Hudson handed Erica a cup of coffee. When he set a plate of food in front of her, he waited until she started eating before placing a black velvet box next to her mug.
Erica’s fork stopped inches from her mouth as she stared at the box. Her jaw went slack and her gaze darted to him, surprise radiating in her beautiful brown eyes.
“Hudson…” she said, the one word holding a mixture of shock and trepidation.
Hudson stood on the other side of the counter in front of her. “Before you say anything, hear me out.”
Erica set down her fork, her hands shaking slightly.
His phone rang, but he ignored it. “I love you,” he said simply. “You already know how important you and Nakia are to me, and I want us to be a family. I know you’re concerned that what happened to Kevin will happen to me, but, sweetheart, anything could happen to any of us.”
“I know,” she said quietly, wringing her hands but giving him her full attention.
“I worry about you two all the time,” Hudson continued. “But we can’t let fear keep us from living and being happy. You mean the world to me, and I want to wake up to you every morning and fall asleep with you every night. I want you to be my wife.”
He lifted the box and opened it, revealing a three-carat, cushion-cut diamond ring with smaller stones along the sides.
Erica’s hand went to her chest as she stared openmouthed at the jewelry.
He would’ve gotten something even grander, but she preferred simple. Still, he wanted her to have something as gorgeous as she was.
“Oh, my. That’s…breathtaking,” she gushed.
“Will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?”
“Yes,” she said quietly, tears glittering in her eyes.
“Yes?” he asked, shocked by her answer even though he’d hoped for it. “Are you sure?”
She gave a little laugh as a rogue tear slid down her cheek before she swiped it away. “I’m positive. I love you, and last night, on my way to the hospital, I thought the worst. I thought you were…” She swallowed hard then shook her head before continuing. “I don’t want to go another day without you knowing just how much I love you, and I want to be with you…always. I’d be honored to be your wife.”
She climbed off the barstool, and Hudson effortlessly lifted her and swung her around. He’d never known he could be as happy as he was in this moment.
He covered her mouth with his and kissed her sweet lips.
“Are you sure?” he asked again when he finally set her down. “Because if—”
“I’m positive. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Hudson placed his hand over his heart, which was beating hard enough to leap out of his chest. He had fantasized about this moment, and it was finally here. He was going to marry the woman of his dreams, and nothing would get in his way.
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