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Marriage is conventional, Axel says. That it's for girls who spend too much time batting their lashes at handsome men and pretending to be virgins. That it's corny, and not for girls like her. Not for girls who sometimes flirts with the idea of ditching her boyfriend to have sex with the pretty new girl who works at the coffee shop down the street from their apartment. That pretty dresses and wedding cakes and rings aren't for girls who have actually talked their boyfriend into having a threesome with that same pretty girl who works at the coffee shop down the street. That she doesn't deserve it, saying things about how her hair would clash with a dress, and how she isn't all that fond of religion or the color white, and that their families are both impossible and the idea of getting them all into some little chapel is ludicrous.

They have a good thing going for them, having come a long way from a brief seduction on the eve of Roxas' birthday. Roxas is in college, studying rocks on Mars, and Axel is working at a tattoo parlor on Eleventh Street—wearing frilly camis and leather jackets because it draws attention to the collage of tattoos across her breastbone and her breasts themselves. Axel says that she gets better tips when she wears the skankier ones, and Roxas tries not to disagree, because 1) her tits are pretty fabulous, and 2) those tips from pervy tattooed strangers are going towards their rent.

Their apartment isn't in the best of neighborhoods, and Roxas still isn't quite used to the idea that Axel can fight off the biggest assholes on their street by herself, but it's nice. She helps him with his homework sometimes, when she isn't at work or helplessly distracted by vintage video games and it kills him to see how clever she is sometimes, when she doesn't ever intend to utilize it.

He watches her spill soy sauce on an old ratty t-shit of his that she has clinging to her ribs, and tumbles a soft velvet box in his pocket. She might not think she deserves it, but he knows she does.


When he finally does propose, she hits him.

But it's okay, because she says yes afterwards.