October 14, 2008
She felt him take her hand and lead her across the room. "Wait a second," she said hesitantly. "Where are we going?"
"I have something I want to show you," he replied over his shoulder, looking at her with eager eyes. He led her over to the couch and flopped down in it, looking up at her and patting the spot next to him. Shrugging, she lowered herself beside him.
"What is this about?" she asked skeptically. "Why are we sitting on a couch in your living room? What do you have to show me?"
Suddenly she felt a hand cup her chin and she was gently forced to look at him. She stared deep into his eyes and saw fear inside them. Why was he afraid? "Danny," she said softly. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing's wrong," he said with a smile. "Why do you think something's wrong?"
"You look scared."
"It's because I have to ask you something, but I'm not exactly sure how to do it."
"Just go ahead and say it. I won't laugh at you."
"This is a question I've been thinking about asking you for months. Every day I try to piece together over and over again the perfect way to say it but I come up empty every time."
"What are you talking about? What's so important?"
Taking her hand, he said, "Bethy, I'm just going to say it, okay?"
"I know you know this, but I've loved you for years. I remember the first time I realized it too. The exact moment. It was a whole five years ago. Now I can't…I can't even imagine what life would be like without you. I really can't. So that's why, tonight, I've decided to ask you a very important question."
Elizabeth's heart began to pound slightly as realization hit her. She knew what was coming but she waited as he slid down onto the floor by her side and, kneeling on one knee, he took her left hand in his. "Elizabeth Christina Hanes," he said softly, looking her directly in her eyes. "I love you so much. Will you marry me?"
She stared at the black box that had suddenly appeared in front of her, and watched as he opened it. Inside was a ring with a small gold band and a medium-sized diamond. Her heart seemed to melt and then, in one instant, she was crying, sobbing, and could not stop.
"Bethy," he said. "Bethy! What's wrong?"
She wiped a tear from her cheek. "Nothing. This is…it's such a beautiful ring Danny. I love you…yes…yes I'll marry you! Of course I will!"
Not taking his eyes off of hers, he took the ring out of the box and slipped it onto her hand. She held it up and examined it as it sparkled brightly even in the dim light. Tears still streamed down her face, but she felt a joy so strong she thought she would explode. Dan got to his feet and leaned over her, kissing her gently on the neck. "I love you Bethy," he said, and then, with a smile, added, "Mrs. Daniel Eastcote, if you want. I love you. I always have. I always will."
Dan left later that night after having dinner with Elizabeth. It was a meal she had planned, but she hadn't planned for a new ring. Even as she kissed him goodbye on the front porch and watched him leave, she could feel the ring on her finger like a weight and couldn't wait to get inside to examine its beauty again. She watched Dan get into his car and watched the rain fall in front of the bright headlights. Then he was gone.
Inside the phone was ringing. Closing the door, she went into the kitchen and picked it up. "Hello?"
She heard a click on the other end of the line as the caller hung up. Shrugging, she put the phone back down and turned, then stopped as it rang again. "Hello?"
"Hi Beth! How've you been?"
It was Christina, one of her best friends from years ago. "Hey! Did you try to call just a minute ago?"
"Oh, nothing. Guess what?"
"I'm engaged!" Elizabeth practically screamed at the top of her lungs, she was so excited.
"Oh my God, really? I have to come over right now and see the ring! I bet it's gorgeous!"
"It is beautiful," Elizabeth said and looked at it again with a smile. "It really is!"
"Mind if I stop by? I need to go out and pick up a few groceries at Walmart anyway. Is that okay?"
"Sure Christina, you know you're always welcome here."
"Thanks! I'll see you in a little bit."