Chapter 11 (END)
"You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you."
I leave with her and we take a leisurely walk through the forest. I smile down at her, "You know, you're a very good person." she says with a grin, smiling up at me. I laugh, "Am I? I never really thought so, with all the things I've done."
"Not to sound cheesy or anything, but the past doesn't matter as long as you have a future to look forward to. That's what my father told me once." "Sounds like a wise man," I say in passing and her voice quiets, "He was."
We continue to walk while I twirl the rings around within my pocket. Maybe it's too soon? I mean, I haven't even known her a week, but then again, I have all of eternity to get to know her, right? I smile to myself, sounds like something my mother would say. She was a wistful woman, caught up in her romantic fantasies, ones she never had with my father.
My heart sinks, I try to focus on Alanna. "You know, Alanna... I've grown quite fond if you over the past few days." She smiles, "You have?" I then realize she's confused, perhaps by the word fond. I try to rephrase.
"Alanna, what I'm trying to say is... I really like you. I like being around you. You're wonderful company." She smiles naturally, "I am? Hm, never thought I could be. Beside the point, though, I like you too. The age difference doesn't bother me all that much, to be honest, since age here is not an issue."
I wonder if she'd rehearsed the words before, because she never paused, or was she really that eloquent? The thought didn't bother me very long because we stopped at a cliff and sat down. "There are many cliffs here," I point out, "and they all overlook the sea, all but this one."
Her eyes light up as she stares, her eyes grazing over the field of flowers. Blues, purples, oranges, yellows and reds, so many beautiful flowers and herbs, plants and trees. I smile, scooting beside her. She sighs, leaning her head on my shoulder.
I wrap an arm slowly around her waist, securing her against my side. I turn my neck slightly and kiss her temple and she blushes, "James?" I smile,"Yeah?" "Kiss me." I almost choke while trying to swallow, "Was that a question?"
She runs her fingers through her hair, putting it behind her ears. In the moonlight her hair is the closest to white I'd ever seen. I remembered having a neighbor once who was albino. The though occurred to me of why she didn't like to leave the house during the daytime, not like I liked it anyway. I preferred the nighttime anyway. I realize she's thinking, pondering my question.
"No, it wasn't an order either. I just wanted to let you know I wanted you to kiss me, you don't have to nor will I force you I just wanted to point out-" I smile, "Hush." I put my hand on her cheek, making her look at me.
I kiss her briefly and she smiles. Slowly, I reach in my pocket. "This may be a bit... early but I want to get to know you. I want to be yours." I smile, hugging her around her waist. She is silent, calculating.
I pull the rings from my pocket and set them in her open palm and she rolled them over in her hand. She stares at them, watching them gleam in the moonlight. I watch her eyes as she stares at them sadly. "I'll give you time to think." I kiss her cheek and she sits still, unmoving.
I move down to the bottom of the hill and start picking flowers. Not very masculine, I admit, but I wanted to be able to keep an eye on her as well as give her space and this was the first thing I could think of.
Once I've picked an assortment of at least forty flowers cradled in my arm, I look up at her. Her feet dangle off the edge as she lays her back on the ground.
I smile as she slowly stares intently at the rotating ring. I walk up to her and she puts something in my hand. A ring. A silver ring with a crimson ruby. I notice one ring. One.
The other is on her finger as her pale face turns red, "Yes. I'd love to." I smile, kissing her nose, "Put my ring on for me?" She laughs, pushing me playfully, "Do it yourself."
Once I put in on, we walk back hand-in-hand to see the boy's sharing a bed. Peter cuddled into Asher's arms. I've never seen him so vulnerable but he'd probably say the same of me. They both brought out our true natures.
I laugh a little before crawling in bed, Alanna crawls in after me, wrapping her arms around my neck. I hear uneven breathing and realize the boy's aren't asleep. They're smiling, looking goofily into each others' eyes.
I pull Alanna against me, "Goodnight." She smiles, whispering to me, "Goodnight." I hear small giggles from the other bed and roll my eyes, falling asleep. Love makes you weird.
I admit that. Without it, though I would have never seen the world the way I do now. As more than a companionship, more than finding your other half, more than romance, it was about genuine care and respect for that person. For better or for worse, we'll all stick together.
No matter how annoying the other may become. Unfortunately, Peter isn't annoying anymore so the daytime is Alanna and I's private time while daytime is theirs, but we always hang out together at dusk until the sun sets completely.
Wow, I think I've been listening to Peter too much. Huh, never thought I'd ever admit that one. Oh well, welcome to my new life, I guess. Life with a real family.
"To live will be an awfully big adventure."