Lucy tossed and turned all night long, replaying her conversation with Dean over and over in her head.
She wakes up the next morning with what she could only classify as a broken hearted hangover.
Seeing him again was both electrifying and painful. And now she knows she’s bound to run into him again in their small town, their first meeting didn’t go so well. But deep down Lucy knew that even then, oddly enough, she still wanted to be around him, and couldn’t wait to be in his presence. Lucy walks downstairs to meet the family in their kitchen for breakfast as the day of Christmas festivities will soon begin.
Lucy and the family are in the town square for the carnival.
She looks at her phone as sees its 11:30 a.m.
She smiles and dials Kinsley.
“Hey, you on your way?” Lucy says anxiously awaiting her friend’s arrival.
“Already here.” Kinsley says walking up behind Lucy.
Lucy turns and runs over to her, giving her a hug.
“Whoa, it’s like you haven’t seen me in a year or something?” Kinsley says laughing.
“I have some things to fill you in on, and I may need some advice too.”
“Uh oh. Ok, lay it on me.”
“Not here, later, we’ll talk a walk?”
“Sure.” Kinsley says noticing as Dean walks past and over to his dad who is setting up a game station for the kids.
As Lucy sees Dean from the corner of her eye, her heart beat quickens. She smiles and walks away to the other side of the square.
Kinsley walks over to Dean.
“Hey Sanders!” Kinsley calls out in her usual rambunctious tone.
Dean turns, his eyes widen seeing the familiar face.
“Kinsley Jones, holy crap how are you?”
He embraces her in a friendly hug.
“Not bad. You?”
“Been better,” Dean says nodding knowingly.
“Ah still pining over Lucy, huh?”
She points over to where Dean’s eyes fall on Lucy who is helping to set up a bake sale table.
Dean sighs as he gives Kinsley a stern look.
“Hey I just call it like I see it.”
“I’m the bad guy right? I broke her heart. Never mind the fact that I asked her to marry me. Yea. No one ever hears my side of the story. I loved that girl. So much. You know how rare it is, for a guy that age to want to get married?”
“Maybe that was part of the problem.” Kinsley says.
Dean ponders as Kinsley walks off to say hi to some old neighbors, Dean locks eyes with Lucy from across the way. She looks away after a beat. Dean sighs and walks over.
“Hey.” Dean says.
“Will you walk with me?” Dean says his puppy dog eyes melting her.
“Yea. Sure.” Lucy joins him as they work through the town, seeing all the fun rides, games and stands.
Snow slowly melting, Trees decorated, the smell of hot chocolate filling the air, as Christmas carols are heard through town.
“I’m sorry about yesterday. I had an entirely different idea of how that conversation would go. I have always wondered when I’d get to see you face to face again, and I am sorry for how I acted.”
“I’m sorry too.”
“Lucy I get that this is hard for you…it’s hard for me to, seeing you, being around you after all these years. But we don’t have to hate each other. I’m just trying to make the best of the holiday.”
“I don’t hate you. Do you hate me?”
“No. Far from it.” Dean says looking at Lucy as he leans a little closer to her.
Dean’s phone rings.
“Hey son, I need you to run home and just pick up my tool box for me.”
“Sure pop, I’ll take care of it.
Dean turns to Lucy.
“Hey I have to run to get my dad something. You wanna come with me?
“Oh um…Okay sure.”
Lucy and Dean get to his house to find it empty.
He grabs his dad’s tool box from under the sink and turns to Lucy.
“Can I get you anything?” Dean inquires.
Lucy stands waiting in the arch way between the living room and kitchen.
“No. I’m good thanks.”
She gives him a small smirk.
He stops and stares.
“What?” Lucy notices as Dean’s eyes look her over and she begins to feel anxious.
He walks over to her pulling her into a kiss.
Lucy is shocked to say the least. She goes to pull away but Dean grabs her waist and pulls her back in, deepening the kiss. Lucy reciprocates her arms wrapping around his neck.
Dean pulls away looking up over their heads, as Lucy sees the mistletoe.
“You don’t mess with tradition, not in Oakland Valley,” he says smiling.
“Is that all that was?” Lucy asks breathless.
In one swift move Dean lifts her onto the counter kissing her yet again, leaning into their embrace.
“What do you think?” He says in between kisses.
Soon enough Lucy and Dean are in bed together, as they kiss, they continue their love for each other, finding familiar territory.
A little ways later…
Lucy and Dean lay still, trying to catch their breath.
“Wow.” Lucy says.
“That was…that…was really good,” Dean says looking over at her.
“Mmm Hmm.” Lucy says, smiling brightly.
“Is it me or was that better than I remember? I mean we were always really good together but this was more intense than usual.” Dean says staring at Lucy as his eyes wander.
Lucy smiles covering her face in embarrassment.
Dean laughs, rolling his eyes at her.
“We had sex…you and me we just had sex…” Lucy says still in slight denial.
“Yeah pretty much.”
“How did that even happen?” She says baffled that they could go from zero communication to ripping each other’s clothes off in a matter of a few hours.
“Come on Luc- we were never really good with keeping our hands to ourselves. Well I mean at least I never was. Put me in a room with you and those eyes- who knows what can happen?” Dean says raising his eyebrows.
Lucy stares at him, her skin flushed, her hair a wreck, her heart beat accelerated. There’s a feeling of blissful happiness within this moment, as she stares into the eyes of the man she loves. And soon she remembers, the pain, and her smile fades.
“Why’d you do it?” Lucy says glancing over at Dean with sad eyes.
“Why’d I have sex with you?” Dean asks confused. “I kinda don’t think I have a choice, when it comes to you. It’s not something I can control,” he says smirking.
“No. Why’d you end it between us?” Lucy asks, nervous for the answer to the question she’s had running through her mind for the better part of their years broken up.
“I knew you wanted more than Oakland Valley. And you deserved to explore without having me around to distract you. I knew if we stayed together I’d hold you back.” Dean says sighing as he looks away.
“Ok, I guess that’s admirable, but that should have been my decision. Not you just deciding what’s best for me.”
“I thought I was being selfish trying to keep you in this relationship. I just wanted you to be happy, in whatever way possible. Your happiness was always my goal. And for a long while it seemed like maybe I wasn’t the one that could make that happen.”
“How can you say that? I was always happy when I was with you. I loved you.”
“I loved you. So much. But Lucy I asked you to marry me, and you said no.”
“I didn’t say no.”
“But you didn’t say yes either.”
“We were young, ok it didn’t have to be all at once, all or nothing. We had time to wait, or at least I thought we did.” She says her anger spiking.
“Lucy, I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt you. My decision was never a punishment.” Dean confesses.
“Did you really have to join the army? I mean I get it- outta sight outta mind but, but you deploying ruined me. One minute you’re telling me how much you love me and how you wanna be with me forever and the next you were just gone. I didn’t know where you were. If you were okay. There was no form of closure.” Lucy says her heart spilling into Dean’s hands.
“It wasn’t about doing it to get you off my mind. In fact you were the only thing on my mind, every second of every day Lucy. Enlisting was about doing something that I knew I could be proud of myself for. Doing something worthy. If I couldn’t be your husband, I figured at least I could serve my country.”
“Let me ask you this. If I had said yes, would you have enlisted then?”
“Probably not right away, but eventually yes, after we got married.”
Lucy gasps, then sighs.
“Even if you would have said yes, it’s not like you’d give up on the dreams you had. I knew you wanted to move to New York and be a writer. I knew that was still there, still a big part of your soul. And I would never have asked you to give that up. So I figured while you were off being brilliant, I could do something to make you proud.”
“I have never not been proud of you.” Lucy says, her tone softening.
Dean looks at her, he takes her hand in his.
“I’m sorry,” he says.
“I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that you were just okay with going off in different parts of the world and not being with each other. That’s what made your decision feel like a punishment.” Lucy says trying to understand.
“I was hurt. Part of me knew you were right, that we were too young, but the other part of me didn’t care. I just knew I wanted to be with you, and sure you saying no was definitely a bruise to my ego, but it was also a wakeup call. And I knew that time was what you needed, and distance. I figured I’d do a tour or two and we’d be back together in no time. After I proposed and you said no, it was like a reflex for me to push you away. I knew I had made a poor decision, the minute after you left my room that day, in tears. I came after you, only to find all of our memories scattered across the dorm hall. I knew you’d never forgive me, and I figured if you really wanted to be with me, you’d reach out, somehow.”
“You broke up with me. I didn’t think you wanted me to reach out.” Lucy says confused.
“I don’t know. I guess I just thought that in some strange way we’d always end up back together. I thought you’d fight for me.”
“Did you fight for me?” Lucy says challenging him.
“Every day Lucy and you know that. You know how much I loved you. How much I wanted you. I wasn’t exactly shy about it.”
Lucy looks at him.
“What do you want, now? I mean I don’t know what I’m supposed to do or say, or feel. Where do you want us to go from here?” Lucy asks.
Dean looks at her, he walks over and pulls her into a kiss.
“I don’t ever wanna watch you walk away from me again,” he says.
Town neighbors begin to get wind that both Lucy and Dean are home and begin to rally around them.
“Sing! Sing!” the crowd hollers.
Lucy looks at them.
Ava looped arm in arm with her new boyfriend, yells “Hey you don’t monkey with tradition, and I think this town deserves some spirit from the two of you. You haven’t been home in years.”
The crowd continues to cheer as Lucy’s family rallies behind it.
Dean turns to Lucy, “Whattaya say Luc- how about one song for all times sake?”
“I don’t know…” Lucy says visibly uncertain.
“Come on, we used to sing together all the time.” Dean says strumming his guitar as the town mayor heads one to him.
“There’s a lot we used to do together.” Lucy says.
They share a heated look for a second, Dean sighs as Lucy looks away quickly.
“Sing!” the crowd screams again.
“Okay, okay, one song.” Lucy says.
Lucy and Dean get up in front of the whole town, on stage in the center of the town’s square to sing as Dean plays guitar.
The crowd sings along to I’ll Be Home For Christmas as Lucy begins to feel completely at home, something she hasn’t felt in a long time.
When the song finishes Lucy walks off stage in the opposite direction as Dean goes to grab a cup of coffee, Kinsley comes over to grab one too.
Dean goes into his inner jacket pocket for his wallet and a small black box falls to the floor.
Kinsley bends down to pick it up for him.
Dean tries to play it cool.
“Uh…Thanks,” he says taking the box and putting it back into his pocket, as his eyes search the crowd for Lucy.
“Oh my god,” Kinsley says, in shock. “Is that-? That’s a ring. For Lucy.”
“Please don’t.” Dean says looking at her with pleading eyes.
“You’re gonna propose?” she asks completely thrown.
“I’m not exactly rushing to put my heart on the line again Kin. I’ve had enough rejection from that girl to last a lifetime.”
“And yet you’re still holding onto that ring…let’s be honest here Dean you came here with a goal…you knew she’d be home didn’t you?”
“I may…have heard it through the Oakland Valley grape vine.”
“So…what are you waiting for?”
“I’ve thought about her every second of every day since we broke up…do you know how hard it has been to try have a life worth living without her? I can’t take any more disappointments.”
“Well if it’s any constellation it hasn’t exactly been a picnic for her either.”
“Yes but see I’d never know that because she was never one to tell me how she felt. I was lucky I got an “I love you” out of her.”
“Is that really how you feel?” Lucy says coming up from behind them.
“I’m gonna go, you two really need to talk,” Kinsley says walking off.
Dean sighs hanging his head.
“I’m sorry you had to hear that. I was just venting.”
“Don’t be sorry. Tell me the truth. Is that how you feel?”
“Sometimes. A lot of the time.”
Lucy’s face falls.
“Well then I’m the one who’s sorry. I never meant to make you feel that way, I promise. I guess I just always felt like I needed to keep my distance, because…because well you always felt too good to be true.”
“Yea. I know the feeling,” he cups her face looking into her eyes.
“I love you. It has always been you. But I can’t keep going on like this. Being strangers who pine over each other. I’m tired of being miserable. I’m tired of being afraid to come home because the thought of losing you again makes me just continue to stay away. I’m tired of living with half a heart. I want you. I want you and me together forever. And if that scares you then tough. I know you love me, I can feel it in the way you look at me, in the way we move together. And after all these years to still be able to know these things and say these things, has got to stand for something. You had your time, you had your distance. You got three years to miss me. So I’m only gonna ask you this one more time. Because this is it Luc- this is our last shot.”
Lucy looks at him.
Dean stares into her eyes questioning her mind.
He smirks knowingly and kneels down on one knee.
“Lucy Michaelson you drive me absolutely insane. From the moment I met you, I looked into those green eyes of yours, even though we were young I knew you were someone special. Your eyes drew me in, and I knew I could look into those eyes, for my whole life. You have tested my loyalty and my love for years. And because of you I know that I am capable of fighting for what I want, for what’s important. I love you, crazy anxieties and all. And I want you to be my wife. So…instead of being so worried and scared of the future why don’t we just embrace it?”
Dean opens up the small ring box as Lucy gasps, clasping her hands over her mouth.
“Will you marry me, damn it? Just marry me? And we can figure this whole life thing out together.”
Lucy begins crying and laughing as she kneels down to meet him in a kiss.
Dean pulls away looking at her questioning.
“Is that a yes?”
“It’s a hell yes,” she says laughing. “And for what its worth, I’ve missed you too.”
“I figured,” he shrugs in cocky fashion, as he winks. “I think we should seal the deal with this-”
He says as he slides the ring on her finger.
“Oh my god, baby it’s gorgeous. Is this- my ring?”
“You never did get to see it.”
“It’s perfect. You kept it all this time?”
“Of course I did babe. Let’s just say I had a feeling our story wasn’t over yet, I knew one of these days my charm would wear you down.”
Lucy smiles kissing him as everyone around cheers and rushes to congratulate them.
“It’s about damn time!” Kinsley screams as everyone laughs.
A few minutes later Lucy walks off to the side, to make a phone call.
“Cami, I have some news I think you’re gonna wanna hear.” Lucy says as Dean walks up behind her wrapping his arms around her waist. He kisses her cheek.
Lucy holds her phone out as she turns on video chat, showing off her engagement ring.
“Oh MY GOD!”
“Dean this is Cami, Cami this is-”
“College boyfriend Dean, I know.”
“Hi Cami, nice to meet you, I’ve heard good things. But College boyfriend? Really that’s what I got demoted to?” Dean says looking at Lucy.
Cami looks on confused.
“Well I mean we did officially start dating in college so that’s not entirely untrue.”
“Wait am I missing something?” Cami says, confused.
“I may have lied, a bit. I kind of implied that I met Dean when I was in college, and that it was just a college romance. But in fact, Dean and I grew up together here in Oakland, we were best friends. I mean but we never really thought about dating until College.”
“Um… really… we never thought about dating? I sure as hell did,” Dean says.
“Then why didn’t you say something, all these years?”
“Because I had to wait for you. You had to be ready. I know you very well Lucy.”
“You sure do. I love you,” Lucy says.
“I love you.”
She leans in to kiss him.
“And hey look-now you’ve been promoted to fiancé.”
Lucy smiles kissing him.
Cami still on the line, starts laughing, “Wow you guys are disgustingly cute, when’s the wedding?”
Lucy and Dean steal a moment away from the celebrating, to be alone. They walk through town, Dean finds a quiet spot and pulls Lucy to him by the waist, he kisses her slowly.
Lucy in turn pulls him to her by his coat collar as she reciprocates.
She turns to him.
“What?” he says, knowing the wheels are starting to spin in her head.
“Are you going to have to deploy again, anytime soon?”
“No. I put in a good amount of years. It’s time for me to settle down, make some plans. And finally marry the love of my life. I’ve waited a long time for you.”
Lucy kisses him.
*One Year Later…
Lucy and Dean are in NYC in her old apartment. The tree glistening, the fireplace crackling, two glasses of wine on the coffee table. They both sit on her couch, in front of an open laptop; skyping with their family back in Oakland.
“Are you coming home for the holidays?” Lucy’s Mom asks.
Lucy and Dean look at each other
“No,” they say in unison.
The family looks sad.
“We’re coming home for good,” Lucy says and Dean smiles brightly kissing her.
Everyone cheers in complete shock and joy.
Dean and Lucy pack boxes as her apartment slowly because emptier and emptier. Wedding rings glisten upon their hands as they move boxes toward the door to be taken out. Lucy places a few last minute items into a box, as a focusing of their wedding photo is displayed.
As movers begin to come in, the remnants of the apartment begin decreasing as a lonely Christmas tree without any ornaments is the only thing left. Underneath the tree lies a gift box. Lucy and Dean stand in the middle of the living room, his hands cross her stomach as he nuzzles into her neck.
“You ready Mrs. Sanders, Kinsley’s downstairs, she has the car all packed up.”
“Yes I’m ready Mr. Sanders, let’s go home,” she turns kissing him softly.
“Come on sexy we have a lot of work to do for the new house,” Dean says taking her hand and leading her to the door.
“I know, I get to decorate!” Lucy says excitedly.
“Oh no, I meant we gotta start making babies, because we have a lot of rooms to fill,” he says his eyes lighting up.
“Oh.” Lucy says rubbing her hands along Dean’s chest “Okay,” she smiles, raising her eyebrows, she kisses him, wrapping her hands around his neck, as he moves closer to her.
“You better walk away from me, before we never get out of here, girl.” Dean mutters into her lips as she continues to kiss him.
Lucy cocks her head back with a laugh.
“God, I love you so much,” he says more seriously, looking into her eyes.
“I love you. So much.” Lucy says cupping his face and looking back at him with admiration. She gives him a quick peck on the lips and pulls him toward the door.
A few seconds later Lucy rushes back in and grabs the box under the tree.
In the car ride home, Lucy opens the gift box, in it lies a framed black and white photo of Silvia and Lucy. Lucy is wearing a wedding dress. The box also holds a card that reads-
Dear Kind Eyes,
Here’s just a little reminder of our friendship which has blossomed over the past year. I was so honored to be able to share in your special day. I’m so thrilled that we managed to keep in touch. I knew that you and your true love were meant to be from the way your eyes told your story. And being able to witness such a love in person brought me back to a time I remember well. He’s a good one, hold onto him tight. And never be afraid to love with all your heart.
God Bless, See you soon,
Lucy smiles as she looks over Silvia’s gift, Dean looks over from the driver’s seat, a sleeping Kinsley in the back. Dean takes Lucy’s hand and kisses her wedding rings. Lucy smiles leaning over and kissing his cheek.
As the car continues to drive down the journey of a new life with the man she’s always loved. Their future in front of them.
Thanks for reading!
*I do not take credit or any images used in my edits or otherwise.*