“It’s complicated.” Her voice is soft, but I know she’s holding back.
“The guy you said was your boyfriend, is his name Cupid? Is that the person you feel something for?”
She bites her bottom lip and shakes her head, but then stops and nods it slightly. “I’m not sure. We’ve been friends for so long, but I’m not sure what it is. How do you know his name?”
“And you said I remind you of someone from a long time ago?” I keep going as I reach up and touch her cheek, letting my fingers trace over her soft skin.
“Yes.” She leans into my touch, and it encourages me to keep going.
“What if it’s me?” When her expression changes to confusion, I push on. “What if the man you think of as your boyfriend and the boy you cared for a long time ago are the same?” She swallows hard, and her breath catches as I wrap my other hand around her waist. “What if I’m Cupid, sweets? What if I’m Austin too?”
“What did you say?” Her voice is barely above a whisper as I pull her flush against me.
“I’ve waited on you long enough, Astrid. My whole life I’ve waited and saved myself for you. I created the blog for you, I bought the restaurants for you, I built this world for you, sweets. All of it.”
“It can’t be,” she breathes, touching my face like I might not be real.
“It’s real and it’s true. I’m sorry for the deception with Cupid, but that’s my real name and why everyone calls me Q. After I moved away, you were all I could think about. By the time I found Nick again, you’d already left for college. I knew that was your dream, and I couldn’t stop it. But what I could do was make the rest of it come true.”
“You did all this for me?” There are unshed tears in her eyes, and I nod.
“I love you, Astrid. I’ve loved you since I was fifteen years old, and I’ve never even looked at another woman since. You’re all I’ve ever wanted, and I waited for this moment, for this day.”
“I can’t believe this. I can’t believe you’re Austin.”
“I am, and after all this time, I need you to do something for me.” I take a deep breath and then slowly kneel down in front of her. When I take the box out of my pocket, she covers her mouth in shock. “I need you to marry me, sweets. Let me keep on loving you as my wife for the rest of my life. Don’t make me wait another day to have you as mine.”
“This is insane.” She lets me take her hand as I open the ring box and take out the gigantic diamond cut in the shape of a heart.
“It is, but you once told me that magic happens when you least expect it.” I slide the ring on her finger and look up into her eyes. “Marry me, Astrid.”
“Yes,” she says, and she falls into my arms.
I close my eyes and hold her next to my heart, finally taking my first real breath since I don’t know when. Maybe I’ve been holding it since I was fifteen and drove away from her, but I’m here now, and I’m never letting her go.
“Let’s not keep them waiting,” I say as I stand up with her in my arms.
“What?” Her eyes widen in disbelief, and I smile.
“Everyone is here and waiting to see us tie the knot.” I hold her face in my hands and press my forehead to hers. “I’ve spent my whole life thinking about my first kiss, and I knew that it would be with you on our wedding day.”
“I love you so much.” She closes her eyes just as the door behind us opens and Star pushes in.
“Let’s get this show started,” she squeals.
Nick stands beside her, shrugging. “Sorry, but we listened to the whole thing,” he says, and Star slaps him on the chest.
“Don’t apologize, I’m not the least bit sorry.” Star is smug as she stands there watching us.
“Let’s get married,” Astrid says to me with a huge smile on her face.
“I’m not giving you a chance to change your mind,” she squeals as I scoop her up in my arms and carry her out to the place we’ve got set aside for the ceremony.
Everyone is in their seats, and I carry Astrid down the aisle to cheers from the audience. When I get to the stage, I place Astrid on her feet and stand across from her, holding her hands. The minister begins, and as he talks, all I can do is stare at my beautiful bride. I can’t believe we’re finally here and that I’ve got her after all this time.
Nick hands me the wedding band, and Star hands Astrid hers. We slide them on at the same time, and my wife looks up at me with wonder and awe. It’s the single greatest moment of my life, and when the minister pronounces us husband and wife, I don’t hesitate to wrap her in my arms.