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26.12.2018

“The kind who wants to make the world a better place.”

Then she spots my camera on the bedside table. She turns it over in her hands, biting her lip. “I guess I’ll just have to occupy myself . . . by taking X-rated selfies on your camera. We can develop them together when you get back.”

I take a second to enjoy the images that pop into my head—that hopefully will be showing up on my camera.

Then I hand her two extra rolls of film.

I take my time kissing her good-bye before I compel my legs to move to the door. Just before I walk out, Dee calls, “Matthew?”

I stop and turn to her.

“I love you.”

And just like every other time she’s said it today, a goofy, ridiculously happy grin appears on my lips. I walk back to the bed and kiss her yet again.

“For the record? I’m never going to get tired of hearing you say that.”

She smiles contentedly. “Hurry back.”

And I end up running the whole way to my bike—so I can do just that.

Outside Drew’s apartment door, it’s the same old same old. I pound on it and I call, but the only response I get is one bump of a baseball thrown against the door when I ask him if he’s still breathing.

I sigh and rest my hand on the door.

It’s time for some tough love. Well past the time for it, if you want to know the truth.

“Dude, you gotta man up. Whatever happened between you and Kate—however badly you f**ked up—it’s not gonna get any better if you don’t come out and deal with it.”

No response.

I try taunting him. “In all the years we’ve known each other, I never would’ve guessed you were capable of being such a gigantic pu**y. You realize you’re completely wrecking my image of you, right?”

Still nothing.

“Come on, Drew. Open the door. Remember how I was after Rosaline? You were there for me . . . let me return the favor.”

Third strike, and I’m out.

I tap the door, the way I’d tap Drew’s fist if these were better days. “Okay, man, have it your way. I’ll be back tomorrow, all right?”

Bam.

The door vibrates from the impact of the ball on the other side, and I know he’s heard me.

I shake my head as I walk back to the elevator. Because tomorrow, when I come back, I won’t be alone. I really didn’t want to have to do this—but it’s been a frigging week. He’s left me no choice.

It’s time to go nuclear.

I exit the lobby of the building, stepping out onto the sidewalk. Then I take my phone out and dial.

She picks up after two rings, greeting me by name.

“Hey, Alexandra. Listen, I need your help . . . it’s about Drew.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

So now you have the full story. The parts you didn’t get to see before, the answers to some of the questions that might’ve been bugging you.

When it comes to advice, I’m kind of tapped out at the moment—there’s not a whole lot left to give. But I’ll leave you with this:

Life is a short, wild ride. Don’t try to put the brakes on, don’t overanalyze or try to control it. If you’re lucky, like I was, you’ll find that perfect someone who’ll sit next to you and hold your hand through every curve, every up and down.

And that? Just makes it even more fun.

Epilogue

Six months later . . .

Las Vegas, Nevada. The Elvis Chapel. It’s technically called A Little White Wedding Chapel, but because there’s an Elvis impersonator officiating the services, it’ll always be the Elvis Chapel to me. We wait in an adjoining room for our turn, surrounded by signed photographs of the celebrities who’ve exchanged vows here over the years.

It’s been six months since our first kiss on the dance floor. Maybe you think that’s too fast. Maybe you think we’re crazy. But for Dee and me?

Crazy is actually pretty normal. Let’s look at how we became engaged, for example:

“Mr. Fisher, please lay back down!” the nurse yells in a commanding voice, but I ignore it.

What a f**king disaster.

Instead of a private, romantic evening at Dee’s favorite restaurant, I’ve somehow ended up in a hospital gown, on a gurney, in the back room of the goddamn ER. The only thing that could make it worse would be if the engagement ring was to get stolen by a sticky-fingered nurse or random homeless person.

I designed the ring myself, and it’s perfect. A flawless two-carat diamond surrounded by emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. It’s colorful, unique, just like Dee. Now I just have to give it to her.

I dig my pants out of the standard-issue plastic hospital bag and pull the ring box from the pocket. Then, before the nurses can stop me, I sprint down the short hall to the emergency room waiting area where Delores is. She stands up as soon as she sees me.

I walk to her and drop to one bended knee. “I want you to belong to me. And I want to be yours. I want to be the reason for your smiles. I want to spend the rest of my life listening to all your theories and teaching you the difference between a good movie and a bad one. I want to be eighty years old, holding your hand during couples skate—and I promise to love you every single moment from now until then. Will you marry me, Delores?”

Yeah—so that was my romantic proposal.

Dee didn’t want to have a long engagement, and I was thrilled about that. The “why wait?” philosophy is how we started, and it hasn’t let us down yet. So, here we are—me, Dee, Drew, and Kate—in Vegas for a quickie wedding and kick-ass celebration.

I look in the mirror and try to straighten my tie, but it doesn’t cooperate.

“Are you sure about this?” Drew asks from behind me, dressed in his own custom-tailored tuxedo.

“Never been more sure, buddy.”

I give up on the tie. Screw it.

“Are you really sure?” Drew asks. “It’s not too late to back out.”

I smirk. “It’s way too late.”

His eyes drop to my crooked tie, and he steps in front of me to fix it—like a father helping his teenage son on prom night. Once it’s straightened to Drew’s satisfaction, he puts his hands on my shoulders, looks me in the eyes, and says, “Are you sure you’re really sure?”

Kate’s frowning voice calls from across the room. “Drew?”

“Yeah, babe?”

“He’s sure. Don’t ask him again or I’m not going to be happy. And you won’t like it if I’m not happy.”