Chapter 1 “Teddy! Let go of me!” Jo yells, as she tries to spin out of Laurie’s reach. She attempts to spin quickly, trying to catch him off guard. Unfortunately for Jo, but the opposite for Laurie, he’s fast and catches her waist before she can make a full circle, stopping her to look right at him. Jo looks up into her fiance’s eyes, and her stubbornness melts away. Her heart swells at the look on his face, which fills his eyes with love. Laurie pulls So close to him, and she rests her head just below his shoulder, not tall enough to reach. She can feel his heart beating, and she knows she made the right choice, all those months ago.
“I’ve missed you Laurie” Jo says. They’re walking through the familiar field they once walked through all those years ago. She still couldn’t believe that he was finally back. After a while, she felt he would never come back. After, she dreaded him coming back. Afraid he would come with a wife, leaving her behind. She decided to not write the message she had so wanted to write. To her luck, though, Laurie came back with no partner.
“I missed you too Jo.” Laurie looks ahead of him, thinking about his years in Europe. They had been drunkenly wasted, and Laurie had made a social fool of himself. No matter how hard he dried to wash Jo from his thoughts. No matter the amount of alcohol he consumed, or the number of ladies he had… been with. Jo was never far from his thoughts. He had tried so hard, leaving her letters to sit unread, getting rid of every single thing that reminded him of her.
But he would always end up in his room, scanning the letters for any sense of what she was feeling. He could never take the ring Jo gave him off his hand. The one thing that still held his connection to her while away. The item that represented the part of his heart that would always hope for Jo. When Laurie got back, he didn’t know what to expect. He was glad to see that Jo had missed him, just as he did her. She had hugged him the second he was through the Marches door. They had spent the last several weeks catching up and avoiding the obvious.
“I missed you so very much, Jo. If you had seen me when in Europe, you would have given me such a lecture. You’re lucky Amy was there to do it for you. I was wasting away, too caught up in my petty grief, and trying to drown every thought of you in alcohol and women.” Laurie stops short when Jo halts her steps. He thinks back on what he’s said and is horrified how much he has shared. He looks to Jo, trying to see her thoughts, but her expression is blank. Laurie can’t take back what he’s said and saying more will make things worse. No, he has to wait for her to react before continuing. She’s already been silent far too long, contemplating what to say.
“I caused you that pain?” Her voice is small. So un-Jo like that Laurie’s heart breaks a little. She thinks his behavior is her fault. A year ago, he would have said the same thing, but Amy showed him who he’d become. Now, as Jo thinks those thoughts, he shames himself for thinking all that time ago, Laurie gently rests a hand on the side of Jo’s face. She refuses to look at him, so with his hand he brings her wet eyes up to his.
“You could never cause me pain, Jo. Not even back then, when we stood here in this field years ago. I was hurt, yes, but the pain I experienced in Europe was my doing. Do not blame yourself for my actions.” Jo nods and pushes his hand down.
“Teddy, I’m so sorry for denying you then! I still think I made the correct choice, but the way I said no, the reasons I said no. You deserved, deserve better than that. Marmee pointed out, after you were gone in Europe for a few months, that she thought the real reason I said no was because you were the one constant in my life, and I didn’t want our relationship to change. It scared me. I felt as if everything was changing, and then our friendship was also changing and I didn’t want that, so I ran. And I’m sorry for causing you to hurt Teddy.” It shocked Laurie. Jo had changed in the past years. 15-year-old Jo would never have opened up to him like that before. They had both changed a lot in the years they’ve been apart. Matured and learned.
“It’s okay, Jo. We both have grown up. It’s in the past.” Jo smiled sadly. They both continued walking, a peaceful silence surrounding them. Finally, Jo broke the silence.
“I wrote you a letter you know. I never sent it, but I’ve thought a lot about it.” Laurie gave her a curious look, and his eyes only grew wide when she took a piece of paper from her dress pocket and held it out to him. He took the envelope that had his name written on the outside. He looked at her for confirmation whether to open it. Jo nodded her head, so Laurie opened it. He had to reread it twice. The first time to believe what she wrote, and the second to understand what she had written. It said Jo wished she had said yes. But didn’t she just say a moment ago that she made the right choice back then? He looks up from the letter. Jo is nervously biting her lip.
“Well? What do you think?” She looks almost irritated at his slow comprehension.
“I don’t understand. What does that mean? You said you don’t regret saying no, but this letter says you do.” Laurie’s trying not to get his hopes up, she can shoot them down just as quickly. Jo shakes her head and mumbles something incoherent under her breath. “What I’m trying to tell you is that when you made your first offer, it wasn’t the right time. We were too young to understand what we needed from each other. But that’s changed. I’ve realized that how I feel to you, it’s love.” Laurie’s heart leaps in his chest as Jo continues. “And I didn’t know that at first because I’ve written I thought what love is, but those are fantasies of my character’s feelings. What I feel for you doesn’t feel like how I imagined it would be. It’s not lighting, but a breeze that gradually grew until I finally realized it.”
Laurie wants to believe her. But after years of telling himself she doesn’t love him, he is still hesitant. “Are you sure? What about all the stuff about our tempers? And things are changing?”
J o doesn’t hesitate to respond. “I’ve learned that change doesn’t have to be bad. And that’s what I want to change for the better. And we’ll always have our tempers, but with our newfound maturity, we can battle our arguments, along with love. Because I love you, and I’ll do my best to show it to you if you’ll let me.” Laurie smiles at how Jo is trying to cover her nerves with her determination. She’s perfect.
“If I’ll let you? Do you doubt my feelings towards you?” He leans closer, Laurie's mouth and inch away from Jo’s ear. Jo shakes her head no, and shivers at his breath on her neck. He whispers into her ear, purposefully more breathy. “Good. Because you know that no girl could compare to you Jo March.” She closes her eyes as he pulls back. She’s shivering from the feel of his breath, of his voice on her ear.
Jo opens her closed eyes to see Laurie down on one knee. She gasps at the small gold band he holds.
“When did you…?” She trails off, closely looking at the ring. It’s a gold ring, cleaned recently if the shine is any indication. Simple, yet elegant, and thankfully not too flashy.
“I bought it in Paris. I saw it in a French vintage store, and it reminded me of you. I would give it to you as a gift, but I think this is better.” He pauses. With a deep breath, he looks into the shiny eyes above him. Laurie smiles before finishing. “So, will you, Jo March, marry me?” Jo nods and jumps down on Laurie to hug him.
“Yes. I will marry you.” Jo whispers into Laurie's ear, just to make sure he believes her. To make sure he knows this is real. Laurie leans out of the embrace to look at Jo’s face. Laurie puts the ring her finger, and brushes a hair out of her face. And she leans into his hand.
“Am I allowed to kiss you?” Jo nods her head and leans in a little. Laurie finished and pure seed his lips against Jo’s. Her lips are warm and soft. Laurie smiles through the kiss, as he can feel Jo’s pucker. It is very obvious that Jo’s not practiced. Careful not to scare Jo, though not much can, he gently opens her mouth with his tongue. When she opens her lips wider, Laurie slips his tongue the rest of the way into her mouth. Soon Jo picks up the motions and is fighting Laurie’s tongue. Both of their hands are running up and down each other’s bodies, exploring the new terrain. When Laurie finally breaks away, desperate for air, Jo smiles and chuckles. They walk back to the March house hand in hand.
“What are you thinking of?” Laurie asks, leaning down, his head burrowing into her neck. Jo smiles and leans her head up. “I was just remembering the reasons I love you.” Jo says, feeling Laurie’s smile against her neck, and her own smile only grows.
“Well, don’t let me interrupt you. That could take all the evening to list every reason, for sure there are many.” Laurie teases, which earns him a smack on his chest and a playful eye roll. He can be so full of himself.
“Maybe a few reasons. Hardly the rest of the evening’s worth, but maybe a few minutes of it.” Laurie pretends to be hurt, throwing a hand to his chest.
“Well then. We’ll just have to make more reasons than.” And with that Laurie leans down and whispers into her ear, his voice husky. “Won’t we?” Jo shivers at his voice, suddenly feeling the strong urge to bring his lips to hers. Just when she thinks he will, Laurie rips away from the embrace, cackling at Jo’s whimper from the loss of contact. Jo chases him around the front garden of the March's house, both laughing and smiling, savoring every single moment together.