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One Perfect Night

Written by Teresa Southwick

Chapter Twenty

Julie rushed into Ben's ICU room and saw him sitting up in bed. He was awake and talking to Katie, who was asking him the year and the name of the president. Along with the white bandage on his forehead and bruises on his face, the questions were a clue that he'd been admitted for concussion and observation.

She moved to the bed and took his hand. "Are you okay?"

"Next time I jog on the street I'll wear body armor. Idiot didn't see my glow-in-the-dark clothing. He's pretty shaken up."

"I don't care about him. I care about you."

Katie finished taking his blood pressure and said, "He's doing great. I'll leave you two alone."

"I'm glad you care about me." He smiled. "A brush with death tends to put life in perspective, and I need to say some things to you."

"Okay." She sat on the bed, her hip brushing his leg, trying to be patient even though he wasn't the only one with stuff to get out.

"First, you should know I'm not going to be involved with Penny's baby. I'd planned to say yes, but she finally talked to her folks. They want her to move back to Blackwater Lake, Montana."

"I can't say I'm not relieved." Julie met his gaze. "But you should know I would have supported your decision. Just like I would have supported you when she first told you about the pregnancy."

"I should have trusted you to be there through the hard stuff. That's a mistake I'll never make again." He let out a long breath. "I haven't been a saint. There have been other women, but I've only ever been in love once. With you."

"Oh, Ben—" Emotion put a catch in her voice.

"Like I said, I've made a lot of mistakes, but you're not one of them. If you don't agree to marry me, when they give me back my cell phone, my alternate plan is to text and call until I wear you down."

"Is that the concussion talking?"

He shook his head and winced. "It's my heart. I love you, Julie."

"I love you, too. In fact, I was going to tell you that yesterday when I met Penny and the baby."

"I wish you had told me."

"Me, too." She had regrets, but what she'd gone through today wasn't one of them. Her trust in him hadn't wavered. Squeezing his hand she said, "Maybe we should talk about this when you're feeling better—"

"If I wasn't in this bed and wearing a stupid hospital gown, I'd get down on one knee. In fact, no more wasted time—" He started to throw the covers aside.

She gently pressed her fingers to his chest to keep him right where he was. "Don't hurt yourself. I'd like you to be in one large attractive piece when we get married. Which, by the way, is what I want more than anything."

"I'm holding you to that." He gave her a lopsided grin that was more endearing because of his battered face. "When I get out of here, I'll give you a proposal that will be worth waiting for."

"And I'm going to hold you to that." She settled beside him on the bed and rested her head on his shoulder.

He took her hand in his and said, "There are a lot of people here in the hospital who have been trying to set me up with someone for a while."

"Won't your cupids be surprised when they find out we're engaged."

"It might be fun to keep it a secret and have a little fun with the matchmakers."

"You're bad." She laughed at the wicked tone in his voice. "Yet, I trust you implicitly. I'm perfectly happy with whatever you want."

And she was perfectly happy that he wanted her. Forever.

THE END

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About the author

I discovered my love for books through being lazy. In a high-school hi...

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Teresa Southwick

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