It is a truth universally acknowledged (at least by all the romance novels I've read) that the best thing to happen to a woman EVER is to hear the object of her affection whisper 'I love you.' It's where every novel ends, the absence of it is the source of endless conflict and its presence the proof, somehow, that a couple is destined to be together.
But in reality, when those words are whispered, it freaks me out.
'I love you' comes with all sorts of baggage attached - responsibilities, expectations.
Like the expectation, for instance, to say 'I love you' back.
When I hear it, it's like there's a test coming up and I haven't studied for it, yet.
I've said it once (in the throes of frolicsome ecstasy) and didn't mean it; I've felt it once (maybe) and never said it. So I'm going to take my sweet-ass time saying it this time around, just to make sure my feeling and my meaning get to the same place, at the same time.