Epilogue- A Promise for Now
Rye had been acting weird. Ever since we had gotten back from Christmas Break, he had been sneaking about, without me. I was getting highly suspicious. What was going on? Normally I was able to contain my inquiries, but one of these times it was going to burst out.
“Well, I got to um, go,” Rye said from next to me. A group of the ex-games players (we were all still friends) were at lunch together. It still amazed me that so many of us had the same lunch period, and yet never knew or talked to each other until the Games had begun.
“What? Where?” I asked, mirroring his movements as he stood to leave.
“No where, I just need to go. Please don’t make a scene here.” Rye was purposefully avoiding telling me where. My eyebrows scrunched together, a physical display of my major internal confusion. I refused to think he was cheating, I wouldn’t be that shallow, but what if someone in his family was in trouble again? I wanted to be there for him, and I very well couldn’t do it if he kept it all a secret.
I grabbed into his arm. “Please just tell me?” Looking up into his green eyes, I grew even more concerned. I had no idea where this had come from in him, but his eyes weren’t as bright to me, and his whole face and mannerisms seemed as if he were trying to hide his emotions. I couldn’t figure out why he would want to do anything like that.
“What does it matter to you, Thera?” he burst out, anger showing in his features. Who was he to say such things to me? I was only trying to be nice here!
"Because I care! Okay?”
He had the decency to look taken aback by my outburst. “What?”
“Yeah,” I said, letting out a dry laugh. “I care. I didn’t want to be in the idiotic Boyfriend Games, I didn’t want to go on boatloads of dates, I didn’t want to see other people. But I did. It happened. And I met you. And now, I care, and you have the indecency to try and do...to do... Whatever it is you’re sneaking off to do? Great! That’s just bloody wonderful.”
He was silent for a few moments as we stood in a stare off before I broke it to look at the ground. Running a hand through my hair, I shrugged holding the one hand palm up before letting it drop back down by my side. “I’m not trying to be pushy or bothersome here,” I said in a smaller voice than I was used to using. “I just want to be able to help you. I want to be able to help you with whatever it is you might be going through, or having to deal with right now, just like you’ve always helped me. But with you keeping mum on the subject, and not letting me in, there’s nothing I can do to help. And believe it or not, that hurts me to know.”
He sighed. “Ther Bear, no. It’s nothing like that. Nothing’s wrong, and everything’s is fine, okay? We’re fine, right?”
There were so many different emotions to feel that I ended up just being numb in that moment. “Then what? Why are you being so secretive? If everything’s fine like you say, then just tell me.”
“You wanna do this here? I was going to wait, but okay. Fine.”
He got down on one knee.
I choked a little. “On one side, you had better not being actually doing this. On the other, you had better not be joking, dang it,” I was full of mixed emotion yet again. Rye finally laughed and his cheeks looked more flush than normal. At least there’s emotion. At least we’re both feeling emotion now.
“Okay, so I suppose we got off on the wrong foot for the way I really wanted to handle this situation now. Hopefully I can fulfill both of those requests. Thera, this is my promise ring to you,” he opened the box as he said it, and I felt my eyes water as he continued on. “I don’t know what the future brings, I don’t know if you’ll leave me for some pizza delivery guy, and I don’t know if we’ll last forever. I can’t even tell you if I can nail this speech; I haven’t been practicing enough, just two or three times a day. I can’t promise you the moon. But I can promise to always help you reach for it. I can’t promise that you’ll get a toy in the claw machine. But I can promise that I’ll be there to back you up and shake the whole thing a little to try and get it to slide in. I can’t promise that we’ll be together ’til death do us part. But I can most certainly say that for right now, I’ll love and cherish you the way that you are because you’re perfect to me, even when your sarcasm is directed towards me and it hurts a little on the inside. Thera Telufa, will you accept my promises?”
“Yes you dork!” I exclaimed. Even in a serious moment, he still managed to make me laugh along the way. He slid the band onto my right hand (left hand would have been too engagement-y). It was simple, but pure and beautiful just like—sorry for doing this—our relationship. Like he said, we don’t know what will happen in the future, not even tomorrow. But until then, we have the wonderful moment of now to live in. Rye set me down from the giant hug I had jumped into his arms for. Then, for the first time ever, he kissed me. I had forgotten that we were still with everyone until they started cheering for us. When Rye pulled away, we were both staring into each other’s eyes, smiling.
Oh how I loved now.
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