I Fell For My Nemesis - Chapter 150 - The Future Had Never Been Brighter
Jocelyn had never put any thought into leaving her tiny apartment until the first time Keith hit his head on the ceiling. It was far from the last.
She realized that such a tiny space was not meant for two people since it barely worked for one but she couldn’t afford to move somewhere else on her own and was afraid to take the next step. They really hadn’t been officially together all that long. She told herself it would be acceptable to bring it up once they had been together a few more months.
So when he brought it up first she was overcome with emotion. Living together was a big step. One that hinted of permanency. The very idea of permanency of any sort after the life she had lived made her want to cry.
Jocelyn threw herself wholeheartedly into apartment hunting because he was busier than she was and she was so excited about it. She found a cute little one-bedroom place in Brooklyn where they would have a real kitchen and a living room that was only $1,100 a month.
It wasn’t in the best part of town but she figured two former heroes would be able to defend themselves if it really came down to it. This way they would be able to save up for other things, including potentially buying a bigger apartment in a better part of town someday. Thinking long term could be scary but there was something pleasant about it too.
She was able to find someone to take over her micro-studio easily—another poor lost soul who was never home so it didn’t matter how small it was. She felt sorry for them. And for her younger self for living like that.
There was so much more to life than helping other endlessly while you were running on empty. There were ways for even someone as dead inside as she had been to feel alive.
Jocelyn never would have discovered that if she hadn’t met Keith and been daring enough to follow him from restaurant to restaurant solely so he would continue to make her laugh. That desperation for a tiny bit of amusement had completely changed the course of both of their lives.
It was crazy how something so small could end up meaning so much. She never would have expected that.
These days she had things she looked forward to. Likes and dislikes. Hobbies. She was HAPPY and that was something she never thought she would experience.
Jocelyn had Keith but she also had friends. People she met in her various classes who occasionally wanted to get together for lunch when her boyfriend was sleeping in on weekends. And there were Christian and Avery, who occasionally invited them out for more group activities like the escape room.
She had added Angelo, Vanessa, Jorge, and Maribel on social media because of that as well. Leah’s old unrequited love got engaged around Christmas and seemed very happy. She was glad things worked out for him.
She was doing better too these days, trying to focus on healing before putting herself out there romantically again. Which was exactly what she should have done in the first place after going through something so traumatic. Jocelyn wasn’t worried about her. She was making great progress.
That was one of the few satisfying things about her job. When her clients were doing well enough that they cut down on the number of times they needed to come in per month. It was when she felt like she made the most difference for people.
Jocelyn’s job had never been too difficult to deal with because her emotions were locked behind a wall of ice. That hadn’t changed even now that she was showing emotions more outside of work.
Compartmentalization was necessary as a therapist. Just not as a normal person trying to have a real life.
Work was work. Home was home. Before, her life had been all work even if the types of work she had been doing were different. That hadn’t been at all healthy.
Things were so much better now. She still didn’t like having a schedule so different from Keith’s but she was finding more and more to do when he was gone that made her happy too. She wasn’t entirely dependent on him like before.
Jocelyn got home from getting lunch with her friends Patty and Maren from her cooking class and discovered her boyfriend was still asleep so she decided to work on a thousand-piece puzzle and listen to a podcast. About thirty minutes later she felt him slump forward on her shoulder.
“Morning, Joss,” he said sleepily.
“I think you mean afternoon.”
“Honestly, it’s the same thing at this point. Did you have fun with your friends?”
“I did. Maren is a really funny storyteller. She manages to make everything her son does sound hilarious whether it actually is or not. He seems like quite a troublemaker but he’s adorable. I’ve seen plenty of pictures and videos,” Jocelyn told him.
Keith mumbled into her shoulder. “Does that sort of thing appeal to you?”
“What sort of thing?”
Jocelyn momentarily froze. She had never given it any thought. Suddenly, she wondered if Keith had. His tone was almost too casual.
Why was he asking this? Did he want to have kids with her? She had never intended to be a mother but she hadn’t intended to get romantically involved with anyone either. She couldn’t deny that it was a scary thought but not an entirely unwelcome one.
She had interacted with kids plenty both in her job and as a hero. Dealing with their trauma was difficult but any child she gave birth to would have a clean slate. She knew how to handle tantrums and such too.
She could probably be a decent parent. At the very least she would never behave the way hers had. That wasn’t the sort of person she was.
“Not until about ten seconds ago,” Jocelyn said evenly. “Why do you ask?”
Keith’s tone remained casual. “Bailey and Daniel are really cute. The whole ‘family’ thing never really seemed like something I wanted to do until I saw how happy Christian and Avery are with their kids. If they can do it, why can’t we? Only if you’re interested though. I could go either way.”
Was this how other people felt being hit by her bluntness? She was stunned and unsure quite how to respond. There was a lot to unpack from what he said there.
He said he could go either way but he really wanted a family with her, didn’t he? But he loved her enough that if she didn’t he would still stay with her as just the two of them. The real takeaway she got from this was that he wanted to be with her forever.
“That’s a big commitment. You would be stuck with me for a minimum of eighteen years,” Jocelyn said stupidly.
Keith let go of her and walked around so he could make eye contact to show he was serious. “I would never consider myself ‘stuck’ with you, Joss. I would happily be with you five times longer than that.”
“You’re still planning on being alive at one hundred sixteen?”
“You actually did the mental math?! Never mind, of course you did. You know what I mean though. I…well…whether we have kids or not, I know I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I’ve known that for a while now.”
The puzzle piece Jocelyn was holding fell through her fingers. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. She hadn’t misread his signals about wanting to move in together. Permanency was on his mind too.
“I do too,” she admitted.
She couldn’t imagine her life without him. She wanted to be by his side learning, growing, and laughing with him forever.
Keith grinned at her before clearing his throat and getting down on one knee, taking her hand as he did so. His bedhead was all over the place and he was wearing plaid pajama pants with a smiley face t-shirt but he had never looked so handsome to her.
“I’m sorry this isn’t fancier but…will you marry me, Joss?”
Jocelyn’s throat closed so she wasn’t able to speak but she did nod fervently as giddiness overtook her. Relief flooded his face and the second he got up from the kitchen floor she tackle hugged him.
Getting used to being in a relationship hadn’t been easy. She knew better than most how difficult maintaining a marriage could be but if it was with Keith she knew things would be alright.
They loved each other and had already proven they could be a great team as both Frostine and Delta and Jocelyn and Keith. As long as they continued having each other’s backs they could get through whatever life threw at them. Together.
Overwhelmed with love for him, she kissed him fervently for a while. When they pulled apart he had the happiest smile she had ever seen on his face but simultaneously looked a bit sheepish.
“So…uh…do you want to go get a ring? It’s going to have to be a fake stone for now because I don’t have much but—”
“I don’t mind!” Jocelyn said quickly.
She had never cared about jewelry. She didn’t even have her ears pierced. Anything would work as long as it was proof that she would be his forever.
Keith seemed relieved. “Alright. Let’s go then!”
“In your pajamas?”
“Right. Forgot about that. Give me a minute then we can go.”
He came out of their room a moment later wearing jeans and his favorite leather jacket. He held his hand out to her and she gladly took it, hardly able to believe this was actually happening all the way to the jewelry store.
Jocelyn couldn’t stop staring at the ring on her finger once they left. It sparkled in the light even more than snow did.
“We should take a picture,” Keith suggested.
An excellent idea. She had never been one for taking pictures because she had no desire to remember anything before the two of them started going out. He was the one who wanted to take pictures of the things they were doing as proof of their experiences.
Jocelyn laid her hand on his chest so the ring was on full display and flashed her brightest smile at the camera as he took a selfie of the two of them. As she looked at the picture afterward she thought of how far she had come.
She never thought she would smile so happily back when people regularly accused her of being an ice statue. If they could see her now they would never believe it.
But that didn’t matter now. The past was behind her.. And as she looked over at her fiancé making the picture his new lock screen with an equally joyous smile on his face she thought that the future had never been brighter.