He started to speak, but she hushed him.
“My first thought was, ‘It’s too soon.’” She shifted to be closer to him. “I cried because I didn’t want… I don’t want to fly off and leave you. Not now when you’re still hurting, not now while we’re figuring this out. And there you were on my doorstep, and I had this crazy thought that I would cash it all in and stay here.”
He shook his head. “No—“
“I know,” she rushed on. “All those talks we had, all the time we’ve spent together this last month, and I’ve never even mentioned it… Have you ever had a dream so big you can’t tell the one person you feel like you really should? Like, if you give it words, it’ll fall apart?”
Oh, Molly… “Yeah.”
“I know we only met a month ago, and I know it’s selfish to ask you to wait until spring for me, but will you? Will you still be here in March when I get back?”
The blood was singing in his veins. Relief washed through him. “I’m not going anywhere.”
She launched herself into his arms, kissing him hard. She leaned back breathlessly. “Come on, let’s go introduce you to my folks. And Eddie.” She grimaced. “I’m sorry in advance about Eddie.”
He followed her back across the lawn, through the hedges, and across her yard. Introductions were a blur, and he found himself with a cup of coffee and a slice of pie, sitting in the Sanders’ living room while Molly’s family scattered to their own corners of the house.
She handed him a box from under the Christmas tree, wrapped and ribboned. “It’s not as nice as your present.”
Walt opened the box to find a pair of boiled wool slippers in a size far too small for his feet. When he looked up questioningly at Molly, she was grinning.
“House shoes for me to keep at the farm. Those floors get cold in the winters.”
He set the box next to him, and got up to cross the room to her. “That’s the most romantic thing anyone’s ever given me.”
Molly stood, wrapping her arms around him, close enough that she had to tilt her face up to look at him. “I’m going to have to work on that between now and when I go.”
“Merry Christmas, Molly.”
She touched her lips to his. “Merry Christmas, Walt.”