a different kind of proposal (title from Alicia Keys)

The kids were asleep down the hall, so we tried our best to be quiet.

God, I love him like this—sweaty, panting, caressing, mostly shadow above me. I love him. I love him. I want to scream it, and I think he knows that when he smirks at me in that secret way and then shushes me. I hadn't even made a sound louder than a whimper yet, but I soon realize he was quieting me in advance as he lifts my legs even higher and I feel like I might pass out. So out of breath I can't tell him that I need a break, just to find my way back to by body. But I can see in his eyes that he is nowhere near finished with me.

I imagine him thinking, I could spend the rest of my life with you. I swear I can almost hear it whenever his eyes meet mine and soften, like he can't believe this is real. He kisses me, after one of those looks. Long and soft, so our bodies stop moving. "I want to marry you," he whispers, catching me off-guard as usual.

And I should be afraid. There was a time not so long ago that I would have ended things right there. But I'd be lying if I told him it was too soon, that I never fantasized about that life with him. I could say nothing, pretend I didn't hear it.

This man is my family now. He loves my son like he loves his daughter, and I think I deserve this. I want this forever. I won't say that word to him, but before he can take it back I'm smiling.