Chapter 24: Proposals
Beatrice snuggled closer to Erik as they lay tangled in the silk sheets of their bed. It had been an eventful night, and one that neither of them would forget. The sun shone through their balcony window, coaxing them to wake up, but neither of them wanted to leave their current position. They were too comfortable lying with each other. Beatrice lifted her head to see if Erik was awake and to her surprise, he was staring back at her with the widest smile on his lips. She couldn’t help but smile back at him and leave a gentle kiss on his lips.
“Good morning,” she murmured.
“Good morning,” Erik replied.
Beatrice smiled again and stretched against him making his smile grow even wider.
“What?” she frowned in confusion.
“Nothing,” Erik replied, shaking his head slightly then stretched himself and wrapped his arms around her. “I was merely thinking about last night.”
Beatrice giggled and made little circles on his chest with her fingers.
“It was an amazing night,” she agreed and sighed in contentment, wrapping her arm around his chest. “I wish I could wake up like this every morning.”
“We could, you know?” Erik replied, and Beatrice looked up at him with a frown of confusion.
“How?” she wondered and Erik shrugged.
“If you married me,” he replied flatly.
Beatrice stared at him in disbelief. Had he just proposed?!
“Will you marry me, Beatrice?” he murmured, smoothing his hand down her back. Oh, yes, it was definite now that he was proposing.
“What are you waiting for?!” Beatrice’s mind screamed at her. “Say ‘yes’ you silly girl!”
She couldn’t even say what she wanted. She was absolutely speechless! She knew she should come out with an answer, but her throat simply closed up in shock.
Erik felt his heart pound in his chest in panic. She hadn’t said yes, but she hadn’t said no. What he would have given to know what was going through her mind at that moment. He wanted her to be with him for the rest of their days, and it had appeared that she had wanted it too. For God’s sake, she had made love to him! Now she was hesitating about marrying him?! What was going on behind those beautiful eyes of hers?
“Beatrice?” he tried, cautiously. “Will you marry me?”
He thought if he asked again she would come out of her trance and give him an actual answer instead of staring at him the way she was. She still stared at him, and he feared that she had gone into shock from his question. He went to sit up but she grasped his shoulders firmly, making him freeze. What the bloody hell was wrong with her?!
“Erik,” she finally breathed and he simply stared at her for a moment.
“Mon ange?” he tried.
“Yes,” she breathed. Erik blinked before registering that she had said what he had wanted to hear.
“What?” he breathed in disbelief.
“I will marry you, Erik,” she explained, a small smile creeping to her face. Erik’s face lit up and he pulled her into his arms and rolled her onto her back, planting his lips to hers. She giggled as he kissed her with more passion than he ever thought possible and slowly wrapped her arms around his neck. He broke the kiss and began kissing her frantically on her neck and face.
“Beatrice,” he whispered between kisses. “You have no idea how happy you have made me!”
“If you keep this up, I think I might,” she smiled as his lips trailed to her chest bone.
“I promise you, our wedding will be grand!” he smiled, his lips on her neck again.
“I would be happy with a small wedding, mon amour,” Beatrice smiled, running her fingers through his hair.
“Very well,” he whispered in her ear. “A small wedding.”
“In the opera house,” she suggested, and he smiled on her neck.
“I love you,” he murmured, making her smile.
“I know,” she giggled as he nibbled at her ear lobe. “We must invite Ruban and Esperanza.”
“Also Antoinette and Meg,” Erik replied, knowing she would want them there as well.
“And your sister?” Beatrice wondered.
Erik froze and looked up at her with wide eyes.
“You wish to invite her?” he wondered, truly taken aback.
“Erik, she is your sister,” Beatrice reminded him. “Surely she would want to see you get married.”
“Yes, but I do not think she would come anyway, mon ange.”
“We know nothing of each other save what we have learned from our short time together.”
“We knew nothing of each other either save for one day’s worth.”
“Yes, but that was different, we were children.”
“No, Beatrice. She will not wish to come.”
Beatrice nodded, knowing it was better to simply agree with him than argue.
“We shall see if she wishes to come,” Beatrice thought with a grin.
Dear Antoinette and Meg Giry,
You will not believe what has happened! Erik has proposed to me and we are to be married in the spring! I am so excited! I hope the two of you can come! As I have no one to give me away and I need bride’s maids, I thought the two of you would be perfect. You will get to meet Ruban and Esperanza who I think you will both adore!
I was thinking of inviting Krystal as well, but I have no way of knowing where she is or when she would dock here next. I so want her to share this day with us. After all, she is Erik’s sister, but Erik says she would not want to come! How can he know her mind if we have not asked?! Madame, if it is at all possible, could you somehow find out when she will be arriving here in Spain? I do so wish to invite her to the wedding!
“We have some news,” Beatrice smiled at Ruban and Esperanza as she and Erik stood in front of them and they sat on the sofa in the parlor. “As you both now know, we are not married…as of yet.”
Ruban and Esperanza stared at them in disbelief, already knowing what they were going to announce through her statement.
“You are engaged?!” Esperanza smiled first, and Beatrice nodded with a wide grin. The Spanish beauty stood with a shriek of delight and threw her arms around Beatrice’s neck. Ruban calmly walked toward Erik and shook his hand firmly in congratulations.
“Wait! There is more!” Beatrice laughed and Esperanza pulled away from her, her amber eyes filled with curiosity.
“I wish for you, Esperanza to be in the wedding as my bride’s maid,” Beatrice smiled. Esperanza shrieked again in delight and hugged her fiercely again.
“I would also like you to be my best man,” Erik muttered to Ruban and the other man simply nodded.
“Oh, Beatrice, we must go shopping for the perfect dress for you!” Esperanza smiled excitedly.
“Go now, if you wish,” Erik chuckled. “We will not be married until the spring.”
“I think I will wait until a few months before,” Beatrice whispered to Esperanza and the other woman nodded. “You may wear what you wish.”
“There are no specific colors?” Esperanza wondered, and Beatrice shook her head.
“Come, Erik,” Ruban chuckled. “I have a feeling that these two are going to pick out flowers and china patterns. Let us away to the study and celebrate over a drink.”
“That is a good idea,” Erik laughed as the women glared at them as they walked away. Beatrice led Esperanza by the hand to the sofa and sat down.
“Beatrice? What is wrong?” Esperanza wondered, seeing a worried look in the red-head’s eyes.
“Erik and I are having a disagreement about something,” Beatrice confessed.
“Already?!” Esperanza laughed. “You are not even married yet!”
“I am aware,” Beatrice smirked. “It is about his sister coming to the wedding.”
Beatrice nodded and continued, “He says she would not want to come, but we do not know that. I try to talk to him about it, but he does not wish to speak of it.”
“What will you do?”
“I have written to Madame Giry asking if she is able to find out when Krystal will be docking here next. I plan to meet her and speak to her…without Erik.”
“Do you think that is such a good idea?” Esperanza wondered with a worried look in her eyes. “After all, Erik has already said he does not want her there.”
“He has not said that he does not want her at the wedding, he has said that she herself would not want to come.” Beatrice sighed at the thought of her plan. “I do not wish to go behind Erik’s back, but we cannot know if she truly cares for him as a sister should care for a brother if we do not at least ask her. I must talk to her frankly.”
Thank you so much for inviting Meg and I to your wedding! We would be delighted to attend. I must confess I was surprised at his proposal, but I suppose it is because you two are spending so much time together. I have prayed since the two of you left that he would allow room in his heart for someone other than Christine, and I am so glad that he has chosen you.
As for Krystal, I have spoken to her recently. She had said something about “delivering” some things to Spain in a week’s time. She should arrive the day after this letter reaches you. But, Beatrice, I must say that I agree with Erik. She may not want to go to your wedding. I do hope that everything turns out well, however. Perhaps you will be able to soften her.
Beatrice pulled her cloak tighter around her as she walked down the dock. The thick fog loomed over the dock from the morning awakening, but she didn’t let it deter her from the task at hand. She heard shouting at one end of the dock and quickened her pace, recognizing the voice. She stopped in front of a familiar ship and strained to see through the fog, looking for the person who would take her to the ship’s captain.
“Matthew!” she called when she spotted him. He was standing on the railing making sure that what was being unloaded was not damaged. He looked down in surprise and grinned when he saw her.
“Mrs. LaRouche!” he smiled, grabbing a rope and climbing down then landing in front of her. “I never thought I’d see you again!”
“Hello, Matthew,” Beatrice smiled and embraced him for a moment. “Where is Krystal?”
“Captain?” Matthew frowned in puzzlement. “Why do you want to see her?”
“I must speak to her about something important,” Beatrice replied. “Please, take me to her.”
Matthew nodded and held his arm out to lead her up the gangplank. She slipped her arm through his and they walked onto the ship. He shot off to the captain’s cabin but Beatrice stayed where she was until she was invited to go somewhere. Matthew emerged again and gestured that she was allowed in. Beatrice walked into the cabin and pushed the hood of her cloak down while Matthew shut the door as he walked out.
“Well, well,” Krystal grinned as she sat behind her desk and leaned on it on her elbows. “This is a lovely surprise.” The captain slung her feet onto the desk and leaned back in her chair. “How did you know I was going to be here in Spain?”
“Madame Giry,” Beatrice shrugged simply.
“Of course,” Krystal chuckled. “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
“I have come to ask you to mine and Erik’s wedding,” Beatrice replied flatly and without hesitation.
The captain looked at the woman in front of her with a smirk of amusement.
“So, I was right, eh?” she chuckled. “Tell me, will he be taking your surname?”
“Do not pretend you do not care, Krystal,” Beatrice said bravely. “I know that you are Erik’s sister, and he knows that you are his sister as well. I thought you would want to be present at our wedding.”
Krystal shot wide eyes at Beatrice filled with question and disbelief.
“Antoinette told you?” she breathed, and Beatrice nodded.
“Please, Krystal,” she pleaded. “Come to our wedding. If not for me, then for Erik.”
Krystal glared up at Beatrice, making her take in involuntary step back. She was as intense as Erik, but Beatrice knew how to handle that.
“He doesn’t want to see me,” Krystal nearly growled. “He made that perfectly clear the last time we spoke, remember?”
“Krystal, he did not know then,” Beatrice insisted. “Now that he does, he thinks you will not want to come to our wedding. You are assuming that the two of you do not want each other in your lives, when in truth you both need someone to call your family. He is your brother, and though you know almost nothing of each other, I know you love each other.”
Krystal said nothing as she still leaned back in her chair and instead looked away from Beatrice. Beatrice sighed when Krystal remained silent and didn’t move then approached the desk.
“If you change your mind, we will be married in two months,” she said softly. “I beg you reconsider. We are not going anywhere.”
Krystal glanced up at Beatrice as she turned and walked out of her cabin. The captain sighed after Beatrice shut the door, leaning her head back to stare at the ceiling. So, Antoinette had decided to reveal everything to Erik and Beatrice. She had to admit that she was a bit relieved. It meant that she didn’t have to hide it from them. She never revealed anything to her crew about herself, but she didn’t care if they found out in any case. It was the two Angels she had been worried about.
Captain Robyn lifted her head and scanned the cabin with her eyes, still sitting. She could almost see Erik’s face as she showed up to the wedding. His eyes would be burning with rage and he would avoid her the whole time. Why go if he didn’t want her there? They may have been siblings, but it was obvious he didn’t like her from the start.
Then again, he had saved her life when she fell over board, and the two did seem to have some kind of connection that he may not have noticed, but she knew about. Maybe he wouldn’t mind too much if she showed up? Maybe it was an act? She suddenly had an urge to figure out how much older she was from him.
“Let’s see,” she thought. “Beatrice had said he was about thirty-two...”
She used her fingers to count her age of thirty-five from his.
She sighed and leaned her head back again.
“Lord,” she prayed. “I know I’m probably not someone who should be talking to you, but hear me out. I have no idea what to do. If you could send me some sort of sign or something to guide me, it would be much appreciated.”
With one final sigh she sat up and looked over a piece of parchment sitting on her table. It was the schedule for the next few months. She scanned over it and suddenly, a smile came to her face. She couldn’t help but begin to chuckle, then snicker, then she couldn’t control herself from bursting into laughter.
In two months, she was scheduled to come back to Spain.