Traces of Narnia

Chapter 16 - Their Future Together: Fun Times

"Happy Birthday!" Peter whispered in April's ear when he hugged her on Saturday. "I have a present for you."

He pulled her over to couch and placed the package in her hands. She was surprised, but pleased too. As she opened it she gasped and started to cry.

"Peter, how did you manage this? I never dreamed! Did you do this when you picked out the thank you gifts for my family?"

"Yes, Madeline helped me with it. That is what I was smiling about but wouldn't tell you while you talked with your friend. You were so preoccupied the day we left you barely noticed that I went over and picked it up. Madeline said she has kept at least one of those in stock for years just for you."

She opened the small jewelry box and listened to the tinkling music. Her eyes welled with tears again, "I love it, thank you so much."

She looked up at him. He caught her chin and stared into her eyes. He leaned closer, she thought he was going to kiss her but instead he said in a very low voice, "I had hoped to have something to put in the box, but we will have to wait a bit on that."

Her heart started to race. Did he mean...? She looked into his eyes again and he smiled her special smile.

"Happy Birthday!" she heard, breaking into their moment. The shouts came from Edmund, Lucy, and Susan. They were pulling her up and talking all at once. It took her a minute to realize they meant to go into town and they all had passes to go. She ran the music box up to her room.

Just the walk out of the gate and into town was wonderful. They ate at the local diner and then walked around town, just enjoying their freedom. Swing dance music came pouring out of a pavilion that had been set up near the town center. They were intrigued, could they, should they?

Lucy shouted, "Yes, lets!"

They stayed near the outskirts of the crowd so they wouldn't get separated and had a great time. Edmund showed Lucy the steps and danced with her. Susan was soon surrounded by potential dance partners. Peter winked at April and pulled her into the fray before she could even nod. They only had a little time and in the end had to run back to the schools in order to make it back in time. The others shouted one more, 'Happy Birthday' to April and ran into the grounds.

Peter stopped April in the shade of a great tree next to the gates. He gathered her in his arms, pulling her very close, and said breathlessly, "Now for one last present, although I am not sure if it is for you or for me..."

Peter came the next afternoon to visit her. She seemed edgy and nervous.

"Can we go outside?" she asked.

They walked outside to sit on the porch steps. She wished they had more privacy, but this would have to do.

“Peter, I have to ask you something…do you have a scar, right here?” she asked and reached over and touched the back of his left shoulder gently.

“You certainly are good at surprising me lately. I do,” he said glancing around. He undid the top couple of buttons on his shirt and slid the shirt over and back so she could see.”

She gently touched the thick scar that was about two inches long. He shivered at her touch, then fixed his shirt.

“Now, how did you know that? Another dream?” he asked.

She nodded and bit her lip. “You were in Narnia. There was a balcony off of your study at Cair Paravel, it faced the woods and overlooked the a meadow. It was early morning, the sun had barely risen. You liked to go out there to be alone before your day started.'t dressed for the day yet and your shirt was off. The dryads were active and you were watching them. A birch dryad came before you to say hello. You knew it was a birch because her petals were silver and she was slender, graceful and limber. The beech and larch dryads I noticed were shades of green and had different characteristics. She circled around you a few times as if in play and you laughed. She then reached out and touched your scar running her hand over your shoulder. At that moment a centaur approached to ask you about a meeting and she moved away toward the trees. You watched her go wistfully. The centaur commented that she seemed to favor you. You smiled and nodded. You had seen her before, many times. I felt what she felt. Peter...she was in love with you.”

Peter was looking at her with the strangest expression of awe and love. He took her hand and said, “April, I remember that morning, the meeting was to be with all the centaurs. We were planning the battle against the giants from the north. I had a lot of hard decisions to make. The dryad was so gentle and brightened my day. I can’t help but feel that it was you, or rather, the particular dryad that is a part of your history. You know you do slightly resemble her."

He thought for a moment more and added, "She was in love with me? That would make sense. If she liked human men, she would choose one and ask to become human herself. But that would have happened a thousand years later. Dryads live only as long as their trees. I don't understand how it could be possible?”

They sat in silence, trying to take it all in. There was so much of Narnia that was a part of them both. Their connection was growing deeper.

“I didn’t think there was anything that could make me love you more, but knowing that a part of you was there watching over me, caring for me….well, there are no words to describe how that makes me feel.”

She touched his cheek and leaned in to kiss him.

Their train left after classes on Friday. April was so relieved to be off campus. Without being able to dance on a daily basis she had all this pent up energy and it was driving her batty. It was a short train ride but had it started out strained. Susan was withdrawn and snappish whenever anyone spoke with her especially, it seemed, with April. As much as April wanted to sit with Peter, she moved over to Susan.

"Susan, I can't help but notice that you seem really upset right now. If I have done something to offend you, I apologize."

"April, it is not you. Or, it could be that you are Peter are so happy together. Christopher broke up with me today. It has been coming, and I should have seen it before, but it still stings....And, sometimes I just feel left out of things. I feel different about Narnia now. It doesn’t make me happy to talk about it, it just makes me feel weird and uncomfortable."

April expressed her sympathy and sat talking with her during the journey. Peter kept glancing at her to make sure all was okay.

Susan laughed, "You'd better go back over to him. He can't stand not be near you. It's quite sickening actually."

April teased, "Well, if you think we should teach him a lesson, I'll stay."

"I'd rather be alone, but thank you April for checking on me. I am glad that you are becoming a part of this family."

Peter's parents picked them up at the station since it was dark and late. They were very kind and welcoming to April. It was one of the few times she had ridden in an automobile. They were fairly common but with all the war rationing, most people used them infrequently. It was a tight fit. Lucy rode up front with Mr. and Mrs. Pevensie while the four others rode in the back. April had to sit on Peter's lap to fit. He wrapped his arms around her waist to secure her. She leaned back against the side of the car and him. She felt him sigh and tighten his grip ever so slightly. Everyone was talking and laughing, but to April it sounded far away. Before she knew it they were at the house. Everyone piled out and April slid over on the seat. Peter got out and then reached his hand in to help her out of the car. It was a good thing he did. Her foot got caught in her dress and she started to pitch forward. Peter caught her and set her on her feet, pausing for just a moment. Aware that his parents might be watching she pushed away from him. But, he held tight. She looked around. They were alone. A voice called from the house. Peter said that they would be right in.

"I'm really glad you are here," he said softly. She leaned against him, he put his arm around her waist and grabbed her bag with his other hand and they walked into his home.

The house was bigger than she expected. Lucy took her on a tour when they put their bags in their rooms. It was two stories with four bedrooms. April was to stay in the guest room. She didn't know if she could remember sleeping in a room by herself. The upstairs had sitting room which used to be their play room. Each floor had a lavatory and there was a small washroom off the kitchen. A study and living area, kitchen and dining room completed the downstairs. April wondered at all of the space. And, when she thought about how Peter never made a comment or batted an eye at the small cottage she lived in, she respected him all the more.

Presently it was time for a late supper and they were all ravenous not having had anything to eat before they left school. The table was noisy, with three different conversations going on at once. April ate quietly, taking it all in. When suddenly, Mr. Pevensie cleared his throat and everything became silent. She almost giggled, the change was so abrupt. She could tell that there was discipline in the house, but also fun and love.

Mr. Pevensie spoke, "April, we would like to welcome you to our home. We hope that you will make yourself comfortable and enjoy your time here."

She smiled and thanked him. It was most unnerving. He had Lucy's eyes but Peter's wide smile and mannerisms. Mrs. Pevensie, seemed to be a mixture of Susan and Edmund, darker eyes and hair. Mr. Pevensie was still speaking.

"We understand that the dance program at your school was cancelled. We are indeed sympathetic, and to that end we have a surprise for you during your visit with us. I have been able to secure you an audition and interview with the Sadler's Well School of Ballet. It will be at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, that is, if you want to try for this opportunity."

April was completely speechless. Sadler's Well? That was the company that performed on the Royal Opera House stage! She tried to speak, "Oh, sir, yes...I don't know how... to thank you. Yes!" She turned to Peter. Had he known? Yes, she could see he had. She felt tears on her cheeks. "This means so much to me. Thank you!"

"You are most welcome, now let's figure out what else we all want to do while you all are home. I will have to work, but your mother was able to secure a few days off. At least we are in town for now. After Monday the war department will be sending us traveling around England."

Pandemonium ensued with everyone talking about what they wanted to do. April could only stare at her plate in amazement. She felt Peter take her hand under the table. She raised her eyes to his. There were no words between them. There didn't have to be. He nodded and squeezed her hand. She wiped her eyes and looked around at all the smiling faces. What a wonderful place to be.

April woke the next morning to a strange clanging and clashing sound. But then it stopped. She stretched, she was amazed that she had slept so well, she was very excited about this morning. She should have wondered when Peter had suggested that she pack all of her ballet things for the trip. He knew she had been stretching and practicing every day, even though it had been forbidden at. Lucy had mentioned wanting to learn some of the steps, so she had brought her things. She was glad she did. She dressed in her leotard and tights and tied her skirt around her waist. Putting her hair up into a bun she slipped out into the hall.

After freshening up a bit, she made her way to the sitting room. The girls had told her last night that this room would be best for her to stretch and practice in. All the doors were closed and it seemed the girls at least were still sleeping. The clanging noise had now restarted and seemed to be coming from...She slowly opened the sitting room door and slipped in closing the door behind her. What she saw shouldn't have shocked her, but it did. Peter and Edmund were slashing at each other with swords. Not their fencing swords which she had seem them use before, but with large, heavy looking swords. They seemed to be in full combat mode. Peter's back was to her and Edmund, focused on the 'fight', had not seen her yet. They had their shirts off and the sight of Peter's back made her catch her breath. Broad and muscular, he gleamed with sweat. She noticed the scar from her dream. They circled around then and Peter caught sight of her. He started and lost focus. Edmund, concentrating on his attack, didn't notice Peter's distraction and the hilt of his sword hit Peter's nose. Instantly, they stepped back. Peter's put the back of his hand up and it came back bloody. Edmund and April spoke at once.

"Pete, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to smash you."

"Peter, I...I didn't mean to distract you. I didn't know you all would be in here..."

Peter chuckled, and said looking at April, "So, that's what it takes to beat me Ed, the distraction of a great beauty."

Edmund laughed, "I'll remember that when it comes to competition time."

He started to go on but got caught watching April and Peter look at each other. It was like there was a magnetic connection between them, one that Edmund could almost see and touch. April had walked over to Peter and was touching his nose. Peter, who could have cared less about his nose, was looking at her. Doubtless this was the first time he had seen April in her ballet clothes and she was very attractive. Feeling like an intruder he started to leave, but then he remembered a recent conversation with Peter about his wanting to be accountable for his actions around April. Edmund knew he must stay. He cleared his throat, but they didn't notice. April was taking the sword from Peter's hand and pointing it toward the window. Peter was straightening her grip on the hilt and standing very close to her. April spoke and Edmund shook himself. Wow, they were starting to affect him too.

"I still want you to show me how do this one day," April said looking up at Peter.

Edmund chuckled, and said, "Really? You want to know how to sword fight?"

April glanced over at Edmund with a small smile, "I grew up reading the stories of how you would fight with your swords, remember? I have been fascinated with it ever since. I didn't realize it would be so heavy, but yet it seems to be balanced too."

She was talking with Edmund but looking at Peter. Peter's blood was still pumping from the fight and the sight of her holding his sword and her tight fitting clothes were doing something to him. He gently took the sword from her and sheathed it, trying to bring his thoughts in order.

"Were you going to practice?" Peter asked April.

She nodded, "But I can come back..."

"No," Peter and Edmund said at the same time. Peter continued, grinning at his brother, "We were about done here anyway. Edmund always likes to win."

The boys left and April started her stretching routine. The door opened and Peter stepped in.

"Sorry, I forgot my...”

He stopped and stared. April was in a full Chinese split with her chest on the floor. She sat up, still in the split, and laughed at his expression.

"Why Peter, have you never seen anyone do this before?"

He shook his head slowly leaning his back against the wall, "Does that hurt?"

"No, silly, how do you think I do the leaps and things without being flexible?"

He looked perplexed. She got up and came over to him. His shirt was still off. She put her hands on his chest and felt his heart racing. With a fingertip she traced the outline of what one day would be well defined muscles on his stomach. She smiled at his caught his breath.

Feeling brave, she said, "Do I affect you so much?"

Looking in her eyes, he couldn't respond at first. Putting his hands around her waist he pulled her close and said, "More than you could ever imagine."

He kissed her long and deep. She relaxed in his arms and melted into him. Somewhere in the distance they heard the call to come to breakfast. Reluctantly, she backed away. She looked up at him, and breathed, "You affect me too Peter."

General auditions at the ballet school had already been held. April's father was able to arrange a special audition through a friend of his who was a major patron of the ballet. There were two other younger children who were auditioning as well. The audition was set up like a ballet class. They warmed up and stretched and were asked to do certain steps. April knew them all and performed them fluently. She even assisted the younger students at times when they looked confused. She was just happy to be there and it showed. After the younger students were dismissed the panel of four "judges" asked her to demonstrate some additional intricate steps and to perform some leaps. They told her admission was based purely on talent. But, because her paper application was incomplete, they asked her questions about her training, her performance history and her goals. She felt like she was able to portray her passion for ballet and her dreams of performing on the Royal stage. Peter was waiting for her outside the building.

"When will you know?" he asked after accepting her enthusiastic hug and listening to her talk excitedly about her time there.

"They will send out letters next month. I gave them my school address. I will need to write my parents and let them know. The school year would start in the fall. Although I cannot abide the thought of not getting to see you weekly, I am so excited for this opportunity!"

"You know I will be visiting you as often as I can, right."

She nodded, not wanting to talk about being separated right then. They took the bus back to Peter's house. The others were waiting to hear and were excited for her. They pulled her into their plans for the rest of the weekend. They had a wonderful time together. It being her first time in central London, they took her sightseeing and to all the famous places. Peter enjoyed watching her experience it all. He had checked and there were no ballet performances for this weekend. Maybe next time he could take her.

She wondered what London would have looked like before the blitz. Everywhere they went there was evidence of the war. Peter rarely spoke of their experiences during the bombing and after having seen the affects, she could understand why. She noticed him staring at one of the recruitment posters. Would he want to enlist when he turned 17? She shivered, perhaps the war would be over by then.

Towards the end of the visit, Peter's dad pulled him into the study. Peter had written his father about going to the university and was surprised at the plans his father had already made for him. This summer he was to study under Professor Digory Kirke to prepare for the university examinations. Peter was pleased but then shocked to learn that the professor no longer lived in the mansion from where they first experienced Narnia, but in a small two bedroom cottage in Wareham, about two hours west of Sway. Peter asked about the others. His mother and father were being called to America for their work and Susan was to accompany them. Edmund and Lucy would be staying with their cousin Eustace Scrubb and his family. Peter shuddered, he certainly didn't envy them. Poor Ed and Lu. He would miss them terribly this summer. Peter was also a bit dismayed to learn that he would, in fact, have to attend Hendon House for one additional year. His father wanted him to have the experience of being able to graduate from there before attending a university.

Peter expressed that he had being researching the universities in London. Yes, he wanted to stay in London, and not go abroad. He was very interested in the London School of Economics and Political Science. It was his father's turn to be surprised and yet pleased that his son was interested in politics or diplomatic studies. He promised to check out the timetable, but assumed that the examinations and application would have to be completed in the fall in order for attendance to begin the following year. Business over, Mr. Pevensie turned the talk to a more personal strain and asked Peter to tell him about his feelings for April.

Peter, without mentioning Narnia, which was difficult, expressed to his father the overwhelming depth of his emotions toward her. He told of his visit with her family and experiences with her father. And, he expressed his desire to honor and protect her. He ended his rather long explanation with, "Father, I love her with all of my being, which I didn't know was even possible. I cannot imagine living in a world without her. I would marry her tomorrow if I could, but I know I...we have to wait until we graduate."

His father was astonished at the depth and maturity of Peter's feelings and expressions. His son seemed to have matured greatly since he last saw him. Peter realized, too late, that he had forgotten to 'act younger' during this discussion. Acting younger was one of the things they had decided to do around their parents to help keep their secret. Really, he didn't want to act young anymore. He was tired of the secrets, especially after discussing them fairly freely with April's parents. He didn't want to hide who he was any longer. He would speak with Ed, Lucy and Susan and see if they could share their story or at least part of it with their mom and dad. Mr. Pevensie almost questioned Peter about his 'newfound' maturity but then decided Peter's experiences with April must have made the difference.

The house was quiet when he emerged from the study. He found his mother in the kitchen and asked where everyone was. Lucy, Susan and Edmund had gone down the street to visit some friends and April was reading in the living room. He looked in on her. She was sound asleep on the couch with a book on her lap. He smiled and went back to talk to his mother. He told her April was sleep. She laughed and remarked that his siblings had worn her out. Peter was lost in thought. His mother touched his hand and he glanced up.

"April is lovely Peter. It has been a pleasure having her this weekend. I am assuming she will be coming back often?"

"I hope so, mom. I never knew I could feel this way about someone."

"She is just right for you Peter. A match if I have ever seen one. I noticed your silent conversation at the dinner table the other night. You can only do that if you know someone very well."

"Mom, you told me once that when grandma died she left four rings, one for each of us to have when we got older. Do you think I could have mine now?"

His mother looked at him in shock, "Peter, you are so all have only known each other a few months. Do you think you should be proposing so soon?"

"No," he said, "We must wait until we graduate. The earliest I would propose would be next year around this time. I...don't think a long engagement would be wise for us. I was thinking about a small simple ring that I could give her as a promise of what would be to come. Especially since we will be separated this summer and next school year, I don't want her to doubt my intentions towards her."

Mrs. Pevensie was very touched at the sentiment and maturity of her son. She, of course, had noticed the changes in all of them and assumed it was due to the war. She hugged Peter and asked him to come with her. She led him up to the master bedroom. She pulled out a special drawer in her jewelry box and showed it to him. Inside were four rings, a diamond engagement ring, an ornate scrolled wedding band, a large ruby solitaire and a small silver ring that had emeralds cut and arranged in the shape of a small flower. A tiny diamond was set in the middle of the emerald 'petals' and the band had leaf like scrolling around the sides. It was perfect. He picked it up and asked if she approved. With tears in her eyes, she told him that was the ring his grandfather had given his grandmother as a promise of engagement. She wore it until he could afford an 'official' engagement ring. In fact, that was his grandmother's favorite ring even after she received the more expensive ones. She treasured the days when things were simple and they didn't have a lot of money for jewelry. He hugged her and thanked her with his own throat feeling clogged. She gave him a box for it and some advice.

"Be sure you plan something special when you give it to her. Make it a memory that you all can share for the rest of your lives."

He thought about that. It would take some planning, but he thought he knew just the time and place.

He put the ring away and went to find April. His mother told him everyone would be home soon for dinner. He wanted to spend a few minutes of quiet with her. She was still asleep in the living room. He knelt down by the couch and very slowly and softly kissed her. Her eyes opened and she smiled at him. Her favorite way to wake up, he remembered from the dream. He moved in close and kissed her again. When he pulled back she sighed. She sat up and made room for him on the couch. As he sat, she curled up around him gently stoking his arm.

"I love being here with you Peter. It is really fun watching you be with your family. You are so relaxed here. I wish we could stay longer. It is so quiet, but I know it won't stay peaceful for long."

He squeezed her hand in agreement and as if on cue, all of his siblings burst into the room.

"Let's go to the movies," they shouted. And, so they did. It was almost an all-day event. The news reel played the sobering war news, they laughed through the cartoons and munched on popcorn and candy. The feature movie was Walt Disney's Dumbo. April enjoyed it so much. They didn't have any theatres in Sway. She loved being in the dark next to Peter with him holding her hand. It was bliss, but it would all end tomorrow when they had to return to school.

It came! The letter came. April rushed back to her room at Saint Finbar's and with trembling hands opened the thick envelope. She scanned it quickly and sat on the bed. She was in! 'You have been accepted into the Sadler's Well School of Ballet for this fall. Accommodations are available on campus. Your presence is required at an upcoming orientation...' The orientation was in two weeks! Would Peter take her back into London? She would ask him tonight. She was grateful that the school had decided to open up visiting hours on Wednesday evenings. Pressure from parents with sibling groups in the schools was at least able to make that change.

She ran into his arms as soon as she saw him. "I'm in, I got accepted!" and she showed him the letter.

"Of course, you got in. Was there ever any doubt?" he teased.

She playfully hit his chest, then shyly asked him, "Will you take me into London for the orientation? Do you think your parents will let us stay there?"

"I got a letter from father today. He knows that you got in. His contact told him that you were the most promising student they had seen in the audition process this year. He also knows about the orientation and said that we could stay at the house. So, it is all taken care of. Are you terribly disappointed that I knew?"

"No," she said relieved. "I am just glad that it has all worked out. Just think, I may be dancing on the Royal stage! Oh, and guess what? I bet you don't know this part. As a part of the orientation I and a guest are invited to see the current performance on Friday evening. Can we get there for that? Maybe they would give us permission to leave early?"

In the end, they were able to leave early. And, amazingly they were allowed to travel together. It helped that the headmistress was out of town briefly and the assistant director was lenient with students who had good marks and good behavior.

They arrived at the house with just enough time to dress for the evening. April had Susan's permission to raid her closet for a dress. She thought she might need to pinch herself to be sure this wasn't a dream. The dress she chose was a creamy pink with scooped neck, drop waist, and full skirt. She left her hair down and full, which she rarely did. Peter looked so handsome in his suit and he seemed nervous which was endearing. His kind father drove them to the Royal Opera House and they entered into what seemed a magical place to April.

Plush carpeting and heavy curtains, people and students dressed in their best. There was an aura of excitement. April grabbed his hand and squeezed it.

He leaned in and whispered, "You look great tonight. I love it when you wear your hair down."

She blushed and smiled at him.

He thought that it was nice to be doing something together. He had to remind himself of his age constantly, but not tonight. The lights blinked and they moved to take their seats. April was enthralled from the first moment watching every move with an experienced eye. To him, they just moved. It was nice, but he rather liked watching her reactions better. Until one scene where the lead male and lead female dancers had a duet, he guessed they called it. He knew this was what April had been talking about when she wanted him to dance with her. This is what he had pretty much agreed to. He swallowed hard.

After one intricate and complicated looking move, she whispered to him, "You could do that."

He met her eyes and raised his eyebrows in question. She smiled and nodded.

They would definitely need to be married. He knew that the holds in themselves were not intimate, but he also knew that he could not dance with her that way, in the grove of all places, where he had absolutely no control. He hoped she would understand. The thought of being married and in the grove carried his thoughts away like the wind. He struggled to bring them back under control. He was working hard to make sure his thoughts stayed as pure as possible, so he would be less likely to push her over the small barriers.

April was absolutely entranced. He thought she had never looked more beautiful than when the lights came up and she turned to him with her eyes shining and such a wistful expression on her face. He knew that this was what she was created to do. And, he knew that she had been created just for him. They spent a little time in the lobby after it was over and then he steered her out into a nearby well lit park. There were many people walking the paths and he checked to be sure they had time...they did.

They walked with her holding onto his arm, her thoughts on the ballet, and his thoughts on her. He turned her to a small bench and they sat down.

"Thank you for coming with me Peter, this has been so wonderful. All the more so, because you are here to share it with me."

"The pleasure is all mine," he said "And, I have something to talk with you about."

She turned and looked at him expectantly, he got nervous all of a sudden and the planned speech flew right out of his head. He would have to improvise.

"April, I know I have told you that I love you. I have not told you why. I could spend all night telling you all of the reasons, but here are a few. I love you because... you brought such light into my life when I was in a dark and insecure place; I love you because... you are weaving the parts of my life together like a tapestry, connecting who I was before, during and after Narnia; and, I love you because... we are connected in a way that I cannot fathom both emotionally and spiritually. I truly cannot imagine my life without you. Although I cannot ask you the question that is burning in my heart, I would ask you to accept a token of my promise. A promise that I will ask you to marry me when the time is right. A promise of a life together for the rest of our lives."

He brought out the ring box and she gasped. He sprung the clasp and with trembling fingers lifted out the delicate ring.

"Oh Peter," she breathed.

"This is the ring that my grandfather gave to my grandmother as a promise of his love. She wore this until he could get her an engagement ring. Will you do me the honor of wearing this and committing your love to me as well?"

"Yes, oh, yes!" she exclaimed.

He slid the ring on her right hand ring finger. It was a perfect fit.

She looked at him lovingly and then asked, "Peter, I'm probably not supposed to ask this question and I know this isn't an engagement ring... but could I wear it on my left hand instead? We are going to be apart soon, and although I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression, I do want people to know that I belong with you."

His heart filled with an unnamed emotion, his eyes almost welled with tears. Looking into her eyes, he slid the ring off of her right and onto her left hand, then lifted her hand and kissed it. He pulled her to her feet and into the shadows a bit so he could kiss her. The kiss they shared was full of promise and hope.

"Thank you," she whispered.

"The pleasure is all mine," he whispered back.

A thought occurred her suddenly, "Our parents! What will they say?"

Peter said happily, "That has been taken care of. My mother is the one that gave me the ring and my father approves. Your father gave me his blessing that last morning before we left your home and he was going to talk to your mother."

"That is why you were so happy that morning. And, why you sounded so confident on the train that we would be together. Thank you for planning all this. You have given me so much, just your love would be enough, but all of the thought you put into the things you do for me, makes it that much more special."

She hugged him and whispered. "I love you so much!"

He hugged her and thought that it was a gift just having her in his life.

Glancing at his watch, it was time they headed back. They were silent for the most part as they were driven back to the house. But both were deliriously happy. He wanted to laugh and she wanted to dance. They would have a future together! But...what would they have to overcome to get there?

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