Can you die from too much happiness?
“Jessie, from the moment I first saw you, I knew you were the one. The one woman in this world that was meant for me. As we start this journey together, I need you to know that I realize I don’t deserve you.
“These are my vows, Mouse,” he grins, the wind caressing his hair. His dark eyes shining with love and happiness. I commit him to memory, just like this. Because, I know, I’ll never see anything more beautiful in my entire life.
“I know I don’t deserve you,” he continues, “But, I’m going to bust my ass for the rest of my life to make sure you never regret one single moment of our life together. I thought years ago that my family saved me and in some ways, they did. But, now I know the truth is that until you came into my life, Jessie, I was only existing. You brought beauty, happiness, color and promise. You not only saved me, you manage to give me all of that every single day. You make life good again.”
“Allen,” I cry, unable to keep the emotion out of my voice.
“No, that’s wrong. You don’t make life good again.”
“Think you’re messing it up there, Allen,” Roman says and I hear the humor in his voice.
“I’m trying here. I’m not as smooth as you are,” Allen mumbles, but he never takes his eyes off of me. I know because I’m caught in his gaze, in his warm, love-filled eyes, and the tears that are sliding from the corner of them.
My hand clenches as he slides the ring on my finger, I swallow down a wave of emotion so large that it could drown me.
“Before you, life was never good. It took you to show me that life was worth living, Mouse. I love you and I vow to always try to be a husband you can depend on and a partner in life you can be proud of.”
“And now, your turn,” the minister says. “Do you have prepared vows also?”
I look at Allen, all the love I feel for him bare on my face for him to see.
“I vow to you before God and these people, Allen to always love you. To be your safety net, to be your home. I vow to never let you forget that to me you are not only worthy of love, but that you’re my hero.”
“These are my vows, Sweetheart. You had your turn,” I tell him, my voice thick with love, and tears… good tears. The kind of tears that you cry when every dream you’ve ever had finally comes true.
Laughter erupts around us, and I don’t know because I can’t take my eyes off Allen, but I’m pretty sure Ana is crying along with me from the sound of it.
“From this moment on, the past doesn’t exist for either of us,” I tell him. “From this moment on, it is the two of us together against the world. You are my husband, the father of my children and my partner in this ride called life. My strength, my heart, my soul and most definitely my hero.”
“I think you got that wrong, Mouse. You’re the hero here. You fixed parts of me I thought could never be fixed.”
“I love you,” I whisper as I slide the ring onto his finger.
“And I love you,” Allen promises.
“I think that pretty much sums it all up,” the minister laughs. “So, by the power vested in me, and as witnessed by friends and family, I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Allen Stevens. You may now kiss your bride.”
I hear Allen’s family—now mine—cheering in the background, but I ignore it. My husband is smiling down at me and when he kisses me everything else just fades away.
Ten Years Later
The house is quiet. I’m getting home late tonight. There was a little excitement at the club and I needed to see to things while the cops came and arrested the men who were fighting outside. It doesn’t happen a lot, but anywhere there’s drinking involved there’s usually an asshole with a mouth that annoys the wrong person.
I lock the door, securing the small bar at the top so it can’t be opened. Our youngest daughter, Arabella, has just recently learned how to unlock doors. I had these installed so we didn’t wake up and find her outside playing on the swing set some morning… or worse, at the neighbor’s house playing with their little boy Tyler. I have a feeling that Arabella is going to make me gray headed way before my time.
In the ten years that Jessie and I have been married, life has become a beautiful dream that I never want to wake up from.
Jessie’s shop has become the “it” store in Miami and I’m proud of the success she’s made. We bought a nice quiet house in a good neighborhood that’s close to work, but still out of the city itself, so our kids have room to play. We have three children: Roan, Graham, and Arabella, and each one is as different as the day is long. Roan is the quiet, thoughtful one. I see a lot of myself in him; it’s hard for me to believe that he turns nine tomorrow. Graham is a jokester, constantly in trouble at school, and he’s just seven. I have a feeling he’s going to keep me on my toes. Then there’s Arabella, our precious daughter that looks so much like her mother it takes my breath away. She’s going to keep me running as much as Graham. The only difference is she’s way too pretty and I’ll have to worry about the boys that are chasing her too.