Erica had taken an entire second week off from work on the assumption that Aaron would say yes to her proposal. She had imagined they would spend it having sex, having room service, taking selfies while drinking champagne, cliff diving and snorkeling until it was time to go back to bed and disturb the neighbors again. Instead, they spent another day with Aaron’s family, then a third day on an underwater tour of his world. They did get to disturb Aaron’s underwater neighbors instead. It was awkward at first, but being able to do underwater acrobatics to their hearts’ content had its advantages.
The next day Erica and Aaron passed back through the vortex. Erica felt like she’d suddenly dropped lead weights onto her chest as she passed through. She kicked hard for the surface, then gasped for air. It did taste sweet, and it felt light as feathers on her face. Erica blinked. The stinging sunlight felt good on her eyes, too.
Aaron popped up alongside her. A small pouch about the size of his thumb hung around his neck. He wouldn’t say what it was, but he’d picked it up yesterday. Aaron looked around. “Which way is the beach?”
“It’s behind you. Quarter-mile off, right where we left it.” Aaron worked on treading water as he tried to see it. “So you’ll need to quit your job. I’ll need to get a sabbatical from mine.”
“I can talk to the director at the university where I got my degree. He owes me some great big favors.” He smiled. “Are you sure you want to do this?”
“It’s the adventure of a lifetime. Of course I’m sure.” They were going to split time between her world and his. First they would spend a year under the ocean. Then they would live on land again while spending weekends with Aaron’s relatives. They were brainstorming ideas to work their way around coastlines of the world and see what there was to see.
“All right, then. I need to tell you something.”
“Don’t tell me you’re Bigfoot.”
He reached into the pouch—no mean feat while he treaded water with just his legs—and took out a ring, a pearl surrounded by little diamonds. “I will happily marry you. You make me the luckiest, happiest man on Earth or sea. Will you marry me?”
“Come here, you goof.” She kissed him. Aaron tasted like salt and stars. She hugged him. “Yes!”
I liked this one! The end felt a little rushed and I want to get into Erica and Aaron some more, but overall I liked the characters and the otherworldliness of the story.