I look at him, a little stunned. Who wants to get married at 15? Then again, looking at him makes me wonder, who doesn't?"Really? That's how you ask me?" I reply, heavy on the sarcasm. He might as easily have said, "Wanna grab some pizza?""Yeah. I thought it was pretty clean-cut. 'Wanna get married?'" He quotes himself, and I roll my eyes. But when I meet his gaze again, he's doing that thing again - the smoldering thing. The you-can't-live-without-me-so-why-would-you-want-to-try thing.A shudder rolls through my body, but I swallow the fluttering, giddy feeling creeping into my chest, determined. "Not particularly," I answer.He's leaned up against the hood of his truck in the empty high school parking lot. We are the only two students still hanging around. Our peers cleared out immediately after the football game, but I waited patiently, sitting on his tailgate, my legs crossed under my short, black and gold cheerleading skirt. When he finally emerged from the locker room, watching him walk across the parking lot toward me was a little like watching the Red Sea part into two glorious walls of water before the approaching, untouchable Pillar of Fire. I had to look away, slide down and run my fingers down the length of his truck, walking away from him, to prove to him that he had no effect on me. Because he has no effect on me. Really.He reaches toward me, hooking his finger into my skirt at my hip and pulling me toward him. "Come on, baby girl. You know I wanna marry you."I shake my head at him, ignoring - not even noticing - how close we are. "I'm not going to marry you so that you can get in my pants." I shove him playfully and push myself away. I need room to breathe."You know that's not what I want," he confesses. "Not all I want, anyway," he smiles his sideways smile and runs his hand through his hair, his mind clearly wandering. But before the bright pink fades from my cheeks, his arms are around me again, drawing me toward him. "I want you," he whispers in my ear. "Now. Always."I have been on exactly three dates with this man. I have spent no more than 50 hours - okay, maybe 100 hours - overanalyzing every word he's ever spoken to me. I know he's a chronic overcommitter. I have seen it with his ex-girlfriend, a senior like him who, no doubt, thinks I'm a little sophomore slut who's only borrowing his attention. I have heard the rumors - that he asked her this question once, that he even bought her a sparkly little symbol of his affection to go on her left hand. But she had said what I should say right now.He told me he loved me two weeks ago, during our first date. I giggled at the time but only because I no longer existed at that moment - not in real time and space. Not because I didn't believe him."I love you," he adds, staring into my green eyes before kissing me tenderly at first and then deeply. My eyes are still closed, my head spinning, when he asks again, "Wanna get married?"It slips from my lips before I can think. Before I can stop it. Before I even realize I don't want to stop it."Yes."
Jennifer, this is a nice piece of work. I like it.