She was stretched out on the bed, propped up against the softest feather pillows she had ever had the pleasure of lying her head against. It was a cold day, the first snowflakes of winter were fluttering down outside, and she had a fire raging in the fireplace, the crackling of the flames was one of her favorite sounds. A book sat open in her lap but she couldn’t concentrate.
She was happy.
Really, and truly happy.
She had never thought that was possible.
It still hadn’t sunk in, she still got up each morning expecting pain and fear, but every day she was greeted with a new surprise, each more wonderful than the last.
“Good morning, beautiful.”
She looked up as the man she loved entered their bedroom. She couldn’t help but smile at him. It had taken them a long time to get to this place but now she felt like a princess living out her fairytale. She’d always thought that fairytales were just that, stories, fun to read but purely fiction, they didn’t happen in real life.
How wrong she had been.
“I need you to come out to the garden with me,” her boyfriend announced.
“What? Now?” It was snowing and cold and ten at night, what could he possibly need to show her in the garden that couldn’t wait until morning?
“Yes now,” he laughed, ruffling her hair. She hated when he did that, which was why he always did it.
“It can’t wait?”
“No, it can’t.” He suddenly looked so serious that she started to worry. Was something wrong?
She climbed out of bed and searched for something warm to put on over her thing white cotton nightgown, she was a hot sleeper and even on the coldest of days she couldn’t wear anything too warm to bed.
“Here.” Her boyfriend held out a white fake fur coat and a pair of fur lined boots.
Quickly she shrugged into the clothes, then let him take her hand and lead her down the stairs and out into the icy night.
He didn’t stop, pulling her along behind him across the lawn, and down through the grove of pine trees at the bottom of the garden. The more they walked the more she wondered. Where were they going? What were they doing? Why couldn’t this wait until it was light?
Then they came out into a small clearing and she froze.
The little wooden gazebo where they had spent many a lazy summer’s day together had been strung in a million twinkling fairy lights.
“What’s going on?” she asked, confused.
Instead of answering he tugged her onwards, through the swirling snowflakes that danced about, covering the world in a thick carpet of white and making everything look magical.
When they reached the gazebo there were thousands of white rose petals scattered everywhere. He was up to something but before she could ask what he had dropped down onto one knee.
“Piper Lyn Hamilton, will you marry me?” He looked up at her with such uncertainty that she couldn’t hold back her tears.
Judah. Her monster. Her lover. Her prince. Her soulmate.
He had brought so much pain and suffering to her life, and yet now he filled it with more love and affection that she deserved. He still had darkness inside him, she knew that would never go away. And occasionally he still hurt her, but ever since that day where she had tried to run away and upon being found had begged him not to hurt her, he had changed. Now he was devoted to her, he treated her like a princess, he asked her opinion instead of telling her what she thought or felt, he made love to her instead of selfishly ravishing her, he kissed her and held her hand and gave her massages, he loved her.
And she loved him.
Would life with Judah be perfect?
Far from it.
It would be filled with mistakes, and slip ups, and pain, and punishment mixed with affection and kindness, and most of all it would be filled with love.
With that she was swept up into Judah’s arms and showered with kisses.
“I love you, Piper,” he whispered against her lips.
“I love you, too, Judah.”
Whatever his problems, Judah was her Prince Charming, and together they were going to live out their fairytale happily ever after.