Chapter 15: Reflection Unexpected

The maitre ‘d had led us to a small private table at the back of the restaurant. We were completely alone by candle light.

Dinner went well, but I couldn’t help but notice how quiet he was. He spoke freely when prompted, not entirely anti-social, but still much quieter than usual.

I was beginning to feel nervous. By the end of dinner, I was feeling worried.

He paid for dinner, and laughed at me when I offered to pay instead. He insisted that he was treating me to dinner. This was the first time he had laughed all night.

“Do you feel like going for another walk in the park?” He asked with a grin.

“Sure.” I smiled, slipping my hand into his.

He smiled again and led me across the street toward the narrow pathway to the park.

I awkwardly followed him in my heels. He had to stop to keep me from falling more than once, which only brightened his smile.

He smiled and hoisted me over a fallen tree in the pathway, lifting me easily from the waist, which surprised me greatly.

We walked in silence until we came to the large pond in the very center of the park.

This time, the moon wasn’t shining, but the night was still clear and crisp. I even forgot my wrap and stepped toward the water. “It’s beautiful…” I murmured.

He speared behind me, and carefully slipped my wrap over my shoulders, letting his hands remain warm on my bare shoulders for a moment.

We stood staring at the water for several excruciatingly long moments, while I anxiously tried to dart quick glances at him to see what was going on.

At last, he cleared his throat nervously, and turned to me at last.

I was waiting with questions, trying to decide which to ask first.

“Uhh… well…” He rubbed the back of his neck nervously, “I mentioned earlier that I had something for you too…”

I had almost forgotten, but nodded slowly.

“I guess… I guess there isn’t really an easy way to do this, except to come right out and say it…” He trailed off.

My eyes grew wide in horror. He was finally going to do it.

He was going to break up with me, and I was going to be left broken hearted again. My heart was suddenly heavy in my chest, and I felt as though I couldn’t breathe or I was going to hyperventilate.

He looked down at our feet briefly before continuing. “I know I told you before, I had a huge crush on you for ages… and the more time I spend with you, the more I find myself falling for you, you know? I’m absolutely crazy about you… and I know things have gotten so complicated between us with this whole situation with my brother….” He sighed, and was silent for several minutes.

I felt like I was going to cry again.

I wondered briefly if Taylor was causing a rift between us. I wondered if Taylor had a problem with me dating his brother. At which point I contemplated ways I could kill him and not leave a mark.

Finally, Isaac continued. “I know, Lily is my…. Niece.” He hesitated at the word. Something about the way he said it sent a shiver down my spine.

I couldn’t help but think that this was it.

This was the end of us.

“But…” He sighed. “I can’t imagine being without you. And the more time I took off to consider this situation only proved that… I don’t think I can be without you…”

The tears I had felt were now choking me. I couldn’t breathe again.

“I know it’s only been… what? A month and a half since you came back home? I know it’s been such a short time, and we haven’t been… together long… but… I’ve known you most of my life… and I’ve wanted to be with you for…. So long…” he chuckled softly. “I know it all seems so crazy… and needlessly complicated.”

I was practically gasping for breath now, struggling to breathe, and feeling quite faint.

“But despite all that… I still want to be with you…”

At first I thought I was falling, fainting or passing out cold, I wasn’t sure. But it quickly became clear that I was not the one moving; it was Isaac.

He was standing close to me, but had lowered himself onto one knee.

Now I was sure I was going to die entirely, never mind fainting.

“Andy…” He said slowly and evenly. “Will you marry me?”

“What?” I demanded in alarm. My own voice startled me. My voice was thick with emotion and I could hardly recognize it as my own.

He reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and removed a small black ring box.

I hardly realized that my left hand was already secured in his. I was busy staring at the box in his other hand.

“Andy,” The corner of his mouth turned up in a sly smile. “You’re white as a ghost… say something…”

“I… well… what… umm…” I babbled on for who knows how long, unable to get a full sentence out.”

“I spoke to Taylor, he’s alright with it… if that’s what you’re worried about…” He tried, glancing down nervously.

“I’m not. I mean… I don’t care what he thinks.” I finished.

He smiled even broader at that. “Well? Will you?”

I swallowed hard, this time tearing up again. “Yes… yes, I’ll marry you!”

I had never seen such a large smile on his face. His eyes and the rest of his facial features seemed to sparkle excitedly as he slipped the ring onto my finger.

“It fits and everything.” He grinned. “I was worried…”

“You’re good.” I smiled happily, taking both his hands in mine, “Come on, get up and hug me. You’ll get your dress pants dirty!”

He laughed and leapt to his feet, sweeping me into a firm embrace. “I don’t care, pants I can replace.” He laughed.