She’d had boyfriends before, spent her teenage years crushing on this boy or that, longing for them to ask her out and then, when one did, finding out that looks weren’t everything. She’d dated her share of boys and liked most of them quite a lot, two or three she’d even fancied herself in love with, but she’d realised later it was just infatuation.
Owen was different. They’d literally bumped into each other in the canteen of the big teaching hospital where they were both student doctors. Neither of them had been paying attention to where they were going and so they’d ending up in a tangled heap on the floor. Before she knew what was happening, she’d found herself looking into the face of a man she’d barely noticed before, and at rather close quarters. It wasn’t a bad sort of face either. She couldn’t say he was really good looking, not in the classical sense; he looked a bit gaunt, his ears were on the large side and his mouth so wide he resembled a frog. Lucky for him, she’d always had a soft spot for frogs.
But it was his eyes that got her attention first; warm and brown, like liquid chocolate. He had a nice smile too, despite his too-wide mouth, and when he cheekily asked if he might buy her lunch, since he’d already made her fall for him, she’d found herself laughing and accepting.
Lunch turned into a regular thing, and before the week was up they were dating. Soon, they were spending whole nights together and she knew that this was the real thing. Owen was cheeky and funny, but serious when he needed to be. He could stand up for himself, took no nonsense from anyone, but with her he could be the gallant gentleman, the playful lover, the comforting presence when things got her down. He wasn’t perfect, was a bit of a brawler and got into trouble from time to time, but he was a good man and he lit up her world in a way no one else ever had.
So when one night after a delicious dinner at a cosy little restaurant, he went down on one knee and proposed, she’d said yes, feeling on top of the world. He was her first love, and she knew he’d be the one she would love for the rest of her life.
She was the first girl he’d ever loved. Not the first he’d kissed, not by a long shot. Not even the first he’d slept with, there’d been more than a few of those; brief relationships, drunken shags, satisfying in a physical sense, but never emotionally. Katie was different from the start. She was the first to make his heart skip a beat at just the sound of her voice, her smile, the touch of her hand. The first to make him think that yes, he could see himself settling down with her, getting married, raising a family. He knew he could spend the rest of his life with her and be completely happy.
From the moment he’d met her she’d charmed him with her bright smile, her gentleness and her strength. She made him laugh on days when he thought he was too tired to even manage a smile, and she made him feel like he could do anything at all just because she believed in him. He’d never had that before, not even from his mother, who’d always said he was a disappointment and would never amount to anything. Katie inspired him, made him a better person, and there was nothing he wouldn’t have done for her.
So one night, he took her to a romantic little bistro and proposed. When she said yes, he felt as if he was floating on air. Everything was perfect; they would be together for the rest of their lives. Owen could hardly wait.