Chapter Twenty Five
“My bedroom?” Could he see that her heart was breaking? She hoped not. How could she have done this to herself? Allowed herself to think this could be anything but a dreamy interlude? How could she have been so stupid? This was real life and by forgetting that she’d made real life so much harder. And now she’d embarrassed both of them.
“If you look, then you’ll find out.”
Telling herself that at least it gave her an excuse to pull herself together, she walked toward her bedroom and pushed open the door.
For a moment she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. The walls were papered with sticky notes shaped like snowflakes. Hundreds of them. And on every one was the same word.
Love, love, love.
She turned slowly, scanning all four walls and the ceiling.
Everywhere she looked she was surrounded by love.
His voice came from behind her.
“You asked how I felt about you. That’s how I feel, Rox. I love you. I’ve loved you since the day you stomped into the workshop holding a tool belt and pushing Mia’s stroller.”
The emotion was thick in her throat. “I— You didn’t say anything.”
“I was trying to give you time. You said you’d never had romance before. I wanted to give you romance. And before you say anything, you should probably read the words on the back of the door.”
The door? There was more?
Wordless, she watched him step inside and close the door, closing them inside.
What she saw in his eyes made her heart sing. And then she looked.
More snowflakes, and this time covered in more than one word and she felt the tears spill out of her eyes onto her cheeks.
Love. I. You. Adopt.
“Adopt? You want to adopt me?” She choked out the word and felt his arms close around her and heard his laughter.
“No. I want to adopt your daughter. I want to be her father. What I want to do with you is on the other snowflake. If you stopped crying for a moment, you’d see it.” His hands tightened on her shoulders and he eased her away from him. “Don’t cry, Rox. Don’t cry, honey. It kills me to see you cry.”
She’d never been anyone’s honey before. Never been loved.
She sniffed and rubbed her cheek in his shirt. “You made me cry.”
“I haven’t finished yet. Keep reading.”
She could barely see him through her tears and blurred vision didn’t help her read the remaining words on the door. But gradually she made out the letters.
“Marry me? You’re asking me to marry you?”
“Yes. I thought we could legalize arousal, paroxysm and orgasmic so we don’t shock our children.”
“Children? We only have one child.” Oh, but it felt good, the idea of sharing Mia with him.
“At the moment, but that’s going to change.”
“Yes, and next time you won’t be going through it alone. We’ll be doing it together, but only when you’re ready. It doesn’t have to stop you studying, or working. So what do you say?”
It took her a moment to get the words past her throat. “You gave my child a library—”
“And I’m giving you my heart, Rox. If you want it.”
“Of course I’m proposing! Why else would I have stuck those words to the wall?”
“If you’re proposing you should get down on one knee. Don’t you know anything?” She was laughing, crying, pushing at him, and he dropped to one knee and let out a fluent curse that made her gasp.
“What? Oh my—did you seriously just say that? Who swears during a proposal?”
“A man who just knelt on Lego.” He pulled the sharp brick out from under his knee. “Let’s try this again before I’m mortally wounded. Roxanne—”
“No one uses that name except my second grade teacher when I misbehaved.”
“Then it’s perfect because I promise to keep you misbehaving for as long as we both shall live. Now would you keep quiet long enough for me to get this question out?”
“I’m not saying a word. I’m silent.”
“I love you, Roxy. I love everything about you and I’ve loved you since the first moment I saw you.”
“James—” She couldn’t speak. She didn’t have the words to articulate any of her feelings.
James. James loved her.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring he’d been carrying around for the past six months. “Will you marry me?”
She stared at the ring, sparkling in his hand. Watched as he slid it onto her finger and then stood up, the Lego brick still in his hand.
Her heart filled and finally she found words.
“I love you, too. And yes, I’ll marry you.” She flung her arms round his neck and this time she found every word she needed. “Indubitably, positively, categorically, definitely yes.”
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