**Happy Fourth of July! Here’s some fluff!**
“I need coffee.”
The laugh was delicious but way too loud for this early in the morning. I glared at my boyfriend of two years for his indiscretion, but he was handing me a steaming mug filled with the sweet nectar of life, so I immediately forgave him.
“You don’t need it,” Mason said practically, though his voice held an affection that took the sting out of his words. “You want it. You crave it. You’re addicted to it.”
I took that first sip, loving the way the coffee was slightly too hot to drink, so it seared a little on the way down. I grimaced, then gave a huge sigh of relief. “Same difference.”
He shook his head. “You could give it up, you know.”
I cradled my cup against my chest protectively, glared hard, and quickly changing the topic. “Where are we going again?”
“To my uncle’s place on the lake.”
I needed more caffeine in my blood stream. “So we’re going for a barbecue slash picnic with all your family to hang out and drink all day until we migrate down to the lake shore to watch fireworks explode over the water?”
Mason nodded happily. “That about sums it up.”
Another hefty drink from my mug. “Okay, but why?”
“Because it’s the fourth!” He announced. I squinted at him like he was ridiculous, but Mason just laughed “Come on, Caleb. It’ll be fun.”
I slowly shook my head, and took my coffee with me as I headed down the hall. “All right then,” I shouted back. “I’m gonna need pants!”
Dark had descended, finally. In a few minutes, everyone would be moving closer to the lake to watch the fireworks display the county put on. It was always a big and spectacular deal. I thought they were pretty, but I didn’t have any particular longing to watch the explosions. When Mason’s uncle announced it was time to get ready, everyone–from the smallest toddler to 97 year old great aunt Gussie–stood with enthusiasm. I reached for another beer from the cooler.
“You don’t need that,” Mason said, suddenly at my side. He grabbed my wrist. I scowled, but his smile was so sweet I couldn’t hold it. He slid his fingers down to tangle with mine. “Come with me.”
I followed. I’d been doing it since we got together, and I wasn’t about to stop now. Mason was a kind, gentle, loving soul, and the last two years had been wonderful. Sure, we had our issues. All couples did. But I loved this man more than my own self, and if he wanted me to follow him into a shadowy and somewhat alcove of overhanging trees, who was I to argue?
He pulled me into his arms so that my back was to his front. We were essentially the same height, though I was a little leaner, and we fit well together that way. I loved having him surrounding me like that. He tucked his chin down onto my shoulder and kissed my neck just as the first of the fireworks exploded in a shower of red sparks.
“I was thinking,” he murmured, his lips right at my ear so I could hear him. “How about we celebrate Independence Day by giving up a little of our own independence?”
My breath came faster. “What?”
Mason’s chuckle was warm and reverberated up my spine. “Marry me.”
I turned fast. I didn’t care that everyone was clapping and cheering. I didn’t care that I was missing the spectacular display. I had to kiss him. Long and slow, and with all the love in my heart. When I pulled back, we were both breathing heavily, and a big burst of fireworks behind me lit up his face so I could clearly see the love there.
“Yes,” I practically shouted.
This was suddenly the best fourth of July ever.