They were both kissing passionately alone together in "their" tree - theirs since spending a night together stranded in that tree by the danger of the slasher roaming the forest floor, and discovering their true feelings for each other. Those growing emotions thrilled them both. His hand drifted gently from the softness under her shirt to between her legs.
But after a few moments of elation between them, she moved his hand away and whispered, "Mark...no..."
Mark stopped, sat straight up, blushed, and apologized, "I'm sorry Maddy, I shouldn't have."
"It's all right. There is a part of me that wants to."
Mark smirked and half laughed, "I like that part."
She grinned and punched him in the shoulder playfully.
But then he frowned and admitted, "But I shouldn't be doing any of that stuff."
"It's OK. What you were doing before felt really good. We kinda already crossed that bridge. I don't mind."
"Yeah..." he smiled with that satisfaction that some of her secrets were his too.
Then she hugged him and cooed, "I love you."
With a gleam in his eye, Mark said, "'Love you too. Maddy, we need to do something about this. We've been together three years."
"What do you mean, Mark?" asked Maddy, with very piqued interest.
"Turns out I'm an old-fashioned girl, Mark."
A smile formed on her face.
"I'll never forget the day you first told me."
"Yeah. Me too."
Mark shifted in the tree, and pulled a wadded up ball of paper from his pocket.
"Fancy wrapping there, Mark...," she giggled and started to wonder what he had in mind.
He unwrapped two beautiful gold rings, one with a gemstone, and held them before her. Both had ornate Hindi designs, a knowing tribute to her and her mother's heritage.
Her eyes flew wide open and she listened intently. "Where had Mark gotten Indian rings?"she thought.
He was nervous but sincere, "Maddy. I...umm...well, you know we love each other. Terra Nova is our home forever. I was wondering if you might want to spend forever with me? Maddy Shannon - will you be my wife?"
She wrapped her arms around him strongly enough to almost knock both out of the tree and exclaimed, "Oh yes, Mark, yes!"
He slipped the gemstone ring gently around Maddy's finger – in the tradition of the Hindi Sagai engagement ceremony - and kissed her gently.
"You know what to do with the other one, right? That is, assuming you want to give me a ring." he smiled.
Maddy took the other ring and put it on Mark's outstretched hand and said, "Of course, silly. I love the two ring engagement tradition of Sagai. How thoughtful of you to honor my culture, Mark."
Maddy's mother Elisabeth would know exactlywhat this meant the instant she saw them with the Sagai rings.
"We have to tell your parents. In fact, I have to ask your dad."
"Isn't that a little too old fashioned, Mark? What if he says no?"
"I'll be convincing."
"I'm sure you will!"
They giggled and embraced again.
In the background, there was a roar that hushed the forest noises.
Mark spun around and cocked his sonic weapon, "We're not alone. Carnitor...about a 'klick' away. We need to keep moving."
Maddy rebuttoned her blouse, pecked Mark on the cheek, and they climbed down the tree into the relative safety of their vehicle to continue the patrol. He was late on his rounds, but Maddy would explain by saying that she had found a particularly interesting biological specimen to examine in detail. That would technically be true, even though the specimen was Mark. Her mother Elisabeth would know better and roll her eyes. Father Jim would trust his little girl at her word as always.