Thunder rumbled through the air and Delilah wondered how much longer they would need to stand under the tree that did nothing to protect them from the sharp slices of wind hammering at them.
"I distinctly remember lightening seems to be predisposed to falling on trees," She nearly shouted out for that was the only way her voice was to carry to her companion. The wind was howling like a pack of wolves.
Damian's eyes went rounder than the coins his father's face was etched on. He grabbed her hand and pulled her away from the tree. They were already damp but the combination of the rain and wind made them feel even more miserable.
"It should not take this long for a carriage to come back to us," The Prince placed his hand around his female companion and pulled her closer. He was using his coat as a small umbrella.
"This is one of the reason's the road needed to be built. It's virtually unusable in the rainy season," Delilah nearly knocked their heads together as she spoke.
"Oh, I can see that. I wish we had a boat. It'd much faster than a stupid horse."
"I suppose," The Lady sighed. Her planned picnic near the road construction was completely ruined, "Now that we're standing in the middle of a field with no shelter over our heads."
"We could find shelter in the farmer's cottage. I think I can see thatched roofs in a distance," Damian had to stand on his toes to see anything at all. He quickly caught Delilah's wrist so he could lead her but she did not budge. He looked back at her questioningly and she just shook her head and delicately extracted herself from his grip.
"Are you saying I cannot hold your hand? Surely not?" He asked with disbelief.
"This is not your capital where men and women hold hands and kiss each other in greeting. It is just not done here."
"They cannot begrudge a man for being comfortable holding hands with his…" Damian struggled to find a word for their existing relationship.
"Like I said the norms of courting over here are different. No banns regarding us have been published and neither have our parents formally announced anything. We will only create scandal if we are found meandering over half the hillside holding hands," Delilah took measured steps with her eyes averted. They crossed an outhouse in which they decided to take a few moments pause.
The Prince nodded and turned around as if thinking about something solemn. Delilah almost wished he had chosen some pretty, party girl with whom he could share as many kisses as he possibly could. She probably sounded like his grandmother.
The prince suddenly turned around and his eyes shone with excitement.
"It's solid gold and it is my mother's," He took off a gold chain he was wearing and pulled at it to take something out. Ultimately he ended up with a simple gold band in his palm.
"What? Are you…" Delilah took a step back as the man went down on both knees.
"Will you make this poor, sodden and wet Prince a very lucky man? When I close my eyes I can see your image painted on the back of my mind. I want to be able to open them and see you for real as well, always with me," He waited with baited breath uncertain of her answer.
"I have much to say to you and over this period of time I have found out many things about you, good and bad. I-I believe I have grown fond of you too," Delilah exhaled and took the ring he was holding out.
"That's a relief though I certainly did not think I would propose to you this soon. I was waiting for my mother but she just keeps delaying her trip," He laughed in relief and his fiancé joined in. She held out her hand and he took it to help himself up.
"Really? I did not think you were the type of man who wanted his mother around while he proposed," Delilah giggled at the mental image.
"Of course not! She has the blasted ring that I wanted for you though I am afraid you must contend with this little piece."
"I like it," His fiancé smiled up at him and held out the ring to him. He took her hand placed the simple band of gold around her finger.
"Then I like it too," Damian winked back, "So can I hold your hand now?"
"Most certainly not!" Delilah laughed as he comically made a tragic face with a pout.
"And for that I am stealing a kiss," And without warning he pecked her cheek while holding her cold, wet hands.
"That was a horrid trick!"
"You deserve it," His grin died down and he looked solemnly at the dung covered floor "I did not think you would say yes, even now. I was still not certain you liked me more than a friend."
"I would not have said yes, if I did not. You are man I admire and I can be proud of. I cannot imagine having anyone else on my side," She said ever so quietly and took his hand in hers, "I like being with you too."
"You only want me for my good looks," He beamed at her as they stepped out into the raging weather hoping to get to a cosy fire in some farmer's cottage.
"That too," Delilah smiled back.
I was asked if there were going to be steamy scenes for these two and I realized Delilah wouldn't be comfortable holding hands much less doing anything else though Damian will try, obviously.
And the sequel is up as well though it might not be everyone's cup of tea. It's Cecilia centric, a bit grim and with more adventure. It's set four years after Delilah and Damian get married. Why yes, these two will get married even at the pace I'm writing ^_^