Enjoy this bonus epilogue from This Time Is Different, Thomas & Amy's story.
Amy, my love,
You have my heart. And I’ll tell you why I gave it to you without even realizing it.
It’s your laugh. Even at my corny dad jokes, your laugh comes from someplace happy that’s deep inside you. How could anyone not fall in love with you after hearing that laugh of yours? The way your eyes crinkle at the edges and your head falls back and your wide smile pulls your lips tight against your pretty teeth. (And you do have pretty teeth, Doctor Dentist Angel.)
I couldn’t tell you what I said or did on our first date, but while you were eating tiramisu, I said or did something that pulled a laugh from you. Your eyes danced and you slapped your hand over your mouth and you got a little pink in the face when you caught me looking at you. But as soon as I heard it, I needed to hear it again. Your laughter and joy is a gift you bring me every day.
I know we’ve got a wedding to plan, and I’m looking forward to it and whatever kind of wedding you want. Because I don’t care when it happens or how. I only care that it does. I want you to be mine forever, Amy.
I’m greedy when it comes to you. If I thought the kids would be okay with us eloping, I wouldn’t be in my office writing you this letter. We’d be on a plane to some place tropical. But I want to do this right. Your son. My children. Your dad. My mom. And whoever else you want to watch as I pledge all of my love to you. Because I’ve pledged my love to you a thousand times in private. Over carryout pizza and with Halloween costumes. In the evenings when you lay with your head in my lap or on my chest and let me play with your curly hair while I read to you. Every morning when I’m lucky enough to wake up warm in a bed with you. But that’s not enough. I love you and I need the world to know that.
I know I’m not perfect and that I’m quick to turn everything into a joke, but I’m not joking when I say that you make me a very happy man and I’m honored that you’ve chosen me. It sounds corny when I put it like that, but that’s how it is, Amy. It’s just that simple. I’m nuts about you and amazed that you’re willing to put up with me.
So, on our first Valentine’s Day together, I’ll confess one more thing — I almost forgot. I’m not used to celebrating Valentine’s. Haven’t in years. I don’t even know if you celebrate it. Late this afternoon, I realized it was Valentine’s Day when my assistant got a bouquet of flowers, so I went down to the hospital gift shop and thought about buying out the place. Settled on this card. I hope it makes you laugh because I can’t give you more than you already have. You have all of me. I only hope that you keep me.
Please “bee” mine, because I am irrevocably yours.
I love you.
I read over the letter one more time before folding the page into neat quarters and placing it in a red, heart-shaped card with a bear and a bee hive on the front. “Honey, will you bee mine?” it asks. I’m ninety-nine percent sure it’s supposed to be for a child, but the silly pun makes me smile and, if I’m lucky, I’ll get a chuckle from her out of it.
I’m at her front door for dinner with a pizza in hand. I’ve got my greeting ready. “Did someone order a pizza?” is on my lips when my soon-to-be step-son opens the door. “Hey, Grady,” I say, ditching the cheesy porn pick up line that I was trotting out yet again. Even as awful as it is, it never fails to bring a smile to Amy’s face after a long day at work, and seeing her smile, that makes me smile, too.
“Come on in. Mom just got home.”
“Big plans tonight?”
Well, okay, then. I’d expected him to be out on a date with his girlfriend and that Amy and I would have the house to ourselves. Grady doesn’t move from the door and just stands there looking at me. “Can I come in?”
“Sorry,” he says, stepping into the foyer while giving the present I bought her tucked under my arm a patented teenage side eye.
“Yeah, I know. It’s what they had at the gift shop. Slim pickings at four o’clock.” I pass him the pizza box and look at the stuffed animal as I follow him into the kitchen. Probably the wrong choice, but the floral arrangements in the case were all of the get-well-soon or happy-new-baby variety. I thought about the pink daisies in the yellow smiley face mug, but the “tomorrow will be a better day” written on the reverse side made that a no-go. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, I went with the stuffed honeybee. I thought my decision was dicey on my way over, but now in her house, it hits me just how bad of an idea this is. A bee-themed Valentine’s Day. I hope she doesn’t send me packing.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Grady groans under his breath as he looks at the open pizza box.
“It should taste the same. They just shape the dough.”
“Hey, Thomas,” says Amy, walking into the kitchen. But instead of her pizza night outfit of yoga pants and a t-shirt, she has on a red dress. One that hugs her curves and shows off her waist. It isn’t fancy, but it isn’t casual. My girl got dressed up for this. I feel even worse about the bee and the heart-shaped pizza. Why didn’t I stop to get a nice bottle of wine?
“Hey, sweetheart,” I say, leaning down for a soft, quick kiss on the lips. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she says back, planting a kiss on my cheek.
I hand her my offerings and her eyes light up, like she’s waiting for the punchline. When I don’t give her one, she looks at the stuffed animal again before saying, “It’s a bee.”
“Yeah, open the card.”
She puts the bee down on the kitchen island and takes the card out of the pink envelope. She reads it and looks me square in the face, her lips pursing as she fights back a smile.
“Yeah,” I admit, feeling a bit of a blush crawl across my face.
She holds the folded note up between her index and middle finger and waves at it at me. “And this?”
“Later,” I mutter, casting a glance at Grady to let her know that it’s for her alone.
“Got something for you later, too,” she whispers with a wink, her smile growing.
My body begins to heat, no longer from the prospect of embarrassment, but from guesses about what exactly my gift is going to be.
“Thank you for the bee,” she says in a normal voice.
“I’ll make it up to you,” I promise, beginning to run through the emergency apology I’d worked on in my head since I left the hospital.
“No, I really like it. Thank you. I didn’t get you much either.”
You got me everything, I think. But I don’t say it, not with Grady in the room. But then I ask myself why. Why I’m holding back from her. She’s wearing my ring. She’s my girl. “You got me everything,” I say. “Will you bee mine?”
“There it is,” she says with a laugh, her head tilting back and her eyes dancing with happiness.
Yeah, there it is.
I hope this little epilogue brought a smile to you face.
Happy Valentine's Day.