I trailed behind the rest of my family as we trudged through the knee-high snow down to the beach. Although the sky was partly cloudy, the setting sun cast a triangle of shimmering light on the water.
I guess I could see why they’d wanted to bring us here, but honestly I would have been happier at home. My two younger sisters were more enthusiastic and had kept up with mom and Dad for the most part, even though the deep snow made walking difficult. I stayed a little way behind and let them enjoy what they’d come for.
My phone buzzed with a text message. I took my glove off and fished it from my pocket, checking the sender.
The message said: I didn’t want to text you earlier because you sounded so miserable when I spoke to you last and I figured you needed time to stew. I’m sorry. I wish I’d never said it.
I texted him back: It’s okay. I’m okay.
He replied quickly: Are you though? I didn’t mean to hurt you.
My fingers were getting cold but I didn’t want to leave this: You didn’t hurt me. It needed to be said. But I need to say something too.
I took a deep breath, then typed: I love you.
There wasn’t a response for a few moments and I felt time passing in slow motion. Finally, his answer came in.
Even after what I said?
You really love me?
I need to see you. Can I come see you?
I’m at the fucking beach.
The beach! It’s fifteen below!
Tell me about it. My family dragged me here. They are admiring the sunset while I’m freezing my fingers off texting with you. But I don’t care. I love you, Aiden.
He sent me a string of emojis of all kinds, most with hearts, some celebrating, some crying, and some very, very happy.
Then: I’d follow you to the beach in fifteen below in a heartbeat. You know that, right?
I grinned: I do now. I’m putting my phone away so I don’t get frostbite. Call you when I’m home?
I’ll be waiting.