“Not too much at all.”
“These were not cheap. Plus everything you bought for Roe . . .” I trailed off, mentally tallying up the sum he had spent on us for Christmas.
“I’ve been waiting thirty-four years to find the right woman. Finally did. Now I get to spoil her, so just get used to it.”
“Why?” I whispered.
“Why me? Why’d you pick me as your girl? I mean, I’m just me and you’re . . . well . . . you. Perfect.”
He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes for a few moments. When he opened them, his eyes had changed. They were no longer soft and gentle. They were firm and determined.
“I’m not sure where you got it in that head of yours that I’m too good for you. Because the way I see it, it’s the other way around. And it stops today. No more.”
Jess’s hands framed my face, his thumbs stroking my jaw gently.
“Baby, you’ve got the biggest heart of any person I’ve ever met. I’ve never known a soul who would have taken on an old man just so he wouldn’t be alone. Someone needs help, the first thing you think about is how you can do it. Christ, you offered to move a stranger in with you so he’d have a place to live after his house burned down. And you’ve raised the most precious little girl on the planet. When you look at her, you see beauty, don’t you?”
“Well . . . of course. She’s my daughter.”
He shook his head a couple of times. “She’s you,” he said. “In every way, she’s you. When you look at her and get that feeling of pride in your chest? When you look at her face and into her eyes and it makes your heart hurt she’s so beautiful? Georgia, that’s how I feel when I look at you.”
His words, describing exactly how I felt about my daughter, moved me so deeply that I started crying again, completely unable to stop the emotion.
Swiping the tears as they fell, he whispered, “I love you. Everything. How you don’t back down during an argument. How you take care of Rowen. Take care of me. That you don’t mind including my mother. How you invite my sister over for Christmas minutes after she treats you badly. So let me buy you whatever the fuck I feel like for Christmas, birthdays or just whenever. Okay?”
I nodded and sniffled.
Jess’s words penetrated deep into my heart.
We’d been together for months and I had always doubted us. But we made sense. I thought he was perfect. He was. But what his words finally made me realize was that he thought I was perfect too. We were perfect together.
I sniffled one last time and twisted my head out of his hands to get my necklace. After I put it on, I screwed on my earrings.
He lifted a finger to the jewel at my throat and muttered, “True beauty.”