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Point of retreat, p.36

  Point of Retreat, p.36

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat

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  interrupting me, okay?”

  “I’m not the one that interrupts,” she says, defensively.

  “See? Right there. Don’t do that.”

  She laughs. “Fine. Talk.”

  I start to say what I need to say, but something just doesn't feel right. I don't like how we're so formally seated. It's not us. I grab her leg and arm and pull her onto my lap. She straddles me, wrapping her legs around my back. She hangs her hands loosely around my neck and looks me in the eyes. I start to speak again, but I’m cut off.


  "You're interrupting me, Lake."

  She gives me a half smile and brings her hands to my face. "I love you," she says. "Thank you for taking such good care of me."

  She's sidetracking me, but it's nice. I slowly slide my hands up her arms and rest them on her shoulders. "You would do the same for me, Lake. It's what we do."

  She smiles. A tear makes its way down her cheek, and she doesn't even try to hold it back. "Yep," she says. "It's what we do."

  I take her hands in mine and bring her palms to my lips and kiss them. “Lake, you mean the world to me. You brought so much to my life…right when I needed it the most. I wish you could know how hopeless I was before I met you, so you would realize just how much you've changed me."

  "I do know, Will. I was hopeless too."

  "You're interrupting again."

  She grins and shakes her head. "I don't care."

  I laugh and push her down onto the couch and climb on top of her. I press my hands into the couch beside her head to hold myself up. "Do you have any idea how much you frustrate me sometimes?"

  "Is that a rhetorical question? Because you just told me to stop interrupting you, so I'm not sure if you want me to answer it."

  “Oh my god, you’re impossible, Lake. I can’t even get two sentences out!”

  She laughs and grabs the collar of my shirt. "I'm listening," she whispers. "Promise."

  I start to believe her, but as soon as I begin to speak again she crushes her lips to mine. For a moment, I forget what my whole point to tonight is. I'm suddenly consumed by the taste of her mouth and the feel of her hands making their way up my back. I lower my body onto hers and let her sidetrack me some more. After several minutes of intense sidetracking, I'm somehow able to tear myself away from her grasp and sit back up on the couch.

  "Dammit, Lake. Are you gonna let me do this or not?” I take her hands and pull her up to a sitting position, then I get off the couch and kneel down on the floor in front of her.

  Until this moment, I don't think she had any clue what tonight was about. She looks at me with a mixture of emotions in her expression. Fear, hope, excitement, apprehension. I'm sharing those exact same emotions with her. I take her hands in mine and take a deep breath.

  "I told you the stars were the last gift from your mother, and technically they were."

  "Wait, technically?" she says. She realizes she's interrupting me again when I glare at her. "Oh yeah, sorry." She puts her finger to her mouth, indicating she isn't going to say anything else.

  "Yes, technically. I said the stars were the last thing she gave us, and they were. But she gave me one star that isn't in the vase. She wanted me to give it to you when I was ready. When you were ready. So…I hope you're ready."

  I put my hand in my pocket and pull out the star. I slowly unfold the paper and when I do, the ring slides out and into my hand. When she sees her mother's wedding ring, her hands go up to her mouth and she sucks in a deep breath.

  "I know we’re young, Lake. We've got an entire lifetime ahead of us to do things like get married. But sometimes things in people's lives don’t happen in chronological order like they should. Especially in our lives. Our chronological order got mixed up a long time ago."

  I take her hand in mine. She holds out her finger and her hands are shaking…but so are mine. I slide the ring onto her finger. It's a perfect fit. She wipes my tears away with her free hand and kisses me on the forehead. Her lips come a little too close to mine, so I have to pause what I'm saying and kiss them. She puts her hand on the back of my head and closes her lips over mine as she slides off the couch and into my lap. I lose my balance and we fall back. She doesn't let go of my head, and our lips never separate while she continues to give me the absolute best kiss she’s ever given me.

  "I love you, Will," she mutters into my mouth. "I love you, I love you, I love you."

  I gently pull her face away from mine. "I'm not finished yet," I laugh. "Stop butterflying interrupting me!" I roll her over onto her back and prop myself up on my elbow beside her.

  She starts kicking her legs up and down in a fit. "Hurry up and ask me already, I'm dying here!"

  I shake my head and laugh. "That's just it, Lake. I'm not asking you to marry me…"

  Before I can even get the rest of my sentence out, a look of horror washes across her face. I immediately put my finger to her lips and shush her before she interrupts me again.

  "I know how you liked to be asked and not told. But I'm not asking you to marry me." I roll on top of her and lean in as close as I can while still looking her in the eyes. I lower my voice to a whisper. "I'm telling you to marry me, Lake…because I can't live without you."

  She starts crying again…and laughing. She's laughing and crying and kissing me, all at the same time. We both are.

  "I was so wrong," she says between kisses. "Sometimes a girl loves to be told."


  "Are you knocked up?" Eddie asks Lake.

  "No, Eddie. That would be you."

  We're all sitting in the living room. Lake couldn't wait to tell Eddie so she called her immediately to tell her the news. Eddie and Gavin were here within an hour.

  "Don't get me wrong, I'm super excited for you. I just don't get it. Why so sudden? March 2 is only two weeks away."

  Lake looks at me and winks. She's snuggled up next to me, sitting on her feet. I lean in and kiss her lips. Like I said, I can't help it.

  Lake turns back to Eddie and answers her. "Why would I want a traditional wedding, Eddie? Nothing about our lives is traditional. None of our parents would be there. You and Gavin would be our only guests. Will's grandparents probably wouldn't even show up…his grandmother hates me."

  "Oh, I forgot to tell you," I say. "My grandmother actually likes you. A lot. It's me she wasn't really happy with."

  "Really?" Lake says. "How do you know?"

  "She told me."

  "Huh." She smiles. "That's nice to know."

  "See?" Eddie says. "They'll show up. So will Sherry and David. That's nine people right there."

  Lake rolls her eyes at Eddie. "Nine people? You expect us to pay for an entire wedding for nine people?"

  Eddie sighs and falls onto Gavin’s lap in a defeated slump. "I guess you're right. It's just that I was looking forward to planning a big wedding someday.”

  "Well, you can still plan your own," she says. Lake looks at Gavin. "How many more minutes until you propose, Gavin?"

  Gavin doesn't skip a beat. "About three hundred thousand or so."

  "See, Eddie? Besides, I still need you to do my hair and makeup,” Lake says. "We need witnesses, too. You and Gavin can come and Kel and Caulder will be there."

  Eddie smiles. She finally seems a little more excited once she finds out she’s invited.

  I was hesitant at first with Lake's plan, too. But after hearing her logic…and especially after hearing how much money it would save us not having a wedding, I was easily convinced. The date of the marriage was a given.

  "What about the houses? Which one will you guys live in?" Gavin says.

  Lake looks at me and nods. We've been talking about it for two weeks now, even before the proposal tonight. After having her stay here, we both knew it would be impossible to live in separate houses again. We came up with the plan about a week ago, but tonight seems like the perfect night to share it.

  "That's one of the reasons we wanted you guys to come over,
" I say. "I had about three years left on my mortgage and no less than two weeks after Julia passed away, the title came in the mail. She paid it off before she died. She paid the rent on Lake's house through September, that's when her lease is up. So now we'll have an empty house with six months of pre-paid rent. We know you guys are looking for a place before the baby comes…so we're offering you Lake's. Until September, anyway...then you'll have to sign your own lease."

  Neither one of them says anything. They just look at us in shock. Gavin shakes his head and starts to protest. Eddie slaps her hand over his mouth and turns to me. "We'll take it! We'll take it, we'll take it, we'll take it!" She starts clapping and jumps up and hugs Lake, then hugs me. "Oh my god you guys are the best friends ever! Aren't they Gavin?"

  He smiles, not really wanting to appear desperate, but I know how much they need a place of their own. Eddie's excitement eventually outweighs Gavin’s modesty and he can no longer contain himself. He hugs Lake, then hugs me, then hugs Eddie, then hugs me again. When they finally calm down and sit back down on the couch, Gavin's smile fades.

  “Do you know what this means?" he says to Eddie. “Kirsten's about to be our parallel neighbor."

  Friday, March 2nd, 2012.

  It’s worth all the aches,

  All the tears,

  the mistakes…

  The heart of a man and a woman in love?

  It’s worth all of the pain in the world.

  Chapter Eighteen

  I’ve spent the last two weeks giving her every opportunity to opt out of doing things this way. Lake insists she doesn’t want a traditional wedding, but I don’t want her to regret her decision someday. Most girls spend years planning out how they want their wedding to be. But then again, Lake’s not most girls.

  I take a deep breath, not really understanding why I'm so jittery. I'm sort of glad it's so informal. I couldn't imagine how shot my nerves would be if we had more of an audience. My hands won't stop sweating, so I wipe them on my jeans. She insisted I wear jeans, said she didn’t want to see me in a tux. I’m not sure what dress she picked out for today, but she didn’t want to wear a wedding dress. She didn’t see the point in buying one if she was only wearing it once.

  We aren’t doing the traditional aisle walk, either. In fact, nothing about this is traditional. I’m pretty sure her and Eddie are down the hall in the courthouse public restroom doing her makeup right now. It all seems so surreal…marrying the love of your life in the same building where you can register a car. But honestly, it wouldn’t matter where we got married…I'd be just as excited…and just as nervous.

  When the doors open, there isn’t any music. No flower girls or ring bearers. Just Eddie. She walks in and takes a seat in one of the chairs next to Kel. The Judge walks in right after Eddie sits down and hands me another form to sign.

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