You open the book

Freddy takes a soul stilling breath. his heart pounding in his chest. He wraps his arms around her


Alisa follows suite as if preparing for a deep sea dive. “I was driving, we were coming over the crest in a blizzard and… well, the report said that it wasn’t my fault, but… the vehicle started to slip… I panicked…There was a man there; he tried to help, but it was too late. There was nothing anyone could do.”

“Alisa?” She nods. “What did your mom tell you?”

“The man that tried to help, he bought the farm on the other side of the mountain; he and mom are dating.”

Freddy couldn’t help but gasp “What?”

Alisa nods. “Yeah, when my Dad and I were trapped in the truck. He got the ambulance; I guess he… I don’t know. It’s I don’t know how I feel about it all.”

“That’s intense.”

Alisa agrees. “I know”

He holds Alisa close and asks a generous ask. “What can I do?”

She says what she has always feared, saying most, “Just stay with me.”

“Of course. I was thinking… Why don’t we go riding tomorrow?”

She nods at his suggestion. “Yeah, I can show you dad’s cabin.”

For the first time since they met, Alisa lets herself fall asleep content.

In the vessel suspended in the sky Michael sits in his living room. He watches the sun rising over the landscape as the house below wakes up. Alisa and Freddy go up to the stables, saddle some horses, and ride up the mountain. He throws stardust and snow on the land and paints the sky, hanging the tree branches with ornaments and candy canes. Alisa and Freddy arrive at a cabin situated at the top of a small rolling range. They light a fire, cook a small meal and talk.

“My dad built this place for my mom,” Alisa informs Freddy

He nods. “It’s nice.”

She sighs, a bit sad “It is.”

Freddy gazes at her, and for the first time since they met, she returns the look without apprehension. “Ali?” he says

“Yeah” She continues to look him in the eye.

He holds his breath gathering his courage. “I want to ask you something.”

His breath is caught in his throat. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately… A lot about us, I mean…”


“I heard what you said before, but that was a while ago… and I love you… I love you so much.” He pushes ahead.

“Freddy,” She is pushing the tears out of her throat, “I’m so scared and all the stuff that’s happened. I just”

He stops and waits. “Is anything certain? I think. My parent’s relationship is a mess, and there are so many things to fear in the world. When you find someone you can really be yourself with, you do everything you can to share your life with them, whatever it takes.”

He gets down on one knee. “Marry me, Ali.”


“I mean it. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

“Freddy, I’m terrified, but… Yes, I will”

You can see Michael take a leaf from a branch and throws it; the leaf gets stuck in the side of the cabin wall. Alisa and Freddy walk through the portal onto the viewing deck. He picks another leaf throwing it to the ground inside the page. Alisa and Freddy watch as Alisa’s parents interact with each other: meeting on the mountain, eating a meal, getting married, having Ali, etc.

As usual, Freddy is already holding me, but he pulls her in even closer. Tears are welling up in Alisa’s eyes… They stay like that for… well, who knows how long then they finally reluctantly relinquish their embrace. They ride down the mountain together to the stables then they walk back to the house. Ryan has come over while we were on the mountain. They all gather for dinner; once they have settled for the meal, Freddy leans over and whispers in Alisa’s ear.

“Should we tell them now?” She nods.

Freddy stands up, and all the mealtime chatter stops. “Ali and I have an announcement to make; we’re engaged.”

Elenor smiles like a cat in cream. “Why don’t you get married while you’re here?”

“Mom, that’s crazy… I mean…” She pauses

“Why not?” Freddy chides softly; a grin spreads across her face

“Okay then, sure.” After dinner, everyone makes their way to bed. Alisa pauses to see Ryan and her mom say goodbye at the door. She takes in a sharp breath, then turns up the stairs, and we both walk up together. For the first time, Freddy dares to kiss her on the lips, and she bends willingly into his embrace.

“You ready?” She nods.

“So ready; I’m sorry it took me so long.”

He shakes his head. “I forgave you for everything a long time ago; I love you.”

“I love you too. Let’s get some sleep.”

They go to our respective rooms. The sun rises over the landscape as the house rises the next day. Elenor wakes Alisa up, and they get ready for the wedding. Almost everyone from the theater company comes. They eat and dance and have a generally good time. Alisa and Freddy escape the party well into the night. Alisa and Freddy walk up the stairs. They head to Scotland; of all places, the mother of the bride is all too happy to keep the sunshine child on the happy couple’s departure. The mother says that she refuses to allow them to go without giving the poor infant a name. Since sunshine can’t be what is given, it must be something the child can live with; they finally land on Solana Ciara Black. Did I have a hand in this name? I’ll never say though you probably can guess.

Months later

It’s the middle of the night, and for the third time, Alisa is rising from the bed.

“Alisa?” She stops mid room

“I’m sorry I was trying to be quiet.”

“I can’t sleep without you, Angel. Alisa?”


“Are you pregnant?” she gasps, laughs a little, and coughs.


“Good, she needs a sibling.”

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