I carefully took Penny’s hands in mine when our lips parted from our first kiss. Her hand felt so small and right encased in mine, I didn’t want to let go. Our eyes met and I just stared into hers for some time before I was able to speak. “Penny… I am sorry it took so long for me to… have courage…”
“It’s not all your fault,” she said quietly. “I lied to you.”
My fingers twitched slightly, rubbing over her knuckles. “Why did you lie?” I asked.
“Didn’t you read my letter?” she asked and I nodded. “Then you know,” she added a little bit distantly. “I didn’t want you to give up the woman who made you happy.” She held up her free hand when I opened my mouth to protest. “The woman I thought made you happy,” she added with a very tiny smile. “How could I stand between you two? I–I love you, Calcifer. I thought you loved her, and I wasn’t going to complicate things.”
“Oh Penny…” I reached up and touched her cheek gently. She shivered and placed her hand over mine, leaning into my touch.
“If… you loved me more than her then why did you propose to her?” she inquired.
I made a little hmmm sound as I tried to figure out how to best explain it. “That night when I asked you how you felt about me…” I slid my hands to her shoulders and down her arms so I was holding her hands once more. “If you told me you had the same feelings for me, I was ready to break up with Teri. Then you said we were just friends and I felt so…” I pressed my teeth down on my bottom lip, trying not to bite it hard enough to inflict damage.
I let go of her hands and turned slightly away. “I thought that you were out of my reach forever. I figured if you didn’t love me like I thought you did, then I might as well give it up.” I closed my eyes tightly and stiffened slightly as she slid an arm through mine. “I reacted in a very wrong way. I should never have proposed to Teri.”
“What happened with her? Why is she gone?” Penny asked carefully.
“She thought I had stolen something,” I admitted.
“She said the same thing to me,” Penny mumbled. “Sort of. She did not accuse me of stealing, but said she thought you did. I told her you did not. That was when I told her my feelings for you and started getting scared. Because I told her you have to trust the person you love completely.”
I squeezed Penny’s hands. “She said the same thing before she gave me back the ring. And since she didn’t trust me, she realized it wasn’t truly love…” I met Penny’s eyes and smiled. “You… trust me?”
“With all my heart,” she breathed out, stepping closer. “I always have, and I always will.” It was her turn to touch my face and the feel of her fingers brushing against my cheek made my heart beat wildly. Her eyes glinted slightly in the moonlight and she leaned forward, her hands reaching around my head so she could hold me close for another kiss.
Once she pulled away, she was smiling broadly. I couldn’t help but grin back. “You are an amazing kisser,” I said and was rather pleased to see her blushing. “I don’t want to ever stop. I want to be with you… always.”
“You will,” she whispered, pressing her cheek against my shoulder. “I have no plans to leave again.”
I put my arm around her waist and hugged her against me. “Where did you go? I looked all over for you.”
She shifted a bit, nuzzling my shoulder. “Someplace,” she finally muttered. “I met this guy…”
My eyes widened and I stepped back, staring at her in shock. Surely she didn’t mean how it sounded… right? “What?” I squeaked. “Erm, who?”
“Just a guy.” She shrugged and began twisting a bit of her hair between her fingers. “Rags. He told me I should come home.” Her eyelashes flickered up as she looked into my eyes. “When you came running out and I saw you it felt like it had been forever since last time…”
“How long were you gone?” I asked, reaching over to take the hand that she was getting tangled into her hair.
“Five, maybe six days,” she answered.
Good, I thought, feeling relieved that she hadn’t been gone as long as I was worried she was. “Wait, Rags?” I realized what she had said and I wondered what it meant. “What’s that?”
“The guy,” she answered. “He told me to come home.”
As our eyes stayed locked, our hands still holding, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I took a few steps, pulling her with me. “Let’s sit down,” I said with a smile. “I don’t want to go inside quite yet.”
“Sit on the ground?” she asked teasingly.
“I want to talk,” I said, running my fingers across the back of her hand. “And I want to talk out here. It’s too pretty to go inside. If you want to…”
“I want to be with you,” she said simply. “I don’t mind at all sitting out here.”
Things got quiet for a few minutes once we did sit down. I wanted to say it, but just wasn’t sure how to. Would it be silly to say it right now? Should I wait a few days until things started settling into… what? Being normal?
The thought of waiting any longer gave me a little burning sensation in my chest. I had put things off too long, and made too many mistakes. Waiting any longer now felt like another mistake.
I reached over and she put her hand on top of mine. “I missed you so much,” I whispered. “You’ve always been there and then you weren’t. It honestly felt as though part of me had been ripped away and hidden.”
Her hand was warm and comforting, giving me the courage. I scooted a little closer to her, closing my eyes. “Penny, I’m sorry I made so many mistakes. I want to make up for them. And I want to start here.” I turned to look at her and she stared back at me. I wondered if she had any idea of what I was about to say. I took her hand and pulled it close to me. “Penny. I love you, I don’t ever want to be without you. You are everything to me and I’m sorry it took you leaving for me to realize it.”
I twisted towards her, holding her hand with both of mine. “Penny. I want to marry you. I know I’m probably going too fast. And if you say no right now, that is fine. I will give you all the time in the world. I–“
“Cal…” She tipped her head forward, smiling. “What time do I need? I already know what I want. I want you. I want to be your wife. I want to be by your side. Always.”
I pulled her close, wrapping my arm around her waist and resting my head on her shoulder. “I love you.” The words felt sweet and right. Something that was always there, just waiting for me to finally say them. And each time I said it, it felt more and more right.
“I love you too,” she giggled.
We sat under the stars for some time, holding each other and staring up at the glittering blanket. Finally we stood up and went inside. I still didn’t feel like going to sleep and neither did she, so we just curled up on the sofa together, still holding each other.
Everyone had their soul mate, or so people believed. And how much more of a soul mate could you get? Our souls had found each other when that’s all she was, tucked inside a doll body. “I’ll always be here for you,” I said quietly as she settled against me. “I promise.”
“Forever?” she asked.
I leaned down and kissed the side of her head. “Forever.”
Rags is a wonderful character from TheUsernameFound’s story: Colors Of Amour. To see where Penny went, read the prologue for Generation Four (4.0). ^_^ (But if you haven’t read it yet, you should read all of it :3 it’s amazing)