Prologue


He got down on one knee and her first thought was, oh my God. But then he smiled at her, that slow, halting smile and she felt her heart melt. He was in his formal Navy attire, and his white hat was titled back. Wisps of his messy brown hair was peeking through, and at the familiar sight, she relaxed slightly.

Around them, couples were still dancing, colorful dresses swishing pleasantly admits the taps of high heeled shoes. They were on the balcony, just off the dance floor and a cool breeze ruffled her hair. She could hear the soft sounds of crashing waves in the background, and the moonlight reflected off the ocean, highlighting the gleam of his smile and sparkle of her yellow necklace.

It was just a few minutes past midnight, and the new year had been rung in successfully. Everyone had drank their champagne and toasted and kissed their loved one, and thought their kiss had made her knees weak, he had remained standing on two feet. But now, they were about an hour into the new year and he was down on one knee, smiling up at her. The song that the band was playing was an old one.

"Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak treeā€¦"

His eyes caught hers as his hand slipped into his pocket and she felt a small grin unfurling on her lips. People were beginning to notice now; couples were openly stopping at staring, smiling at each other, delighted to witness this private moment. People crowded around the open doors that lead to the balcony, and her heartbeat roared in her ears.

"It's been three long years, do you still want me?"

He opened the box slowly, reverently. He took her hand and his mouth was moving and he was speaking, but all she could focus on was the green of his eyes and the safety in his smile.

"Yes," she whispered, before he had even finished speaking. She allowed herself to peek into the velvet box and saw the sparkle of a diamond ring, felt him slip it on her finger even as she threw herself at him. "Yes!"

The crowd around them erupted into applause, laughing and smiling and calling for champagne. They were swarmed with friends and family, but she didn't notice. She was too wrapped up in the smell of his hair, the strength of his arms and the sweetness of his kiss. He picked her up, laughing, thrilled, relieved, and swung her around and she threw back her head, her black hair spilling down her back. Her yellow dress swirled around her bare legs and she held on tight as they reveled in their youth, their love, their luck. And all night, her only thought was, thank you, God, for this man.