Match Made

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TWENTY-FIVE

I don’t have time to think about what he’s going to tell me because he is back mere moments after he disappears.

“What did you want to tell me?” I ask when he returns.

“I want you to know what you’re getting into before I ask you-” he trails off and runs his hands through his hair.

“Okay,” I try to acknowledge what he says, but nothing is coming out right, so I just stare at him and wait while he speaks.

“I don’t know that I can ever not treat you like my wife,” he starts.

The alarm must show on my face because he adds, “Not like that,” before shaking his head.

He is still looking at his lap when he continues, “I mean I don’t think I can live a life where we don’t hold hands and cuddle and go on dates and stumble through the woods together. I don’t think I’m capable of living as just your friend.”

I look down at my own lap, the tears starting to form in my eyes despite my best efforts.

“Oh, I’m messing this whole thing up,” Chris runs his hands through his hair again.

“No,” I smile at him through the darkness, “You really aren’t.”

“I’m just trying to say I’d like to keep things as they are. As they have been.”

“That’s what I’m trying to say, too,” I smile to myself.

“In that case,” he says, standing up from the bed. “I want you to have this.” He hands me a piece of paper with a smaller note paper clipped to the front of it. Through the faint light of the window, I can just make out the words he had written. No matter what you decide.

I pull the small note off to see what is behind it. It’s the deed to our home in the city. It only has my name on it and is dated over a week ago. Did he build me that house? Is he giving me a house?

“I can’t accept this,” I try to give it back, as though that would change who owned the home. “It’s all too much.”

He shakes his head, “It’s not too much. And it’s yours to do with as you please. I made it for you. I bought it for you. It’s yours.”

I don’t know what to say, so I just nod into the darkness as he speaks, “I’ll drive you back to your home in the morning. You can decide what you’d like from there.”

He gets up and walks to the door without another word as he closes it behind him.

* * *

The next morning is sombre as he helps me into the car and drives me back to the city. The car is silent and the events of last night hang heavy in the air.

“I’ll help you inside and then I can get these letters sent to Match Made and figure out what to do next,” he says as he turns off the car and closes the garage door.

I nod and accept his help getting me inside the house and onto our couch.

I watch as he brings in all the gear he had packed in the car. Suddenly, I realize we didn’t use any of it.

“Why did you take all of that with us?” I ask him the next time he comes into the house.

“I didn’t know what we’d need,” he says as he shrugs his shoulders.

“What did you have planned if I hadn’t twisted my ankle?” I ask.

“That’s something you’ll have to wait to find out,” he says as he kisses my cheek. “I’ll be happy to show you once you’re all healed up.”

“Fine,” I grumble.

I look up to see him smiling at me, though I can’t figure out why.

Suddenly, I realize.

“Oh, my gosh! You’re staying?” I would jump up to hug him if my ankle weren’t twice its usual size.

He nods, “I’m staying if you’ll have me. Just as we are.”

“I will have you. Just as we are,” I smile.

I look up from my lap to see him down on one knee in the middle of our living room floor, ring in hand.

“Aubrey James,” he begins, “will you marry me?”

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