The First of Many

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Epilogue

She was beautiful, Aedan thought – not for the first time – bathed in the summer sun that poured through his window. It cascaded over her small frame like powdered gold, illuminating the arch of her back as she lay on her stomach, propped up on her elbows as she read a somber-looking tome written all in Cyrillic script. She wore her usual camo pants that hung low on her hips without the usual aid of a belt, and a plain black bra that contrasted harshly with her ivory skin.

He was well aware that his staring was blatantly obvious, but he took comfort in the fact that she was thoroughly absorbed in her book and wasn't paying the slightest attention to him. She shifted slightly as she flipped a page, lying on his feet.

She gave an interested hum as she turned another page – damn, she read fast – and chewed her lip at what looked like a particularly intense paragraph. He licked his lips unconsciously.

He grinned and wiggled his toes so that they poked at the flesh of her stomach. She jumped with a shriek of laughter, glaring at him. “Not fair!” she yelped.

“I'm bored,” he answered. “You can't tell me you really think that book is interesting.”

“I'm sorry if you uncultured country savages can't appreciate the refined nature of Tolstoy,” she answered archly.

He smirked, leaning forward to grab her by the waist and pull her into his lap. The book fell out of her hands, unheeded. “I’m much more interesting than some dusty old book, Darlin,” he promised with a smirk.

“That you are,” she said as she snuggled up to his chest. “I love you.”

He grinned. “I have a question,” he said. “It might scare you, though. But I promise, you don’t gotta answer.”

“Shoot,” she said, sitting up.

“What do you think about the two of us getting married one day?”

Hannah blinked. “What?” she asked.

Aedan snorted. “Kitten, I don’t think I can make that sentence any clearer. You. Me. Marriage. You know, church, white dress, the whole enchilada.”

“Did you seriously just say the whole enchilada?”

“You shut your mouth, miss ‘the early bird gets the worm’.”

Hannah chuckled. “I don’t know,” she muttered. “Why?”

“Well, I always thought that we would eventually get married. Because you love me, right?"

“Of course,” she said. “But whether or not we’re married doesn’t change that fact.”

“I know it doesn’t,” he promised. “I guess it’s just a thing I grew up with. When you’re with someone and you love each other, you’re supposed to get married. Call me old-fashioned.”

“That’s not old-fashioned, it’s perfectly normal,” she said sternly. “I just never really thought of it. It’s not a subject that crossed my mind.”

“Would you marry me?”

She shrugged. “I don’t see why not,” she answered. “I don’t see what it would change, since we already live with each other and all that, but if it’ll make you happy, I’m all for it.”

“In a church and everything?”

“If I’m getting married, I’m going to do it properly. The whole enchilada, right?”

Aedan chuckled. “The whole enchilada, Darlin.”

Hannah smiled and leaned forward to kiss him. He wrapped his arms around her, warm and secure.

“I love you,” she murmured. “Try not to die on me, yeah?”

“Don’t be silly,” he answered. “I’m not dying anytime soon.”

He chuckled. “So, is it okay to go ring shopping sometime? Just the two of us. Or would you rather wait until after next deployment, when we’ve settled in a bit?”

She smiled. “Anything’s fine with me, Lyubov,” she promised, kissing him.

He grinned. “I love you,” he breathed into her lips, pulling her close.

“Always?” she asked with a smirk.

“Always.”


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