Barbara woke up and the emerald ring was still there around her thumb.
So. It wasn’t a dream, after all. That’s a relief. It would have been a very nice dream, but so disappointing. I’m glad it’s real.
“I’m going to marry Ambrose Smith.”
She imagined him standing at the altar rail, waiting for her.
He’d be dressed in a black tuxedo with tails, a sharp white tuxedo shirt, white gloves, black bow tie.
His eyes would be bright with anticipation.
Would he start crying as I walk towards him in my wedding gown? I hope not. That would just make me cry and wouldn’t we be a fine crying couple? And all before we could say our vows.
She checked the time on her alarm clock.
I shouldn’t call him.
I should let him sleep.
She smiled and picked up her cell phone.
The phone rang.
And rang holes inside his dreams.
He yelled at it in his dreams to SHUT UP!
But it just wouldn’t stop.
He opened his eyes into a blear.
Amazingly enough, the phone was still ringing.
He fumbled under the other pillow and pulled the phone out.
“ngh.” He rolled onto his back. “Barbara. Do you realize what time it is?”
“Sorry! I just had to call you.”
“I wanted to thank you for last night.”
“It was certainly one of the most adventurous dates we’ve been on.”
Oh. Right. Last night.
“And, despite the location being far from ideal, that was the most perfect proposal. There isn’t anything more you could have said to make it any better.”
“You made it better by accepting it. Barbara.” He thought about the two papers sitting on top of the dresser. “Did you really mean it? You weren’t just trying to humor an old vampire? This isn’t some sort of cruel trick, is it?”
Silence fell on her side.
“Sammy retrieved my birth certificate. I saw my date of birth. I’m old, Barbara. So very old.” He scoffed. “I’ve known all along that I wasn’t born in the year 2000. But I saw that date and I…I realized. I saw. I thought. Maybe it isn’t fair. Maybe…”
He pressed his hand against his forehead. “You should be with someone you can grow old with and he’d grow old too. There’s an imbalance between us. I will always look this young and you will pass me by. You’ll grow old.”
“Ambrose, please stop.”
“Please listen to me. I realize we’re on different time lines. I know this. I accepted your proposal even though I know this. You can hand-wring all you want about the inequalities in our ages. You can knit worry sweaters over you staying so young and hot while I turn into a crunchy old prune. And you might be right. It isn’t a stupid worry. But I still want to marry you. And no. I’m not playing any mind games with you when I say that.”
Ambrose rubbed his thumb along the edge of his phone. He accidently hit the volume button and it beeped loud in his ear.
He winced. Stupid beast phone.
“So, quit trying to find reasons to push me away. It isn’t going to work. I’m the psycho fiancée who doesn’t understand what ‘No. Go away!’ means.”
He laughed. “Thanks. I just wanted to be sure. I don’t want you to suddenly think about all of these things on our wedding day and leave me standing alone.”
“I would never do that to you.”
He closed his eyes. “No matter what?”
“No matter what. I love you.”