss her for another four months, and even then, it would take two months after that for her to wear me down. From there, it would be hell trying to make it work.
We’d walked through hell together. And here we were, finally, on the other side.
“And I know… I know I say a lot of the wrong things,” I continue. “I do the wrong things sometimes, too—“
“Jude, it’s not about what you do,” she tells me, interrupting me as she always does. “It’s about how you make me feel. You… you understand me. All of my quirks and my oddities. You don’t care. You—“
“Love you so very much, Shiloh,” I say, taking her left hand in mine. “And if you could stop interrupting me for ten minutes, I would like to ask you to spend the rest of your life with me.”
I show her the box, and she grabs it out of my hands to open it. Her eyes widen and she smiles. “Will you put it on?” She asks me, holding out her hand. She places the velvet box back in my hand, her brown eyes sparkling. I see her hands are shaking, but it’s not nerves.
“Can I take this as a yes?” I ask her, sliding the ring onto her finger.
She wraps her arms around me, hugging me close to her. “You can take this as a hell yes, Fischer.”
I don’t have a response, a retort, a quip to throw back at her. She’s just agreed to be mine forever. Even in my wildest dreams, I never thought it would be possible.
“You know you’re never getting rid of me now, right?” She asks me as she tangles her fingers in my hair. I tighten my grip on her and chuckle. I feel her chest rumble against mine as she giggles, and I lean back to meet her eyes.
“Good,” I say. “Because I have no intention of doing that… ever.”
‘Cause now it’s just you and me ’til we’re gray and old
Just say you won’t let go