An exhausted puppy was asleep in his crate near Lynn’s bedroom fireplace. Lynn and Donovan snuggled together, leaving the young people downstairs.
“I hate when Christmas day ends,” Lynn declared as she stared into the fire. “It was such a nice Christmas. I’m glad that you and Dara could share it with us.”
“Thank you for having us,” Donovan answered. He smiled softly and asked, “Are you ready for your present, Peace?”
A small thrill ran through Lynn followed by guilt.
“You’ve given me so much, Donovan! Fancy clothes, jewelry, a chair …”
“But today is Christmas!”
Donovan stood up, found new music on his playlist. He motioned for Lynn to join him in another dance. Ben Harper’s Forever played as they swayed gently in place. Lynn’s body grew warm, her heartbeat increased at an idea of what Donovan’s present might be.
“Donovan,” she whispered as his lips grazed her cheek, their feet barely moving as he swayed her back and forth. His dark eyes sparkled, but he looked intense, needy.
“Just let me talk, please,” he pleaded.
He quit dancing. Taking a deep breath, Donovan took both of Lynn’s hands into his own.
“Lynn, you totally captivate me.”
His hand swiped through that raven hair again.
“I can’t imagine being without you. I love you so much.”
Donovan looked upward, closing his eyes tightly for a minute.
“Shit! I can’t even put this into coherent words.”
Lynn’s eyes widened in amazement. She was tongue-tied, too. Before she could find words to encourage or comfort him, Donovan was on one knee, still holding her hands. Lynn gasped, breaking her right hand loose from his hold, covering her mouth in surprise.
“Lynn, would you marry me?”
Now Lynn took back her left hand, bringing it up to join the other on her face. Tears sprung into her bright blue eyes; she still could not communicate.
Donovan wasn’t sure what to make of a subdued Lynn.
“I know we haven’t known each other long, but I know what I want when I see it.”
Again, he ran his hand through his hair.
“You see me for who I am, not the celebrity that the media makes up. You bring peace, happiness … shit, Lynn! I don’t care if I get sixty years with you or six minutes. I can’t live without you! I don’t know how to …”
Lynn sucked in a breath after she said the one word. Looking down at the man she loved, she saw a mixture of surprise, then relief, then complete love.
“Yes?” he whispered.
“Yes!” Lynn repeated, then grabbed his hands, intending to help him off the floor. Instead, Donovan pulled her down, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her as if he was afraid the answer would change.
“I was afraid you would say no, say it’s still too soon,” he said when he broke the kiss.
“What’s too soon?” Lynn asked. “I’ve been thinking a lot about this since your first proposal. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that time does go quickly, and you’d better grab what you want when the opportunity presents itself. And enjoy every second you have.”
Donovan pulled Lynn to him, surrounding her with strong arms.
“Absolutely!” he agreed, then continued. “I mean it when I said the time thing. I need to enjoy every minute with you, whether it’s ten minutes or one hundred years.”
Lynn leaned over to give Donovan another big kiss.