Chapter 8

As I entered the backyard all I could see was darkness spread all over. Everything black around and not even a glimpse of light. This absence of light had started to rob best of my senses and paralysing fear was gearing up inside me. My muscles cramped and I was unable to move. I only knew my eyes are still there because I could feel myself blink, still instinctively moisturizing the organs I have no current use for. I gathered my strength and shouted his name.

"Charles! Are you in here?" I yelled when my fingers were trembling with fear and water leaving my skin

"Charles! Can you hear me?" I again thundered, still no response

"Charles, you know I am afraid of darkness. Please do not joke in here" I pleaded, but silence prevailed.

After having no answers for all the clamor, like a crazy human I started enlightening myself, "May be he is not in here and Gretchen had some misunderstanding about his whereabouts."

I turn and start to leave, when a strip of light is emitted from one of the corner of yard and in its glow I can see him, my man. Not a white knight or a dark knight, but a man - a handsome, mercurial, dictatorial hunk, whom I love unconditionally.

He saunters towards me in his dark black suit and matching tie. His hair set perfectly amazing and his eyes beaming with anxiety and joy. He ceases to move as he reaches me and with a fixed intent look he leans down and kisses me, hard. When he pulls away, I'm breathless and a head scratching puzzle racing through my body. I anticipate something coming up because his gaze is different than usual. It is unfathomable. I reach up and caress his face, running my fingers through his cheeks and along his jaw to his chin, then let my index finger touch his lips. He relaxes.

"I've something to show you in here," he murmurs.

The harsh light of the fluorescents illuminated the impressive yard. Ivy cascaded over the fence grew tendrils in every direction. The dishevelled, un-manicured lawn's grass was mown so short that the ground showed through.

"Come." Charles takes my hand and leads me to the centre of the yard. Suddenly there is blaze of lights all over the yard, glowing, glaring, bright dazzling lights which resemble a bright sunny day.

My mouth drops to the floor. The place is unrecognisable. It is filled with flowers ... there are flowers everywhere. Someone has created a magical bower of beautiful wild meadow flowers mixed with glowing Christmas lights and miniature lanterns that glow soft and pale all around the yard.

My face whips around to meet his, and he's gazing at me, his expression unreadable. He shrugs.

"You like romance, I mean hearts and flowers," he murmurs.

I blink at him, not quite believing what I'm seeing.

"You already have my heart." pointing towards the yard he says.

"And here are the flowers," I whisper, completing his sentence.

"Charles, it's lovely. It's so romantic. It is everything that I could ever imagine." I can't think of what else to say. My heart is in my mouth as tears prick my eyes.

Tugging my hand, he pulls me closer to him, and before I know it, he's sinking to one knee in front of me.

Holy hell ... I did not expect this! I stop breathing. I stare into those bright eyes burning with delight and pleasure, and my heart felt silent as words leave me. My mind goes blank and my eyes widen as I stare at him in absolute paradise.

He stretches his hand upwards for me to hold and says, "Caroline Davidson. I love you. I want to love, cherish, and protect you for the rest of my life. Be mine. Always. Share my life with me. Marry me. Give me the honour to be pronounced your husband. You are all that i want and I need." his eyes bright, raw and full of emotions.

I blink down at him as my tears fall. My mercurial, my man. I love him so much, and all I can say as the tidal wave of emotion hits me is, "Yes."

He grins, relieved and relaxed and slowly getting up, opens the flawless unblemished ball diamond pendant that hangs in the matinee necklace around my neck and produces a ring.

I stand there startled after I see the ring produced from my necklace. I want to say something! I search my mind for something reasonable to say, but to my surprise my heart answers for me, "I love you, Charles."

He slowly slides the ring on my finger. It's beautiful, an oval diamond in a platinum ring. Whoa-it's big ... Big, yet elegant and stunning in its simplicity.

"Oh, Charles," I sob, suddenly overwhelmed with joy, and embrace him with all that I have. A tight hug!

Suddenly we hear loud clapping sound from the family squad and I turn puce. They are mirroring their happiness through their claps, blossoming smiles and yelling 'Congratulations'.

Not even a minute has passed before they are cheering for us, when they turn and each picks up a hand made board from the nearby bench which reads "You may now kiss the bride."

After reading the hand made board Charles is starring at me as if he can drink the pink champagne flushing from my cheeks and enjoy feeling tipsy. His eyes blaze, hot and full of desire. He smiles slowly, his lips curling into a sensuous smile. Leaning forward, my eyes on him, I kiss him. My fingers fisting in his hair as I kiss him, kiss him with all my heart and soul. I kiss this beautiful man, who loves me as I love him; and he wraps his arms around me, his hands moving to my hair, his mouth on mine. I know deep down I will always be his, and he will always be mine. We've come so far together, we have so far to go, but we are made for each other. We are meant to be.

"I can't believe my luck. You have consented to marry me. And soon you'll be mine to have and to hold," he whispers.

"To love and to cherish." Jeez.

"I am already," I whisper.

"Legally," he winks at me and gives me a wicked grin. "Mrs. Brown," he whispers

"Yes, that would be me and thank you so much for loving me so intensely, so completely and giving me the most wonderful birthday present." I answer

"I should be the one thanking you, as you have agreed to share the rest of your life with me. Considered me eligible to be a part of your sorrows and happiness." and yet again he never fails to surprise me with his answer.

"My fiancée" he expresses merrily

"Always yours" I assure

We walk hand in hand towards our family and soon I am being hugged and kissed and passed around by all the Browns amongst themselves.

"Oh, Care - I am so delighted you're going to be family," Mrs. Brown pours out. Charles ... He's ... happy. I am so thankful to you." I blush, embarrassed but secretly delighted, too.

"Where is the ring?" exclaims Jenny as she embraces me.

I show her the ring circled around my finger and she praises it. Then wrapping her arms around me gives a secured hug.

"Oh my God! I can't believe. I am going to have a sister-in-law." she jumps with joy

"Oh, don't look at me like that, Mr. Brown!" she scolds Charles, then wraps her arms around him. "I'm so thrilled for you, Charles," she says.

"When will you get married? Have you thought a date?" She beams up at Charles.

He shakes his head in a negative response. "No, no we haven't. I just asked her and she consented. Care and I need to discuss all that," he says irritably.

"I hope you have a big wedding-here," she beams enthusiastically, ignoring his sarcastic tone.

He turns to Alex, who gives him a bear hug.

"Way to go, bro." He claps Charles's back.

The response from the everyone is overwhelming, and Gretchen is cheerfully filling champagne glasses.

Our leisurely conversation is interrupted when one of the staff members informs us that dinner is ready to be served in buffet style in the dining room. Slowly we make our way back towards the house.

"Care," she hisses conspiratorially. I glance up at Charles, who releases my hand with a best - of - luck - I - find - her - impossible - to - deal - with - too look, and I sneak into the dining room with her.

"Here," she says mischievously. "This is one of my dad's special lemon martinis - much nicer than champagne." She hands me a glass and watches anxiously while I take a tentative sip.

"Hmm ... delicious. But strong."

"I suggest you both go to Paris or Greece or Switzerland for your honeymoon. These places are amazing with the most wonderful view, if you are interested in enjoying the view along with playing in the bedroom." she advices and I turn harlot red, too embarrassed to answer her, "Or you want to go to some other place?" she questions

"I think we should join for dinner, all must be waiting" I drag her to the dinning table because I haven't thought about our honeymoon. I just agreed to marry the man I love and that is all that matters right now.

After we are done with dinner I and Charles decide to go for a stroll, which I seem is a good opportunity to untangle the puzzle in my medulla oblongata. As we make our way for a stroll I free myself from the shoes. The moon shines brightly in the sky. It's brilliant, casting everything in indefinite shades of gray as the city lights twinkle at a distance. The lights of the backyard are on, a soft glowing fire in the cool cast of the moon.

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