A Proposal &
This is a short story featuring Ayden and Rome to be read after Earned Run. This is from Rome's POV.
My hands twisted in my lap as I kept my eyes focused out the window. Clouds drifted by while the plane sped through the sky.
“Rome…” Kasper’s voice drifted to me, breaking through my nerves and thoughts.
I turned to him. “What if he says no?”
“There’s no way he’s going to. Ayden loves you.”
“Maybe I should have done this while we were home.” I’d never been this impulsive, not where mine and Ayden’s relationship was concerned. I was taking a huge risk.
Ayden had been on the road in Las Vegas. They had a day game today, making it easy to do everything I wanted to tonight. Ayden had pitched and was a powerhouse as always. I caught bits and pieces of the game on the plane, but my mind was elsewhere.
I’d been thinking for a while I wanted to propose. Ayden was always doing things for me and I wanted to do something for him. Well, not just him. This was for me, too. When I told Kasper my idea, he helped me pick out a gorgeous ring from a jeweler who was a friend of his. I had a feeling I got a steep discount, thanks to Kas. Then we made plans to do this in Vegas. Ayden would never suspect a thing.
Kas asked Marcus to make sure Ayden went back to his room after the game. I really didn’t care how he got him there as long as he was in his room when we arrived.
A gentle hand touched my shoulder. “It’s going to be amazing.”
I was grateful for everything Kas had done for me since I’d met him, including flying us out to Vegas on his private plane and helping me arrange this. He was a great friend; one I didn’t take for granted.
A little while later, with assurances that Ayden was in his room with Marcus there stalling as best he could, Kas and I had landed and were on our way to the hotel. The platinum band felt like it was burning a hole in my pocket. I didn’t go for anything fancy. That wasn’t Ayden. I got myself a matching band. I’d thought about getting the date etched into them, but if this went sideways and he said no, I didn’t want the glaring reminder of the date there. The ring alone would be bad enough.
Kas had called ahead to the hotel and asked if we could come in from the back to avoid the public. Not that Kas would be as widely recognized here as in Espen, but with the Emperors in town, there were bound to be fans who would know who he was.
We slipped in unnoticed and made our way up the elevator to Ayden’s floor. As soon as the doors opened, there stood Callen and Vander. Their wide eyes had Kas stepping forward and telling them to be quiet in a hushed whisper.
Heat bloomed on my cheeks as I told them why we were here. “I’m going to propose to Ayden and see if he’ll marry me today.”
Both guys grinned so big. Next thing I knew, Vander had me wrapped in his arms. I let out a little squeak of surprise. “That’s great, Rome. Truly. I’m so happy for you both.”
Before they could ask anything, Kas said, “No one is going to be there for the wedding.”
“If it happens,” I cut in.
Kas gave me a pointed look. “But we’re going to throw a big party after. I already have a room reserved for the gathering. Food is catered. Everything is on me.” Kas told me it was part of his wedding gift to us.
“But if he says no…”
“He’s not going to,” Callen reassured me.
“If on the very, very off chance he says no, then we’ll still feed the team,” Kas stated. “Now, you two go do whatever. I’ll make sure Marcus keeps you posted.”
With that, Kas put his hand on my upper back to lead me down the hall to Ayden’s room. He didn’t give me time to talk myself out of this before he was knocking on the door. It opened a moment later with a stunned Ayden on the other side.
“Rome? What are you doing here?” Then he was hugging me in those strong arms I loved so much. “Come in.”
Kas remained in the hallway while Marcus left the room, giving me a subtle wink as he walked by. The door shut quietly behind us.
Ayden’s hands cupped my cheeks. “What’s going on? Why did you fly all the way here? Not that I’m not thrilled to see you. I am.”
I pushed up on my toes to capture his lips with mine. I had to do something to help settle my nerves and there was no better way for me to calm down than to be with Ayden. When I leaned back, I took his hand in mine and led him over to the bed.
He did so and stared up at me with curious eyes. It was one of the few ways I was taller than Ayden. He usually towered over me.
Reaching into my pocket, I palmed the ring box and shakily dropped down onto one knee. I heard Ayden’s soft gasp but focused on taking the box from my pocket and opening it.
I peered up at the man I loved. My voice shook when I spoke as emotion threatened to cut off my words. “Ayden, I never thought when I came to Espen years ago that I would be on the path to eventually meeting you. I never thought I’d find someone who’d accept me as wholly as you have. Who loves me and cherishes me as much as I do you. I know this is sudden, but I’m hoping it feels as right to you as it does to me. Ayden Thompson, you’re the love of my life. Will you marry me?”
I held the ring box up to him. Tears built in my eyes. When I caught his, he was fighting his own back.
“Yes, Rome. Of course, I’ll marry you.”
Then he bent down to pull me up onto his lap so I could straddle him and he could devour my mouth. Tears ran down my cheeks as I poured my love into the kiss.
Leaning away enough to drop his forehead to mine, he said, “I can’t believe you did this.”
I chuckled. “I can’t either. But that’s not all.”
“I want us to get married today at that little chapel that’s famous for Vegas weddings. Kas helped me arrange it all. But the wedding would just be the two of us. I wanted…” I took a moment to swallow down the lump in my throat. “You’re my entire world, Ayden, and I wanted this moment to be just for us. After, the team will be there in a room to celebrate with us. If you want that.”
He held me tight, those powerful arms still around me. “I love that idea. But my dad… I want him to be here. Shit,” he muttered.
I cupped his cheek, stubble coarse against my palm. “He’s here waiting to join the team after.”
“What? Are you serious?”
“Kas offered to fly him in with us, but he decided to take a commercial flight early this morning. He said he’d never been to Vegas before and wanted to do some gambling.”
Ayden laughed then kissed me again. “You’re so full of surprises, baby.”
“I’m glad you like them. I have two suits for us to wear and I packed some more clothes for the party.” Ayden didn’t like to dress up but I was hoping he would want to for this. I didn’t mention the sexy thong I had in my suitcase that was black with a little bowtie on the front of it. That was a surprise for later when we were back in our room for the night.
“How about you slip that ring on my finger and we get dressed so I can make you officially mine?”
With a hand a lot calmer than it was a moment ago, I took the ring from the box and slid it easily onto Ayden’s finger. “I have a matching band for me, too.”
Ayden glanced down to the ring on his hand then up at me. “Fuck, Rome, I love you so much.”
“I love you, too.”
We got the luggage from Kas then got dressed. Downstairs, at the back entrance of the hotel, was an SUV with tinted windows waiting to take us to the chapel. Kas really did think of everything.
Our wedding was small, just the two of us and the people at the chapel. It was intimate with soft music playing in the background, Ayden and I in our suits and words of love and devotion on our lips. It was everything I hoped for when I flew down here with this crazy idea to surprise him. And when he pledged his life to me and I repeated the words back to him, I knew this was just the beginning of our beautiful life together.