“I don’t want to talk about it.”
That gets a deep laugh out of me.
When she’s finished with him, she steps out of the way so that I can get to the sink.
“I do want to talk to you about something else, though,” she says.
“I’m all ears, Angel.”
“I think I’m ready to go see my grandfather.”
“Really?” I ask. “Are you sure?”
She timidly nods. “Yeah. Maybe tomorrow?”
“Of course, Avery. Anything you want.”
A sense of relief washes over me that maybe she’s starting to process this whole thing. I don’t want her ever to get stuck in the dark place that I was in for so long. No one needs to be there.
After I dry my hands, I grab her by either side of the face and kiss her. “You’re so beautiful.”
“I’m covered in paint,” she refutes.
“I don’t give a shit. Still beautiful.”
She looks up at me, giving me a small smile. “Can I ask you something?”
“Do you want kids?”
The question completely catches me off guard. “Uhhhh,” I begin.
Avery stops me. “Okay, let me start over. You and I have said we love each other, and we have pretty much decided that we want to be together.”
She looks at me for confirmation of what she just said, so I give a confident, “Right.”
“We just haven’t had a lot of these big conversations. Kids. Marriage. Money. Like, am I going to find out that you secretly have a weird foot fetish? Or what if I have fifty grand in credit card debt?”
Already knowing the answer (because I know Avery), I ask, “Do you?”
“Well, no, but I do have a healthy addiction to online shopping when the occasion calls for it. My point is that I think we need to talk about this stuff.”
She’s gotten herself so flustered that her cheeks are all pink.
“Okay, Angel. Calm down. How about I go get us some dinner, bring it back, and we can talk about whatever you want to talk about?”
She wraps me in a hug so tight I can barely breathe. “You’re the best. Do you know that?”
I love that even with all the darkness that has lived inside of me all these years, this woman still manages to see a glimpse of light. She may tell me I’m the best, but I know she’s the one who truly takes that title.
Half an hour later, I’m back home with a sack full of BBQ with all the fixin’s. I set our miniature feast out on the table, and after we’ve each fixed our plates, I say, “Okay, Angel. Ask me your questions.”
She wastes no time. “Do you want to get married?”
“Duke,” she sighs. “You can’t answer a question with a question.”