P R O L O G U E.
NINE YEARS AGO
“I wish that we could stay here forever, Dox.”
“We could, Brax. We could even get a puppy. You’ve always wanted a Husky named Eskimo.” Her light, melodic giggle rings out around us, filling our small treehouse with the addicting sound. I let my thumb rub along the top of her hand and smile when she tightens her grip on my knuckles.
“My parents would miss me too much. So would yours. Not to mention that you’re meant for more than kicking it in a musky smelling treehouse with me,” she sighs.
“There’s nothing for me without you.” I squeeze her hand tight and turn to look at her pink cheeks. I’ve known that for ten years. Ever since I was six years old.
“Stop,” she pushes out, keeping her eyes on the glow-in-the-dark moon stickers stuck to the ceiling from when we placed them at my ninth birthday party.
“What will it take for you to finally believe me?” I chuckle, leaning towards her and placing my lips softly on her warm cheek.
“I believe that you think that, Maddox. I just—I don’t know. Worry, I guess? I mean, look at your parents. I was there with you when your mom gave your dad those divorce papers, and they’ve never looked unhappy.”
Thanks for reminding me, sweetheart.
“Yeah, and did they get divorced? No, they didn’t.” I grin proudly.
“That’s not the point.”
“Then what is? Because honestly, there isn’t anything that could make me change my mind. And I’ve smelt your breath in the morning.” Her scoff is immediate as she turns and pushes up on her side to glower at me.
“What if I grew a third leg?”
“Is that a serious question?” I raise my brows and laugh.
“Or lost my two front teeth and could never get them fixed?”
“Damn, that would be sexy. We could match when I inevitably lose mine,” I reply with a confident smirk.
“I’m serious!” she huffs.
“So am I.” I push myself up before pulling her up and sitting across from her. “Listen to me. One day, when we’re eighty-five, and I’m still pushing you around our million-dollar mansion in a fancy wheelchair surrounded by all of the animals that you could ever dream of, you’re going to look back on this day and scold yourself for ever doubting us. I promised you the day that we met that I would marry you, didn’t I?”
“We were only six, Dox,” she scoffs slightly, although I can see that she’s starting to give in.
“And ten years later I’m here promising the same thing. You’re it for me, Braxton Heights. Forever. Her lips spread in a grin seconds before she nods and pushes towards me, looping her arms around my neck.
“You’re it for me too, Maddox Hutton. Always.”