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I got my orders and was leaving California. It had been about 5 months since I had started dating Charlie when I got the news. Not much time at all but it was enough. It was enough for us to both become distinctly aware of what that news had meant. Our journey together was coming to an end.

Resolving myself to that fate was harder than I thought it should have been. I was not one to stick around and see things through the challenging times. I was more of the "see you later" kind of girl. Would I really be able to say goodbye to him?

Would I really be able to let go of the only person that challenged me when I was cruel and that demanded that I treat him better? The one who would point out when I was being venomous for its own sake? I said cruel things to Charlie during our 5-months together. Always pushing him away yet it was him that was breaking down the walls. 

Here we were at the precipice of our future. I was leaving. This was a fact. This would happen and no mountains could be moved. I was coming to terms with this fate, it was better this way. I would break it off. It was decided. The night had come and he came to my room as he did just about every night. We made love and he held me in his arms. 

"I've been thinking," he said softly. 

"About?" 

"Us"

I knew where this was going.

"Me too" I wanted to say more but maybe I didn't have to. Maybe, he was going to end us. Maybe I would know what it feels like to have someone tell you they don't want you anymore. Am I ready? I was about to find out.

"I have enjoyed the time that we have spent together."

"Me too..." I cut him off to say. A part of me didn't want to hear where this was going. Maybe he could have let me get dressed first?

He smiled "I have enjoyed the time that we have spent together and it got me to thinking...I don't want it to end." 

Stunned. What was he trying to say to me?

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying I want you to marry me. I want to be married to you. Will you marry me?"

Holy shit! Did he just say what I think he just said? Did he just do what I think he just did? Is this really happening? Should I pinch myself right now to make sure that I'm not dreaming? 

"You want me to marry you?" Well done Cathy. Brilliant response. You should get the speaker of the year for this performance. 

"Yes, if you want to be married to me that would make me the happiest man alive."

"How would that even work?"

"I don't know, but I know that if you are my wife we can find a way to make it work. If I let you leave, it definitely won't work and I don't see a life without you in it."

My heart ached. He loved me. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. No one has ever asked that of me before. Not really. Not like this. What should I say to him? Saying yes opens the door to so many more questions and challenges. Are we ready to start a life filled with turmoil and chaos so early in our young lives?

I was three years older than he was. I would be stealing his youth and tethering him to me forever. This broken woman who is incapable of loving anyone. Aren't I? What is it that I am feeling right now I don't even know. The words escape me. I want to say yes but I feel like I should say no. I should say no and I should cut the ties that bind us now. I can spare him.

I can spare him from the fate of being tied to someone like me. Spare him from being tethered to this sinking ship. I am a monster. I am vicious and cruel. I am The Bitch and the Mean girl. I am everything that you say I am. We all were, every single person in my group...but him. It should be easy to say no. I sat there, trying to take in his question, hesitant to answer him. Afraid that if I took too long he would change his mind. Afraid that if I answered too soon I would be left with my own regrets.

He sees me. He understands. "I know you are worried and if you aren't ready I'll understand and we can find another way. I'll wait for you if that's what you need..."

My thoughts betray me as images of the time we have spent together flash through my mind. He and I would sit amongst my friends, he'd scowl at their behavior and I knew he was silently judging them yet he refrained from expressing his concerns. 

Never once, did he look at me with that look that I'd catch him giving to them. When he'd look at me it was as though he were staring at an angel. He treated me like I was fragile and that both soothed and angered me. I didn't want to be saved yet the thought of being saved by him didn't seem so bad.

His eyes would shine a brilliant sparkling green when he was happy and when he was content they were his calm shade of hazel. In his anger, his eyes raged deep and blue like the ocean. Mesmerizing and raw. An open book. His flaws were many yet none. None of his flaws were enough for me to write him off yet the truth was...there was a flaw. A fatal flaw.

If I said yes, I would be asking him to be bound to me forever. I would be asking him to be bound to my family. I would be asking him to throw away the chance to be happy with someone who could offer him more. With someone who could offer him...her heart. 

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Author's note:

I know I left it as a cliffhanger but the next chapter will reveal all. A decision will be made. 

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