Hildreth bit his lower lip as Jeff drove down the street. A mad desire to laugh pressured his throat.
This isn’t a dream.
I’m not dreaming.
After all this time, I’m not dreaming. I’m getting married, which is shocking and amazing on its own merit. But I’m getting married to her. To someone so amazing as her.
Jeff pulled into the parking lot for the Shant, Cant, and Aint bakery.
Hildreth grinned. “So, you’re really gonna do it, huh?”
Jeff flashed a grin at him. “Absolutely. And a cup of coffee.”
The two men said in unison, “No cream, no sugar, and not too hot.”
Hildreth pumped his fist. “Yes! We are awesome! Awesome for life!”
Jeff laughed and drove around to the drive-through.
Elsie sat in her front seat. She opened the glove compartment and pulled out the jeweler’s box.
She opened it.
Both with a secret inscription. “Els” inside of one. “Idiot” inside of the larger.
My Hildreth. You wonderful, stupid idiot. I’m going to marry you today. Finally marry you. After flirting with temptation for far too many months, I will finally be all yours and yours alone.
Hildreth, do you even know how much I love you?
Elsie carefully stroked the larger ring. “Because I do.” She closed the box and returned it to the glove compartment.
She started the car and backed out of the driveway.
She thought about his smile.
The brightness in his eyes and their color.
The way he could make her laugh.
The way he could drive her crazy.
How much she wanted him.
Elsie let up on the accelerator. “I’ll never be able to love anyone else like this. I’ll never want anyone else so wholeheartedly. It’s just him. Just my Hildreth.”
Soon I will be all his.
I sure hope I don’t hurt him.
Jeff paid for the box of 69 doughnut holes and pulled out of the lot. “Are you nervous?”
“I’m the furthest thing from nervous. I’m excited. I could just burst out laughing. This is so amazing, Jeff. It’s surreal. I never thought we’d reach this point. I kept thinking and worrying that she’d wind up dumping me for that vampire.”
Jeff scoffed. “She would never do that. She’s too sensible to make that kind of mistake.”
Hildreth glanced at him. The wheels, gears, and levers were clearly turning inside his brain.
“Lucky for you. Not that I know her as well as you do. It’s just impression. A hunch.”
He gripped the steering wheel.
Don’t ask, Hildreth. Please don’t ask. Not now. Not today of all days.
“As a hunter, she should know better than to tango with one of those creatures.”
“Ahh.” Hildreth opened the box of doughnut holes. “Mmm. So many different kinds.”
Jeff subtly breathed a sigh of relief.
I managed to dodge that one.
Hildreth picked out a blueberry white chocolate one. “Ooo! I love this kind.”
Jeff smiled. “Dweeb.”
You have nothing to worry about. It’s probably just infatuation. Attraction at the very most. It isn’t love. It can’t be love. Love doesn’t come that sudden or that fast.
Marry her, Hildreth, and I’ll be fine. It won’t hurt me. It won’t break my heart. Marry Elsie Vansing and live happily ever after with her.
Because she loves you, Hildreth.
She could never love me.
And I will never ask it of her.
I will never hurt you like that.