“I realize that this is soon for you, but it’s been years for me. Years in the making, baby.” I smile at her, and then I see a tear fall from her eyes. I reach up, swiping it away with my thumb, and she bites her lower lip. “I’ve waited for you to see me, for you to love me and for you to marry me. Please, baby. Don’t make me wait another day.”

I open the box in her hand and show her the ring. She gasps and puts a hand over her mouth, looking from me to the ring and then back to me again. It’s the Devotion Stone.

“When you saw this last night, I was so relieved you loved it. I found out about it from an antiques dealer and got in touch with the estate. They agreed to sell it to me after I told them about you. And that I planned to put it up at an auction at a price I knew no one could touch. This way, the foundation would benefit from the love I have for you, and this ring would find a new home on your hand. I want it to carry our love story for the next one hundred years.”

Tears are streaming down her cheeks, but I stay on my knees in front of her.

“Mallory Ann Sullivan, will you marry me?”

She nods once, then throws herself at me, and I barely catch the ring in time before she tackles me to the floor. Mallory peppers kisses all over my face, and I feel my own eyes water. Relief and love wash over me, and I roll us over, pinning her under me.

I take her hand and slip the ring on, kissing it and then kissing her palm. Looking into her gray-blue eyes, I see nothing but happiness, and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to see there.

“I love you so much,” she says, reaching up with her other hand and rubbing my stubble. “Yes, I’ll marry you. Even though you’re crazy obsessed and a borderline stalker.”

“Don’t act like you don’t like it.” My smile feels as if it could crack my face in half. And the moment could not be any more perfect. Because I know she does. I see it in her eyes when sometimes I go a little too far, unable to help myself. It’s why we fit.

Mallory laughs, and I reach into my pocket, pulling out the test and holding it up for her. “And when were you planning on telling me about this?”

Mallory’s smile dips for a second, and then she gives me a small shrug. “Just a false alarm.”

I look at her in confusion, look at the test, and then look back to her.

“Baby, how is being pregnant a false alarm?”

Her eyes grow wide, and she snatches the test out of my hand, sitting up so fast, she nearly knocks me off her lap.

“What?” she shouts.

She looks down at the two blue lines, and the test clearly says two lines means pregnant.

“How is this possible? There was only one yesterday.”

She looks up into my eyes, and it’s my turn to shrug. Like I know anything about how those tests work. “It’s two lines. It says pregnant.”

“I must not have waited long enough. Oh my God. Oz, we’re going to have a baby.” She pauses, like she’s testing out the words. “We’re going to have a baby.”

She beams at me. She’s so happy, and then she’s crying again. I let out a small laugh, pulling her in my arms. She’s all over the place this morning.

“Sorry, you proposed to me, and I found out I’m pregnant all in the same moment. It’s kind of an emotional overload.”

“For me, too, baby.”

I pick her up and lay her back down on the bed. She pulls at my shirt, and I kick off my jogging pants. This moment calls for skin on skin. Holding her face with both hands, I kiss her, long and slow, trying to pour all of what I feel into it. All the years of waiting, all the years of longing have led to this. I’ve finally got my ring on her finger and my baby inside her. What more could a man need from the love of his life?

I enter her slowly, like the kiss, and take my time making love to her. Her legs wrap around me, and the cool band of the ring presses against my back, reminding me that she’s all mine. Her body welcomes me, opening up and offering me all that she has to give.

When I find my release, she’s right there with me as we whisper words of tenderness to one another. The moment is so beautiful and so sacred it feels as if there’s never been love like this before. We’ve created something so perfect that it can never be touched. Not by our pasts or by anything around us. Our intimacy has sealed our bond, and my soul is forever entwined with hers.

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