1. Stories: My Paramount.

    “I should go, it’s getting late,” was the bait she tossed his way. “Ive got work in the morning, are you going to walk me out?”
    His mouth rested on his hands but his eyes always gave it away when he was smiling.
    “what’s so funny?” her slightly insecure pondering reflective of years she spent being laughed at, not with.
    “you…”
    “what about me?”
    “how you say it’s late like tomorrow is any reason not to enjoy tonight…”
    “being young is not an excuse…”
    He stopped her, “young, no…not being young…young and in love.”

    She’d never been in love before him. She’d never even been told she was pretty.
    On the first date he insisted she understood she was “beautiful” as her face turned red after she spilled on her brand new cotton dress.
    On the third he asked if she would consider not seeing anyone else, to which she coyly replied, ‘I’ll think about it,’ while an internal celebration ensued.
    And on every date he opened doors and walked her home. He called when he told her would call, she laughed at his jokes, and he learned that it takes much longer than he anticipated to cook someone dinner and they ordered takeout from the chinese restaurant.
    The weeks passed and her friends always said things like, “I can’t believe you guys already said you love each other…you’re just so lucky” and she knew she was, but he knew he was the luckiest.
    The day they met he felt reborn, like his past had been reset. He bought a book, the first since his courses mandated. He started making his bed, got new shoes, he even watched a video on how to iron a collared shirt. He called his mother more, and his mother said “she’s a keeper, so don’t mess this one up.” He started writing again, and he wrote a hundred drafts before he sent a letter to her father. When it was finally sent, he asked to go to visit where they stayed up all night before he approved.

    With her father’s blessing, in that moment truth and transparency saw their cue, “I love you.”

    He dropped to his knee and took her hand. “I may never have fortune, and I may never have fame, I am just a boy who has found the woman who makes him feel weightless. From the day we met, I prayed that you would let me stay. Because if you let me stay I promise to love you without hesitation, or regard for whether or not love is deserved. I promise to love you recklessly, with no attention to the cost. I promise to love you like the sun, as you never have to question whether it will rise. I promise to love you not just as my first and last, but as my only, my paramount.”