Eric's expression turned from horrified to terrified to enraged.
"Freeze you in time?!" he shouted. "Do you know how dangerous that would be? What are you thinking?! Do you want to die? That could happen, you know, Myst. You could actually die! How could you think of such a thing?"
"I didn't know," I said, slightly scared by the anger in his eyes. Behind it I could see pain and behind that I could see fear. I was so sorry to have caused him to feel those emotions. "Just forget I said anything. I just wanted to see if there was a way we could be together without me aging."
"Myst, you just suggested the most dangerous thing in the world! The laws of nature are strict. Not to be broken." Eric was furious. He really didn't need the next thing I said to him.
"You broke them," I pointed out quietly.
"And look what happened to me! I got turned into this! A non-living person who has to watch himself every day because he might be consumed by shadows! What kind of a life is that? You can't possibly be saying that that's what you want too!"
"I just want us to be together," I mumbled, ashamed of myself and wondering why I didn't just tell him I wouldn't press him further.
"We are together! Look at how close we are Myst!"
Pain overcame the fury in his eyes. "Don't you love me?" he asked.
Of course I did! I felt extremely guilty now. Eric should never feel that I didn't love him. He needed me, just like I needed him.
"I do," I told him.
"And isn't love enough to solve all the problems in the world?"
"It is, but..."
"But nothing, Myst. You love me. You know I love you too. That's all we need to be together."
I loved his words. I adored the way his voice caressed my ears and his eyes regained the intensity they had lost when he had been mad. But I couldn't help but think thoughts of tragedy and despair.
"But I'll die. And then we won't be together."
"'Course we will, darling," Eric said, hugging me tightly. "I'll keep you in my heart. And I'll be damned if I let death pull me out of yours."
I started to cry. Even though the feeling of being in Eric's arms was beautiful, even though are auras were entwining and weaving the most exquisite of patterns, I couldn't help but continue to feel sad. Time seemed to be my worst enemy. Each second, now, I wanted to spend with Eric. It wasn't enough for us to hang out together at occasional times in the day - I wanted to be right by his side for all of it. For all of each and every day I lived. For every part of the rest of my life, I wanted to feel the tug at my soul of the glorious link between us. No, scrap that. I wanted to feel Eric's soul combined with mine on the astral plane, proof of the unbreakable bond we had.
I had a sudden thought. It could be made stronger. There was a way I could always be reminded that I belonged to Eric.
I could perhaps forget the major problem we had to suffer the effects of if I improved something else in the relationship.
"I know this is unconventional," I said (earning myself a curious look from Eric), "but if I got my parents' permission, ..."
I took a deep breath. "...would you marry me?"