Extra 3: Now and Forever
“I know you might kick my ass for this, but dammit Nai, I can’t hold back these feelings for another moment.” Lukas falls down on one knee and takes my hand. His face is full of determination, and he makes it very clear what he intends to do. “I know marriage is something you’ve adamantly said you didn’t want to rush into, and I’m willing to hold off the ceremony for as long as you desire to respect that. However, I can’t keep my love contained any longer, and I want everyone to know how much I love you. I want to show you off as mine and mine alone and show the world that I want to spend all of eternity with you.” He reaches into the pocket of his jeans and pulls out a beautiful ring. I can feel my breath catching in my throat as it constricts. “Naomi Jade Daniels, mi amor, will you do me the incredible honor of becoming my wife?”
All I can hear is the splashing of the waves against the shore and my rapidly beating heart. I can feel my anxiety growing with each passing second, and I start to think I’ll have a panic attack at any moment. Marriage is something that absolutely terrified me whenever that person would bring it up and something I was absolutely against. I told myself that I’d get married maybe by thirty, but not a day before. I had plans for my twenties, and that didn’t include settling down with a man and popping out a bunch of babies. No, I was going to build my career, become successful, have lots of sex and just enjoy my freedom as a young woman.
Of course, once Lukas and I became official, he became a part of that plan as the one I’d be having all that sex with and the one I’d make my partner in crime for partying and fun. Nothing has made me happier in these last two years than coming home from school and now work to see his precious face waiting for me. Barely a day has gone by without us stripping away our clothes and making the hottest, sexiest, and most passionate love one could ever imagine.
We frequent clubs and bars on the weekends, and every month he introduces me to another part of Australia I haven’t yet seen. We’ve even traveled to a few other countries on my paid vacations for the past two years. We’ve been having so much fun and sharing in such a deep love, the thought of that coming to an end terrifies me. Isn’t that what marriage is, the end of happiness? Isn’t that where relationships go to die? How many friends have warned me against it? How many times did my parents tell me that your chosen life partner is the most important decision you’ll ever make? How many nights did I wake up screaming from those horrible dreams where I was that man’s bride? I know Lukas isn’t the same man, but still…I can’t do it.
“Nai?” Lukas pulls me back to reality with his gentle and sweet voice, just like the calm ocean breeze. “I’m sorry if this is too much. I know how serious this is to you and so there’s no pressure. Actually, I think I knew this wasn’t going to work out. That’s why I brought us here to this secluded area of the beach. Forgive me for being a coward, but I didn’t want others to see me get rejected.” He laughs pitifully at himself. “Just forget it, I’ll ask again another time, ok?”
He starts to get to his feet. He’s smiling, but there’s pain and sadness behind his eyes. I’ve never seen the usually so bright and cheerful Lukas make such an expression before, and it sends a painful sensation through my heart. I can’t help but feel that if I let him get to his feet, something will be broken between us and that is more terrifying than anything else. I’d rather die than see him wear that expression. At this moment, nothing matters except his beautiful smile.
“Yes!” I nearly scream this at him, causing him to freeze and slide back onto his knee. I take his hand and allow my heart to speak, throwing my logic to the sea. “I could go anywhere in this world, meet a million people and experience the holy grail of orgasms at the hands of any number of divinely endowed men, but none of that would make me happier than standing here with you. You’re the only one who makes my dreams worth a damn, so yes, I’ll marry you.”
His face is visibly confused at my sudden shift in tone, but he manages to recover quickly. “Are you sure? I don’t want you to feel pressured into it. I want you to be my wife and I’ll do anything it takes to make that happen one day, but it doesn’t have to be today. I’m not going anywhere and until you tell me you no longer want me by your side, I’ll always be here for you. What I’m saying is, we’ve got time Nai. So please don’t feel obligated to say yes to me.”
“I’m not Lukas, I swear I’m not!” I look him directly into his eyes. “I’m sorry for hesitating for so long when you first asked. I’ll admit, I was super anxious and even a little scared. To be honest, I’m still pretty scared, but through it all, my heart told me that saying no would be the biggest mistake I’d ever make. Yes I want my career, yes I want my independence, yes I want to be young, wild and free, but if I can’t have all of that with you by my side, then what the hell does it even matter? Sure I could do it for myself, but then who will be my rock when things get tough as I rise in my career? Who will encourage me when it’s time to make big life decisions? Who will be there to share in the fun as I live life to the fullest? Sure you can do all of that as my boyfriend, but having you do those things as my husband means much more.”
I can feel the tears pooling beneath my eyelids, but I don’t allow them to fall just yet. Lukas, however, already has streams of tears sliding down each cheek. “You really mean it? You’re really saying you’ll be my wife? I’ll be able to say you’re my fiancé to everyone now? I’ll be able to brag to all my freelance buddies about how I have such a sexy, beautiful wife in the near future? I’ll really get to see you wake up every morning with my ring on your finger?”
“Yes, yes, yes!” I answer with a laugh. “You’ll get to do all of that and more, so just hurry up and put that damn ring on my finger already.” I hold out my hand further so he can easily slip on the small, but dazzling diamond ring. Maybe it was the shine overwhelming my eyes, but the tears I’d been holding back finally begin to pour from my eyes. I feel invincible.
He stands up, pulls me into his arms for a kiss and spins me around with him. “I’m so happy! You’ve just made me the happiest man in the world! Thank you so much mi amor!” He kisses me again. “We should start planning right away! We have to find a perfect venue for the ceremony, we have to make the guest list and we need to decide where to go for our honeymoon. Of course your parents would be on the top of the list, and I’ll invite Detective Mathis too! Oh, I can’t wait to rub it in his face. He told me that I’d never get to keep a girl like you for long. Can you believe that? Oh, let’s invite Veronica and her son too! You’ve been saying you’d like to reconnect with her again, so this would be the perfect time! Oh, and then we could-.”
“Lukas Miguel Arias!” I use his full name, which immediately silences him and gets his attention. Usually I only use it when he’s in trouble, but sometimes I have to use it when he loses himself in his excitement as well. “Calm down, we don’t have to plan the entire event in one night. We’ve got time to consider all the options and make this into a day we’ll never forget. Let’s take a moment to allow it all to sink in first, okay?” I caress his hand softly.
“Right.” He smiles in embarrassment. “I did get a little carried away. I’m just so happy.”
“I know you are. I am too, but there’s many things to consider and plan for. For tonight, we should just enjoy the moment. How about we go grab some dinner at Mack’s Shack?”
“That sounds perfect, but before that….” He grabs me again for a kiss and another twirl.
The happiness we shared between us couldn’t be contained and like fireworks, it exploded into the evening sky. We were filled with such joy; we couldn’t even contain ourselves long enough to make it home before we were ripping off our clothes. We suffered from serious sand burn the next day, but neither of us would’ve changed it for anything. Our happy future was beginning in that moment and it would carry us on as we walked the path to our forever love.