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Author's Chapter Notes:

This was written really randomly and I'm not sure that it's very good. Sort of inspired by my hours of staring at those new People outtakes of John. You know.


Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

He takes her to the city and they stand on the roof of the Empire State Building at night with all the city lights behind him. It’s winter and he’s pulling his coat around him to block out the cold. She’s looking over the edge and thinking about how long it would take to reach the ground. She gets that dizzy feeling like she’s about to fall and reaches out for his arm. The wool of his coat feels warm and solid beneath her palm. When she looks at him, he’s got the city reflecting in his eyes.

She says, “I love you.”

He smiles and holds her hand and stands behind her as she looks over the edge. It makes her feel safe and he knows that. She’s afraid of heights. She’s afraid of a lot of things: the endlessness of outer space, insects that are bigger than her fingernail, things that she can’t see (but not necessarily the dark), and then the bigger things that everyone’s afraid of somewhere deep inside of them. Like being alone or never finding true happiness or making the wrong decisions. There are plenty of things that make her shake, but this is one that he can fix right now. This is one thing that he can make her feel better about.

They’ve been together for two years and this is something they do. Go to the city and stand on the top of this building. It’s like those songs about statues or monuments being built for people, ordinary people. He’s heard so many songs where statues and monuments are being built for someone and this is what standing on top of this building feels like for him. Like they’re taller, better than anyone. And they look out over the edge while he makes her feel safe and they watch the people down on the street, look at the skyline, the starless city sky.

And they feel centered, whole, right.

He wants to promise that he’ll build a monument for her. That he’ll gather all the stones and build them up until it’s as tall as the Empire State Building and people will come from all around just to look at it and it will all be for her. But he knows that’s insane and he isn’t one to make promises he can’t keep.

She said she’d marry him last night.

They were in the hotel and she was sitting on the bed in this new nightgown that was this soft purple color and the fabric slid against his fingers like air and he’d said, “I want to marry you.”

And she’d laughed, he felt it through his mouth that was, at the time, pressed to the dip in the middle of her collarbone. She’d laughed and said, with her fingertips running along his scalp, “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”

He’d laughed then, too. He lifted his head and kissed her on the mouth and then said, “So?”

“So, what?”

“Will you?”

She’d pulled him completely against her, his face getting buried in the pillow, in her hair. Her arms around his neck and his hands on her waist. She’d said, “Yes.”

After that, everything was slow and warm and overwhelming. And he ran his fingers up and down her arm until he felt the hairs start to rise and said, “I’ve wanted to marry you for five years.” It made her smile in a sort of sad way and she’d fallen asleep soon after.

Now, with the city spread out underneath them, like it’s lying at their feet, willing to do what they tell it to, she turns around in his arms to face him. She leans back against the guard rail and presses her hands to his chest. The neon lights from marquees and billboards, the orange glow of the streetlights, the way her breath comes out like smoke and hits his chin, sometimes his neck. He kisses her. Or maybe she kisses him. It’s hard to tell these days, because they always seem to be on the same page. Not that it’s predictable or boring now, no. It’s more like they aren’t two people anymore. It sounds ridiculous in his head, but he can’t tell where it is that he actually ends and where she begins. And he also can’t tell where it is that they come together. He thinks maybe it’s everywhere, anywhere. But he knows it’s probably right there, right now, where her hands are resting just to the right of his heart.

She moves her hands up to his collar, pulling at it and hiding her fingers underneath it for warmth. The tips of her ears are bright red and sometimes when she’s cold she sticks her hands inside his pockets and smiles up at him, pulling him against her.

She says, “Can we live here?”

“Here? At the top of the Empire State Building?”

She smiles in that way that makes him feel light, “Yeah, right here. I want to live here above everything else and just-”

He stops her, pressing his mouth to hers. And then he pulls back just enough to say, “Yes. Fine, anything.”

She reaches a hand up and pushes his hair to the side, out of his eyes. “Here’s the thing, when I’m up here with you, it’s alright. You know? I’m not afraid when I lean over the railing. And I like that feeling. I want that feeling forever.”

He’s already planning where her monument would go. In her mother’s backyard, he thinks. Right next to the camellias- No, no. Next to the crepe myrtle. She loves that pink crepe myrtle.

She turns back around, looks down over the railing and doesn’t feel like she’s going to fall.

unfold is the author of 102 other stories.
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