Amadeo steps toward me, concerned but also confused. I look at Bastian and see how the hand at his side is a fist.
“You want to erase it?” I ask, feeling my lip tremble. “Erase me?”
Amadeo looks at me gently. “No, sweetheart, I don’t want to erase you. I don’t want to erase us,” Amadeo says.
“It has to be your choice. You have to choose. I gave you my word once. Freedom for you and Emma. It’s yours. With the condition that it comes with our protection of course. At least until you…”
“Until I what?” I snatch the pages out of his hand and glance down at them, then toss them aside. “Until I what, Amadeo? Marry again? Have some other man to protect me because I need protecting?” I’m not sure if I’m more angry or hurt.
Amadeo’s jaw tightens.
A low growl comes from Bastian. I give him one glance and see he’s put his whiskey down. It’s taking all he has to stay where he is and remain silent.
Amadeo steps toward me and takes my arms. “What do you want, Dandelion?”
“It doesn’t matter. You don’t want me.”
“For fuck’s sake,” Bastian says. I’m not sure if he’s talking to Amadeo or me when he comes to stand at my back, taking a fistful of hair and turning my head in his direction. “You think we don’t want you?”
I look at his face, the pain I’d once glimpsed on it that had made it hard to look at him, I see it again, there, underneath everything. A constant. That’s what damage does. It hovers. Ever present.
“I love you,” I tell him. It comes out of nowhere. No, that’s not right. It comes from my heart. “I love you, you fucking idiot!” I turn to Amadeo, slap my fists against his unmovable chest. “I fucking love you! You can’t just erase me. Erase us. That’s not how this works.”
Amadeo laughs, takes me in his arms and pulls me to him. “Oh, Dandelion, I was right about you, you know that?” he asks, not letting me get away when I struggle to. “You are absolutely insane.”
“Fucking nuts,” Bastian mutters at my back.
I look from one to the other.
“But I love you and if you choose to stay with us now, just know that we won’t ever let you go,” Amadeo says. “It just has to be your choice.”
I turn to Bastian, surprised? Not sure. Happy? Yes.
“That goes for me too, Dandelion. I love you, sweetheart,” he says, taking me from Amadeo as Amadeo releases me into Bastian’s arms.
“But nothing,” Amadeo says. “We love you. We want you to stay. We want Emma to stay. I want my ring on your finger. I want you, Dandelion.”
“Why even draw up those papers?”
“Because I gave you my word.”
“I have one request,” I hear myself saying, taking each of their hands.
“What’s that?” Amadeo asks.
“Another wedding. Just us and Emma and your mom. Bruno too, if you want.”
He looks confused, and I take Bastian’s left hand. “I want to marry you both, and I know it’s not legal, but fuck legal. I don’t care about that. I just want to belong to you both. And I want you both to belong to me.”
The three of us will say our vows on the beach. It’s not a legal wedding. Nothing like that. On paper, she will be Amadeo’s wife. But in reality, she will be ours. And the only people who matter are us so I’m with her when she says fuck legal.