I didn’t know how to tell her I was stuck like this.
There’d once been time to undo the curse. That time had run out long ago, wilted like a rose, and I had no one to blame but myself. I chased off everyone who could have loved me, snarled and bit at their heels to ensure they’d never return.
Now, I’d met someone I loved, and my love for her outweighed my fear of her rejection. She probably loved me back, if that were even possible. And I was stuck like this.
Finally, I told her: I’m a beast forever. I’ll never be the prince you deserve.
She reacted as I expected. With anger. “You think I wanted you to change?”
I blinked at her. I hadn’t expected that.
“A relationship isn’t a downpayment, dimwit,” she snapped. “I’m not here because I thought I could reform you into something different and better. If I didn’t like you the way you are, I’d be somewhere else.”
What on earth was I supposed to say? I realized my claws were raking the floorboards, a nervous habit, and stopped myself. “So, you’ll marry me?”
It wasn’t exactly how I wanted my proposal to go. I wanted to get down on one knee, a human, handsome and dashing. But maybe that wasn’t what she wanted. Maybe she wanted me like this.
“Of course I’ll marry you,” she scoffed, as though that should be obvious. “And I’ll have a rose garden and a library, and my husband will be a prince amongst beasts.”
Nowadays, we do have a rose garden, and a library, and I’ve realized that there’s no time limit or conditions placed on finding love. And it feels pretty good to be a beast.