Dreamy Dylan

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#73 Took us long enough, didn’t it?

No.

He said… no.

It takes a second before the word truly registers. It doesn’t even hurt. Not yet. I turn completely numb, getting to my feet again and putting the box into my pocket. Without even registering my movements, I put on my jacket, saying something to the others – I’m not sure what – and walk out of the coffee shop. I hear Andre calling after me, but I don’t turn around. I know that if I look at him right now, the pain will come rushing in, and I will break. Another male voice shouts after me as well, probably Dshawn, but I don’t turn around to make sure.

I need to get out of here right fucking now.

Still in a state of shock, I get in my car and drive off before anyone can catch up with me. I know I’m Andre’s ride home, but I can’t face him right now. I asked him to marry me, and he told me no. There is no coming back from that.

As I get closer and closer to the house, my numbness slowly wears off, replaced by disbelief, anger, and sadness. Mostly the latter, but I choose not to focus on that. It’s just a few more blocks. I don’t want to start crying before I’ve parked the car.

Why did he say no? I was so sure this was what he wanted too. Ivan told me in no uncertain terms that Andre was hoping for a ring when I asked him to move in with me. His parents felt certain he would say yes too, and Emmy is hardly my biggest fan, so I figured if I could trust anyone’s judgment on this, it would be hers.

He loves me. It’s hard to believe right now, but I know he does. I don’t believe for even a second that the past months were a lie. He wouldn’t have fought to save our relationship with all the baby drama if he didn’t love me to pieces. He wouldn’t have given up his apartment and moved in here without looking back if he wasn’t crazy about me. He wouldn’t look at me the way he does, like I’m all he could ever wish for, if he didn’t want to spend his life with me.

I know all of that. I feel it in my bones. Yet he still said no to me.

Maybe it’s because he hated the way I proposed. I know it was far from perfect, but I would have never turned him down for such a stupid reason. He could have proposed to me on the fucking toiled and I still would have told him yes. You don’t tell the love of your life no just because he screwed up the way he asks, right? It’s the question that matters. Surely some of his romance novels have fucked-up proposals in them. I bet all those people still got married in the end.

Maybe he said no because he still wants to be able to run if things get to be too much. The baby thing is a lot for him, I know that. He could be trying to protect himself. But he’s kidding himself if he thinks he could walk away from this without breaking his own heart. He cried at the ultrasound. This is his baby, whether he’s ready for it or not. He knows it, deep down. I know he does. Saying no won’t change that.

Maybe… I don’t know. I don’t know why he said no.

When I walk back into the house, I feel like throwing up when I see all the heart-shaped balloons floating in the living room. The balloons and fairy lights were supposed to lead Andre down a clear path to the library. He’d open the door and see me kneeling on the rug, candles lit everywhere, rose petals in a heart shape around me. There was champagne, more balloons, streamers, everything and anything in the shape of a heart that I could get my hands on.

Now I have to take it all down. I stare at the romantic picture in front of me, trying to make myself move. I can’t leave the place like this. I can’t wake up to this tomorrow. I will break all over again.

I yank at a balloon, and stamp on it so hard it pops immediately. It feels strangely freeing. Before I know what I’m doing, I’ve already grabbed a knife from the kitchen and I’m attacking balloon after balloon. It’s not until I popped the last one that I realize I’m crying.

I finally broke down.

About damn time.

The will to break anything else leaves my body, and I toss the knife into the sink before heading upstairs. The ring box flies after it. I don’t need the stupid thing anyway.

In the bathroom, I strip down, throwing that stupid glitter suit in the hamper. It’s dry-clean only, but who the fuck cares, right? It’s not like I’ll ever wear it again. I’m too tired to take off my makeup, so I just crawl into bed in my underwear, exhausted beyond belief.

My boyfriend, the love of my life, the father of my future child… He just left me, didn’t he? I asked him to be mine for the rest of our lives, and he said no. I’m pretty damn sure that means we broke up tonight.

My phone rings, but I don’t pick up. I turn off the sound when I see it’s Thomas. I’m in no mood to talk to anyone right now. There are many missed calls from Andre, but I’m definitely not talking to him tonight. I need to pull myself back together first, but I have no idea how to do that.

I’m crying uncontrollably into my pillow when I hear the front door open downstairs. That’s got to be Andre. I can’t believe he came back here. Why the fuck can’t he give me one night to grief the loss of the best thing that ever happened to me before coming over to rub salt in the wound?

“Dylan?” Andre calls upstairs. “Love?”

My entire throat closed up at that term of endearment, and I feel like I can’t breathe. How dare he call me that? I rush out of bed, trembling like a leaf, quickly locking the bedroom door before he can come upstairs. I can’t talk to him. Not right now. Maybe not ever.

“Dylan?” His voice is closer now.

“I’m not here!” I call back.

Seriously, Dylan? That’s your response?

I can hear Andre’s footsteps coming up to the door, and then the handle goes down. He has no luck opening it, of course.

“Dylan, can you please open up?” I might be hearing things that aren’t there, but he sounds like he’s been crying too. “I need to talk to you.”

“You said no,” I croak out, not sure if he can even hear me when I’m speaking so softly.

“Let me explain,” Andre pleads. “It’s not that I don’t love you, Dylan.”

So he does love me. Not enough, apparently, or he would have said yes.

“Not now,” I decide, since I feel way too out of it to have a conversation. “Please just leave me be.”

“No, Dylan, I can’t just-” He stops talking when his phone rings.

“Leave me alone.” I sound stronger now, even though I don’t feel it. “Stay in the guest room, or stay with a friend, I honestly don’t give a shit. Just leave me the hell alone.”

The door handle rattles again, but then I hear his ringtone stop blaring, meaning he probably picked up the phone. Indeed, I hear him walking away, his voice too soft for me to hear the words, but loud enough for me to be sure he’s talking to whoever called him.

I know I told him to go, but I don’t think I really wanted him to. I want him to fight for me, to somehow make all of this okay again. He can’t, though. If he doesn’t want to marry me, it’s over between us. I know it is.

Exhausted, I lie back in bed. I curl up into a fetal position, already knowing I will end up either staying awake all night, or crying myself to sleep.

After half an hour, I am well on my way to the latter, when Andre knocks on the door again.

“Dylan?” he calls out to me. “Can you please come downstairs?”

“No!” I shout back, turning to my other side. “Go away!”

“Then can you please open the door?”

For fuck’s sake…

“Andre, just get the fuck away from me!” I mean to sound strong and menacing, but my voice breaks halfway through.

“Please, love, don’t make me do this through a closed door.”

I sit up in bed, wiping my tears from my eyes. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay? Just not right now.”

“It has to be now.” Andre sounds utterly desperate. “Please, just open the door for one second. I promise I won’t come in.”

He’s never going to stop if I don’t do what he wants me to, so I get out of bed despite my better judgment. I’ll just open the door, tell him to fuck off, and close the damn thing again. Easy enough, right?

Except of course it’s not.

When I open the door, it takes me a second to realize why I can’t see Andre. It’s because I’m looking right over him. He’s down on the floor, kneeling in front of me. In his hand is the box I was holding earlier, in exactly the same position.

What the hell is happening?

“Dylan,” Andre says, his voice thick with emotion. “Will you please, please, please marry me?”

“What the hell!” I cry out before I can even process any of this. “Are you serious right now? No! Of course not!”

He looks like he’s about to cry, and I hate that he’s hurting, but he hurt me first. Why the hell is he proposing?

“You can’t say no to me and then just… Why do you…?” I can’t even finish a fucking sentence. “What are you doing, Andre?”

“I’m an idiot.” He gets back up, wiping at his tears. “Of course I want to marry you. I’m so sorry. Please let me explain.”

I’m getting whiplash from this guy. “You said no.

“Only because I thought… Dylan, can you please come downstairs so we can talk? I know I don’t deserve it, but I’d really like to explain things to you properly.”

I can’t say no to him. Maybe I should throw the door in his face and lock it again, but it’s Andre. I love him despite this whole shitshow, and I don’t want to lose him. Hope already settled back into my heart, making me feel like this night might end up okay after all.

Andre breathes a sigh of relief when I pull on a robe and follow him back to the living room. It still looks like someone slaughtered a village of balloons, and the fairy lights are twinkling away. I turn them off, not wanting to look at the bright reminder of the night I had planned. Andre sits down on his usual spot on the couch, but I don’t take mine. I need more space than that, so I sit as far away from him as possible.

“I’m sorry I said no,” Andre starts, looking straight into my eyes. It’s clear he’s not lying right now. He feels terrible. “I do want to marry you, Dylan.”

“Then why tell me no?” I can’t wrap my head around any of this. “I know I fucked up the proposal, but…” I gesture around the living room. “Obviously I planned this night entirely differently. I didn’t drop the ring on the floor on purpose. If you really wanted to marry me, you wouldn’t say no just because the way I asked was far from perfect.”

He shakes his head and looks down at the ring box in his hands. “I thought… When you said that thing about naming the baby Peterson…”

“You don’t want that?” I study his expression, not sure what I’m seeing on his face. “We don’t have to do that, Andre. It just seemed like the best idea ever to me. That way, the baby will truly feel like yours, and even if we ever split up or I die or something, our kid will have your last name, and she’ll always want to know the man who gave her that name.”

He nods, tears welling up in his eyes. “I love that idea. I really do. It’s amazing you and the girls want to do this for me. I just don’t want the baby to be the only reason you want to marry me.”

Say what now?

“Andre, I love you. How can you think I only want to marry you for your last name?” I hold up his hand when he starts to talk. “Let me finish. Did I plan this proposal months in advance? No. Not even weeks. You know me, Andre. You know me inside and out. I get an idea, I realize it’s the best thing ever, and I execute it. The moment I thought of asking you to marry me, I couldn’t go back. I had to get down on one knee. I wouldn’t propose if I didn’t love you with all I’ve got.”

“I know, and I-”

Again, I hold up my hand. “Let me say this, okay? First of all, I’m pissed as hell you’d think I would only propose because of the baby. I get that you’re struggling, but I genuinely thought we were past the worst of it by now. I’ve done everything I can to make you feel more secure. I can’t keep tiptoeing around these things for the rest of our lives. Soon enough, there will be a baby, and she needs both of us to be all in. I thought you were.”

“I am, Dylan, I am.” He sounds determined.

“Second of all, even if I only asked you because of the whole name thing… Doesn’t that show you how much I love you? You’re the father of my child, Andre. Genetics be damned, you are. You’re my partner in all of this. I want you by my side for the rest of our lives, so we can raise the baby together. If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t want any of that. Even if I just proposed so you’d feel better about the baby situation, and not because I desperately want to bind myself to you in every single way, that would still be an amazing thing to do.” Finally, I stop talking. That’s all I wanted to say. It’s his turn now.

“You’re right.” He sighs and runs a hand over his hair. “You’re absolutely right. I fucked up. I just panicked, and I wanted to talk to you first, to make sure you were doing it for the right reasons, because… because I’ve been wanting to propose to you ever since you asked me to move in and made me think for a second there was a ring in that box.”

“If you wanted to propose, then why didn’t you?”

Andre shrugs. “Because I’m not you. I don’t get an idea and then execute it five minutes later. Or even a day or a week later. Look at how long it took me to open my own coffee shop. You already started your own business in college. I love that about you, but it’s not in my character to do things that way. I wanted us to try living together first. To get a handle on the baby situation. Maybe wait until she is born. I wasn’t sure how you’d feel about it, because I was pretty sure you hadn’t thought about marriage at all, or you wouldn’t have planned asking me to move in the way you did.”

“True,” I agree immediately. “But I’d have said yes. If you’d asked me at any point the past months, I’d have said yes. Not for the baby, but for you and me.”

“I know that now.” He gestures around the room. “The proposal would have been amazing if it had gone the way you planned. And I can’t believe you went to see my parents.” He flips open the box to admire the ring. “My grandfather’s ring… Do you know who called me before?”

“Erm, no?” That’s a very sudden change of topic.

“My mother. To congratulate me on getting engaged.” He grimaces. “When I told her what happened, she yelled at me for ten minutes to make sure I knew just what a total idiot I am. Then Ivan called, and he said the same thing. Then your friends started calling and texting. Dshawn or Sandra must have let them know. I know what you’ve been doing all day now, Dylan. I can’t believe you went through all that trouble just for me.”

“Then you really are an idiot.” I’m no longer angry with him. It’s clear he feels terrible, and that he let his insecurities get the better of him for a moment. He regrets it. And best of all… I didn’t lose him. “This is who I am, Andre. If you say yes to a life with me, you get big gestures and heart-shaped balloons and flash decisions about life-changing moments.”

“I say yes,” he whispers, putting the ring on the coffee table. “If you still want to ask me, I promise I’ll say yes this time.”

Maybe I should be more hesitant, but I’m not. I immediately grab the box, sink onto one knee in front of him, and look up into his dark brown eyes. “Andre, will you marry me?”

“Yes,” he says immediately. “Yes yes yes.”

The ring doesn’t fit properly, just like I predicted, but it doesn’t matter. He said yes this time. Hallelujah.

“If you change your mind or leave me at the altar, I will fucking kill you,” I warn him as he pulls me up so I can sit on the couch with him. “I swear to God, Andre, you better not-”

He silences me with a kiss, and just like that, all is right in the world again. We belong together. I can feel it in my bones.

“You’re going to marry an idiot,” he murmurs, his arms still around me.

“That makes two of us.”

We both laugh softly, the tension gone now. It didn’t go the way we planned, and we definitely need to talk about this some more, but for now I just want to enjoy the fact that I didn’t lose the love of my life. I’m engaged instead.

“We should let people know you came to your senses and I didn’t end up murdering you,” I realize. “You call your mom and Ivan, I’ll go get my phone and let my friends know.”

He gives me another kiss before letting me go. I rush upstairs, finding a gazillion messages on my phone. I type a quick text to everyone saying that we talked things through and he said yes after all. Mila calls me immediately.

“I’ll explain tomorrow,” I tell her as I pick up. “I’m okay.”

“You propose to your boyfriend while I’m in fucking Brazil?” she asks. “You better not have the wedding before I can fly back!”

I can’t help but laugh. “I promise.”

“He’s an idiot, by the way.” She doesn’t sound angry at Andre at all. “But I’m an idiot too, and Scarlett still loves me, so I guess relationships like that can work. Are you happy?”

“Yeah, I am. A little overwhelmed and I’ve got a splitting headache from crying so much, but he said yes, so…”

“What else could you possibly want,” she finishes for me. “Aren’t you glad I turned you down now? You get the husband and the kid, just like I knew you wanted.”

It feels like a lifetime ago that I thought Mila might be the love of my life. She was right all along. I truly did love her, and I think maybe with time she could have learned to see me that way too, but we never would have made each other happy the way we both deserve. She wants a free life without kids, traveling the world with Scarlett. I want the house, the kids, and the life partner. Looks like we’re both getting what we want.

“Babe, you turning me down is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

“Still, the sex was pretty decent.”

I roll my eyes, even though she can’t see me. “You’re nothing compared to Andre.”

“If he’s better in bed than a porn star, you should definitely marry him.”

We say our goodbyes then, and I get back downstairs to find Andre waiting for me in the library with two glasses of champagne. He’s still in his dirty work clothes, I’m in a robe, we both look like total messes, but it doesn’t matter. When we clink our glasses together and toast to being engaged, I feel like everything is finally as it should be.

Took us long enough, didn’t it?

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