“So, how do you think Zach’s settling in?” Masato questioned as we strolled hand in hand through the central part of town. We’d just left Mahala and Bryan after watching what was probably the worst horror movie I’d seen in all my years.
“I think he’s doing well, considering. I feel so bad that’s he’s pretty much been on his own this entire time. Then he comes in and learns what he has. And now he has to call two people who aren’t his parents, mom, and Dad. It’s an adjustment, I’ve had eighty-odd years to adapt.”
“I think he’s just relieved he found you, much like I am.” He looked over at me with a smile. “You know, I was terrified when I first asked you out.”
“Really?” I chuckled.
“I’ve never been so scared, besides when I thought I was revealing who I was to you, a human. You scared me, and you still do sometimes.”
I cocked my head to the side as I raised a brow, “How so?”
“Well, in the first instance, when I first set eyes on you in that coffee shop? You remember?”
“Oh yeah! You’d dropped your cup, and it shattered everywhere. It was my third day working there, and the fifth mess I’d had to clean up. You were so flustered, clambering to try and help me. At that point, I thought you were only capable of talking gibberish.”
Masato laughed, his lips forming a side smile, as I noticed him blush a soft pink, “Yeah, I seemingly forgot how to speak both Japanese and English. Then as we were cleaning, our eyes met, and something told me, I had to know you, I had to win you over somehow.”
“So, you stalked me at the shop. Every day, twice a day, always a black coffee with two sugars. Once in the morning, then again later in the afternoon, before my shift ended.”
“Yeah. It took me forever to attain the courage to ask you out, and oh god, when I did.” Masato’s hand rubbed over his face in a downward motion as he keened.
I couldn’t restrain the laughter as I recalled that day. I lowered my voice into a mimicking tone, “Um, hey, Hallie. Uh, so I was, uh wondering something. Well, you, uh, seem nice. Would you, uh, um, no actually, nevermind.”
“All right, no need to mock a guy!” His face snapped to mine with a false offended expression, “You intimidated me, and I was so afraid you’d shut me right down and bruise my already insufficient ego.”
“It was adorable how you stuttered and strumbled like the nerdy kid trying to ask a girl out on a date. However, you got the words out eventually.”
“And thank god you said yes, otherwise, I might have perished on the spot. But oh boy, that first date, I was petrified, and I was for a while. But ultimately, you agreed to be my girlfriend. Two years later, you told me you were moving, and it shattered me.”
I sighed quietly, “Yeah. I hated the idea of leaving Elise and Dasiy, but you? That was the worst part.”
“Look, Hallie, there’s been three times I’ve never been so scared. Our first date, the day I took you to my Dad and the Founders dance. When I didn’t see you out there, I was so afraid. It was like everything around me stopped abruptly. Fright overcame me like a beast, far scarier than any Vampire or Wolf could ever be. The idea of losing you, I can’t do it, Hallie. But that’s not what scares me the most in all of this.”
“Care to share?”
“The fact that one day, you’re going to lose me.” His expression turned solemn, and it caused my heart to fall to the pit of my stomach, “That’s why you still scare me. One day, I’m going to have to leave you while you’re still, well, as you are. I won’t be there to hold you or love you, to defend you. I know you’ll have Alicia and Emmett, Zach, too, but that doesn’t comfort me much. It’s why I won’t use all that much. And what if, you’re still looking like you, and I look like I’m fifty, sixty...I just-”
I stopped my feet and clutched his hand softly, causing his words and feet to stop. He turned to me, his eyes moistening from tears threatening to spill.
“Masato, I would take fifty years with you, then go on living without you over never having had you at all. It scares me too that one day you’ll be gone. But I’d rather live with you, for as long as we can, then live without you.”
“Me too.” He gave me a small smile as his hand brushed softly over my cheek. “I love you, Hallie, more than anything.”
“And I love you. But there’s one more thing for me.” My teeth pulled at my bottom lip. It was something I’d not considered until Mahala had said it the other night when we were out for dinner.
One thing I’d never thought of in the entire situation with who I was and being with him.
“What, baby? Talk to me.”
“I...I won’t be able to have kids with you. You, Zach, me, we’re the last there is, and our entire history is going to die with us one day. I was talking about it with Alicia. Because Zach technically died too and isn’t aging, we’re not sure if he’d be able to have children. I’m half Vampire, and well, Vampires can’t have children. And well, you’re with me, someone who can’t give you a child. Two remaining bloodlines, and it will all end with us.”
Masato sighed as his lips curved into a small smile, “I’m okay with that. Hallie, trust me, I’ve wondered that too, but I’m okay with not having children. Besides, you’re still half Witch, we never know.”
I shook my head; the last thing I wanted was for him to get his hopes up over something that was more than unlikely to become.
“Emmett doesn’t think it’s possible, and I don’t have cycles like a human. Even if I could, there’s no telling what would happen or if I’d even withstand it. If we were to have a child, would it be a Warlock? A Vampire? A human? All three? A Hybrid like me? It’s so unknown and such a huge risk of putting everyone in danger.”
“Hallie, I don’t care. I don’t care about any of it. I care about being with you and being able to live this life with you for as long as I can make it possible. Okay? All these things, we can worry about later. Right now, I want to live my life with you by my side. With Emmett, Alicia, and Zach, too. If our lines die with us, then so be it, that’s how it was meant to be.”
I stared at him in awe. It was written in our DNA to do whatever we must to bear a son. It was our nature, to ensure the survival of our bloodlines; however, Masato defied his instincts. He was so willing to let the Pope line end with him, to be with me.
“You’re amazing; you know that?” I hadn’t thought it was possible to love him more, but he proved me wrong.
As I looked at him, his eyes soft and sincere, so full of love as he held my gaze, I fell in love with him more than I ever had.
“I’m only amazing because I have you, you bring out the best in me. That’s why I’m about to add to the list of moments where I’m positively terrified.”
Masato reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, black velvet box.
“It’s not much, and I couldn’t afford anything elaborate.” He opened the lid, turning it to me to reveal a small but beautiful ring. A white gold band, with three white diamonds, two more modest ones in a square cut, with a slightly bigger oval cut in the center.
“Hallie, I don’t want to live for the next fifty years by your side merely as your boyfriend. I want us to have what Alicia and Emmett have.”
Masato took a deep breath as he fell to the floor, kneeling on one knee.
My heart stopped as my hands clapped over my mouth, tears advancing, ready to flow from my eyes.
“I want you to be my wife. So, Hallie Paxton-Davenport, will you be my wife?”