I turn to Sebastian, who is shaking out his hand and looking at me apologetically.
“Rose, I’m so sorry. I didn’t plan for that to happen. I didn’t want you to see that.”
“It’s fine,” I say, shaking my head. I’m just relieved he didn’t get hurt, although my worry was clearly misplaced as he can clearly look after himself.
I somehow know that he will always look after me too.
He closes the gap between us and cups my face in his hand, staring into my eyes, his own dark and unreadable even though they shine with emotion.
“What are you thinking?” I ask him. It takes him a moment to answer, but when he does his words thrill me to the core.
“Marry me, Rose.”
Three months later
I watch Rose walk towards me, and I feel like the luckiest guy in the world. She looks stunning in an ivory grown and with flowers in her hair, even with her belly.
Especially with her tiny belly, just starting to show.
I’m going to be a father, and I can’t wait. I had never really thought about children before, but as soon as we went public with our relationship and started planning the wedding, it dawned on me that I couldn’t think of anything better than having children with her. My woman, about to become my wife.
I couldn’t ask for anything more. In fact, I’m so happy that I’ve even started working less, something almost unheard of for me. But finally, I have something more than the latest tech deal to strive for. Now I have a future. We have a future.
We found out yesterday that the baby is a boy. I’m already planning names, although we’ve yet to agree. She wants James, I want Rory. But we still have time to decide.
Rose approaches me in time to the music, her eyes shining with happy tears. Her dad walks with her, looking proud as punch. Her whole family flew up for the event, and as it was the first time any of that had met me it could easily have been awkward, but in fact everyone has been great. They have welcomed both me and Penny into their family with open arms, and it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like part of a family. Soon I will have an even bigger one than I can handle.
Penny is here too with one of her carers, looking happy as she picks up on the excitement. Rose is great with her, and we’re hoping to have her over more often once the baby is born and settled. Everything is going so well that I have to keep pinching myself. I never knew life could be so sweet.
Rose, just as she said, refused to take Adrian’s job and has instead been freelancing so far, it’s going well for her and I couldn’t be prouder.
Finally, she reaches me, drops her dad’s arm and takes my hand. I’m impatient to kiss her but I know I have to wait until after our vows. I’m already aching for the wedding night.
“I love you,” she whispers to me as we turn to face the priest.
“I love you too,” I whisper back.
The ceremony passes by in a blur. All I can think about is how much I want her, and how in love I am with this beautiful, sexy woman. Finally, the vows are done, and I gather her into my arms and kiss her tenderly while our guests whoop with joy. Then I pull away and look down at her.
“You’re my wife now,” I whisper, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear. “All mine.”
“I always was,” she whispers back, standing on tiptoe to kiss me again.
Ten years later
I catch the elevator up to Sebastian’s office, not wanting to be seen. It’s early in the morning, but there could be some early bird workaholics around…and I doubt my outfit will go unnoticed. I grin to myself as I anticipate Sebastian’s face when he sees me. We have plans to celebrate our tenth anniversary tonight, but this is a little surprise just for him.
I can’t quite believe it’s been ten years. Sometimes it feels like yesterday when we first met, and our whirlwind romance with the unconventional start unfolded. Sebastian loves to tell the story to our friends of how we first met, which is why I think this morning’s little surprise is the perfect anniversary present.
He loves to tell the kids too, though of course it’s the clean version. Rory is nine now and Cassie seven, and it seems like yesterday too that they were just babies, snuggled up in my arms.
Sebastian is a fantastic father, really hands on and completely supportive. I’m so proud of our little family, and although juggling kids, a career and a marriage isn’t always easy, I never forget how blessed I am. Sebastian has even cut his hours at work, finally letting go of his workaholic compulsions, so that he can be more of a family man.