MAYA. My belly was full with hot chocolate and two delightfully fattening croissants from our favorite bakery as we walked through the park. The air was cool, but on the inside I was warm. We settled onto a bench facing the Manhattan skyline. Cameron’s legs stretched onto the pathway and I rested against his shoulder, his arm cradling me to him. I smiled.
The past few weeks had been hard, sad in so many ways as I said goodbye to my mother. But having Cameron by my side had reassured me. If I’d had any lingering doubts that he could pull me out of any hell and bring me happiness, they were put to rest. I only hoped I could do the same for him whenever he needed it. I owed him that much. I owed him everything.
In the distance, a small mass of black birds drew a broad path across the sky. A moment later they’d each made landing among the trees around us. Aside from the random shuffling of feathers and the casual chirp, they were mostly silent, almost as if in reverence to the light snow that had begun to fall.
“There are so many of them,” I whispered, not wanting to scare them off.
Cameron looked up. “Beautiful. Kind of eerie though.”
“I don’t think so. You know black birds are actually lucky.”
He looked down and gave me a slanted smile. “Really?”
“Yeah. They represent transformation. They’re supposed to connect us with life’s magic.”
“That sounds corny, but promising,” he said softly.
I smiled, reveling in Cameron’s own magic, the spell only he could put me under. “I think so too. Not corny, but the promising part.”
I reached up and kissed him softly. When I broke away, his eyes clouded with emotion. Before I could question the reason why, he dropped on one knee in front of me. From his coat pocket, he pulled out the same black box I’d seen before. My heart thundered in my chest. I’d already given him his answer by nearly begging for his, and for the past few weeks that had been enough. I hadn’t given the ring or any of the formality another thought. I was his, and he was mine. We’d make it official eventually. I had absolutely no doubt that’s what I wanted.
Opening the tiny box, he revealed a beautiful ring that sparkled radiantly even in the dim light of the day.
“Maya Jacobs.” His voice was low, thick with love. “I’ve waited a long time to do this right. I want you in my life forever. Will you be my wife?”
Before he could get the words out, I was nodding, smiling and tearful. “Yes. I will.”
Smiling broadly, he slipped the ring onto my finger. When it was securely in place, I didn’t waste a second reaching for him, hugging him with all my might.
“It’s symbolic, Maya. I want to give you so much more.”
“You already have. You’ve given me the best times of my life and we’ve only just begun, Cam.”
He pulled me back enough to kiss me, warm tender kisses full of meaning. “And you’ve given me mine.”
“I love you so much.”
“Love you too, baby.”
I smiled. Warm tears of happiness brimmed my eyes. I drew in a deep breath, overwhelmed and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world. Nothing would ever keep us apart.
With a wild clatter, the birds above us suddenly took flight in groups, and one by one they were all gone. We watched as they disappeared into the snowy sky.