“Oh, God. Why do you torture me like this?” Skye says, but her giggles betray her. She’s excited to be here.
“Don’t worry. If you get hurt, I’ll kiss your booboos. All of them.” I can’t help the lustful smile I know is on my face right now. Last time we were here, she fell hard on her ass. Got a big bruise. I spent hours kissing it better. I don’t think she minded one bit.
The blush on her face and the heated look she gives me tells me that she too remembers how much she enjoyed my ministrations.
I skate backwards holding both her hands. Skye must be the only Vermonter who can’t skate.
“I still can’t believe you didn’t learn to ice skate as a kid.”
“I did. Kind of. When I was eight, I fell, broke my arm, and that was the end of it for me. Books are much safer. The worst thing ever that happened to me while reading was dropping the Kindle on my face.”
I laugh, picturing exactly that. I can see it happening too. More than once I removed a book from her hands in the middle of the night when she fell sleep reading. But the next morning she swears she was wide-awake.
When the first song plays, Skye looks around, questions in her eyes. She notices for the first time that everyone else has left, and it’s just the two of us here. The lights over the bleachers are off. Only the ice is illuminated.
“Where’s everyone? Who’s playing the music?” she asks as the first notes of A Thousand Years by Christina Perri fill the empty rink with sound.
We got to the Riggins training ice hockey rink just before closing time. I pulled a few strings and got permission to use the place after hours, and the guy who usually mans the sound system agreed to play a selection of my own songs. Songs picked for this very moment.
“It’s after closing time. But they let us stay. Perks of being a former player.”
“I love this song,” she says.
She looks around. Everything but the ice is hidden in the shadows. We skate around the rink as the songs continue to play. Each song is a message from me to her. Each song was chosen because she loves them, but also because of the stories the lyrics tell.
I’m Falling Even More in Love With You by Lifehouse.
Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden.
Love Song by Adele.
She hums along with the songs, but still concentrates hard on her skating.
When we are near the center ice, I let go of her hand and let her skate by herself as one song melds into the next. Then I move away and skate faster around her, doing full loops in the rink.
“Show off,” Skye calls out to me.
I just smile as I pick up speed and skate as fast as I can. I love this feeling, the rush of cold air on my face, the glide over the ice as I push hard, dig deeper into the surface. I go faster than I would have been able to skate in a game. Most NHL players can reach speeds of twenty to twenty-five miles per hour during a game. But that’s with a stick in hand and bodies to avoid hitting. Skating like this? With no one to hinder my speed, I know I’m going way faster than twenty-five miles an hour. I do two more loops before coming at her and stopping several feet away so I don’t cover her in the ice that sprays off my skates. This is my cue. The moment I stop, everything goes dark. The rink goes silent but for the thundering inside my chest. Both from the exertion of skating so fast and from what is about to happen.
A little squeak comes from Skye as the pitch-black engulfs us.
“Logan?” she calls out to me.
“Stay where you are; don’t move.”
“Did we lose power?” I can hear the fear in her voice and feel a little guilty knowing that I put it there. Perhaps indirectly, but still.
“I’ll go check. Just stay there.” I hope she listens and stays right where she is in center ice.
Ten seconds later, Marry Me by Train starts playing in the still dark rink as I silently slide closer to Skye. When the song gets to the first Marry Me line, a single spot light shines above us. Skye blinks a few times, adjusting to the brightness, and then she sees me. On one knee right in front of her, a ring in my hand. A small gasp leaves her lips, and a hand goes to her chest. Tears shine in her eyes.
“Skye, there’s no one I love more than you. Every moment we spend together is the happiest moment of my life. Just when I think that there’s no way I can love you more, and what we have can’t get any better, you go and do or say something and make me a liar. Because it is better, and I love you even more. I never imagined that such a thing was possible. But it is. You made it possible. You made me a believer in love. Please, please, please say yes to being mine forever.”
She throws herself at me, and I fall back with her in my arms. When her lips find mine, they taste like forever and happy tears. I don’t know how long we stay there on the ice, Skye on top of me, us kissing and kissing, but it’s long enough for the song to end and another to start. At which point the lights blink twice and remind me that there is a guy in the sound booth, and he can see us. I break the kiss and gently push Skye back, sitting up with her kneeling between my legs.
“Is that a yes?” I ask, still holding the ring.
She starts to giggle and gives me her hand. “Yes. God, yes. I love you, Logan. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I need you. I’m yours.”
I slide the ring on her finger then. A promise of what’s to come.