I woke up feeling more comfortable and content than I had in months. Nestled against Jamie’s shoulder, I knew it was where I wanted to be.
He opened his eyes and smiled. I loved that smile: The way the corners of his mouth lifted just a little, sleepy eyes taking in all my bedhead glory.
“Hey.” He kissed my forehead. “Coffee?”
I followed him to the kitchen a few minutes later. He was in just his boxers, two steaming mugs already out on the counter while he scrambled some eggs. It was doubtful I’d ever get tired of that sight.
Jamie had been at my door within an hour of getting my call. I hadn’t realized just how much I’d missed him until he was there in front of me.
He had given me a tentative smile, his hands jammed into his pockets and his shoulders tense and hunched.
“I’m glad you called, Lex. I missed you.”
I had no control over the tears that pooled in my eyes – or apparently over my body. I launched myself at him, knocking him back against the door in my need to be near him. We had peeled our clothes off right there in the entryway, making our way to the bedroom an hour later to do it all over again.
“What’s on the agenda for today?”
He shrugged. “Whatever you want. Want to go see the new exhibit at the Art Center? We haven’t been there for months. Or we could scout out some venues. We should know where we’re having the wedding before we decide on the theme or your dress or anything. It might be a tight schedule, but we could still shoot for the original date – ”
I stared at him, my mug frozen halfway to my mouth.
“What?” He looked genuinely confused. My stomach dropped.
“Jamie, I’m not ready yet.”
Setting the spatula on the counter and switching off the burner, he turned his full attention to me. I hated the tightness around his eyes. Actually, I hated myself for putting it there.
“What do you mean? I thought that’s why you called me last night. You talked to your old boyfriend, didn’t you?”
“Well, yeah, but only one.”
He crossed his arms and leaned back against the cupboard.
“You need to talk to every guy you’ve ever dated before you can marry me?”
Rolling my eyes – so I didn’t have to meet his – I muttered, “Not every guy…”
“Alexis, I understand cold feet or wedding jitters, but this feels like something more than that.”
I cast around for a way to make him understand, but all the words I tried out sounded shitty.
“Lex, it – it feels like you’re looking for a better offer.”
“How could you even think that?”
Throwing his hands in the air, he turned back to the stove.
“What else am I supposed to think? After two years together, I ask you to marry me and suddenly now you need closure.” He was slamming plates and utensils onto the countertop as he served up breakfast. “Your timing is bullshit.”
I had to agree with him.
“Jamie, I’m not looking to start something with these other guys. I love YOU. I want to marry YOU. It’s just…I don’t know how to explain it. This is important to me, to put my past to rest so I can build a future with you. A…forever. And to KNOW it’s forever.”
Leaning over the counter he took both my hands in his. He stared at our hands, rubbing his thumbs over my knuckles. I could see the muscles in his jaw clenching as he tried to work out what to say.
When he looked up, the sadness in his eyes was a knife in my chest.
“That’s all I want too, Alexis. A future with you.” He sighed, his shoulders rising and falling. Releasing my hands, he set a plate in front of me, scraping his into the garbage, and walked out of the kitchen. “I guess I’ll have to wait.”
He reappeared half-dressed, carrying the rest of his clothes. Without looking at me, he blew through the room. The door slammed behind him, but I caught his parting words.
“What choice do I have?”