How To Live Without Dying

Tinsley was always loped in with the popular crowd in one way or another. It was just what her mother wanted. But, Tinsley couldn't stand it.

Ian was an indie skater kid with an undeserved bad reputation.

Sparks fly when they meet, but things quickly turn dangerous.

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Sort of happened by chance, and I just kept on with it, but all of the chapter titles are taken from songs by Land of Talk.

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9. Young Bridge

The hearing for my emancipation was set for Wednesday. I had a job and a place to stay, so things were looking favorable. What judge wants to put someone into foster care just four months before they turn eighteen if they can help it?

The Reese's let me set myself up in their guest room, just one room down the hall from where Ian was sleeping.

He freaked out when he saw the bruises on my arms, neck and face. I thought he was going to open his sutures when he got up out of bed to go 'kick your dad in the balls'. It took everything I had to get him to stay in bed and rest.

When I wasn't at work, I'd bring a deck of cards into his room and we'd play war. Or we'd kiss. Or I'd bring breakfast/lunch/dinner into his room for him. Or we'd kiss some more. Or his whole family would be in the room with us and we'd all just talk and laugh for hours.

It's funny how quickly you can learn so much about someone.

The more time we spent together, the more I knew in my heart that I'd never be able to live without him.

Wednesday finally came about. Mr. and Mrs. Reese sat on my left. Jack sat on my right.

The deliberation didn't take very long. The judge seemed to have had his mind made up from the very beginning.

By 11:23 am, I was considered a legal adult.

We all headed back home and I had a strange sense of belonging when we came into the house and I saw Ian sitting at the kitchen table.

He was healing up more quickly than everyone expected and it was nice to see him up and about. He still needed to take it easy, though.

He looked surprisingly serious, though. He didn't smile when we came in. He just stood up, his face somber, then knelt down on one knee.

"Ian, what are you-"

"Tinsley," he said. "I know that we're young. I know that you have one more year of high school. I know that the timing is weird and that no one will get it at all. But, I also know that I love you and I can not spend another moment without you. I know that, in my heart, I'm already dedicated to you and I've made it my personal duty to protect you. What I want, is for everyone in the world to recognized my love, dedication, and right to protect you. I want you to be my wife."

"Ian, what are you thinking?" his mother asked shakily as he opened a small jewelry box to reveal a modest engagement band with the tiniest, most delicate diamond in the center.

"I'm asking the girl that I love to marry me," he said, his eyes locked on mine.

I nodded my head, unable to actually voice the singular word that was bouncing wildly through my mind and heart.

He took my hand and slid the ring on my finger, then stood and hugged me.

"Yes," I finally whispered. "Of course."

"Son," Margot said. "This is crazy."

"Margot," David responded. "It's fine. Congratulations, kids."

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I didn't want a big wedding. Neither of us did.

I asked Mandy to be my maid of honor. Ian called a friend from boarding school and asked him if he could fly down and be his best man.

Jude and Lucy agreed to let us have the ceremony and reception at the cafe. Jude said it was fine as long as he could be the officiant. Then, he went straight to kicking his sister off of her laptop and started doing research.

"Don't you have to be a lawyer or judge or something?" I asked.

"He graduated from law school last year," his sister said as she frowned next to me.

"Well, there you go," I smiled.

After getting our marriage license, we went into a vintage resell shop that we found in this tiny little town that sat in the middle of the drive to the summer house. We stepped inside and were met with the scent of mothballs and old books. On the second floor, tucked away from everything else, was an incredible selection of cheesy clothes. Somewhere in the cacophony of rags, I managed to stumble upon the perfect, simple white dress.

It was a long sheath dress in creamy silk. And it was only thirty dollars.

I bought it immediately.

Two weeks later, I was wearing the dress, sitting in a chair in Jude's apartment above the cafe with Krystin braiding my long, brown hair and Mandy dabbing lipgloss onto my lips.

I was nervous, but I knew this was the absolute best decision I'd made in a long time.

"Ready?" Mandy asked.

She looked lovely in a soft, gray dress with her short blonde hair in curls.

"I am," I smiled.

She out took a junky old walkie-talkie, which Ian had insisted we by when we bought the dress, and called down. "The eagle is making it's decent. Landing strip ready?"

"Landing strip is ready, squadron leader. Go for eagle," Jack called back up from the other walkie-talkie.

Mandy opened the door and I stood up from the chair. I heard music filter up from down stairs. A soft piano rendition of a Radiohead song.

I walked carefully down the stairs, then paused at the open doorway at the bottom. I saw Ian at the end of the aisle, our friends and family seated at tables on either side of the cafe. His eyes widened and he gave me a gentle smile. Jude smiled and nodded his approval towards me as well.

I walked towards him at a steady pace, then he reached his hand toward me. I grabbed onto it and held it tightly as Jude began to speak.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said. "We are gathered here to share in this beautiful moment with Ian and Tinsley. I won't stand up here and bore you with a ton of words and nonsense, when they pale in comparison to the true reason for our sitting here, today. And, that's love. Plain and simply, that reason is the love these two young people share. So, I'll let them speak for themselves. I believe you two have prepared your own vows?"

We both nodded our heads nervously, but neither of us spoke.

"Ian, you first," Jude said.

Ian cleared his throat, then locked his eyes on mine. "Tinsley, I love you with my entire heart. I promise that I will always be there by your side to laugh with you, comfort you, keep you warm, and keep you safe. I will do my very best not to let you down. For the rest of my life."

I tried to steel myself for my turn.

"Ian," I said, my voice shuddering. "Ian, I can't wait to wake up next to you each morning. I can't wait to welcome the days together for the rest of our lives. There's nothing I could ever want more."

"Do we have the rings?" Jude asked.

Ian's friend, Jackson handed the rings to us.

"Ian, repeat after me," Jude said and Ian took my hand to slide the ring on my finger. "I, Ian Shawn Reese..."

"I, Ian Shawn Reese."

"Take you, Tinsley Ryan Scott..."

"Take you, Tinsley Ryan Scott..."

"To be my lawfully wedded wife."

"To be my lawfully wedded wife."

"To have and to hold. To honor and cherish."

"To have and to hold. To honor and cherish."

"For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health."

"For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health."

"Until death parts us."

"Until death parts us."

"Tinsely," Jude said and I took Ian's hand to put the ring on his finger. "Repeat after me. I, Tinsley Ryan Scott..."

"I, Tinsley Ryan Scott."

"Take you, Ian Shawn Reese."

"Take you, Ian Shawn Reese."

"To be my lawfully wedded husband."

"To be my lawfully wedded husband."

"To have and to hold. To honor and cherish."

"To have and to hold. To honor and cherish."

"For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. Until death parts us."

"For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. Until death parts us."

"I now pronounce you man and wife. Ian, you know what to do next."

Ian smiled, then took me into his arms and kissed me. The small crowd applauded.

"Now it's time for food and cake and dancing!" Jude announced. "But, mostly cake."

We danced our first dance together as food was served to everyone who was there. It was simple fare: heart shaped PB&J sandwiches with cups of milk. We had almond and soy milk available for anyone with any allergies. Then, we cut the cake as everyone snapped pictures. The party ended at about seven. Everyone said their farewells and Ian and I hopped into his car to head towards the summer house.

The dock was lit up with candles. A bottle of champagne was chilling in a bucket. I lifted the skirt of my dress up to my knees and sat down at the edge of the dock. Ian poured the champagne into a couple of glasses and sat next to me. Pale fizzy liquid, just like on our first date. I took a sip and felt the bubbles go straight to my head, then I couldn't help but giggle.

"How are you feeling, Mrs. Reese?" he asked.

"Wonderful," I smiled.

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