I stared at Wayne for a few long moments before I cocked my head. “Did you just propose? After we’ve been dating for, like, two weeks tops?”
He shrugged as he brought me closer, planting his lips on my temple. “If that’s the way to protect you from your awful family, then be it,” he squeezed me to him. “And it won’t be such a hardship for me either. I like you, after all. Helluva lot.”
“We’re talking about marriage here,” I reminded him. “You don’t have to marry me out of obligation.”
“But I want to,” he leaned his forehead against mine. “I want to marry you. We don’t need to have kids. We don’t need to even throw a big party or something.”
I didn’t know if I should be happy or angry at him. What would a normal woman feel in this kind of situation? Of course, Wayne was an extremely good guy and I liked him too. But marriage, unlike what my own family thought, was something sacred. If Wayne married me and then regretted it, it would suck. Because that last thing I needed was to tie myself to someone who only did it for the wrong reasons.
We were not in love with each other yet. We weren’t. And marrying him because he sought to protect me was wrong. “Don’t take this the wrong way, Wayne, but my answer is no.”
He grinned a little. “Somehow, I knew it wouldn’t be this easy.”
“If I said yes,” I explained, cupping his face in my hands so he could see the honesty in my eyes, “I would betray everything I managed to scrap together to believe in. And believing in marriage was the one thing I let myself cling onto, because everything else was too fucked up. When I get married, I want it to be from much purer reasons, to come from a different place. While I appreciate your worry and the fact you’re willing to tie the knot with me for the sake of sheltering me, I can’t let either of us do it. I can’t.”
“I get it,” he kissed the tip of my nose, startling me. “I really do. Stop fretting.”
“If and when you fall in love with me, if that’s even a possibility, I’ll be glad to hear you propose again,” I said, feeling the need to explain myself. “But as I said, marriage is a big deal. My family my think little of it, what with my father sleeping with everything that moves while he’s married and supposed to be loyal, but I’m not like this. I’m not. I really am no – “
“You’re rambling, Cleo,” Wayne’s eyes locked mine, searching. His face was serious and I realized I felt weird inside. Like panic and anxiety brewing together inside my belly, clenching and knotting. “Just spill it.”
And so I did. “I want to say yes, Wayne,” I looked at him with wide eyes. “I want to say yes even though I know it’s wrong. I want to say yes because for the first time in my life I don’t want to be all strong and aloof by myself. I don’t want to lick my own wounds. I want someone to help me with that. I want someone to let me take a break of putting on a facade that everything is alright, because nothing is all right.” Hysterical laughter bubbled out of me, and my eyes grew wet. “I want to say yes to this proposal of all the wrong reasons, reasons I know and feel are wrong, but at the same time feel right.”
“Then say yes,” he said, face completely serious. “Don’t over-think it. It’s not you, Blair. It’s never been you, over-thinking stuff. I understand that marriage is different in your state of mind. But if you want to say yes, I’ll be the last person to stop you.”
It was both what I wanted and didn’t want to hear. “Then I’m saying yes.” I said before I could think it twice because Wayne was right; it wasn’t me. I just did what I felt in my gut that was needed to be done.
“Okay,” he said, grinning now. “I’ll prepare a ring for you to wear and all the jazz.”
“You make it sound so appealing,” I noted dryly, feeling relief now. I was back to myself.
“You’re the one who said yes,” his grin widened, showing his teeth. “Now live with your choice.”
“Again, very appealing,” I rolled my eyes but my lips twitched. I actually agreed to a marriage proposal from Holden Knight. That was a peculiar occasion.
“I think it means we should celebrate our successful engagement,” he nudged me down so I was on my back on the sofa and he was stretched above me, “how about some engagement sex?”
“There’s still no ring,” I told him as I put my arms around his neck, pulling him forward. “I don’t thin it would count as an engagement sex if there’s no ring involved.”
“I didn’t know you were so hot for diamonds,” he smirked as he got comfortable between me open thighs. I heard the zipper of his jeans tearing down and his cock springing free. “If it had been that easy to get you, I would’ve showered you with gems – “
“Shut up about this goddamn nonsense, Wayne, and fuck me,” I said as I crushed my lips to his and ripped my pants off me.
“You mean make love,” he murmured against my mouth as he grabbed my thighs and buried himself inside me to the hilt. We both groaned. “That’s what engaged couple do.”
“Making love is for pussies,” I bit his lower lip, “fucking is much more appropriate.”
“Fuck it, you’re right,” he grinned and then glided in and out of me in that hard, fast pace I came to crave. And I when I saw stars and felt nothing but pure oblivion, I sighed, contented.
It was marvelous. It was amazing. It was the best sex ever. And I wanted to keep on doing this for the rest of my life. With Wayne. With him. With this.
Wayne could become my family. He could become everything I missed on my entire life. And I knew for sure that he would do it with his whole heart because that was the kind of person he was.
But little did I know back then that he wasn’t telling me everything. And that the day after the proposal would change everything for the worse.