Elijah raced down the steps of his parents three story mansion. He was going to be late if he didn't hurry up. And late was not part of the prophecy. Rushing through the kitchen he grabbed a big red apple and headed for the door. Stepping outside, he took a bite and began chewing quickly.
Checking his pocket he felt the small box inside and let out a sigh of relief. He leapt down the porch steps and took off for the main square. Nannette had promised to meet him there at noon and it was five minutes til noon. He'd be cutting it close. For once Elijah felt blessed that his family lived in the inner parts of The City that way he had a shot at being on time on this important day.
Finishing his apple, he tossed it in the nearest trash bin and continued his run. As he entered the square he looked around for Nannette. She was standing under the oak tree wearing a beautiful blue dress that was fitted with rhinestones and silver embroidery. Nannette was a gorgeous blonde haired, green eyed woman who he had become quite close to.
Elijah looked at his disheveled appearance, his shirt was untucked and his pant legs had gotten muddied from the journey. After tucking in his shirt he combed his hand through his short hair trying to put it back into place. When he finally felt presentable, he walked up to her.
She turned and saw him coming. Putting on a big smile, she waved.
He waved and smiled back. Upon reaching her he stumbled over his words, "Nannette how are you today?"
"I'm well thank you. And you?" She motioned for them to sit on the bench under the tree.
"I'm doing great." He took a seat next to her. Clearing his throat he hesitated. He'd practiced this speech a million times this morning but for some reason he couldn't quite remember the words anymore.
Of course she would know what was happening today, he would ask for her hand in marriage, she would say yes, and they would plan the wedding for thirty days from now as was tradition. (And as the prophecy said.) But he still had to ask the question out of formality.
"Nannette Peters," He started. She looked at him expectantly then glanced at the ground. Getting the message, Elijah knelt down on one knee before continuing, "The prophecy has foretold that we be wed and while I believe in the prophecy, I also believe in love. Nannette, I love you with all my heart. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?" As he spoke he pulled the small box from his coat pocket and opened it to reveal a gorgeous diamond ring.
There was but a moment's pause before Nannette jumped from the bench and into his arms, "Of course I'll marry you!" She was ecstatic. He felt a wave of relief wash over him. Though he hadn't been that nervous, after all the prophecy had foretold they'd be together. And the prophecy was never wrong.
A crowd had gathered and was clapping in celebration. Elijah and Nannette stood together. She turned to him and pulled him in for a kiss. Her lips were dry and dull against his. He could tell there was passion behind her kiss but wondered if there was any in his. It was the first time they'd ever kissed, for it was forbidden to touch lips until you were engaged.
But for some reason he didn't feel a spark. When she pulled away she was beaming, she clearly had felt something. Why not him? He followed her through the crowd as they headed for her parent's house.
As they walked down the street Elijah could feel eyes watching him and it was more than just the friendly well wishers. Looking around he caught sight of a figure in the shadows. From the curvy silhouette he could tell it was a woman. She was tan with long black hair that was pulled back in a dutch braid. Wearing all black she looked like she was part of the night watch. But what would night watch be doing out at this time?
Nannette pulled him along the street toward her home. When he looked back the woman was gone. Soon she became a distant memory as Elijah prepared for his next challenge of the day... Nannette's father.
Her father of course already knew that Nannette and Elijah would be engaged. It was written for the whole City to see in black and white in the book of prophecy just like every other marriage. But her father still had a right to refuse and call off the wedding.
Upon entering the house, Elijah took off his coat and shoes. Nannette led him to the dinning room where her mother was placing lunch on the table.
"Elijah! So good to have you with us. I take it she said yes?" Mary, Nannette's mother asked. When Nannette held up her hand with the ring on it they both smiled.
"Where's father?" Nannette asked.
Mary began placing plates on the table, "He had an urgent counsel meeting. But he should be along shortly."
Elijah swallowed hard, his nervousness showing.
Touching his shoulder, Mary comforted him, "Don't worry, I'm sure he'll be thrilled. He has known about it for a while as have we all."
He nodded. The prophecies were released every month, telling everyone exactly how to live their life for that month.
When the front door opened, Elijah was pulled from his thoughts. He stood up straight and prepared himself. John, Nannette's father entered the dining room with a smile. He clasped Elijah's shoulder, "Elijah my boy how are you?"
"I'm doing well thank you. And you?" Elijah responded.
"Oh I'm great. Another busy day at work. I'm sorry to keep you waiting. Come let's sit on the back porch and talk." John led Elijah through the big house. It wasn't as big as Elijah's but it was big enough.
As they took their seats across from one another looking out at the small patch of grass that was John and Mary's back yard, John spoke first. "Are you following your path Elijah?"
As a chairman on the counsel, Elijah knew that it was John's job to uphold the prophecies. And if he found anyone breaking their prophecy he would be forced to report them. Of course Elijah had nothing to worry about, he always followed the prophecy, so far he'd gotten everything he could ever dream about.
"Yes sir. I'd never stray from it."
"Good. Good. Then you'll be marrying my daughter in thirty days?" John leaned back in the chair studying the sky.
Elijah hesitated before answering, "With your blessing."
"Oh you have it my boy. You have it." John sat there a moment just watching the grey clouds move before jumping up and heading for the house. "Well shall we have some lunch to celebrate?"
Elijah jumped up and turned to follow him in. But as he turned he saw that same woman in the shadow of the house across the backyard. She stared at him intently.
Going into the house, he locked the back door and looked out the window only to see that she'd vanished again.