Carrie slid beneath the covers in the guest room. Her thoughts bounced from hope to despair. She had asked him. He hadn’t said no, but he hadn’t agreed to be her husband either.
She closed her eyes and visualized a scene that had been a feature of her dreams for years. A cathedral with sunlight streaming through a multitude of stained glass windows; A carpet of white rose petals covering the gray stone floor; Tony in a black tuxedo standing before the altar. He held out his hand and she floated toward him.
With a moan, she cut off the fantasy. She couldn’t let him discover how much she wanted this marriage to last longer than the short time she’d requested. Not when he didn’t love her.
She ran her hands over the white tee shirt--- soft, comfortable, his. She wished the spicy scent of him still clung to the fabric, but the only aroma belonged to the fabric softener.
Sleep seemed out of reach. Her thoughts raced. She couldn’t wait until tomorrow. She’d ask for his answer now. She slid to the edge of the bed. Maybe he had decided. She could slip down the hall to his room and demand to know his decision. Waiting was a drag.
With a sigh, she slumped against the pillows. She had to stay in this room and practice patience. If she appeared at his bedside, he would laugh the way he had years ago when she’d teased him to know what was in every Christmas or birthday present before they were opened.
What if he refused? Impossible! In all the years she’d known him, he’d never refused a reasonable request. Was a marriage proposal reasonable? Did she really know Tony today?
She curled her arms around her knees. He’d changed. His eyes held shadows and his face bore lines. Had the divorce completed what his father’s desertion had begun? Had Tony forgotten how to trust?
“Don’t go that way,” she whispered. Her future depended on his caring for her and his believing she wouldn’t hurt him.
The reality of what her life would be if he didn’t marry her was drab. Her days would be bound by her mother’s needs and that was only right. Until she’d finished college, her mother had worked as a secretary during the day and as a waitress on weekends.
She would do the same, but the inheritance held a promise she wanted. Until sleep chased them, her thoughts circled the possible scenarios that might take place in the morning.