When I Look at You

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One Year Later

“Blaine! We’re gonna be late!” I called up the stairs as I pushed my hoop earring into my piercing. I heard him moving upstairs before he came jogging down them. He was dressed in his dark blue suit, his matching light blue under shirt looking nice and clean on his chest.

“I can never get the tie.” He said, holding up a dark grey tie in his right hand.

“Give it to me.” He handed it to me and I wrapped it around his neck. I quickly tied it, adjusting it to the right spot on his neck.

“Thanks, beautiful.” He gave me a quick peck on the lips before grabbing his car keys. I followed him out the front door, locking the house up as I went. “I can’t believe Coo is getting married.” He called over his shoulder. We climbed into his truck and he started towards town.

A lot has happened in a year. Blaine and I both graduated from high school with honors in January and we’re currently halfway through our first year of college. We decided to attend Black Mountain Community College for now and then we both have been early accepted to NYU come graduation. We’ve also moved in together at my little cottage where we are working on building our relationship. We are taking things slow like we had agreed to do in the beginning.

Dad and Tammy are still together. I see him every day and he does his best to be there for me as much as he can be. After Mom died, he started going to therapy. There, he learned how to curb his addiction cravings better and how to handle his emotions. Tammy started going back to work as a real estate agent again. She had taken that summer off to help with me and she was welcomed back with open arms. She’s working on opening her own office come this fall. The Wharf is doing great as usual and Blaine has been helping Dad run the office. He wants Blaine to take it over once he retires but Blaine isn’t too sure about that one.

Hannah graduated from high school in June. In the past year, her and I have become closer than I could ever imagine. She’s become the sister I never knew I wanted along with Natalie. They’ve really welcomed me into their family and I am so grateful to have them now that Aunt Maggie has moved back to Maine. I offered her a place to live until I was back from NYU but she said she needed to finish somethings there first. She’ll be back when I head off to NYU. Til then, it’s just Blaine and I.

The beach was full of people sitting and standing near white wooden folding chairs. There was a wooden archway set up in front of them wrapped in red and pink roses. Rose petals of the same color lined the aisle. Blaine put his hand on my back as he guided me towards the front row. He was acting as best man today, leaving me to find a seat in the crowd. Giving me a quick kiss, he took his place next to a nervous looking Cooper. He was dressed in a white tux, a tan colored undershirt resting against his torso under the jacket. I gave him a reassuring smile as I sat at the end of the first row on the bride’s side.

A violin started playing music on the right side of the beach, grabbing everyone’s attention. People sat, looking as the first bridesmaid made her way down the aisle. She was followed by two more girls, each dressed in pretty coral colored chiffon dresses that flowed behind them as the walked. The warm summer freeze gently drifted through the air as the wedding march began, prompting everyone to stand. Yara stood at the end of the aisle, her arm tucked into the elbow of her father. She looked beautiful, her long black hair pinned back in a wave of soft curls that cascaded down her back. She wore a white lace dress with an a-line top and a trumpet skirt. They walked slowly up the aisle, stopping in front of Cooper and the preacher.

My mind wandered as the preacher started his wedding service. Life was completely different than it was a year ago. If someone had asked me then where I thought I would be, I never would have even began to guess this. I was happy for sure but I still missed my mom just as much as I did the day she died. It still felt empty sometimes when I think of her. I sometimes have to stop myself from calling her when I have something she would have loved to hear. I never pictured living life without her being in it and it’s been the hardest part of this whole transition. Life probably wouldn’t be this way if she hadn’t gotten sick though and it was hard to imagine what it would have been like if I hadn’t ended up here that warm summer day.

Looking up, I saw Blaine was looking at me. He gave me a huge smile and a wink which I returned. He’s the real hero in my story. Granted, I thought we were over for a while, I knew deep down that we were going to be together. Now I understand why he did what he did. He was trying to save my heart from being broken for as long as he humanly could. And he did. I never knew how much my life was missing until I fell in love with him. He’s the best part of my life and the only reason I wake up some days. It’s like there’s always an empty space that fills with love when I think of him.

There was clapping that brought me out of my thoughts. Coop and Yara kissed, signalling the end of the service. They walked back down the aisle, followed by the bridesmaids and the groomsmen. After the bridal party had left, the rest of the group began to rise. Most of the slowly began their walk over to the large white tent that was set up for the reception. I walked towards the water and stood on the white sand, my feet sinking slightly. I had removed my flip flops and my red dress was blowing around me in the wind. Looking out at the water, I saw the sun was beginning to lower in the sky. It would be setting soon as the days were growing shorter.

“Hey, beautiful.” Blaine’s voice said in my ear. I smiled as he wrapped his arms around me from behind and pulled me close. We stood there for a minute, looking out at the water. “What did you think of the ceremony?” He asked.

“It was beautiful. They are such a great couple.” I responded. He released me to stand on my right. Reaching over, he grabbed my hand and linked our fingers together.

“Yeah they do. Wanna play a game?” He asked, smiling at me.

“Do I get to go first?”

“Don’t you always?” I shrugged. “Fine.”

“Looking back, do you think life is heading where you want it to be?” I asked. He was quiet for a moment as he placed his hand on my neck, resting his palm against my cheek.

“Look at me and I think you’ll see. There is no where else I would rather be than right here with you.” I smiled, feeling a blush rise to my cheeks.

“So glad you’re still as corny as you were when we first met.”

“I try. My turn? And you can’t pass on this one. I need an answer now.” I nodded, raising an eyebrow at him. Letting go of my face, he opened his suit coat and searched for a second. He pulled something out and suddenly dropped to his left knee. My hand flew to my mouth as I realized what he was doing. Raising his hand, he held a ring box. “Will you marry me?”

“Are you serious?” I asked, tears springing to my eyes.

“Only a little.”

“Blaine!” He chuckled, standing up.

“Of course I’m serious. You’re my entire life. I think it’s time to make it official. So?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. He opened the ring box and showed me. Inside was a small silver band with three diamonds on it.

“The band was your mother’s wedding ring. Your dad gave it to me after she was cremated. Now you can have a piece of her with you for as long as you have this ring.” He took the ring out of the box and slid it onto my ring finger. The promise ring he had give me was still on my other hand. “Your turn.”

“I can’t think of one but I have the rest of forever now.”

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