After the roller coaster that their lives had been for a few months, they were finally walking the right path again.
School was over and while Sawyer was at work, Lizbeth spent time with the kids. They did a couple of hours of studying every day because she didn’t want them to lose the habit —talk about a strict mom— and then went to the park, the pool, or whatever she planned for the day.
Adam and Sophia adored that woman. She was devoted to the and everything she did, everything she said, was always thinking about them first.
“Adam, do you have your bag ready?” Sawyer heard her ask the kid while he was preparing some snacks for their trip.
“Yeah,” the kid responded.
“I mean clothes, no comics or books,” she repeated, making Sawyer chuckle as he wrapped the sandwiches for the kids and put them inside a paper bag.
Noah was sitting beside him, looking at him without blinking once, as if she was trying to hypnotize him so he would give her some food. “Not gonna buy that look, Girl…” he muttered with a smile.
“Look, I have this, and this…” Adam told Lizbeth.
“Adam, you’re not going to beat the beach the whole day. You also need some t-shirts and pants, you know?” She laughed.
“Do you need any help?” Sawyer asked, raising an eyebrow as he leaned on the door of the kids’ room.
“Can you help Adam get his bag done?” Lizbeth asked him. She was kneeling on the floor, helping Sophia get dressed.
“Daddy, looks!” Sophia said as she pulled from the white top with an embroidered floral decorating the neck. It was tucked inside some high waist, pink shorts with white daisies all over. “Liz got me this!” She giggled.
“You’re so pretty, Baby girl!” Sawyer smiled at her.
“I know!” She giggled again as Lizbeth finished buckling her sandals.
“Okay, let's see what you have here… He turned to Adam. “What’s all this?” Sawyer laughed.
“Diving goggles, swimsuit, flip flops, toothbrush, my comics for the night, sunscreen…” Adam listed. The kid knew what he wanted.
“Are you going to walk naked on the streets?” Sawyer quipped as he started to get actual clothes in his bag.
“I can walk in my swimsuit.” He shrugged.
“What if granny wants to go with you to a restaurant or a museum?” Sawyer chuckled.
“Done.” Sawyer grinned as he zipped the bag. “You’re going to listen to everything granny and grandpa say, right?” he asked as they walked out of the room.
“Yeah,” the boy nodded with a wide grin on his face.
“Do we have everything?” Lizbeth asked as she walked into the living room with Sophia’s bag on her hand, the girl following behind with her curls bouncing up and down. Sawyer nodded as he grabbed his keys, wallet, and their suitcase. “Their IDs too?”
“Relax, woman!” Sawyer laughed. “I’ve got everything, stop worrying so much.”
“No buts, they’re going to be away for just a week…”
“But it’s the first time they’re flying.”
“They’re not going alone, you know that, right?” Sawyer teased her. “My parents and Matt’s are flying with them.”
“I know but still…”
She wasn’t worried about them flying, but about them being away. He perfectly understood what she was feeling because he used to be the same every time he went to visit them for a couple of days and then went back home alone.
“They’ll be fine…” he whispered against her lips. “Let them enjoy their vacation in Miami, I want you to focus on me this weekend or I’ll start to feel jealous of them.”
“Fine…” She smiled, a funny glow in her eyes.
“Okay, let’s go guys!” Sawyer said as he put Noah her collar.
It had been almost a month since he put his proposal on hold. He didn’t mind though, they had a wonderful life together with the kids and no time to get bored, but he wanted it to be something special and that’s why he decided to wait until they had some time alone.
With the hot month of June coming to an end, his parents had decided to go on a short vacation to Miami. They had always loved the East Coast and wanted to bring the kids with them this time.
Sawyer loved the idea because that way they would spend some time with them. Since they had moved to his apartment, his parents didn’t get to see them as much and they missed the kids. Also, it would be perfect timing for him to take Lizbeth somewhere and finally ask her to marry him.
Dylan’s parents were out of the country on their silver anniversary and when he told him about his plan to propose to Lizbeth, he didn’t waste a second and gave him the keys of the lake house. He still didn’t know when or how he was going to do it. At the beach at twilight, after dinner, kneeling on the sand of the cove where they spent so much time together.
He had no idea, but he was so nervous that the more he thought about it, the more everything seemed stupid and cheesy.
“What are you thinking about?” Lizbeth asked him, a humorous tone on her voice.
“Nothing,” he answered as he focused his sight on the road again.
“Yeah, right…” She chuckled. He knew she knew he was planning something because she had been bugging him about it for a while. Luckily for him, she got tired of asking after a couple of weeks.
As they pulled at his parents' house, Adam unbuckled his belt and jumped out of the car. “My God, this kid’s excited…” Lizbeth mumbled with a smile.
“He sure is,” Sawyer nodded.
They stepped out of the car and while Lizbeth helped Sophia down the SUV, he opened the trunk to get their bags. Noah got up and started wagging her tail as she had recognized the place where they were.
“Okay, okay… I’ll let you get down to say hi…” Sawyer told her. As soon as she was off the leash, she ran towards his parents, who were already waiting on the front porch with Elain and Phillip. They always made that trip together.
Walking towards them, Sawyer couldn’t hold his smile. Lizbeth was talking with his father and petting Noah’s head while his mother, Elain, and Phillip were listening to the kids’ rambling.
It had been almost three months since they had to face hell, but there they were, laughing and moving on the best they could. Enjoying life and their loved ones to the fullest.
He had never believed in God or eternal life, but somehow he could sense Matt’s and Beth’s presence in that idyllic picture.
“What are you thinking about?” Diana asked, bringing him back to the real world.
“Nothing, just how happy it makes me to see you all so cheerful,” he admitted. His mother didn’t say anything and just smiled at him.
“Guys, we should get going or will lose our flight!” John announced, pointing at his watch.
“We don’t want that,” Elain said with a chuckle. “We’ll see you when we get back,” she told Sawyer as she hugged him. “And I hope she had that ring on her finger by then.”
“She will, or so I hope,” Sawyer laughed.
“Good,” she smiled at him.
“Bye, son! Have a nice weekend,” Phillip told him as he passed him, patting his shoulder with one hand as he carried a huge suitcase in the other.
“You have the ring, right?” Diana asked him as he walked with her towards her car, helping her to carry their suitcases.
“Yeah,” he nodded, feeling his hands sweaty.
“I hope it fits her.”
“That’s not what worries me the most, to be honest.”
“What is it then? Because you’re a nervous wreck,” his mother quipped.
“Well, it’s not like I’ve done this before.”
She softly laughed. “I know, I know… But you have nothing to worry about, that woman loves you and she won’t be able to say no to that ring,” she teased.
His mother was a helpless romantic, and after living her own fairy tale she wanted her son to experience the same.
So, the moment he confessed to them he wanted to propose to Lizbeth, Diana didn’t hesitate for a second and ran to her room, bringing back with her a family jewel her mother had given her. It was a white gold ring with micro pave diamonds and filigree in the profile under the halo. A perfect vintage princess cut ring, and she wanted him to give it to Lizbeth.
“Of course, Honey. You deserve your own happy ending too,” she told him as she hugged him.
“Call me when you get there, okay?” he said, hugging her back.
“Sure.” She nodded. “Let’s go, guys!” She motioned the kids to get into the car.
“I’ll see you when you get back, okay?” he told Adam as he crouched down to be at his level, straightening his white and red shirt as he did.
“Yeah.” He smiled.
“You have to listen to everything the adults say, okay?”
“And take care of your sister, yeah?”
“I know, Dad!” He giggled. “I’ll be good and I’ll make sure Sophia eats her veggies.”
“Good.” He smiled back at him and gave him a hug. “I’m gonna miss you.”
“It’s just a week, Dad,” the boy softly laughed, letting in full display the gap between his teeth as he had lost one of the lateral incisors.
“I know, but still…”
“I’ll miss you too.”
As he let go of the kid, Sophia ran towards him, Lizbeth following behind. “Daddy!” She jumped in his arms. “Grandpa says we’ll see dolphins!”
Sawyer laughed. “Now I wanna go too!”
“But you can’t!”
“’Cuz you has to take care of Noah and Liz,” she stated.
“You’re so right, Baby girl,” he said as he kissed her nose. “You’ll be good then?”
“Yeah,” she nodded effusively and then hugged him.
He took in all her kindness as he watched Adam saying goodbye to Lizbeth with a kiss on her cheek. “Love you, Baby girl,” he whispered.
“Love you too, Daddy.”
After saying goodbye to everyone and watching them drive away, Lizbeth, Noah, and Sawyer got in the car to go to their own spiritual retreat.
With Ryan out of the picture at work and the summer just beginning, they had a lot of work at the station, and Sawyer couldn’t take a whole vacation week. However, he had put together three nights shift so he could have four days in a row to be with Lizbeth.
Even if they weren’t going far, he wanted to make something special for her. He wanted her to remember all those moments they had shared together when they were young, tell her all the things he never said. So, after leaving all their stuff in the lake house, they took Noah with them and drove to Durham.
They walked around Duke University’s surroundings the whole morning. That building brought so many memories to them, making them laugh about how immature, horny, and stupid the were. The dozens of times they sneaked out of each other’s room so nobody would find out or the times they made out in the locker room.
Stability, trust, and love were great, he wouldn’t change what they had for anything, but none of them could deny that the uncontrollable desire, adrenaline, and possibility of being caught made it all much more interesting and intense back then.
Remembering all that, made him feel somewhat younger again.
As they wandered around those streets, they realized that, even though there weren’t many teenagers since the classes were over, everything still looked the same, even the diner where they spent endless afternoons. The same black and white flooring, the same red leather couches, the same light blue walls with neon lights. Even the terrace where they had lunch had that same vintage air.
“I missed this…” she muttered.
“Me too.” He smiled at her.
“I mean, I couldn’t even drink alcohol until my last year here, and I had to deal with all of your drunkard sorry asses most of the time, but it was so much fun…”
“Well, you didn’t drink when we came here, but you sure did whenever we partied at someone else’s house or at Dylan’s frat. Don’t act like you were an angel.”
“I was! And I still am!” She faked being offended before she bit on her burger. Noah, of course, staring at her.
“Yeah, a fallen one.” He smirked.
“You calling me evil?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
“No, I’m just saying you’re not pure and innocent.”
She looked at him for a few seconds and then burst out laughing. “Okay, okay…” she admitted. “But it’s all your fault, you know?”
“How so?” he asked before sipping from his beer.
“You corrupted me.”
“Oh, sure I did…” he snorted and then got closer to her. “You didn’t enjoy everything I did to you and never asked for more...” he whispered as he gave her leg a light squeeze.
She let out a heavy sigh and then closed her eyes. “You’re the evil one, definitely…” she breathed as he moved his hand up her leg, stopping right before touching her center under the skirt of her dress.
“Yeah, but you love it.”
“That I do,” she giggled.
After giving Noah a two hours walk in the woods, they went back home. Sawyer had cooked dinner for both of them while Lizbeth held the phone doing facetime with the kids. They were having so much fun in Miami, amazed by all the Spanish people talked over there.
Then, she called her brother. The newborn was doing just great, gaining weight every day. Liam and April looked exhausted because the baby woke them up several times during the nights, but they were so happy they didn’t even care anymore.
“What do you wanna do now?” Lizbeth asked him as she helped him to wash the dishes.
“Hm…” He thought for a second. “Would you like to go to our place?”
“The cove?” she asked, her eyes beaming.
“It’d be amazing but it’s getting late… And that path isn’t an easy one to walk at night. Do we have lanterns or something for when we come back?”
“I was thinking that maybe we could take Dylan’s speedboat? And just stayed there some time...”
“You know how to drive that?” She asked as she hugged him from behind.
“It’s not like it’s a yacht or something,” he snorted as he dried his hands with a dishcloth.
“I’d love to… It’s been a while since we’ve been over there. And maybe tomorrow, in the daylight we could bring Noah with us and spend the day there?”
“Yeah… Whatever you want. These days are just for us,” he smiled at her. Then turned around, leaving the rag on the counter and grabbed her hips, bringing her closer to him and kissed her.
“You think we could… In the boat?” she asked, biting on her bottom lip. Sawyer arched a questioning eyebrow as a slight smirk appeared on his face, well aware of what she was asking. “I think it’s one of the only places we haven’t sullied yet…” she said with lust burning in her eyes.
Sawyer burst out laughing, shaking his head in disbelief, feeling the bliss invading his chest. He loved that, deep down, she was still that adventurous and reckless cheeky girl she used to be. She was more serious, mature, and collected now, but all those shades that made her who she was were still there. “Whatever you want, you’ll have it. You know I’m completely at your mercy since day one…” he whispered, brushing his lips to hers.
“Hm… I love the sound of that,” she purred before biting his bottom lip and sucking on it. Sliding her tongue around his, making his crotch react to her greedy need.
“If you keep going, I might not be able to let you walk out of the kitchen, you know?” he softly groaned against her mouth.
“Fine…” she pouted.
“Stop acting all innocent!” He smacked her ass and he walked away to get the keys of the boat, the ring, and a couple of blankets —it was summer, but in the middle of the lake at night, it could still be a bit chilly.
Ten minutes later, they were saying goodbye to the dog that was already dozing off on the couch.
The sky began to turn from blue to orange to a reddish-purple shade as the distance to the horizon was greater. With the engine on, the wind whipping, and the water splashing around them as they moved towards their secret hideout, the twilight started to sink in.
By the time they got there, just a few rays of light were still shining over the skyline, breaking the clouds and the darkness surrounding them.
The cove was as empty and solitary as always. It wasn’t easy to get there as there were huge trees protecting the entrance to a harsh path full of rocks to climb up and down. He didn’t even know how they found it the first time, but he was glad they did.
It was a beautiful and hidden gem in the middle of nowhere. Virgin, green grass that merged into the soft and white sand that dived in the crystal clear water of the massive lake.
“Hasn’t changed at all...” Lizbeth commented as she looked at it, moving to the back of the boat where there was a bed-like sofa.
“Yeah,” Sawyer agreed as he stopped the engine. There was no way to get closer to the shore, but just watching it from a distance and then seeing her smile made him travel almost a decade back.
He still didn’t understand why he chose to suffer like he did when he let her go, but he sure was thankful to the gods, or whatever mystical force, for bringing her back into his life.
He opened the mini-fridge in the boat and got two beers out of it. It wasn’t the most romantic drink, but it was their drink. The one they shared those nights when they spent hours talking and talking until the morning came, the one they used to share sitting on the couch after having sex, the one they shared on parties or on his balcony when the kids were already in bed.
“Here.” He offered one as he walked closer to her.
“Thanks,” she simply said, her eyes drifting off from him to the enormous trees faded in the dark.
They stayed there for a couple of minutes, enjoying the blissful silence in the middle of the night.
“You know…” Sawyer started. Lizbeth looked at him, confused at his sudden nervousness. He turned to her and left his beer bottle on a small table, getting his hand inside his pocket. “At the beginning, I thought it’d be a passing thing, like everything else in my life, but as we grew closer together I understood that meeting you was never a coincidence...” Her look was stern and full of emotions he couldn’t decrypt, but she already knew where he was going with all that.
He cleared his throat. Put your shit together, bro. “We were always meant to be. From the moment our eyes found each other for the first time, my heart belonged to you. With you, everything is so easy, so bright. You make me laugh, you make me feel like no matter how many times I fall you’ll always be there to help me get up again.”
With watery eyes, she moved closer to the edge of the sofa. “Sawyer…” Her voice quivered. “I…”
“Let me finish?” he asked, chuckling at how clumsy he was being. He walked closer to her, pulled up a little from his jeans, and went down on one knee. “You’ve taught me trust, to love. With you, by my side I’m the best version of myself and I feel so full of life I don’t think I could go on without you anymore… I love you, and I always did…”
Lizbeth stopped breathing and her eyes shone under that magnificent starry sky covering everything. Sawyer got the small box from his pocket and opened it, offering her that eternal love promise in the shape of a ring. “I might be asking too much after everything you’ve done for me but… Will you make me the happiest man on earth and marry me?”
“Yes!” she cried, launching herself into his arms. “Yes, yes, yes!” She repeated as she kissed his neck, cheeks, and lips, tears falling down her eyes. “Always and forever,” she said with a strangled voice as she stared deep into his eyes.
Carefully, he got the ring out of the box and with shaky hands, and his heart hammering hard in his chest, he slid it on her finger. It fit perfectly.
“It’s beautiful…” she exclaimed, stunned.
“I’m glad you like it…” he sweetly smiled, looking at her as she admired the diamond ring, not caring at all about how uncomfortable he was in the half-kneeling position with her straddling him. He just loved watching all her reactions.
“I love you so much, Sawyer… You make sense of who I am,” she whispered looking at him now.
He brushed a lock of hair from her face and kissed her. He intended it to be sweet and romantic, but she grabbed his neck and pressed his body against hers, deepening the kiss. Her hands roamed down to his back, greedily touching him. Her tongue gliding over his in a sensual fight lit a fire inside of him.
“I want you…” she panted when she pulled away from the kiss that was already driving him insane.
Without hesitation, he got up, carrying her on his arms, and laid her down on the sofa.
Their breathings soon turned heavier and uneven as they ravished each other’s mouths. Passion, love, and desire consuming them.
As he slid the dress’ strap, he kissed all the way from her jaw to her collarbone, taking in her fruity and delicious scent. His left hand drew her curves as it cruised up her body until he found her breast and cupped it. Lizbeth let out a soft moan as he gently squeezed it. He loved that sound, it made him feel so fucking alive.
Wanting to feel more of her, he unbuttoned her dress, feeling her body tremble under his touch. When she was completely naked in front of him, wearing nothing but a tiny thong, he groaned in approval. That woman was gorgeous inside out and she was all for him.
She looked at him with desperate need and unspeakable love glowing in her eyes.
Not wanting to waste any second, she rolled up his t-shirt and then hurried to unbuckle his belt. Pulling his jeans and boxers in a swift moment after that.
As they discharged all their clothes, he felt the world around them vanishing. The warmth of her skin and the deep connection they shared was everything he longed for.
He instantly trapped one of her nipples in his mouth, making her throw her head back as she grabbed a handful of his hair and tugged from it. Her flawless skin crawled as a soft evening breeze wrapped around them. She was beautiful and so fucking perfect.
As they kept taunting each other, enjoying their caresses, and all the sensations that came with them, he made her roll and lay on her back. Getting between her legs, and more than ready to drive both of them to heaven, he slowly pushed himself inside her velvety passage, feeling her clenching around him.
“Ahhh… God!” she moaned as he stretched her.
“Fuck!” he groaned, delighting in her damp and hot welcome. He would never get tired of that.
Slowly, he pulled out of her, moaning out of pure pleasure as she squeezed his tip inside of her. He chuckled, letting the lust travel through his veins. He loved the way she played with him, pushing him to the edge only to stop before he lost control.
They knew each other’s body so well it made the whole situation even more alluring.
The heat soared around them as he began to pump into her, gently at first, pressing her clit with his pelvis as he dived into her. Her ragged breathing and irresistible whimpers breaking the silence of the night in the middle of that paradise.
Lizbeth raised her legs and wrapped them around his waist, angling her opening in a way he could rub himself even deeper inside of her, making both of them moan.
The rhythm of her hips matched his in perfect harmony. Their chests were pressed together and their eyes were locked on each others’, letting the intimacy of the moment cradle them deliciously.
“I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you.”
He brushed the hair away from her face and kissed her plump lips, biting on them as he picked up the pace.
As she got closer and closer to the peak of ecstasy, her movements became more uncontrolled and her breathing erratic, making him feel the rush in his body too.
Pulling back and forth vigorously, with the smacking sounds of skin against skin filling his ears and his heart hammering inside his ribcage, he felt the exact moment the orgasm ripped through her.
Lizbeth became a mess of moans as she arched her back, forcing him to melt inside of her, grasping his release. “Fuck!” He growled, letting his head fall and touch her forehead.
They slowed down, trying to catch some air into their lungs. Still stunned and dizzy from the intensity, he took a deep breath and pulled out of her, making both of them gasp.
“Are you okay?” she asked him.
“Never been better,” he chuckled as he opened his eyes. “You’re amazing, you know?” She simply giggled, making his heart flutter.
He nuzzled his nose in the crook of her neck and gently kissed her. Being so close to someone, physically and emotionally speaking, had never felt that good.
She was his storm and his calm, his day and night. He had never imagined the bond between them could be so strong, so deep. “I love you…” he softly said, brushing his lips to her.
She caressed his shoulders, then his back, sending shivers up and down his spine. “Always and forever,” she whispered.