Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 35

Republisher’s Note: We pick up the Manny story right after Danny unexpectedly pops the question.

Quench Me by Amy – Chapter 35

My mind is racing and my heart is flying. A million thoughts and questions pop in and out of my head, so fast that none of them make it out of my mouth. Am I dreaming? Hallucinating? Crazy? Did Danny just ask me to marry him?

He is waiting for me to say something, anything, and for the life of me I can’t make my vocal chords work. Finally, coherent enough to respond, I look at him, completely dumfounded, and say, “What?”

“Marry me, Michelle,” he replies, reaching up to softly stroke my cheek. He notices the look of absolute shock on my face and continues. “This is not the way I envisioned proposing to you, but I’m doing it anyway. I don’t want to live one more day without you being my wife.”

“Danny,” I manage to stammer out. “This is… I’m just… Holy crap, Danny… I can’t even think.”

“I know… I’ve caught you off guard,” he says meekly.

“That’s an understatement,” I say, suddenly awed and embarrassed all at once. I reach for the door handle and step out of the car, hoping that some fresh air will clear my head and allow me to get a little perspective.

I hear Danny’s door open, as well, and before I know it, he’s at my side. He’s inches away from my body, but he doesn’t touch me. It’s as if he’s afraid to, not knowing what I’m thinking. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m thinking.

I want to scream “YES” at the top of my lungs, and find the nearest justice of the peace, but my brain forces me to come up with logical objections to Danny’s proposal. Unable to stop myself, I say, “But Danny, I’m still in school.”

“Think about it, Michelle,” he begins, as he stares at the blacktop beneath his feet. “I own my house. I don’t have a mortgage. There’s plenty of room. We could sell it when we find a house of our own. And Phillip pays me very well. You can finish school and you wouldn’t have to worry about tuition.”

“It’s not that, Danny,” I reply. “My dad started a trust fund for me, not long after my mom died, specifically for my education, and there’s plenty of money left in it.”

“Well that settles it,” he says. “This is perfect. You won’t have to pay rent. We won’t have a house payment to make. Medical school is pretty much paid for. There’s no reason not to.” His enthusiasm is matched only by the silent begging in his tone of voice.

“Danny, you’re talking about this like it’s something that you just sit down one day and decide to do. And it’s not like that at all. This is marriage you’re suggesting, and it’s a big deal,” I answer, the war of wills still raging inside me, my heart against my head.

Turning to face me, his eyes meet mine, and he says, “I know that, Michelle, and I certainly didn’t mean to make light of this. I don’t want you to think that I haven’t thought about marrying you before today. Because, the truth is, I have thought about it… a lot. I’ve thought about being with you for the rest of my life practically since we first met.”

Staring into his eyes, eyes that make my heart swell to magnificent proportions, I let the floodgates open, and tears of happiness begin to stream down my face. Powerless to say anything, I lean my head on his chest, and he wraps his arms around me for support. My reasonable argument against getting married was that this was a spur of the moment request from him, one hadn’t thought through. But with every word he utters, he’s making me see that it’s not at all spur of the moment. Every touch tells me that he’s wanted this for a long time. Fighting to regain control of my emotions, I wipe the tears from my cheeks, breathing deeply in an attempt to find my composure. A myriad of feelings course through me… fear, uncertainty, surprise, amazement, and love… always love… unending love.

He takes my face in his hands, and gently lifts my face to his. He places a soft, tender kiss on my quivering lips, and asks, “Have you thought about marrying me before today?” There is more honesty and reality in this moment than I have ever known. Just when I think I can’t feel any closer to him, something happens, and I’m drawn deeper into this wonderful, magical, intangible place that we’ve created together.

I can do nothing but nod affirmatively, because I know that I have thought about it… and fantasized about it… and dreamed about it.

He wraps his arms around me once again, and holds my body to his. Running his fingers through my hair, he goes on. “I know that there will be people who say we rushed into marriage. Some people might look at us strangely, because we got married after less than three months. But so what? We’re both adults, and we both have everything else in our lives in order. I have a job that I love, and a place to live. You’re halfway through with medical school, and someday soon you’re going to be a brilliant, compassionate doctor. But for all that ‘stuff’, we both felt empty inside. We were both searching for something to fill the void. Then we found each other, and now, we’re complete. We’re whole. I don’t give a damn what anyone else says or thinks. We’re grown-ups, Michelle, and we know how we feel, and what we want. And I KNOW that there is never going to be another woman for me.”

I look up at him and smile, and with every moment that passes, I love him even more. Still, I cannot say a word, as he continues his declaration. “Is there ever going to be anyone else for you, Michelle?” he asks, his eyes begging me for the answer that he already knows, but his heart needs to hear. “Is there ever going to be another man in your life… in your heart?”

“No, Danny,” I whisper, more sure of that than I’ve ever been about anything. “Never.”

He kisses me again, and this time my mouth opens under his, as his tongue glides over mine in a quiet plea. His thumbs softly move across my cheeks, and I lean into him, my body loving the way we fit together, and excited by the prospect of a wedding night with him… making love to him… being “one” with him.

He breaks the kiss and moves his lips to my forehead. “Every morning when I wake up, I wish you were lying next to me, so that your face would be the first thing I see when I open my eyes. Every night when I go to bed, I wish you were with me, so that I could go to sleep feeling you in my arms. When I open my closet door in the morning, I wish that your clothes were there, hanging next to mine. I’ll even find somewhere else to put my shoes so you can have the whole closet floor for yours,” he says with a smile. “I wish your toothbrush was in my bathroom, and I wish your car was parked in my garage. I want my junk mail to be addressed to both of us. I want to be able to call my house ‘our home’. I love you more than anything, Michelle, and I want to be able to call you my wife. I want to make you happy, take care of you, protect you, all the things a husband is supposed to do for his wife.”

My heart is beginning to win out over my head, as I ask, “If we do this, what do we do? Get on a plane and go to Las Vegas?”

Excitement brimming in his voice, he answers, “No. We have a marriage license already, remember? We can find a justice of the peace, or a minister, or I could even call Ray. He might agree to marry us even though we haven’t done the pre-marital sessions with him. He’s spent a lot of time with us, and he knows us. Or, we could go to Las Vegas. Or Chicago. Or anywhere else you want to go. Just say the word, Michelle, and we’ll do this however you want to. Do you want to go somewhere?”

“No,” I say shaking my head, my heart now in complete domination over my head. “Call Ray.”

Danny’s eyes immediately find mine, searching, probing for reassurance. “Michelle… Does that mean…?”

“Yes, Danny,” I say, beaming from ear to ear. “It means YES!”

He takes me in his arms and lifts me from the ground, spinning me around until I’m afraid he’ll fall down from dizziness. “You won’t be sorry,” he says, placing kisses all over my face. “I promise. I’ll make you the happiest woman in the world.”

“You already do,” I say, kissing him back, through new, fresh tears of joy. “You already do.”

“I’ll call Ray right now,” he says, reaching into his pocket for his cell phone.

“And I’ll go tell Mr. Mattingly that I won’t be needing the apartment,” I reply.

————————————————————————–

As I walk out of Mr. Mattingly’s office, Danny practically sprints toward me. “Was he angry?” he asks, referring to the landlord.

“No,” I answer, as we make our way back to his car. “He said there was someone else who wanted the apartment if I didn’t take it.”

“Good,” he says.

“Did you talk to Ray?” I ask.

“Yes,” Danny replies. “He said he’d do it. He’s going to marry us, Michelle!”

Throwing my arms around his neck, I bury my face in his chest, listening again to the heart beating there… my heart.

“There’s only one condition,” he says, in a concerned tone.

“What?” I ask, looking up at him.

“He said that he wouldn’t give us a ‘quickie’ wedding,” Danny answers. “He said if we were going to get married, he was going to perform a real ceremony.”

Smiling up at the man I love with all my heart, I say, “I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want it to be as perfect as possible, so that I can remember it for the rest of my life.”

“Me too,” Danny says, looking down at me with more love than I’ve ever felt. “Do you want to call Rick?”

“He’s leaving town this afternoon,” I answer. Looking at my watch, I say, “He’s probably already left. There’s some kind of medical convention in Dallas this weekend.”

“We could wait until he gets back,” Danny says, with a disappointed look.

“NO!” I shout. “I don’t want to wait another minute!”

Smiling with relief, he replies, “Neither do I. I can’t wait to be your husband.”

He opens the car door for me, and I slide in. Before I even have a chance to reach for my seat belt, he starts the engine steers the car out of the parking lot. As we drive toward St. Michael’s, our hearts are overflowing, and there are so many things that could be said. But rather than speak, we say everything we need to say as Danny’s hand reaches for mine, and we clasp them together, as a symbol of a love that cannot be broken.

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