Once they were in the privacy of her room, Chris took her in his arms and kissed her. "I hate to leave you for a whole week." The soccer team was playing a tournament in Pennsylvania over the break.
"Go have a good time. But not too good a time."
He stayed for another hour before he kissed her goodbye.
Alone, she felt the gloom return. It would be another couple of hours before her parents would arrive. Stop acting like a baby,
she told herself. This isn't like before. You're seventeen now, not five.
She was sitting up in her bed clicking through the TV channels with the remote control when someone rapped on her door. "Come in," she called.
The door slowly opened, and the boy from the rec room stood there. "Hi," he said with a sunny grin.
"Do I know you?" she asked.
"Mark Gianni." He held out his hand.
She took it cautiously. His grip was warm, his palm rough. He was tall and had curling dark brown hair and intense deep brown eyes. But Kelli had been right. He was thin, almost gaunt. "And you're here because...?" She allowed the sentence to trail.
"Because I want you to know that you're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen. And I thought I should introduce myself. I mean, we should get to know each other. Since you're the girl I intend to marry."
Excerpted from Till Death Do Us Part by Lurlene McDaniel. Copyright © 1997 by Lurlene McDaniel. Excerpted by permission of Laurel Leaf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.