"Here For It" Bonus Content.
Two Years From Now
I looked up from my phone and gave a sigh of relief. “It's looking really good.”
“I never doubted it. You're amazing at this.” Jonah smiled down at me. “Can you
believe that it's finally here?”
“No. I can't. But ready or not, here I go, right?” It was weird to recognize that you
really were on the first day of the rest of your life. Turning points like that, ones that you could see coming? They were a rare precious gift. But without question, this was one of those moments. It was the first day of filming for my new streaming series, No Beaten Path. My travel Instagram blew up last year after Reese Witherspoon had commented that it was one of her favorite escape accounts to follow. Reese hadn't even known that it was me behind the account.
It was some serious validation, watching the follower count climb and surpass my
“Are you going to miss it?” Jonah asked. “Modeling?”
I smiled. “Will you miss recording above the record store now that you have access to
bigger and better studios?”
“Yes and no.” Jonah walked to the edge of the small porch of the remote Airbnb we’d
found in a fishing hamlet called Lunenburg. He peered into the early morning darkness. “I miss the simplicity. But I love the new opportunities.”
It was still an hour before dawn, and the goal was to catch the sunrise, so there wasn't
much to see yet. But when the sun did creep over the horizon, it would turn the waters of the Atlantic into a slate gray reflecting glass, capturing all the colors of the sunrise off the Nova Scotia coast.
“I guess it's about the same for me,” I said. “I mean, I like the slower pace that doing
this series is going to give me. I'm not going to miss runway shows or uncomfortable photo shoots. But it’s pretty unnerving to have the success of this hanging only on my shoulders. This lives or dies because of me.” I was producing, not just hosting, and that meant making all the creative and narrative decisions, choosing all the locations, trying to find the stories inside each one of them.
Small flashes of light and soft noises from the beach meant the crew had arrived and
begun setting up. I needed to head down and check their shots.
“You're ready,” Jonah said. “I've never seen someone focus so hard at making their
dreams come true as you have with this. You're building something amazing, and people will love it. I can't believe the way you’re able to find and pull stories from people I wouldn't expect, in places I would never think of finding them. You're going to open up the world for so many people. It's kind of beautiful. I'm glad I'm here for the ride.”
“You didn't think I would leave you behind for this?” I glanced over at Jonah, the
details on the checklist of my forgotten for the moment. “Not after you've been the wind beneath my wings and all that.”
“I'd like a solo of that song, please.” Jonah crossed his arms and leaned against the
porch railing, his back to the ocean. “Go ahead.
“Not unless we're in a recording studio, and you're the one producing me, Mr. Fancy
“That still doesn't feel real,” Jonah admitted.
“Travell’s album was spectacular and deserved all the recognition. You guys are an
“I think you’re the wind beneath my wings,” he said, smiling. “But when I said that I
was glad I was along for the ride, I didn't mean this episode. Or even this series.” He straightened and walked toward me at the patio table.
My heart accelerated in a way that only ever Jonah could make it beat. Even after two
years. Even after all the time we had spent together. Even though I must know every secret or mystery that Jonah had, there was something about the way he looked at me that sent my pulse racing still.
“Then what did you mean, exactly?” I stared up at him in the slowly fading dark, trying
to read the tension in his chest and shoulders, like he was coiled or braced for something.
“I meant this.” Jonah reached into the pocket of his shorts and drew out a velvet box
that was unmistakably the size to hold a ring.
“I can't tell if that's a note of warning...?”
“Maybe a note of wonder.” I tried to give him an encouraging smile but hope and
nerves made it tremble on my lips.
“Anneke, I knew from the moment we started getting into those ridiculous debates about music online almost three years ago that you are something special. Smart, funny. It's a bonus that you're also beautiful. But my favorite thing about you is that the beauty isn't skin deep. You are extraordinary all the way down to your bones and even past them, to your soul. I don't know how I ever got lucky enough for our paths to cross, but I want us to stay this way forever. Connected. Together. I love you more now than I did two years ago, and there is no way that you could have convinced me two years ago that this could ever be true. But it is.”
He paused, and I was torn between laughing and wanting to shake him. “Is there a
question in there somewhere?”
Jonah knelt just like every classic proposal in history. “Anneke Jansen, I love you like
crazy. It grows deeper every day. Can we make this forever? You and me? Will you marry me?”
I took the ring box and closed it without looking at it, setting it on the table. A flash of
surprise and possibly even concern crossed Jonah’s face, but only for a moment as I reached for him, stooping to press a kiss against his mouth. “Yes, Jonah. Today, tomorrow, forever.”
And when we missed the sunrise behind us, I didn’t care at all.