Chapter 46 - Knox
I craved Snow, even though we’d just said goodbye.
Coming back here, I’d hoped. I’d hoped I wasn’t too late. That I’d be able to salvage what we had and make it even better this time. I hoped that she’d want my promises - all of the promises I should’ve made months ago.
I’d learned my lesson the hard way. I’d learned not to take things for granted. But most of all, I’d learned how to look the world in the eyes again, and fight for what was mine.
I unlocked the front door, and my parents were both up - having coffee as I walked past.
“Merry Christmas,” I smiled, greeting them both - feeling like I was right on top of the fucking world.
Their faces lit up into smiles. “Merry Christmas, Knox,” my mom stood up and walked over to give me a hug.
“Merry Christmas, son. Late night?” My dad asked with a cheeky glint in his eyes - he knew fucking exactly what was going on.
I just nodded, trying to keep a straight face and play it cool. “By the way - we’re having an extra guest for lunch today.”
My mom’s face lit up. “Did you talk to her? Did she take you back?”
“Yes, and yes. It’s a long story. But in a nutshell - she’s agreed to move in with me,” I couldn’t help but smile like a love-sick fucking schoolboy after saying those words. Because, in fact, that wasn’t too far off the mark here.
“That’s a big step,” my dad said with a smile - there wasn’t a shred of judgment in his tone. If I had to guess, he was probably happy that I was finally sorting myself out, and moving on from the past. That I was finally bringing a girl home and planning a future together after drifting aimlessly through life for the past few years.
“Not as big as the step I’m about to take later this afternoon, if it all goes according to plan,” I admitted, and my mom gasped.
“You’re going to propose?” Her hands flew to her mouth in surprise.
I nodded. “I’m all in with this girl. I bought a ring yesterday.”
My mom and my dad looked at each other with raised brows.
“Knox, don’t you think it’s too soon? That you should take one step at a time?” My mom asked gently, and I raised a brow this time.
“She hasn’t said yes - yet. Her dad seems to think that she won’t. But it’s what I want. And we won’t get married next week - her dad made me promise to wait until after she graduates. It will be at least another six months,” I explained, already knowing that nothing they could say would change my mind.
“Why doesn’t Adam think she’ll say yes?” Dad asked with a frown.
“Because... she broke things off with me two months ago. He seemed to think that she wouldn’t change her mind so easily.”
“But she has agreed to take you back? To move in with you?” Mom clarified with a smile.
“Yes, exactly. So I’m feeling pretty optimistic here.”
“Where are you going to live?” Dad asked curiously.
I shrugged. “We’ll look for a place together. There’s the trust fund, right?”
He nodded, understanding what I had in mind, and the smile on his face told me he was happy with that plan, too.
“I know it may seem soon to you. But we’ve been together for over a year, and it’s one hundred percent my fault that I haven’t brought her home to properly meet you yet. But there’s no way in hell I’ll ever let her go again. - I love her. I really love her.”
My parents smiled at each other and shared a look that spoke volumes.
“I know Melody - and I’ve gotten to know her a lot better over the past few months she’s been at the firm. She’s one hell of a girl, Knox. You can’t do any better than her,” my dad voiced his approval, and I knew my mom would trust my dad’s judgment.
“Well - I’m looking forward to finally meeting her at last and welcoming her into our family. Because if you love her, she must be pretty special, Knox. Her parents are lovely - she comes from a great family. I haven’t seen her since she was a teenager, but from everything I’ve heard, she does sound like quite the catch,” Mom said encouragingly, looking less concerned. “We just want you to be happy. If you’re sure that’s what you want, we won’t stand in your way.”
“She makes me happy. Which is exactly why I’m pulling out all the stops. I’m not letting her slip through my fingers again,” I said with all the determination I felt. And my parents shared this look again - and I knew they got it, and they were right behind me.
Later that morning, I went around to Snow’s house again. And this time when she opened the door, her entire face lit up. It felt so incredibly good to see her smile like that. To know that for a change, I was the reason for the smile on her face, instead of tears.
Fuck - this girl was beautiful. I wanted to make her smile like this, every day.
She flung herself into my arms, and we just held each other for a moment. And I knew I wasn’t going to let go again. I was all in this time. I was done holding back.
I kissed her, and I swear, this time, it really hurt because I was so damn reluctant to break that kiss, and I wanted nothing more than to get so utterly lost in her just like I did last night.
“Would you like to come inside for a second?” Snow asked, and I nodded. It was Christmas, and the proper thing to do would be to at least stay for a minute and wish her family well.
As luck would have it, we ran into Snow’s dad first.
He looked at me suspiciously. “Are you taking Mel for the whole day?”
I nodded. “Yes, I am. We’re having lunch at my parents’ place. I’ll bring her back tomorrow.”
“Are you staying over at your parents’ house?”
This guy was nosy as hell.
“No,” I responded politely, but firmly.
Snow bit her bottom lip; I could see she was trying to stifle a laugh.
“Where are you taking her, then?” His eyebrows rose.
“Merry Christmas, Adam,” I just smiled, completely evading his question.
“Merry Christmas. Is this about what we talked about?” He asked with a frown.
“Yes, it is.” Nosy fucker - that was all that he was going to get out of me.
Snow was looking between us, looking perplexed.
“What did you talk about?”
“Terms and conditions,” I said quickly, before Adam could give the game away, and his eyebrows rose, but thank Mary and Joseph, he just nodded his head.
“For what?” Snow asked curiously again.
“Custodial sentences,” Adam murmured under his breath, and this time I was stifling a laugh, because the man seemed to be very happily married as far as I could see.
“What was that, Dad?” She asked with a slight frown, tilting her head.
“Business-related,” her dad mumbled, looking at me, sending me a wordless message with his eyes that I better not fuck things up with Melody, because otherwise he’d strangle me first and interrogate me later.
I nodded to let him know I got the message, loud and clear. There was absolutely no way that this thing was going to end in tears again. Unless Snow said no, but given she’d already agreed to move in with me and take me back, I was feeling on the confident end of the spectrum here.
We greeted her mom and sister and then headed over to my parents’ house with our overnight bags at the back.
Snow looked a little nervous, and I placed my hand over hers as we stopped at an intersection.
“You have nothing to worry about. My dad is already a big fan of yours, you know?” I reassured her, and she smiled gratefully.
“He’s been very nice to me at the firm, I must say.”
“He has only good things to say about you, Snow.”
“And your mom? What if she... hates me?” She bit her bottom lip.
“No chance,” I squeezed her hand before I placed it back on the steering wheel as traffic moved again. “If anything, she’s happy that I’m finally getting my shit together,” I admitted dryly, and Snow laughed.
“About time,” she teased.
“About time,” I agreed.
Before long, we pulled up in front of my parents’ house, and Snow and I walked in hand in hand.
My mom immediately jumped up from her seat as we entered, and came to greet Snow.
“Melody - welcome! It’s great to finally meet you properly,” she said with a broad smile. “Merry Christmas.”
“Thanks so much for having me, Mrs. Vaughn. Merry Christmas to you as well.”
“You’re gorgeous - look at you. And please, call me Ayla. Mrs. Vaughn reminds me too much of Knox’s grandmother,” mom said graciously, and Snow nodded.
“Speaking of which - is she here?” I asked, and mom nodded.
“Yes - she’s on the back patio, in her favorite spot,” mom said gently.
“Hi, Melody, great to have you here,” my dad came over to greet her as well, stretching out a hand.
“Thank you so much for the invitation, Dean,” she smiled as she shook his hand.
“We hope to see a lot more of you. Are you feeling better after the incident yesterday at the office?” Dad asked with a frown, and Snow nodded.
“Yes, thanks. I just had the absolute worst luck,” she smiled.
“It was more than just bad luck, Melody. There was some serious negligence involved, but we’ll get to the bottom of it to ensure something like that never happens again. Next time, don’t stay back so late, okay?” He smiled at her.
“I definitely won’t.”
“I was wondering if I should say anything about Knox being back yesterday when I left, but I didn’t want to spoil the surprise,” he said good-naturedly, and Snow and I looked at each other.
“It was quite the surprise when he broke down that door,” Snow said dryly, and we shared another look filled with intent, thinking back to that moment when we saw each other again.
“I understand your sister is about to get married to Austin Johnson?” Mom asked, lifting a brow.
“Yes, on New Year’s Eve, to be precise,” Snow sounded surprised.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you that I’m related to Austin by marriage in a very roundabout way. My cousin, Adrienne, is married to Austin’s dad’s brother - Magnus Johnson.”
Snow’s face lit up in surprise. “What a small world. Will we see you at the wedding?”
“Of course - your parents extended an invitation to us. We can’t wait - by the sounds of it, it will be the wedding of the year,” Mom smiled. “Are you part of the bridal party?”
“Yes - my sister and I share maid of honor duties.”
“I can’t wait to see you there. But if you’ll excuse me, I have a few last-minute things to take care of in the kitchen - please make yourself at home, and I just wanted to say again how welcome you are. It’s great seeing Knox this happy,” Mom took Snow’s hand and squeezed it, and I was grateful that my parents understood just how important this girl was to me.
“Thanks so much; I really appreciate the warm welcome. Can I help with anything?” Snow asked, but my mom shook her head.
“Thanks for asking, but it’s all under control.” She turned around with a smile to take care of last-minute preparations.
“Your family is so nice, Knox,” Snow said with a smile that lit up her eyes.
“As I said, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. Except - maybe - now that you’ve set foot here, they might expect me to bring you around more often,” I teased.
“I look forward to it,” she sighed, looking a mixture of happy and relieved that it went so well.
“Come on - I’ll introduce you to my grandmother - my dad’s mom. I have to warn you - she suffers from dementia, and she won’t recognize you if she sees you again,” I led her by the hand to the back patio, and she nodded.
My grandmother was sitting in her favorite spot - in a rocking chair, overlooking the garden, a blanket covering her knees and legs. She was staring vacantly into the distance, as she was often doing these days.
I walked to right in front of her, then bent down, taking her hand into mine.
“Hi, Gran, how are you doing today?” I smiled, knowing that she probably wouldn’t know who the hell I was. It was only on the odd occasion these days that she said something that resembled some kind of memory from real life.
Her face lit up, and she smiled, looking between me and Snow vacantly.
“Hello. What a handsome young man you are.”
“Thank you. Do you remember who I am?” I asked gently again, not expecting her to have an answer.
“Yes. Nice to see you again.” She smiled broadly, but despite her words, it was clear that she had no idea.
“My name is Knox. I’m Dean’s son. Do you remember?” I implored gently, and she nodded, her smile becoming broader.
“I have a son. His name is Dean, too.”
I looked up as I heard Snow sob, and a tear was streaking across her cheek.
I smiled at her, because although it was sad, we were used to the situation by now. It was hard for everyone, but at least grandma Vaughn seemed happy inside her own little world.
“I want to introduce you to someone special, Gran; her name is Melody, but I call her Snow because she is as beautiful as Snow White.”
Snow bent down as well, facing my grandmother, smiling at her as she wiped away the tear.
“Hello. Merry Christmas,” Snow said softly.
“Aren’t you beautiful, Snow White,” she nodded in approval.
“I love this girl, Gran. I wanted you to meet her, because we have big plans together.”
She smiled again, looking between Snow and me.
“Snow White and her prince. Pleased to meet you both.” It was clear that she had no idea of reality right now. Today just was one of those days, it seemed.
Snow wiped away another tear, and she looked at my grandmother with so much sympathy in her eyes. Because Snow was kind and compassionate and she had a heart as pure as snow, and she was the woman I was going to marry as soon as she said yes.
“The pleasure is mine,” Snow said, gently placing a hand over hers.
“I hope you both live happily ever after,” she smiled again, blissfully unaware of who we were. But she had one thing right: we were living a fairytale right now.
“We will. And that’s a promise,” I said, meeting Snow’s eyes. And I meant every single word.