I feel him look at me. “Did you really expect us to be neighbors for the rest of our lives and not move in together one day?” He laughs.
Did I? I’m not sure. I’ve been living in the moment with him and taking each day as it comes. I know I love him and that he loves me, but until right now, I’ve never considered what our future might look like. He wants us to live together, and that means eventually we might get married and have babies. I know he said that to his mom, but I didn’t really think much about it at the time, because it seemed like something that wouldn’t be happening for years to come. Apparently that’s not the case.
“Holy cow,” I repeat, and he laughs even louder as he pulls into the parking lot for the restaurant and parks his truck in an empty spot.
When he shuts down the engine, he turns to face me, then reaches over, picks up my hand, and pulls me closer. “I think we should move into your place since you have more square footage, and with a little work, it would be worth more money in the long run.” His eyes search mine. “I’ll fix up the kitchen, remodel the master bathroom, and finish off the basement. When we have a baby, you have a room down the hall that we can turn into a nursery.”
A baby. Oh my God. I think I might start hyperventilating.
“We don’t have to sell my house right away,” he says, searching my eyes. “We can rent it out until you’re ready for us to let it go.”
“I’m ready.” I close my eyes and drop my forehead to his chin. “I . . . I want to live with you. I want to start a life with you. I don’t care where we live. I don’t even care if you want to move back to Tennessee. I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
“My home is you. Wherever you are is where I belong, the only place I belong.”
“Fuck . . . I wasn’t . . . shit, I wasn’t going to do this now. I was going to wait until we had our families around to do it, but fuck it.”
Having no idea what he’s talking about, I pull my head back in confusion to look at him. Then I watch him dig into the pocket of his slacks. His eyes fill with relief when he finds whatever he’s looking for. When he grabs my left hand and holds it between us, I drop my eyes forward and watch his fingers as they run over mine.
“Tyler,” I whisper as confused excitement fills my stomach.
“I love you, Leah.” My eyes fly up, and I look into his. “I love you more than anything in this world. I can’t imagine waking up without you by my side every day, and I fucking hope I’ll never have to.” My heart pounds when I notice the shimmer of something glittering between his fingers, and then my world seems to come to a stop when I recognize it’s a ring—a beautiful ring with a thick gold band and an oval-shaped diamond. “Marry me, baby. Marry me and make me the happiest man in the world.”
“Yes,” I whisper, and he slides the breathtaking ring onto my finger. “Oh my God, yes.” I laugh, wrapping my arms around him and holding on tight.
I laugh harder. “Did you really think there was any chance I would say no?”
“I wasn’t sure. You seemed pretty shocked about the idea of us living together, when we’ve been doing that for a while,” he says, pulling back to look at me.
“It takes me a while to catch up.” I grin.
“I see that.” He grins back before his eyes drop to my hand.
When his thumb touches the edge of the diamond, tears fill my eyes. “I can’t believe this is real, that you’re real,” I breathe, and he looks up at the same time I do. “I never thought I would be this happy or this excited about the future. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.” I lean forward and press my mouth against his. “Thank you,” I tell him, then jump when someone pounds on the window behind Tyler, startling me.
I peek around his shoulder and smile at his mom, whose face is pressed to the glass. “Are you two coming in or staying out here?” she asks when Tyler rolls down the window.
“We’re coming. Just give us a minute.”
“I’ve given you ten minutes,” she informs him, and then she looks at me. “Remember, we followed you here.”
“Ma, I need a couple more minutes with my fiancée,” he says, and I see the moment his statement registers. Her eyes widen, and I lift my hand toward her, watching tears fill her eyes.