Chapter Thirty Two
I was scanning the room full of reporters and sports journalists feeling absolutely anxious about what’s to come. Elijah decided to do a press conference immediately after he was given the go signal to go home. He didn’t suffer any serious injury, just a bump on the head. Thank God! I guess this is his way of letting his fans know that he’s not going anywhere and he’ll still be able to continue playing this season.
The questions started flowing as soon as he sat down and nodded his head. Again, just like the first, the questions were basic. he was asked about how he’s doing, how he felt when the accident happened, and what information he can disclose healthwise. The hard questions suddenly rained down on him like a storm and my heart went on a rampage.
Reporter: It seems that you’re in a very serious relationship with another woman, however, a rumor broke out that you and Maliyah are getting back together. What are your thoughts on this?
Elijah: A, I am in a serious relationship. B, the rumor will stay a rumor because we’re not getting back together.
Reporter: But what about her statement that she can prove that her son is really yours and not your coach’s?
I was now ringing my fingers on the hem of my shirt. Waiting for what Elijah has to say to that.
Elijah: I’m sure it isn’t mine because it doesn’t add up you can do the math, but I’m willing to do a paternal test and if the results say the boy is mine, then I’ll be a good father to him. That, however, doesn’t mean that we're getting back together.
Reporter: Do you need some time to recover from the accident or are you allowed to keep playing?
Elijah: I wasn't seriously injured. I'm fine and healthy, so I can continue playing. However...
He said trailing a bit before looking at me directly with seriousness in his face. Oh boy, what’s he going to say? I have a feeling this is going to be a big one.
Elijah: I’ll be retiring after this season.
What?! He never mentioned anything like that. “What is he talking about?” I asked Micah who was standing beside me. He just shrugged and placed a hand on my shoulder before turning his gaze back to his brother on stage. The reporters and journalists were now restless and raising their hands wanting to get a chance to ask more questions, but then Elijah spoke once again.
Elijah: I’m retiring because I need to prioritize another thing. I think I have a new purpose and that purpose is in Seattle. My life used to be here, but now, that’s where my life is and I can’t live without my life.
He kept his eyes on me the whole time he was explaining. He’s quitting to be with me? He’s throwing away what he loves because of me? He can’t do that!
Reporter: Can you explain that further?
He smiled at the reporter wistfully. He can’t feel happy about this decision. I know he’s going to regret this. I placed my hand over my heart.
Elijah: What else is there to explain? I’m no longer choosing the game. I’m choosing my end game. The end game that I’ve come to know as the reason for my existence. That’s that.
Oh my God! I can’t breathe. I walked out of the room to gain some composure. He's giving up everything for me.
A minute later, Elijah burst out of the room clearly about to panic. And when he saw me standing there biting the nail on my thumb, he exhaled slowly. “We need to talk,” I said, pulling him inside another room that’s empty. I closed the door, locking it for good measure and abruptly turned to look at him. “What are you doing? Also, you can’t decide just like that without asking or telling me. You can’t quit!” I placed my hands on my waist. “Why not? I can’t ask you to give up everything so you can move here, so I’m giving up football so I can be with you,” he answered calmly. “Elijah, love. Listen to me. Football is your life. You can’t give that up, you’re going to regret this decision. Don’t do this. I won't let you.” I reasoned.
He stared at me for a long time before speaking up. “Angel, do you want to be with me or not? No, I think the better question is Do you love me?" I can't believe he just asked me that. "I do, so much. Which is why you can't quit. I'm not going anywhere, Elijah. I'll go where you'll go. I'm only going to go back to Seattle to settle things and then I'm coming back, so you can't quit," I begged. He took a step toward me. "You mean you're moving here with me?" he asked, disbelief in his voice and the only answer I can give was to nod. "What about the orphanage or your company?" I shook my head and looked directly into his green eyes. "Jake kind of kicked me out and told me I don't have to be there to run things. I can always travel back when it's really needed. It's the same with the orphanage. Samantha's going to take care of things for me, so I hope you're not going to kick me out as they did."
He took me by surprise when his lips crashed into mine and he kissed me passionately for as long as he wanted. "Are you sure this is what you want?" he asked when we came up for air. "You're the one I want, Elijah. Seeing you go down that way made me realize how much I love you and how much I can't live without you. I'm not giving up my life. I'm choosing my life."
He smiled at me like a shy schoolboy, the one that always melts my heart. "I was going to do this much later today, in a perfect setting, but this could be the moment right here," he said. I looked at him dumbfounded and he chuckled at my reaction before saying, "Ireland, I've been in love with you since you turned Micah down. When you smiled and looked directly at me, I knew I was in trouble. Chance brought us together and I'm grateful that all the shit that happened in my life pushed me to Seattle. There's nothing I want more than to share my life with you. You're it for me," he paused to wipe my tears. "Will you marry me?"
The world stopped spinning and I felt like someone threw a cold bucket of water on me. He's asking me to marry him! "Where's my ring?" I teased and he laughed so hard that I had to join in. "Like I've said, angel. I was planning to ask over dinner so the ring is inside my drawer. Are you going to wait until you see the ring before you give me an answer?" he asked. "I think I'll do just that. I might hate the ring so." I smirked and he rolled his eyes at me in response. "Ask again," I cajoled. "Ireland St. James, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?" I pulled him down and kissed him softly before saying, "A hundred times yes, Elijah Tresantos!"