Epilogue *Alice*

Almost four years later

My eyes flick over to the clock, knowing Owen should be home at any time. I’m having a hard time paying attention to what I’m supposed to be doing. I glance back down at the textbook, letting out a long sigh before falling back onto the sofa staring up at the ceiling. He’s been gone a week. He didn’t enter the draft his junior year like many others did. He decided to stay for his senior year and get his degree. He did it in three and a half years. He’s been done with college for the past few months but isn’t walking until May with the rest of our class. He got his Bachelors in Business Management and I was top of my class in pre-med. I have my pick of where I want to go to medical school.

Owen thinks I am staying here but he is in for a surprise. I’ve put out applications everywhere and I am happy to say the acceptance letters have been rolling in. It was because of Owen and our parents that I could put everything into my coursework and it is paying off. They allow me to focus on my studies without having to worry about outside distractions.

Now Owen’s hard work is going to pay off too. He might make it look easy being on the football field, but my man works hard for not only his team but for us. There is not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for him. He is still my everything. I know that together he and I can do anything we set our minds to. These last few years have proven that.

When I hear the key enter the lock of our apartment I jump up. He barely gets the door open and I’m all over him. We Facetimed every night but I still missed getting to touch him. I even get to watch him rock it out at the combine on tv with my dad. My mouth finds his and I hear the door shut behind us, the lock clicking back into place. A moment later I’m in his lap, straddling him as we continue to kiss. My mouth can’t leave his. I would climb into him if I could. I’ve missed him more than I ever thought possible.

“Fuck, Ace,” he groans into my mouth, having missed me too. “Missed you so damn much.” He digs his hands into my hair, deepening the kiss. I start to pull at his clothes, needing to be skin to skin. He doesn’t stop me.

Moments later we are both naked and making love. It’s fast but sweet, both of us showing the other how much we missed each other. Afterward, we lie naked on the sofa tangled together. I’m out of breath but of course Owen is ready for another round.

He places lazy kisses on my neck. “Love you, Ace,” he breathes against my skin. “Always have and always will.” Tears prick my eyes thinking about how lucky I am. Young love doesn’t always last but we have. Things aren’t always easy but we have both sacrificed for each other. That’s what people do when they love one another.

“I love you too.” I shift so I can look at him. I can feel something is wrong. It’s more than us missing each other. We lived our first few years of college apart. Not that we spent them that way. Our junior year Owen and I were over that. We got a small apartment that sat over a pizza shop. It was actually cheaper than the freaking dorms. Now, having lived with him, a week apart is hard but manageable. I know we’ll have more of these but together we can do anything. Nothing slows us down. He and I together are an unstoppable team. I run my finger along his unshaven jaw. He’s as handsome as he was the first day that I saw him at that mall.

“New York,” he finally says. He doesn’t have to say more. That’s where he’s going. Through the whole combine I kept hearing he’s going in round one of the draft for the NFL. They were already guessing where that would be. “Jets are going to take me. They already talked to me.” I smile so freaking big. That means he’s going first pick. I knew they had it. He doesn’t look as happy as I am. We should be celebrating.

His eyes close for a moment. “I can’t leave you.” His words come out strangled. This is his dream. He doesn’t love football with everything in him but he enjoys it. He enjoys more than anything that it is something he can do that will not only take care of his mom but us too. He wants that more than anything. Deep down, my Owen is a caretaker. A family man. I sit up, hitting his chest.

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