A Lifetime Loving You

483 days, 7 hours, and 11 minutes. That's how long it had been since my world had been turned upside down, put in a tailspin, and shot to hell. I'll never forget the horrifying moment that I found my sister lying lifeless on the floor or the feel of the cool metal cuffs encircling my wrists after being arrested, tried, and found guilty of her murder.

It was torture being separated from Ciara; rarely being allowed to touch when she would come to visit, with minutes remaining on my life ticking by as the date of my execution loomed closer and closer. I think back to the vision, I had of her while I was strapped to execution chamber table, poison dripping through my body, but the only thing I could think of is her.

"I Ciara take thee Ben to be my husband…"

I can't believe how beautiful she is standing here in front of me in her white lacy wedding dress. The sunlight streaming in from the church windows hits her at just the right angle and she looks like an angel sent from heaven.

But that is over and done with now. I snap the small box shut and place it in my pocket after retrieving it. I march inside the Salem PD and stroll into the main office, she said she would be waiting for me here.

When my eyes fall upon her figure, I can't help but smile. I know those curves like the back of my hand and could never forget them no matter how much time has passed by.

She's listening to Lani about something, but about what I can't pick up. Lani sees me and pauses then nods her head in my direction a tiny smirk on her face, causing Ciara to turn and look over her shoulder.

She's wearing a lacy white dress along with one of her black leather jackets. She makes me think of the vision that I had and takes my breath away.

"Ben," she squeals, running the short distance between us, launching herself into my arms. My arms wrap around her and lift her off the ground as she crushes my lips with her own. The few stolen kisses we managed in prison and my short stint on the run are nothing compared to this. This I know won't be stopped. This won't be taken away from me, from us.

I kiss her jaw and down her down, "Marry me," I whisper into her ear as I place her feet back on the ground.

"What?" she swats at my chest, "No," she giggles.

So, she thinks I'm joking. Alright in all seriousness asking her to marry me inside of the Salem PD lacks romance, which is something that she deserves. It's just that seeing he in that dress made me flashback and I want it to be true. I want Ciara Alice Brady to be my wife; forever and always.

"I love you," I state firmly as I stare deeply into her eyes.

"And I love you, baby."

"Let's get out of here. I want to take you to dinner."

She stares up at me arms still wrapped around my neck, "I could eat," she smirks, her eyebrow raised in a promise of what is to come later, "where are you taking me?"

"Haha…you'll see," I motion with my head toward the door, her hands slide down my chest and I reach out my hand for hers.

She takes it and we walk out of the station in silence to close the door on this awful chapter in our lives. It feels good to just be able to simply hold her hand and walk around town. I bring her hand to my lips and kiss it, "I've missed this…us," I sigh.

We continue to walk, and I veer off toward Julie's Place. Before I can open the door, she stops in her footsteps puzzled by my choice for dinner.

"My Grandma Julie's restaurant. Ben she's probably going to throw you out of here."

"You forget, I saved her life once," I smile back at her.

"But a lot has happened since then, Ben."

I pull and hold the door open for her, "Sure has. I was proven wrongfully accused and have now been released from prison for a crime I didn't commit."

The host asks us if we have a reservation, "We do under Weston," I smile down at Ciara.

"Ahhh, right this way," he takes us to one of the small tables toward the back of the restaurant and sets down menus for us, "here you are, your server will be with you in a few moments. I hope you enjoy your meal."

I pull out one of the chairs for Ciara to sit on and then push her up to the table. I take the seat across from her. She's confused as to what is going on.

"Spill, what's going on? For our first date, you tried to get a reservation here and my Grandma Julie kicked you out. How did you get a reservation?"

"Remember your Grandma Julie and I were actually on decent terms before everything went down. I saved her life, she even thanked me."

"Yeah but Ben, it's like I said, a lot has happened since then."

"Sure has. I've been released from prison for a crime I didn't commit," I stretch my hand out across the table and she eagerly rests it in mine. I give it a squeeze, "Once I knew I was getting out, I called your grandma and we talked, she actually apologized for not believing you and me when I claimed I was innocent."

"Really?"

"Really," I bite my lip.

As if on cue Julie walks over to our table, "Well if it isn't my beautiful granddaughter and her handsome beau." She wraps an arm around Ciara and pats me on the shoulder, "You two must be so thrilled to finally have this mess over with."

"Over the moon is more like it Grandma," Ciara giggles. That laugh just warms my heart as it is something that I have not heard in a very long time.

"Well, I just wanted to come over and say hello and to apologize to you once again, Ben. Truly I'm sorry I didn't believe my granddaughter or you, so even though I know it will never completely make up for my lack of support, dinner is on the house tonight."

"Oh no, Julie, you don't have to do that. With my past, I get it. You and Ciara's grandpa had every reason to not trust in my innocence. We'll be paying for dinner…I mean I'll be paying for dinner."

"Well, how about dessert?"

"You're not leaving until I say okay, are you?"

"Nope," she claps me on the back.

"Fine, but just dessert, nothing else."

She turns to leave, and throws back over her shoulder, "We'll see."

I shake my head and focus my attention back on the beautiful woman in front of me. The woman who I love with all of my heart and who did everything in her power to save my life, when absolutely no one else did. My thumb nervously goes to caress the back of her hand.

"Ciara, I need to…"

"Hello. I'm Ellen I'll be your waitress this evening. What can I get you this evening?"

I've never been here, since redesigning the place, so I have no idea what is on the menu, "I'm sorry. I haven't had a chance to look yet."

"We'll both have the fillet mignon medium well, with twice baked potatoes, and sweet teas."

"Great! I'll get this into the kitchen right this minute and be back with your drinks."

Our waitress skitters off, "You know me so well," I lean in to brush my lips over hers.

She pulls back smiling, "The menu really hasn't changed, just the name on the outside, and anyway I want you well fed. I have plans for you after this, Ben. Big plans that require lots of energy," she winks at me after she kisses my cheek.

I turn my head go in for more, but our waitress picks that moment to return with our drinks, thankfully she leaves quickly.

"So where are we staying that I'm going to need all this energy?"

"Unfortunately," she curls her lip, and it's so stinking cute, "back at my grandfathers. I know, I know it's not ideal, but the loft that I managed to find us wasn't available for another three days."

"So, we'll be spending the next three days at your grandfather's…Ciara, I don't know maybe I should get a hotel room. Your grandfather is never going to let me stay with you in his home."

"Oh yes, he will, I'm the apple of my grandfather's eye, and you're coming home with me. I just can't spend another night apart from you baby."

"Three days?"

She bites her lip and nods her head, "Two nights really, because we can start moving in on day three, and the mansion is so big we don't even need to see anybody if we don't want to. It can just be us."

"If you say so."

"I know so, Ben Weston."

Our food comes out and we quickly dig into our meals. It has been so long since I have had anything more than cafeteria food from the prison for a meal and I savor it, almost as much as I do the company I have during our meal.

Some jazzy music begins playing on the small stage on the opposite side of the room. Julie nods at me and winks. I push back my chair and stand up from the table. I offer my hand and quietly whisper, "Will you dance with me."

"Aww of course. You know I love dancing with you."

"Well I love dancing with you and holding you in arms to it's the best of both worlds for me really."

She takes my hand and I pull her up from her seat and lead her onto the dancefloor. She wraps her arms around my neck while mine wrap around her waist. The music had a pretty melody and we sway to it easily.

"Ciara, I love you."

"And I love you, Ben so, so, so, so much," she giggles up at me.

A new song comes on and I pull her more tightly into my arms.

Forever can never be long enough for me
Feel like I've had long enough with you
Forget the world now we won't let them see
But there's one thing left to do

"You know before everything happened, I had planned on doing something really special for you. To show you how much I love you, and how much you mean to me, Ciara."

"Ben before everything, you spoiled me and were always doing special things for me."

"Yeah maybe, but nothing like this though…"

Now that the weight has lifted
Love has surely shifted my way
Marry me
Today and every day
Marry me
If I ever get the nerve to say
Hello in this cafe
Say you will
Mm-hmm
Say you will
Mm-hmm

I take both of her hand in mine kiss the backs her of hands, then get down on one knee, "I feel in love with you the day that I found you and picked you up off the side of the road. I knew then and I know now that I want to spend my lifetime loving you and cherishing you." I swallow, then dig into my pocket to pull out the small box inside, and take a deep breath before I continue on, "I love you with all of my heart and all of my soul, and I was just wondering if you would be interested in spending a lifetime of loving me."

I open the small box that was in my pocket to reveal the solitaire diamond engagement ring that I had bought for her, almost two years ago, "Ciara Alice Brady, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife? Will you marry me?"

Together can never be close enough for me
Feel like I am close enough to you
You wear white and I'll wear out the words I love you
And you're beautiful
Now that the wait is over
And love and has finally shown her my way
Marry me
Today and every day
Marry me
If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe
Say you will
Mm-hmm
Say you will
Mm-hmm

She gasps, and takes one of her hands and clutches it to her heart, "You were kidding before, were you?"

Promise me
You'll always be
Happy by my side
I promise to
Sing to you
When all the music dies

"No, I wasn't, I just saw you standing in that station and it reminded me of the vision that I had right before my heart stopped. I saw you wearing I a lacy white dress and you were saying your wedding vows to me. I don't want to have to wait another moment let alone another two years to see you in a dress like that and hear you say those words to me. Ciara Alice Brady, will you please marry me and make the happiest man on this earth?"

And marry me
Today and everyday
Marry me
If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe
Say you will
Mm-hmm
Say you will
Mm-hmm
Marry me
Mm-hmm

Tears are streaming down her cheeks, but she has the happiest smile on her face, "Oh my God, yes Ben. Yes, a thousand times over, I will marry you.

I pull the ring out of the box and place it on her left ring finger. She places her hands on my face and stand back up on both of my feet.

"I love you, Ciara. You are my everything."

"I love you, Ben Weston, so damn much. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life loving you"

I capture her lips with mine in a hungry kiss and a promise of more to come and a much brighter future ahead.