“Catch me if you can!”
The sun was lowering on the horizon as I ran through the ancient ruins, Phil a few feet behind me. I could hear him laughing, as he was purposely giving me a head start.
It didn’t take long for Phil to catch up to me, pull me into his arms and kiss me passionately. We’d been together for over five years, and he still kissed me the same way he did that night in his bedroom. Often, I wondered how I’d got so lucky to find him at such a young age.
The first holiday we ever went on together was to Windenburg, and ever since then, it had been one of our favorite spots to go. So after we both graduated college last summer, we’d decided to go here for a few weeks before starting our new jobs. It was always magical here. The culture, the history, the people. We explored museums and walked around the huge maze for hours.
And of course, there were lots of places to sneak away to, just the two of us.
“So what do you want to do tonight?” I asked, once Phil had released me from his embrace. “It’s our last night here. Let’s do something special.”
Phil smiled. “I’ve got an idea. Did you bring a fancy dress?”
“Then let’s go to that fancy Italian place we always walk past, but never think it’s worth the money. How about it? I know you’ve wanted to go there for years.”
I stroked his cheek and smiled. “That sounds wonderful.”
Allie was sitting across from me, looking stunning. She was so excited about the restaurant, it was adorable. She’d even exclaimed at the sight of the ‘fancy salt-and-pepper shakers’. I loved that she could get so happy over such little things.
I’d been living with her and her parents for a few years now. Mom had finally met a new man after dad died, and moved to Willow Creek with him a few years ago. Since Newcrest was a lot closer to the college, it just made sense to keep living with her. Their house was huge anyway, so it bothered nobody.
But even though I loved living with Allie, and it sometimes made it feel like we’d been married for decades, it didn’t feel quite as official as I’d like it to. But I was planning on changing that.
I nervously smiled at Allie. I felt like it was super obvious that I was up to something, but she didn’t seem to notice. She was just enjoying her pasta carbonara and wine.
We ate the rest of our meal while talking about how much we’d enjoyed our trip to Windenburg, and how excited we were to start our first real ‘adult’ jobs. Allie had, of course, been offered a position at the lab where she’d also interned during college, and I’d managed to get a job on a newspaper, spell-checking obituaries and bringing others their coffee. Journalism wasn’t what I was pursuing anyway – I’d much rather write my own mystery novels than boring accounts of news stories.
After our meal, I told Allie that I wanted to walk around for a bit before going back to the hotel room. She agreed to let me lead the way (which she usually didn’t) and I took her to one of her favorite places – close by the sea, where we could look at the ships sailing by and the smell of the salty water was strong in the air.
I looked over at Allie’s face. She was staring dreamily at the wide sea, stretching over the horizon, a smile on her lips. That smile always reminded me of how amazing she was. So sweet, so caring to everyone, so intelligent. I still couldn’t quite figure out how the shy, seventeen year old I was had worked up the courage to kiss such a beautiful girl, but my God, was I glad that he had.
I softly took Allie’s hands into mine and looked at her.
“There’s something I want to ask you…”