"I'll marry you." JJ stated flatly. She could see him turning the thoughts over in his head, already planning everything out.
"Wow, I can feel your excitement. But I can't ask you to do that." Haley crossed her arms in front of herself protectively. This was exactly what she didn't want – JJ to play hero for her. She knew where her feelings stood for him, but she didn't want JJ to feel obligated to help her. She'd handle this like she'd handled everything else in her life – by herself.
"You didn't ask – I offered." Haley rolled her eyes, but JJ kept going. "I'm serious, Haley. It could work."
"No. It's not happening." She turned to walk away, but JJ grabbed her hand. The sparks that shot up her arm stopped her in her tracks, but she refused to turn around for fear that he'd see how much she wanted to say yes, it could work. How much she wanted to be with him.
"Haley, wait. I know you're scared. And if you're not comfortable with it, I won't bring it up again." She felt him take a cautious step forward. Why did it feel like her feet were nailed to the ground? She knew she should just leave and forget it, forget him. But she couldn't. The sincerity in his voice was what was rooting her to the floor. "Haley, look at me." He whispered, tugging gently on her hand.
As she turned around, she tried to avoid his warm brown eyes, but they were like a magnet, and she couldn't tear her gaze away. She could see the compassion in his eyes, the same compassion she'd seen in his eyes when he'd found her that first night. Back then she hadn't believed him, but she knew better now. He was the most caring, empathetic, loving guy she'd ever met, and the way he was looking at her now almost made her hope that he shared her feelings for him.
"JJ, you're really sweet, but I don't want you to make that sacrifice. You're not obligated to help me, and I won't let you give up your life for me." He opened his mouth to protest, but she continued on. "And even if you say you're okay with that now, what happens later when you want to have a relationship with someone else? I won't let you put your life on hold for me."
"Okay, first – I don't feel obligated. Second – you want to know what would happen if I became interested in someone? I can tell you right now, because it's not going to happen. After Lani and I broke up, I wasn't sure if I'd find love again. I thought that I'd lost my last shot at love, and I never thought I'd feel that again. But then I met you. And Haley – I don't know if you feel the same way, but I have feelings for you. You're the first girl that I've met that's given me hope that I could find that love again, so when I say that I don't feel obligated to help you – it's the truth. Because my reasons for helping you are completely selfish. The truth is, Haley, I don't want to lose you." JJ said, his eyes shining. Haley just stared at him for a moment, almost breathless with the shock his words carried. This was what she'd wished for all of her life. All she'd ever wanted was for someone to care about her as deeply and earnestly as JJ did. And the fact that it was JJ, it made it even better.
Haley squeezed his hand, trying to form a sentence that could encompass all of her feelings for him. Instead, she hesitantly leaned forward but stopped just before their lips touched. It felt like hours until JJ closed the distance with a knee-weakening kiss. JJ's hands slid around her waist and she ran her fingers up into his hair, as she raised herself up onto her tiptoes. In that kiss she felt the truth behind all his words, and she hoped that he felt all that she couldn't say in their shared breath.
They broke away, both gasping for air, still clinging to each other. "I don't want to lose you either, JJ." Haley whispered. "But if this doesn't work-"
JJ squeezed her waist gently. "I know the risks. But we'll make it work. I promise, I won't give up on you. On us."
Haley smiled, and smoothed her thumb over his jawline. "Well, I guess that means I'm going to have to start calling you 'husband'?" she asked.
"I think you're right, Mrs. Deveraux." JJ smirked, wrapping his arms around Haley and lowering his lips to hers.