And it’s not the only thing about me, it’s just how I look.
I’m also studying to be a teacher.
I discovered my knack for teaching kind of by accident. Our first year in college, Jill was nervous about how she’d perform academically. It turned out that all she needed, all this time, was the right tutor. Of course, it took us hours to get through a minimal amount of work because she liked to get rewarded for right answers with kisses. Which always led to more, since I liked to give those kisses between her legs.
She loves learning now.
Plus, we realized I had good ways of simplifying concepts. Now my major is education and Jill’s is, too, although her goal is to be a cheer coach. And she’ll do it, because she’s my amazing, talented, beautiful, enthusiastic girlfriend and she can do anything.
Even make a guy like me see himself as a king, instead of a monster.
Now I’ll make her my queen.
The crowd cheers when I walk out onto the field, although there are some confused murmurings when my team doesn’t walk out behind me. The cheerleading squad is on the far sideline, drinking water after finishing their halftime performance. And I don’t have to search hard to find Jill across the field. Even if she wasn’t wearing her signature big, red bow, I would know her location blind. Her heart…it reaches out and pulls me in. She’s my other half, the keeper of my soul, the love of my life.
When I stop behind her on the sideline, Jill’s friends start to elbow her, alerting her to my unexpected arrival, so I don’t waste any time getting down on one knee.
The stadium roars, whistles piercing the night, phones flashing.
Jill turns, brow quirked, and sees me. Sees the ring box in my hand. She stumbles back a little, pompoms flying to her cheeks. She mouths my name and then she’s already nodding yes, moisture pooling in her eyes.
She’s already saying yes?
That means…I can’t lose. God, she’s going to be my wife. I can’t believe it.
As planned, one of the sound technicians hands me a microphone and I speak directly into it, clear and steady. “Jillian Harding, I’ve loved you my whole life.” I have to speak louder over the excited noise the crowd is making. “It’s not only a privilege to love you, but you made me love myself, too, when I didn’t know how. I’d be honored if you’d be my wife and spend your life with me. Laughing, having kids, growing old. Let’s do it all together.”
I open the ring box and she holds out her shaking hand, allowing me to slide the teardrop diamond, surrounded by emeralds, onto her finger.
She takes the microphone and says an emphatic, “Yes!” into the top, that single word winging its way around the stadium and sending people into a frenzy. With my heart about to burst out of my chest, I stand and lift her into my arms, twirling her in a circle, her mouth latched onto mine. And I know the next seventy years are going to be heaven. Because I’ve got my angel and I’m never letting her go.
“I love you, Zach,” she sobs.
“I love you, too, Jilly Beans.”