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*Q&A video* →


I didn't know how to explain it, but it seemed that for a moment, there was a stillness in time. I had a second to assess the circumstance and process the words that flew out of my mouth.

"Oh god..." I looked down at our hands. "Don't answer that," I told David, refusing to see his reaction. "I didn't mean to... spring that on you... wow..."

"Did you mean it?" He asked me carefully. I gazed back at him to see sad, unfallen tears in his eyes. "To propose?"

I swallowed nervously. "Actually, I did. But you don't have to answer that at all, like... ever. I just figured that I could be your family because your dream is to have one... plus I'd be more than happy to."

"You have your whole life ahead of you, you know," he reminded. "Don't let me take that away from you."

"You're not taking anything from me," I asserted. "If anything, being with you has given me many things I thought I'd never have. I'm still shy but I believe in myself a little more because of your unfailing support. You make me happy. I don't know how I'd have survived everything at college if you hadn't eased my stress every day. It's like you made me relaxed and calm. If I have to let you go on Thursday... then it'd please me to be your husband. That's all I'm saying. I didn't mean to be so forward."

He leaned in and kissed my cheek tenderly. "I'm very happy to have known you."

"Don't say goodbye to me. Not yet." I wiped my eyes. "Besides, I still have faith the surgery will work. Thirty-two percent, right? That's our lucky number."

I could tell he was thinking of something when he slowly began to smile. He sat up straighter, looking directly at me. "I'm getting you a ring. In fact, for both of us."

My eyes lit up in interest. "Why?"

"Well, something to remember me by. And... it could be our own little way of marriage without all the paperwork and officiality. How does that sound?"

I grinned and threw my arms around him, laughing. "That would make me so happy!" We stayed in the hug longer than we expected. Though neither of us said anything, I was sure we both knew it could be one of our last hugs. I closed my eyes, burying my face in between his neck and shoulder. He was warm, and he smelled so amazing that I could've stayed there all day. And I almost did because by the time we let each other go, it was nearly sunset.

As much as I wanted to cry, I felt better at the same time. I underestimated hugs--they were so powerful, especially when they meant something. I hadn't realized that until now.

We continued to eat, watching the world around us as everybody enjoyed their time at the park.

"I asked what it was like to love someone. Now I wanna know what it's like to lose someone you love," I requested. He sighed, putting his drink down.

"I'll always be honest with you," he vowed. "Losing someone is a bullet in your chest. It pierces your heart and leaves a hole that, try as you may, can't ever be filled." Then he touched my cheek affectionately. "But you, Casper, showed me that I was wrong to believe that. That hole may never be filled again but you sure made it smaller and smaller by the day. And maybe tomorrow or next, it'll completely disappear."

"What're you saying, David?"

"I'm saying that if I don't make it, let me go. Find love again; I know you will."

I shook my head. "You'll make it. We... we have to be together, even the universe knows it. Even mother nature will align the stars for us because god knows this was meant to be. Right? This... this is right, isn't it?" I panicked.

He chuckled softly. "You're absolutely right," he humored me.

"I'm serious, David."

"So am I," he reassured. "I meant what I said, that I love you. Which is why I want you to be happy even with me out of the picture."

I let go of his hand, sighing with a heavy heart. "The loss of you is a hole that would never be filled. Not ever and not by anyone. So if I'm forced to fall in love again, I won't be looking for it."

"You don't look for love, Casper. It finds you."

I let his words sink in as we finished our food. We put all of the trash in a bag and set it inside the picnic basket before laying on the blanket. He wrapped both arms around me, kissing the side of my head sweetly as I stared up at the sky.

"We get to watch the sunset... like a real couple. It feels nice," I mumbled, the corners of my lips tugging upward.

"We are a real couple," he affirmed, tickling my side. I jumped, laughing and slapping at his hand. "What's next on our checklist?"

"Hmm," I thought, smirking. "You must serenade me." David laughed at my idea, shaking his head.

"I can play the guitar for you?" he offered.

I gasped. "You play the guitar and I'm just learning about this, why?"

"I don't know. It's been a while since I've played. I certainly cook better than I can play."

"Fact still remains you have musical talent. That's something I wish I had."

"You have brains." Once again, he kissed my head. "Which is more than enough."

"What other talents are you hiding from me?" I traced my fingers across his chest and it must've come off as seductive, which was unlike me. I lifted my head to look him in the eyes and he squinted.

"I have super secret water powers," he whispered, his playful side appearing as usual. "I told you, I was once a dolphin."

I rolled my eyes at him, giggling. "I hate you."

"But you love me." He pursed his lips purposefully and I kissed them.

"It's a love-hate thing," I insisted, leaning back.

"Okay, Casper. Okay."

**Lucas's POV**

As if preparing for a fight, Ava cracked her fingers as I rang the doorbell to my mother's house. I couldn't call it my home, of course, because home was where one felt safe and welcome. Home was where the heart was and, I'm afraid, my heart dwelled nowhere.

"I bet she's a droopy, wrinkly, saggy, old hag with brown teeth and balding gray hair," Ava spat. She shot me a look. "No offense, Lucas. You're quite beautiful. Must be your father, I'll assume."

I didn't feel well enough to laugh, but she managed to pull a chuckle out of my lips. "My mom was the typical teen mother. Somehow, she managed to maintain her outward beauty despite all the unhappiness and stress. She only has wrinkles when she smiles--which is a rare occurrence--and you'd think she's in her twenties. Guess it's all just part of her 'I have a perfect family' act."

Ava scoffed. "Please. I know she's saggy and gross. Her personality definitely is."

"I actually never thought about how she'd look," Nash spoke up. "But I'm with Ava. I imagine her appearance is just as hideous as her behavior."

I shrugged. "Sure, totally don't listen to the person who's known her all her life," I murmured sarcastically as the door unlocked from the inside. I wrung my hands and wiped the sweat on my jeans. Standing in front of my friends, I watched as the door swung open and I came face-to-face to the glowing, ice-blue eyes of my mother.

Author Note:
As I stated in my Q&A video, THERE WILL BE A SEQUEL. Someone (a mystery person) will make their debut in this story that forces me to write a sequel, so thank the gay gods. I want you guys to try to guess who the mystery person is.

P.S. I told my aunt how bad my legs hurt from working and her reply was, "well, at least you're not bending over picking cotton." FML.

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