I smoothed down my beautiful dress as I glanced once more in the mirror. I looked blissful and I was happy. The dress that I was currently donning was made of pure satin and the hem just barely grazed the floor. There wasn't any extra beading; it was just a simple dress, but it's simplicity is what made it absolutely beautiful.
In my hands I held a bouquet of fresh, white garden roses alongside an abundance of soft, blush-colored orchids. The bundle of flowers, not only looked stunning in my hands, but also set an elegant tone.
I was nervous about walking down the aisle. Knowing my luck, I'd trip in these ridiculously high heels and fall on my face in front of the hundreds of guests that had decided to attend.
Instead of getting myself even more upset, I took a deep breath and shakily exhaled. Today was a huge and extremely important day, so the last thing I wanted to do was embarrass myself or Theo and his family. But I also knew I didn't have time to back out, it was now or never.
I held the bottom of my skirt as I scrupulously walked toward the entrance of the church. I stood behind the last bridesmaid in line and closed my eyes.
I gave myself a silent but confidence-boosting chant on how this would all turn out alright. I just needed to get to the end of the aisle.
My ears perked up when I heard the tall, oak doors swing open, giving a direct view of all that was inside. Thankfully I didn't have to walk first, but from my standing point I could see the church was packed to full capacity, only making my nerves skyrocket more.
I breathed in and out numerous times, and in what felt like no time at all, it was my turn to walk down the aisle.
As soon as I made two glides out the door a large flash went off beside me. I hadn't been expecting it and slightly teeter-tottered in my shoes. Luckily, I saved face and caught my balance. I took a relaxing breath and refocused my attention to the front of the church.
Theo was silently watching me from the front of the church as I clumsily made my attempts to walk my way forward, but he didn't show any signs of disappointment or embarrassment. He just had his usual mega-watt grin plastered on his face, like I was the only person in the room.
Like it was instinct, a smile lit up my face upon seeing his and I felt my breathing immediately decelerate. My chest no longer felt constricted as I concentrated solely on him and it was as if I was suddenly floating on air toward him.
Keeping my eyes on him, I blocked the rest of the world out. It was like we were the last two people on earth. Love radiated on his face as his eyes wrinkled with happiness as I drew nearer.
When I finally made it to the three steps leading to my place, I let out a sigh of relief. No more high-heeled walking. I carefully scaled those solitary steps and found my place directly parallel to Theo.
I readjusted my dress and straightened my shoulders before I lifted my face to see Theo already watching me. Bu the look on his face I could tell he was speechless as he saw me up close. I could say the same about him.
He looked so handsome. His tuxedo fit him in all the right places, hugging around his trimmed, athletic frame. The crisp white undershirt laid tightly against his chest, showing off his buff muscles from all those football workouts. The fresh, jet black suit jacket fit perfectly around his strong arms. Theo looked so professionally put together. Hell, even his tie was in a flawless bow.
I inwardly chuckled at that little bow. The night before Theo was in a complete rant on the phone about how he had to wear a bow tie rather than a regular tie. I remember exactly how I responded.
The Night Before
"No matter if it was a bow tie or a regular tie, you couldn't tie it if your life depended on it." I laughed as I snuggled deeper into my bed.
Sleeping without Theo had always been something neither me or my body adjusted well to. As cheesy as it sounds, I couldn't fall asleep as fast without having him there to hold me.
"Well that's what I have you for." He admitted.
I rolled my eyes at his comment, but I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a small smile cracking it's way onto my lips. I guess I am part to blame since I always tied his ties without question.
"You're 24 years old. You'd think you'd know how to by now." I chuckled.
"Well Ethel always used to do it for me, then I met you and you always do it for me. I've always had someone to do it for me. It's a true life of luxury I live in."
At the mention of Ethel, I was excited. She was attending the wedding and it would be my first time seeing her since Christmas at Theo's mom's house a few months ago.
"That you do." I smiled but it faltered a bit when I rolled over to an empty bed side where Theo should've been. "I miss you."
I heard a hearty chuckle from his end of the conversation before he spoke again. "You'll see me tomorrow."
"So? Doesn't make up for the fact that I can't fall asleep tonight."
"You know I wished I was there, but my dad really wanted me to stay the night with him before the big day."
"I know. I know. Graham's always stealing my man." I joked as I flipped over again to look out the extravagant window which was currently overlooking the city of Rome's night skyline. Hotels sure did an amazing job of luring you into a sense of homeyness but never could fulfill it completely.
"I'm sorry, princess. Tomorrow I'll be right back at your side. I promise." He said on the other side of the phone, sounding slightly guilty.
"I know you will be." I smiled. "I'll see you tomorrow, okay? I love you, Theo."
"I love you too, Mya."
With that I hung up the phone and shut out my bedside light as I once again rustled around trying to find a comfortable position. An hour later I was barely awake, staring at the ceiling as I was slowly drifting into a much needed slumber.
My eyes were finally about to shut for the night when I heard someone swiping their card key and twisting at the door handle.
I had only given my key to one other person. I lifted my sleep mask and peered into the darkness of my room.
"Yeah?" He answered back.
A smile took up my face as I flicked the lamp back on. My eyes immediately squinted due to the sudden brightness and adjusted to find Theo walking towards me.
"What are you doing here? I thought your dad wanted you to stay with him." I pondered aloud.
"Yeah he did, but he must've heard our conversation because he told me to come be with you and just to meet him in the morning." He admitted as he kicked off his shoes at the end of the bed.
"I'm not going to question it. Just get in bed so I can finally sleep. This time change has really been messing with my sleep schedule." I admitted as I lifted the blanket and patted the spot beside me.
Theo laughed at my actions and slid off his jacket and socks before climbing into bed beside me. His arms immediately looped around my waist and pulled me as close as possible. I immediately snuggled my face into his chest and my eyes fluttered shut.
I looked into his eyes as I felt his hand soothingly reach up and run his fingers down my hair and back. My breathing soon became a pattern as Theo reached over to shut the light out.
"Can you believe tomorrow is here already?" Theo whispered still astonished.
"Hmm-mhm." I muttered back sleepily as my eyes fluttered shut once again.
Theo quietly chuckled as he continued to smooth over my hair. "Goodnight, princess."
That was the last thing I remember before the morning sun was blinding my eyes. Theo's spot in bed was empty and cold by the time I woke up to someone beating on my door.
I grumbled as I stumbled to the door, only to open it to a jaw-on-the-ground Theresa.
"This is what Camilla gives me to work with? Did you just wake up, darling?!" She was fuming. "I've been knocking on your door for nearly ten minutes!"
She pushed past me and immediately started unpacking her little suitcases full of makeup.
"Good morning to your too, Theresa." I chuckled as I shut the door and moved to the bathroom to brush my teeth.
After I rinsed my mouth and washed my face for the morning I returned to the living area to find Theresa all set up and directing me to sit in a chair.
"Oh. Here, darling." She dug into her back pocket. "I believe this to be yours. He left it at the front desk for me with specific directions to deliver it to you." She handed me a folded up paper and I immediately opened it.
Sorry I had to leave so early, but dad wanted me to get some breakfast with him. I can't wait to see you later, and I know you hate wearing pink but I know you'll pull it off. You could wear a potato sack and still look breathtaking.
See you later hot stuff! I'll be the sexy one in the tux.
I chuckled at his silly signing and began to gain excitement about seeing him in his spiffy little tux. It felt like I hadn't seen him in anything other than his workout clothes and football uniform since he made it to the NFL.
He loved it so far and as luck would have it, he was now one of the top quarterbacks in the league.
"You've got yourself quite a man there, miss Amaya." I heard Theresa say from behind me.
I smiled to myself as I refolded the letter and stuck it inside my bag before sitting in the chair, facing the mirror in front of Theresa. "I really do, don't I?"
"I've seen you from the beginning up until now. I feel like I'm watching a damn romance movie."
"Yeah you've seen us through so much. I still can't believe you haven't met him yet."
"I know. It's like watching a movie with the main love interest missing. You know how hard that is?!" I watched her in the mirror as she dramatically threw her hands in the air, resulting in a laugh from me.
"You'll meet him tonight for sure!" Thankfully she was invited. I mean after all the hair and makeup she had done for the family she deserved to be there.
I noticed she was already done up for the wedding, so she wouldn't have to worry about getting ready after me. Typical Theresa. She'd always been such a planner.
"It's about time! It's only been what? Four years?"
"Yeah it's crazy isn't it? Time sure does fly." I admitted as I folded my hands together.
In no time at all Theresa had my hair in a elegant updo and had turned me around to start on my makeup. Just when she was putting the final touches on my eyeshadow, there was yet another knock at the door.
I got up to answer it in only a robe and my face only half done. I hope it wasn't anything important. I swung the door open without even thinking to check through the peephole and there stood Annalee and Tucker.
Anna was guzzling a bottle of water as Tuck was holding a rather large bottle of champagne.
"Hey, girl. You're looking fiiiine." Tuck clicked his tongue as he walked around me into the room.
I chuckled as I watched him checking the room out and stepped further back to let Anna in. I tried to give her enough room to maneuver around me with her ever-growing baby bump. She was nearing 6 months by now.
"Gracie's been missing you since you've been away with all this wedding stuff." She admitted as she hugged me.
"Yeah I'm sorry I had to drop her off so last minute. I was planning on mom and dad watching her but they won that cruise so last minute. I'm so glad they'll be here for the wedding though. Thank you for taking care if her. Did she make it to the dog kennel okay?" I asked. It might've only been four days, but I'd really missed my little fluff ball.
"Oh no. That's okay. Gracie is always such a good girl. Danny insisted on walking her with me every single time. He wouldn't let me do anything Gracie-related alone except give her a treat afterwards." She rolled her eyes at Danny's actions.
They'd always been such a cute couple together. From the moment they told us they were dating in the spring of my freshman year, up to the moment they announced they were expecting a baby.
I remember Annalee telling me how they met and how there was just an immediate spark between them. They had met while I was away for Christmas that fateful holiday.
While Theo and I were having one of the worst holiday seasons on the face of the earth, Annalee and Danny were meeting for the first time. Danny came over asking for a hoodie Theo had borrowed and instead he found the love of his life.
I smiled at the sweet moments that I had experienced between the two of them. From the beginning, I knew they were meant to be.
Seeing Tuck poured us each a glass of champagne, with exception of Anna, brought to the hotel room.
"I don't know why we have to celebrate with the one thing I can't drink. Like why alcohol? Why not cake or something?"
We all chorused laughs around her as I set back in my seat for makeup. "You can have any of the food from the fridge, Anna."
She didn't have to be told twice as she hurried to the kitchen and dining area of the room. When she made it to the refrigerator, she practically ripped the door off its hinges. I laughed as I watched her in her fancy dress bent down as low as she could and shuffling through the various items that currently crowded the fridge.
"Oreos dunked in key lime yogurt. Interesting combo." I chuckled from the other side of the room.
She quirked an eyebrow as she pulled the Oreos apart and started filling them with yogurt.
"Anna that is so disgusting." Tuck covered his mouth as he watched from afar in pure horror.
"Don't be such a baby. Don't you have your husband to annoy?" She rolled her eyes as she continued to eat a whole sleeve like that. You wouldn't catch me coming between Anna and her food. That was an unsaid mistake and I just knew it.
"No. You know Micthell is overseas right now." He said back just as sassily.
I remember meeting Mitchell for the first time. He was blindingly beautiful with his blue eyes and suave black hair. After four months of a mopey Tucker recovering from the Sam breakup, I figured this guy was a start.
It ended up being way more than just a start. It was the beginning of something truly beautiful. Tucker and Mitchell married on a December night two years after they met. I remember it like it was yesterday. Mitchell was clad in his military uniform and Tuck wore a stylish, cream tuxedo. It was a small but memorable ceremony.
I remember how upset Tucker was when he found out Mitch wouldn't be home to attend this 'wedding of the century' as he put it in his own terms. To make him feel better I insured him a seat three rows away from the alter.
Back to the present, in my place at the alter, I sent him Tuck a smile and he waved back crazily from his seat. The wedding was about to begin and I gave Theo one last smile before the wedding march began.
Down the aisle the beautifully carved wooden doors swung open to reveal a bride clad in all white and on her arm was a handsome Will.
Theo's older brother was dressed in a jet black tuxedo accompanied with a pink tie that his mother bribed him into wearing by pulling the 'it's my wedding' card.
I glanced at the groom as the mother-and-son duo began gliding down the aisle in rhythmic steps with the music. The groom was standing tall but you could see just how much the entrance of his soon-to-be-wife was severely affecting him.
His eyes were crinkled around the edges as they stayed on his fiancee in her beautiful gown. Theo really was the spitting image of his biological dad.
They shared the same chocolate eyes that sparkled whenever they saw someone they loved. Their father-son reunion was definitely one for the books. There was a lot of yelling and bitter remarks, but overall it ended in happy tears and warm embraces.
Camilla was undeniably still in love with the man. You could tell from the very second she laid her eyes on him. The spark was still there after nearly two decades and they surely weren't waiting another twenty years to be together. They started dating six months after they had reunited. A couple short years later and they were engaged.
I smiled as I watched their romantic reactions towards each other and I'd be lying if I said I didn't tear up a bit. Camilla had been a true thorn in my side from the moment I met her, but when she finally told the truth, the air between us began to clear.
I guess it helped a lot when I learned that she practically paid out of her own pocket to assist in my dad's full recovery. It really showed how she was changing as a person and finally becoming someone I could admire and connect with. We grew closer over the years which is exactly how I, Amaya Dawson, wound up as Camilla Gonzales' maid of honor.
I watched as she effortlessly glided up the steps that had given me so much trouble with Will on her arm. She stopped her ascent as soon as Will placed her hand in her groom's with some words.
"Take care of her." He warned.
Graham grinned and looked to the beautiful Camilla. "Always."
Will smiled at the answer and made his way down the steps and to his seat in the front row. As soon as he was seated he immediately wrapped his arm around his wife's shoulders.
I watched with a smile as he took Ellie from his wife, Cecilia, and set her in his lap. Will noticed me watching and sent a wink my way. After knowing him for years now we were closer than ever. From the very first moment I met him, he had always felt like an older brother to me.
I was drawn away from the lovely scene when Camilla turned to hand off her boquet to me. I admired the beautiful set of flowers that appeared to be three times the size of mine as she placed it in my hands before she smiled to me. I watched as she turned back to her soon-to-be husband's gaze and held his hands in her own.
The wedding ceremony began immediately and I listened in, with Theo constantly popping into my mind as I watched the love affair. I got wrapped up into the romance of it all as I listened to the tailored parts of Graham and Camilla's ceremony.
The fact that Theo and I were able to experience and be involved in the wedding of people we knew truly loved each other and people so close to us would always resonate as a perfect memory in my mind. The ceremony seemed to breeze by and it wasn't long before we were listening to the vows.
"Do you, Camilla Gonzales take Graham De Luca to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
She smiled a perfect and pearly grin as she happily chuckled. "I do."
"Do you, Graham De Luca, take Camilla Gonzales as your lawfully wedded wife?"
He grinned with happiness oozing from his chocolate brown eyes. "I do."
And with that I watched as a tear of pure happiness slipped down Camilla's smooth cheek, but it wasn't long before her husband reached out and swiped it away.
They exchanged their rings in a haste, showing that they couldn't wait to be official.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride!"
Without a second's hesitation, Graham wrapped his arms intricately around his new bride and dipped her down before placing his lips on hers. It was a truly historical moment. These two have went through hell and back and were finally crossing the ultimate finish line.
The church immediately exploded into what felt like millions of cheers, including my own.
Their journey back to each other reminded me of the man standing directly across from me. My eyes shifted from the romantic scene between the brand new husband and wife and shifted up to the man I call mine.
As soon as I glanced over to him I noticed his chocolatey irises were already trained on me with a smile so endearing that I immediately mirrored it.
Just when I didn't think my grin could get any larger, it did. It stretched a mile wide at the sight of Theodore. He was the love of my life and I knew it, and it wouldn't be long before it was us up here.
"I love you." He mouthed.
It was in that moment where everything around us just seemed to disappear and it was just the two of us. Just the two of us falling even more in love indefinitely.
"I love you too." I mouthed back over to him with a grin.
The music picked up tempo and it wasn't long before the freshly married couple finished their kiss and interlocked arms. We all watched as they made their way up the aisle with a never-ending applause.
As the wedding planner had instructed, Theo and I waited a whole thirty seconds before locking arms and following suit of the bride and groom.
I looked up to him and saw he was awaiting me with his arm was already in place for mine to loop through. As we were making our way out of the church and into the courtyard for pictures, Theo leaned over to me and whispered in my ear.
"You didn't fall in your heels. I'm so proud of you." He chuckled.
"Like to see you try." I scoffed.
He just laughed as we continued our trek to the picture destination.
It wasn't long before the pictures were over and the newly weds were getting into a classy little car with everyone cheering them on. We all waited until their car was no longer in sight before we made a move to leave. The rest of us (immediate family and wedding entourage) piled into a long, black limo for the reception.
The ride to Camilla and Graham's home from the church thankfully wasn't that long, and as soon as we arrived everyone hurriedly pushed their way out of the car, all hungry and excited to see the venue after the long day.
By the time we arrived, it was getting darker outside and past the vineyards you could see the crisp yellow sun beginning to set. In its wake it left an array of beautiful clouds, almost like an artist had taken a paintbrush and water colors to set the perfect mood. Beneath them, the sky was filled with strokes of subtle violet and soft pinks, with an undertone of a dreamy orange hue.
There were elegant tables and white chairs spaced perfectly around the yard. Each table had their own centerpiece of flowers, the garden roses and orchids making a reappearance.
At each seat, there were ivory plates and tall champagne glasses trimmed in gold. Every table had its own crystal chandelier hanging low enough to give light exposure in the ensuing night.
Everything looked exquisite and rich with a professional taste. Above the whole scene, fairy lights twinkled overhead giving the scene the last hint of magic it needed.
In the middle of the whole setting, hung an exquisite chandelier over the large, wooden dance floor placed directly in front of the large stage the musicians were using to play their soft melodies.
The staff had done a beautiful job in bringing Camilla's dream to life. The whole setup had left me in a trance, which lifted when I felt someone's arm wrap itself around my waist. I turned my head to see Theo's eyes surveilling the area as well.
"It looks beautiful."
"It really does, doesn't it?" I admitted as I looked back over the scene.
"It really does. You did a really nice job." He said and spun me back to face him. "I still can't believe you helped my mom with so much in this wedding. Calling all those people, making sure every detail was done right, sewing her dress before the rehearsal when it randomly ripped, and mostly just for dealing with my mom in her bridezilla stage." We laughed together.
"I really didn't do much. I just consulted with the wedding planner when Camilla was too busy. I was just there for her when she needed me, and in all honesty, she wasn't that bad." I admitted truthfully.
"Yeah, okay." He rolled his eyes with a smile still on his face. "But you really helped do all this."
He referred to the gathering that lay in front of him.
"All while finishing your last year in college. You're amazing, you know that?"
"It wasn't all me. I had a lot of help." I shrug nonchalantly.
"Ugh, you never can take a well-deserved compliment, can you?" He wrapped both arms around me, pulling me impossibly close, making me laugh. I looked up to him and his eyes were staring straight into mine. "I love you."
I laughed and buried my head into his chest. "I love you more."
"I don't think that's possible." I looked back up to him and he was shaking his head.
"Oh trust me, it definitely is."
His grin stretched even more than before as he placed a kiss on my forehead, holding his lips there for a few seconds. "Guess we should go find our seats, huh?"
"I guess so." I agreed, but still neither of us made a move to pull away. I just remembered something as I noticed more and more people taking their seats.
"Aw man." I tsked.
"What?" Theo asked confused.
"I forgot my purse in the limo." I sighed.
"That's okay. No need for tissues later, you'll have my shoulder to cry on."
"You're such a smart ass." I chuckled lightly hitting him in the shoulder. "But I'm serious. I need my purse. It has my speech in it. You don't think they left already do you?"
"You heard the lady, Theodore Graham. Go get her purse!" We heard from behind us, making us both turn to see that it was none other than Ethel.
"Alright alright!" Theo lifted his hands in a playful resignation and pulled a random Danny along with him on his way back to the limo.
We both watched them leave chuckling at their theatrics. But as soon as they were out of sight I turned back towards Ethel.
She was wearing a modest and vintage navy blue dress that made her look absolutely timeless.
"You look absolutely beautiful, Ethel." I smiled to her.
"Aw thank you, sweetheart. You don't look so bad yourself."
"Well thank you, Ethel!" I smiled to her. "I've missed you so much!" I bent down to hug her.
"I've missed you too, miss Amaya. It feels like it's been forever." Ethel admitted in a sad tone.
I pulled back and smiled at her. "It's only been since Christmas."
"Yeah well I've missed you two either way!" She admitted.
Just as I opened my mouth to tell her we'd missed her too, Danny came thundering in with my clutch in his hand.
"You're welcome!" He said prematurely and was clearly out of breath as he leaned down with his hands on his knees. "God I should've never quit football."
Theo walked in after him, coolly and all collected. Immediately, I spotted my purse.
"You found it!" I grabbed it out of his hands and immediately searched for the note cards containing my Maid of Honor speech. I held them against my chest dearly with my eyes closed, appreciating how prepared I was when packed them last night. Thankfully they were just where I had left them. "Thank god! I was so worried I lost them."
"Why you thanking god? I found them. I actually had to run through traffic to get them." He scoffed. "I get no appreciation around here."
I laughed at his drama and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you, Theo."
"I should get back to Anna. She's probably looking for me." Danny said as he had finally caught his breath.
"Thanks for the help, Danny!"
"You're welcome, m'lady." He bowed to me and started to walk away, but just as he was halfway in the entrance he bolted back like he had forgotten something himself.
"Theo, about that thing—"
Theo intercepted him and walked away from Ethel and I, and out of earshot. They conversed quickly and by the look on Theo's face, it looked urgent.
"I'm sure it's nothing, dear." Ethel sounded beside me. In my quest to listen in, I had nearly forgotten she was standing beside me.
"Yeah. I'm sure you're right." I assured her, but I was mostly trying to reassure myself.
"Later, Danny!" Theo suddenly shouted and made his way back over to me. I gave him a questionable look and he just sent a smile down to me. I grinned back. I'm sure it was nothing. No need worrying about it when we had better things to focus on.
"When are you two finally gonna get married?" Ethel asked us, drawing the both of us out of our trance.
"Soon, maybe? I don't know. Whenever she's ready, I'm ready." He wrapped his arm around my waist pulling me closer but never taking his eyes off of me. "I'd wait forever on her."
I felt tears prick at the corners of my eyes but I swiped them away not wanting to mess up my makeup. Ethel had the biggest grin I had ever seen on a person's face before. "You two look busy. I'll see you around a little later."
She walked away with a little more pep in her step and we both chuckled at the elder woman with her comments. Watching the little old woman making her way through the crowd to her seat gave us time to slightly trick our minds away from the big "m" word.
Marriage. Of course the topic had come up here and there, but never anything so serious. Theo had never made any promises quite like that...ever.
Any time we were asked about marriage by family, friends, or even in interviews we'd always just say how he's waiting to get settled into the NFL and I'm finished with school. But now we both knew we had nearly accomplished both of those, we were kind of at a standstill.
With his mother's first marriage not exactly being a great example for him, we weren't exactly wanting to jump right into something so serious too quickly.
Were we even ready for marriage? Or even ready to begin talking about marriage? Or would everyone wanting us to be official put too much pressure on us?
"Stop overthinking." Theo whispered into my ear as we finally made our way to the head table, arranged strictly for the wedding party. It was the largest table of them all, fitting the groomsmen, bridesmaids, a few extended family, and of course the newly married couple.
Luckily, Theo and I were sat right next to each other so we could talk. "I'm not." I whispered back.
"Yeah you are. You're doing that thing you do when you overthink. You know when you bite your lip and stare off into space?"
He was right. I was just doing that, but would I be admitting how wrong I was today? Hell no.
"I am not." I habitually rolled my eyes at him and took my lip out from between my teeth.
"Must you always roll your eyes? I mean they're the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen, so why you always have them at the back of your head?"
The corner of my mouth tipped up in a smirk at his comment but I sucked my lips in to avoid him seeing how much his latest comment affected me.
"I love you, Mya. If it can make you feel better, you can just forget I said anything to Ethel. We can just go back to normal." His words surprised me once again and I turned to him to see him completely serious.
"So you didn't mean what you said to Ethel?" I asked as I swiveled in my seat to talk to him
"No, baby. Of course I did. I just don't want you to feel rushed or anything so we can just let it go." He placed his hand on my knee and leaned in close. He was about to say something but the feedback from the microphone made me jump back.
"Sorry about that, everyone. But if you would all stand and make a big round of applause for the new Mr. and Mrs. De Luca!"
We all stood at once and started clapping for the new and happy couple. Theo and I's conversation was cut too short, but it was too serious to just be whispering about so I guess it would have to wait.
The announcement of the new couple and their first dance went by in the blink of an eye. Next up was my speech and the fact that I had to speak in front of so many people wasn't my biggest fear. My biggest fear right now was messing up Camilla's wedding with a crap speech.
"And next up we have the maid of honor, Amaya Dawson giving a toast to our newlyweds! Let's hear it for her!"
The reception hall filled with cheers and with red cheeks I made my way to the main floor, which stood right in front of our seats. So it was easier talking directly to Camilla and Graham.
I took a deep breath and surveyed the audience finding the one man in the crowd who calmed me. Earlier that was Theo, but due to our odd circumstances right now, it was one of the only men I knew I'd be able to depend on for the rest of our lives. When my eyes landed on the man whose eyes were nearly identical to mine, I smiled and he smiled back.
Over the applause that was slowly dying down, I could hear my dad, clear as day say "You've got this, bug!" It almost set all my nerves at ease.
I smiled to him, who had my mom leaning her head against him. They were the perfect couple, but as soon as my eyes moved to different people my heart began to race again.
I took a deep breath as I held the notecards so tightly in my hands they were starting to cut into my palms. I shuffled them around so they were in the right order and stepped up to take the microphone from the DJ just as the last clap ended.
"Before I even begin, I want you all to give Camilla and Graham another round of applause!" And everyone did so. "It's been such an honor to be a part of your special day, and I'm so happy you chose me to be your maid of honor.
For those of you who don't know who I am, I'm Amaya Dawson. I guess you could say Camilla and I met through a mutual friend." Some of the crowd laughed knowingly as I looked at Theo and he immediately smiled back before sending a wink my way.
"It's honestly difficult to describe Camilla and I's relationship. It's definitely been a roller coaster of ups and downs, twists and turns, and a lot of unexpected moments.
But over the years I have grown to love her like she was my own family. She has become a person I look up to in these last few years and has become someone I see as a role model, as well as someone I'm lucky enough to call my friend." Camilla smiled over to me as I spoke and gave me a polite nod, but I noticed her eyes were beginning to water.
"If anyone deserves a happily ever after, it's her." I watched as Graham took hold of his wife's hand and pressed a comforting and smiling kiss to her temple, which made her turn to him.
I went on to talk about how I met them both and how they were so right for each other. I threw in a couple jokes to earn some laughs and before you knew it I was done.
"So let's all raise a glass for the newly married couple, Camilla and Graham De Luca! May they have a long and happy life together!" I raised my glass and took a nice long drink along with everyone else in the room.
As soon as I was away from the microphone and back in my seat my heart finally stopped racing.
"You did amazing out there, princess." Theo said as he kissed my cheek.
I turned to look him in the eyes with a growing grin. "Thank you, but I'm sure you'll do even better."
"Not a chance, but I'll try." He winked to me just as he was being called up to give his best man speech.
Theo strode up to the microphone with the most confidence I had ever seen from him. I already knew his speech was going to blow mine out of the water.
"Today, two of my favorite people in the world got married. Two people who at one point were never expected to wind up here. Two people who now love each other unconditionally and deserve the world. Those two people are my parents."
Theo's eyes remained on Camilla and Graham as he talked.
"Their love story started out rocky and along the way they lost each other, but after a long detour and a few potholes in that long road, they found their way back to each other. I'm so happy and excited for them as they begin their journey into marriage."
Theo's eyes shifted over to me.
"Their love inspires those around them and continues to thrive every single day. They will have those days where they can't stand each other, those days where they disagree and fight but at the end of the day they'll always come back to each other."
Theo's eyes drifted from his parents and landed on me as he appeared serious. "Because when you're in love, nothing will ever stand in your way of being with that one person."
He paused for a minute, then shyly looked down to his shoes with a giant grin before he cleared his throat. He looked back up to the crowd and then his gaze shifted over to his parents. "Mom. Dad. Congratulations on the wedding and I wish you both an eternity of happiness."
He lifted his glass and to the guests he said "To Mr. and Mrs. De Luca!"
The large multitude of people listening to him chorused his words and cheered. Typical Theo. Always the crowd pleaser.
He handed the microphone back to the band leader. I inwardly chuckled at how Camilla and Graham had battled on whether to hire a band or a DJ. Jokingly, Theo had told them to just hire both so he wouldn't have to hear them bicker about it anymore, but they had loved the idea.
All in all, I guess you could just say it worked out for all of us.
The applause continued to roar for Theo as he took his seat beside me. We sat in a comfortable silence as the DJ initiated another upbeat song and colorful lights flashed across the dance floor. I watched as a whole slew of younger guests started to make their way out.
I leaned my head on Theo's shoulder and he looked down to me with a grin.
"I told you your speech would be better." I boasted.
"Well I had some inspiration." He admitted as he slung his arm around my chair behind my shoulders.
"Yeah, your parents are the perfect couple." I chuckled as I watched them give it their all as they attempted to dance to a newer teen pop song. They were doing all the embarrassing moves wrong, but continued to just laugh while they went along with it.
"Yeah they're really happy together." He said as we watched them together. I looked up to his face, but he didn't seem like he was all there. He was distant and like he wanted to add something else, but was withholding it.
"Yeah, yeah. I'm good." A slow song started up and Theo looked away from his parents and down to me. "Wanna dance?"
I watched as a crowd of older couples started making their way to the dance floor. I smiled back up to him. "Sure."
He stood up from his chair and scooted mine out for me and I stood up as I held onto him.
"Wow. Such a gentleman." I joked.
As he led the way, he smiled back to me but didn't say anything.
Hand-in-hand, we walked out and stopped towards the center, right underneath the main and largest, sparkling chandelier. I admired how it twinkled above us like a bright star in the sky.
"You look so beautiful." Theo professed as he watched me with careful eyes as we slow danced.
"You don't look so bad yourself." I wink up to him.
"I feel 'not so bad' ever since I could rip that stupid bowtie off." He rolled his eyes but a playful grin remained.
"Bow tie or no bow tie, you're still the handsomest guy named Theodore here." I smirked, knowing he was the only one here.
"Could've stopped after handsomest and the statement would've still been accurate." He puffed out his chest all macho-like which only made me laugh harder.
In doing so, a few people turned to look at us with curious gazes and I just burrowed my now reddening face into Theo's shoulder to avoid the embarrassment I was filling up with.
I hadn't even realized the slow song ended while Theo and I were caught up in our little giggle fest. But sure enough another one followed up immediately after. The band leader spoke into the mic just as all the musicians were pulling their instruments into place below their hands.
"This one was requested by one of you out there since it holds so much meaning to you. This one goes out to all those young ones in love or falling in love!"
He puts the microphone back in its stand and the tempo of the music slowly picks up. Within seconds I recognize that melody. I could recognize it from anywhere.
I looked up to see all the other couples swaying to the chords being played. "It's our song."
I turn my attention back up to Theo's face. He's grinning from ear to ear.
"You requested this, didn't you?" I asked.
"We haven't heard this song since..."
"Since the night you ran away from me..."
"Yeah." I admit as I look away guiltily.
I had always felt a surge of culpability for that night. If I had stayed in New York and listened to Theo I would've saved us from both some pain. It wouldn't have taken us as long to make up and gain the forgiveness that we needed from each other.
"Hey," I felt Theo's long fingers wrap around my chin and tilt up to look into his thoughtful eyes. "What's the matter?"
"Nothing." He gave me an all-knowing look which made me smile. "I'm just thinking about that night, and how everything could've went so much differently."
The song was finally picking up and the lyrics were being sung.
Please don't scar this young heart
Just take my hand
I was made for loving you
Theo continued to be silent as we twirled around the dance hall; he was here but he was distant with his thoughts. "I asked for this song because it was that night that I knew we were meant for each other."
Confused, my eyebrows scrunched together in confusion. "No. That can't be right. Every single thing went wrong that night. Everything."
Even though we may be hopeless hearts just passing through
Every bone screaming I don't know what we should do
All I know is, darling, I was made for loving you
"Not every thing. When you ran, I felt like my whole world was falling apart. I knew that when I found you I wanted nothing other than to have you back. Nothing makes you more certain that you want someone than when you lose them and would give anything to get them back."
I look at him thoughtfully. We never really talked about that night. We had just moved on and kind of forgotten about it. We didn't want to dwell in the past and on our mistakes, but maybe what he's saying right now is that the night of the ball wasn't a complete mistake.
Hold me close through the night
Don't let me go, we'll be alright
Touch my soul and hold it tight
I've been waiting all my life
I won't scar your young heart
Just take my hand
'Cause I was made for loving you
Even though we may be hopeless hearts just passing through
Every bone screaming I don't know what we should do
All I know is, darling, I was made for loving you
The music swelled and we continued to dance, both of us putting our slightly serious conversation on the back burner.
Please don't go, I've been waiting so long
Oh, you don't even know me at all
But I was made for loving you
I was made for loving you
Even though we may be hopeless hearts just passing through
The song was nearing an end. "On the way to Louisiana that night, I was constantly worried I'd lose you forever. That you were done with me and that I had made the greatest mistake of my life by keeping the truth from you. But in losing you I knew I had to fight to get you back and from doing that, I really learned some thing. From the moment I met you, you have changed my life. Made me a better, happier man, and I couldn't be any more grateful. I love you, Amaya. More than you'll ever know." He finished with his sincere eyes locked on mine.
Every bone screaming I don't know what we should do
All I know is, darling, I was made for loving you
I reached up to run my thumb over the smooth skin of his face. "I love you, Theo."
For a reason that had just dawned on me, I had realized that Theo was finally happy. That boy who ranted about his messed up family in that stadium all those years ago, the guy who was constantly unsure of himself and his future was long gone. His life was finally free of unnecessary drama and he was finally living the life he had wanted.
Across the dance floor I saw his parents sweetly embraced as they lovingly swayed to the song. His mom was no longer an evil tyrant and he finally knew his real dad. My eyes wandered to dessert bar where Danny and Annalee were stocking up as much as their arms could handle. And at the edge of the dance floor, Cecilia, Will, and adorable little Ellie were dancing as a group with grins and laughter.
Theo was always more than he gave himself credit for. He was a phenomenal football player, an intelligent college graduate, an amazing uncle, a best friend, and the most perfect dog dad.
But most importantly, he was the love of my life. Under the twinkle lights, I had realized something that I had been avoiding, but now I knew it was exactly what I wanted.
I wanted to marry him.
I wanted to buy our first house together. I wanted to have children with him, and to watch cheerfully as they grew up. I wanted to grow old and be with him till we took our last breaths.
I wanted my whole future to be with him. Looking back now, I think I always knew it was going to be him. It was always going to be Theo.
I laid my ear against his chest and listened to his steady heartbeat. He is what I wanted. As we glided across the dance floor, the band played the remainder of the song.
Back on that fateful night of the ball, we thought we knew everything about one another, but compared to now, we were basically strangers that night. I knew everything about Theo, and I just wanted to continue learning about him and growing with him till the day I couldn't remember.
I knew I needed to tell him everything, so as the music wound down I grabbed ahold of Theo's wrist and pulled him away from the dance floor. I didn't know where I was going, but I knew I needed privacy for what I was about to do.
"Where are we going?" Theo chuckled from behind me.
"You'll see." I playfully bantered back.
"Ooh, Mya. I'm all for a quick broom closet session like we did that one time my junior year, but I don't think my parents would really appreciate it at their wedding." He taunted and I could already envision him lifting his eyebrows suggestively.
I came to a full stop, nearly making him run me over, and whipped around. Just like I had predicted, he had a full on smirk plastered on his face. My face burned a deep red at him bringing up that memory when both our parents were so close.
It was definitely not one of my finest moments, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't fun. "No! Theo, we are not hooking up at your parents wedding. I'm just taking you somewhere we can talk privately."
He looked disappointed, but he shook his head in attempts of clearing his thoughts and keep himself on track.
"Okay, but what's up? Is something wrong?" He questioned as his eyebrows scrunched together in concern.
I smiled at how sweet he was. "No. Nothing's wrong as long as you stop interrupting me."
"Cross my heart." He promised playfully as he put an 'x' over his heart.
I chuckle at his childlike promise but believed him as I continued to drag him along. I had finally decided where we were heading to. I knew just the place.
When Camilla and Graham first purchased their mansion, they were on the phone inviting us to fly over and check it out. When I first arrived, this was the one room I had immediately gravitated to. A place I felt comfortable and had all the privacy we needed.
It was a tall, two-story library. To anyone looking in, it just looked like an aged and dusty room full of books, but to me it looked like something straight out of a movie and for me, absolutely dream-like.
In the center of the room there was an iron, spiral staircase leading to the second floor of the room. On the forefront of the room, there was a ceiling-to-wall window overlooking the front gardens and the driveway. It was currently filled with hundreds of expensive vehicles, all guests of the wedding. The wedding we should've been at, but this was something that just couldn't wait.
"What's going on, Amaya?" Theo asked after an unusual amount of time being silent.
I let go of his hand and walked slowly along the bookcases. "When we first came here, this was the room I was drawn to."
"I know. You've always had a cute, nerdy love for libraries." Theo admitted playfully as he walked closer to me.
I gave him a dirty look and he just chuckled. "What? You know it's true."
"Well do you remember anything else about our time in here that day?" I questioned, curious if he did.
"You pestered me into building you a library into the house that we have yet to buy." He shook his head in a slight annoyance.
He refused to buy a house to live in all by himself, so he said he'd wait till I was ready. Ready for me, would be as soon as I graduated college and much to his dismay, I still wasn't done.
He had a penthouse in a fancy apartment building that was near his current football team's stadium so he was close, but Theo liked to stay at our apartment as often as he could.
On his off-seasons he was there most often. We both knew distance was the last thing that would tear us apart, but it could be tough for us sometimes. It was the commitment and true love that always helped us pull through.
"The library was just a suggestion," I shrugged. "And you know I'm waiting till I'm done with college till we buy anything together." I sassed back.
A handsomely devilish smirk bewitched his lips as he took the remaining steps between us and wrapped his arms around my waist, pulling me closer.
"I know that and I love your determination. I'd wait on you forever, Amaya Dawson." He brushed away a piece of hair that had fallen. "And you know damn well I'm getting you a library. You can have anything in the world, princess. You know that already."
I buried my head into his chest and breathed in the scent of his cologne on his freshly pressed tux. It somehow calmed my nerves. "You're so good to me."
"I'm just as good to you as you are to me, Mya. You're my everything." He kissed the top of my head as I looked up into his eyes.
They were deadlocked on mine and the same color as the sweet hot chocolate that we drank to warm ourselves up after sledding all that time ago.
Theo's eyes had somehow only become sweeter with time. His perfect eyes were like an overly sweetened piece of chocolate cake. Something that'll leave you with a tooth ache, but you'll always go back for its saccharine taste.
And over time I've grown to love them even more, just like the person they belonged to. Theo smiled down to me as I guiltlessly stared up to him for the a passing few minutes.
Theo was perfect in every way to me. Of course he had his own imperfections here and there. But it was his flaws that had made me love him even more. They made him more human and made him less intimidating. They were what made me grow closer to him.
Theo was the love of my life. My soul mate and I knew he was the one person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. So why not start the rest of our lives together now?
I took a deep breath to calm my nerves. My heart was suddenly pounding in my chest. It was time to propose to him. I really should've planned this better.
Theo reached out to hold my upper arm. "Hey, you okay? You look a little nervous."
No. Not okay! What if he says no??
"Yeah I'm fine." I smiled to him. "Hey. I really have something important to ask you."
"You know you can ask me anything." He grinned back to me as he held my hand he tried to walk us to the door but I stayed cemented to my spot on the floor. "Why don't we go talk about this downstairs? We should be heading back soon anyways. Mom's probably wondering where we are."
He knew the face I made when I was serious about something and I was definitely sporting it right now.
"Actually I want to stay up here. Camilla would understand. We haven't even been gone that long." I countered.
He looked conflicted as he glanced from the door and back to me, but in the end he let out a sigh and stopped trying to pull me towards the library's exit.
Why was he so eager to leave?
I pulled him back into the room and made him sit on the cherry red victorian style sofa. I gathered my dress around me and sat beside him. I immediately feel my face start to heat up and my throat begins to close up.
It was an emotional moment for us. Was now really the right time to be proposing marriage? While I was still in college and Theo was still building his resumé in the league? Was this the right time to move to the next level?
"You alright, princess?" Theo questioned concerned.
"Yeah I'm fine." I admitted but my choked up voice definitely played a different story.
"You want to go get some fresh air in the gardens? There's no one even out there. Maybe that will help." He stood from the couch and held his hand out for mine.
"No. I'm fine right here, Theo. I promise." I gave him a sweet smile but the look on his handsome face told that he didn't believe me.
"Please, Theo. I need to tell you something really important."
"Oh okay." Theo sounded slightly defeated but sat back down beside me before taking my hands in his. I focused down at them, and noticed how perfectly they fit together. Like lock and key. Just like us.
It was now or never.
"Theo, I've always loved you. From the moment we met I knew you were going to be a major part of my life. Over the years I have only grown more and more in love with you. You're the most perfect person, the love of my life, and my best friend. In truth, I really think it's time, so let's get married!" I couldn't contain my excitement as the words spewed out of me.
I clapped my hands over my mouth and mentally cursed myself for not holding it together for a little while longer. I had planned on building up to the big proposal, but I was just too excited to get it out. My hands slowly dropped from my lips after noticing Theo hadn't said a single word. He looked stunned to say the least, but not a happy stunned...the look on his face was more on the solemn side.
What did I do wrong? Why did he look so sad?
"Theo?" I questioned him as he was now speechless.
He keeps his eyes on his hands.
"Theo? You're scaring me. Say something." I admitted with a nervous chuckle.
He shook his head in attempts to clear his mind. "Mya, why don't we head outside for some fresh air and we can talk."
I dropped his hands and scooted further from him. A look of sadness filled his eyes upon noticing that.
I had just proposed to him and he wants to go outside??
I get up from the couch and walk around for a minute trying to come to grips with everything that is happening.
"I think you should go." I admitted as I came upon the door.
I heard the ancient floor creak as he stood from the sofa. I looked up to see him anxiously making his way over to me.
With an ever-growing distance between us, he began to nervously rub the back of his neck as he kept looking out the window.
"Amaya, you don't understand. Just give me a minute to explain." He reached out for my hands but I just took another step back, starting to feel my eyes begin to water.
I watch him look on helplessly and then dig into his pocket for something. And he pulled out the last thing I expected at this point in time. His damn cell phone.
All of a sudden, all my sadness evaporated with my tears and I was filled with complete anger.
"Are you seriously on your phone right now?! Oh my god, Theo!" I yanked the door open. "Get out."
He looked up from his phone and saw just how serious I was. "What? Amaya I was just checking on something really important and—" He shoved his phone back in his pocket and tried to close the gap between us.
I only opened the door wider, silently insisting he leave. "Theo, we can talk later and your mom is probably wondering where you are, so get back down there and I'll be down in a minute. I'm okay. I just need some time."
I smiled up to him, but I couldn't help the sound of my throat closing with cries that needed to be released.
Theo's lips turned down in a frown and his eyebrows scrunched together in the middle. The look of pity on his face was just too much for me to handle at this point. I had to get out of there.
"Yeah, you know what? Fine. You stay. I'll go instead." I made a desperate bolt out the door and I was halfway down the hallway, but unfortunately Theo was much faster than me and caught up to me in no time.
He caught my waist and turned me around to face him. I made an attempt to look anywhere but up to him.
"Amaya, will you please just look at me?"
I remained quiet and ignored him. All my mind could think about is why he didn't want to marry me.
"Amaya just look at me. Please. I'll explain everything."
His face was the last one I wanted to see at this point but all I wanted was an explanation.
So I looked up to him and pushed him off me. I crossed my arms to look slightly more menacing. "Fine. But you don't have that much time."
I walk past him and back into the library. I plop back onto the couch and wait for Theo, already planning my escape.
With my arms still intertwined and a pout on my face, Theo walked into the room. Immediately, my defense was up again.
"I don't even know why I came back. I just want to be alone right now, Theo. I love you and I understand if you're not ready to move to the next stage in our relationship, but I really just need some time to myself to process everything that just—"
I looked at him with wide eyes. First he outright embarrassed me and now he's cutting me off and yelling at me?
"Excuse me? Theo...you know what? I'm just gonna go, but for real this time. I'm sure your mom is looking for us and needs us, so let's just get out of—"
"Amaya! Can you please stop freaking out and let me explain?"
I stared at him as I remained quiet. When he made no moves or said no other words, I just quirked my eyebrow in a way of giving him silent attitude as I waited for him to explain himself.
He let out an exasperated sigh and reached into his pocket and pulled his phone out.
I stood up and with anger clear in my voice, I went off. "Are you serious, Theo? I just proposed to you and you completely blew me off! Now you think is the perfect time to call somebody up?! Like who even does that? That's just so—"
The words immediately stopped spewing from my mouth with the serious look he was giving me.
"Amaya. Give me three minutes. Please." He leaned over and gave me a peck on the lips before leaving a peck on my lips, earning him his much wanted silence from me. "Thank you."
He pulls up his phone again and starts typing in a number, but before I can see just who he's dialing, he puts the iPhone up to his ear and walks to the tall window. I hear it ring twice before someone on the other end picks up. Theo turns back to me and signals me to stand beside him.
"Hey. Is it all ready?" Theo asks into the phone before he puts it on speaker phone.
"Yeah! It's all ready!" Danny said on the other end.
"You're positive?" Theo questioned.
"Yes, Theo. He's positive. We even checked it out for ourselves." Annalee sounded irritated.
You could hear Danny nervously chuckle in response. "Yeah it's all ready. You're not ready for it right now are you? I didn't think you'd be needing it so soon and it's barely night time."
I was so confused and all these weird, coded plans were only making it worse. Theo took the phone back off speaker phone.
"Yeah I know. It doesn't matter, though. Can you just turn them on right away? Okay. Thanks for everything. Yeah. Tell Annalee I'm sorry for keeping you, and I'll make it up to her." He laughed. "Okay. I was just about to."
He looked over to me and had the sweetest smile on his face. "Yeah she's right here...I know man. I love you too. I'll tell you everything later!"
He hung up the phone and turned to me.
"Mya, I love you more than anything in this whole world. You are my everything. You know that, right?" He brought his arm around to encircle my waist and pulled me closer to him.
We were face-to-face and the look in his eyes was so intense and steady that I couldn't even form words. I nodded. He chuckled at my actions and brought his forehead down to rest on mine. He stared into my eyes.
"Have I ever told you how much I love your eyes?" Bashfully, I looked down and his fingers reach out to gingerly caressed my chin and had me look back up to him. "They're so sweet and have such this innocence that draws a person in, but at the same time they're so full of life and adventure. They're complex and entrancing. They're the first thing I ever noticed about you. You were so sassy that day in the coffee shop but I just couldn't stop staring into these eyes of yours. They're like a damn drug."
I chuckled, pressing my forehead to his chest. "Stop."
"It's true. But that's not all I love about you, princess." He started. I looked up from my my head laid and listened to him.
All my infuriation and irritation from earlier had simply evaporated into thin air. Listening to him talk, just did that to me. He just made me forget all my troubles.
"I love how forgiving you are. No matter what people put you through, you will always find it in your heart to forgive them. You're too compassionate for your own good."
He looked up from me nervously and out the window as if his speech was on a time limit. His eyes flitted back to me and a grin eased back onto his perfectly shaped lips.
"Another thing about you, my dear Amaya Dawson, is that you are so kind and generous. You welcome anyone in whenever they need it. I mean who knows where little Gracie would be without you. Or Annalee? You welcomed her back with open arms the second she ran in to any problems after she ditched you."
"Well they needed help. Anyone would've done what I did." I shrugged.
"This leads me to another one: you never boast about anything. Like ever. Oh! Another one!"
"Another what? I have no idea what's going on here." I interrupted him.
His pearly whites were on full display now. His hand traveled up my neck and traced along my jawline. "Another reason I love you. I thought you were following me on that."
My cheeks heated up at that as I curled into his touch.
"I love how you blush at everything. No matter how long we've been together I can still get you to blush. I love how dedicated to your studies and how intelligent you are. I love how beautiful you are when you first wake up. I love how playful you are when you play with Gracie. I love how much you appreciate your parents and how much you value their opinion of you. But most of all, I love how you bring out the best in me. You make me want to be the best version of myself not only for you, but for myself."
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed some lights flickering on in the garden. Intrigued, I walked over to the window and watched something I could only explain as magic.
Strand by strand, lights danced to life around the trees, light posts, bushes, up the grand fountain, and cascaded strategically across the front gardens. I watched as each bulb lit up and made each section of the yard glow.
I felt a tear escape from the corner of my eye. It all made sense now. Why Theo wanted to get me down to the gardens so badly and what he and Danny had planned. Why they seemed so nervous and discreet earlier and what they were talking about over the phone. All the preparation and work they had done. It was all for me. Theo had planned all of this for me.
Water filled my eyes and more tears threatened to spill over as I realized Theo was no longer by my side. I turned around and there he was.
He was down on one knee, with a ring between his fingers. Before I could stop it, I let out a gasp and clasped my hands over my mouth in surprise. This whole time he was planning on proposing to me.
Where I had thought of it on the spot, he had been planning for a long time. He had the ring to prove it.
With the biggest grin I'd ever seen on his face and his own eyes beginning to water. He stared soulfully into my eyes as he took my hands into his.
"Amaya Dawson, will you do me the biggest honor and make me the happiest man in the world? Will you marrying me?"
Tears barreled down my face like an avalanche down a mountain. Full force and never-ending. I couldn't believe this was finally happening! The man of my dreams had proposed to me! I laughed giddily and covered my mouth in attempts to repress myself.
He stood up from his place on the ground, with my one hand in his and the engagement ring in the other. I felt him gently wrap his fingers around my hand that had been covering my mouth, pulling it down and me closer. I couldn't help the smile that broke out as he closed the space between us, and looked down into my eyes.
He took his middle fingers and brushed back a piece of my hair that had refused to stay in its place before holding my face between both of his overly sized palms. In a repeated, calming gesture his thumbs traced from the apples of my cheeks down to my chin and over again. It was a soothing gesture, and only made me lean into his touch for more.
The back of his fingers grazed the side of my face and then wound around the nape of my neck. I sighed in content as I rested beneath his touch.
I pulled my arms around his neck and leaned in to place a slow, sweet, and one of the most meaningful kisses of all on his lips. As we pulled away from the embrace, my eyes remained shut. This all had to be a dream, right?
Theo chuckled. "You gonna open your eyes?"
I fluttered my eyes back open to look back into my favorite chocolate eyes. "I love you."
"I love you too." He wrapped his arms around my waist, having us fall back into a tight, loving embrace. I rested my head on his shoulder and was grinning ear to ear. I've never been so happy in my life.
I tucked his soft, styled hair behind his ear and leaned in to whisper something to him. "In case you didn't guess my answer, it's yes."
Theo's head immediately whipped back up with wide eyes. "Yes? Yes?!"
I giggled at his reaction and nodded rapidly as more tears began to stream down my cheeks. He picked me up and playfully twirled me around the room in an excited flurry.
I shrieked in surprise and he just chuckled before setting me back on the ground.
"Oh, wait!" He said as he began to anxiously dig into his pocket. Triumphantly, and with a relieved look on his face, he withdrew the ring from his dress pants.
He gently pushed the ring up onto my finger and it was the first time I could actually admire it. It was absolutely beautiful as it twinkled against the lights shining in from the garden.
The ring had gems encrusted all the way around its platinum band and the largest diamond I had ever seen in my life was cushioned against the center.
"Do you like it?" Theo asked and I looked up from my now bejeweled finger.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled myself closer with a grin on his face. "No."
His face fell. "No?"
I shook my head.
He looked disappointed as he scratched his head. "I can just take it back and then you can go to Cartier with me next time and pick one out yourself."
He looked so saddened and I couldn't help but immediately feel remorseful. I held his cheek in my hand and tsked. "Theo. I don't like the ring. I love it."
His face immediately turned up, happily. "You were messin' with me?"
"Maybe a little teensy bit." I said as I pinched my two fingers together.
He lifted me off the ground and spun me around and around the room. "You had me so worried. You're gonna be the one to drive me crazy one day."
Small, genuine laughs escaped me effortlessly as we continued to twirl across the freshly waxed, oaky hardwood floors beneath us.
It wasn't long before our clumsy sides reappeared and we were slipping. We sank to the floor laughing as Theo caught me in his arms.
As we sat on the floor, leaned against the fabric of the sofa, Theo's arms were wrapped around my torso as my back lay against his chest. We sat in a silence so quiet you could hear the dust falling. But it wasn't an awkward silence...it was peaceful.
"I can't believe I get to marry you." He whispered with his lips lovingly pressed against my temple.
I hugged his hands that were already tightly wound around me and smiled. I leaned up to leave a kiss on his jaw and admitted "It'll be the best day of our lives."
"One of the best. I couldn't possibly put them all in order, but when I'm with you, they're all the best to me."
I grinned at what he said. He always said the most perfect things. I couldn't help but grin ear to ear when thinking about how I got to marry him.
I scurried off the ground and out of Theo's arms.
"Hey! What's wrong?" Theo asked as he scrambled to stand up next to me.
I bent down and started slipping my heels back on in a hurried manner that almost sent me falling back down. "We're up here spending time talking about our future," I held Theo's shoulder as I stuffed my second foot into the other high-heeled shoe. "While the biggest day of your mother's is happening right downstairs."
I started to make my way to the door but Theo stepped in front if me, blocking my way. I tried sidestepping him multiple times but he stopped me every time.
I chuckled at his childish way of keeping me here. "Theo. I'm serious! We need to be there for her."
He shook his head with a playful smile and stepped up to me. He took my hands in his and wrapped them around his neck, pulling me closer.
"Okay, fine! We'll head back. I'm sorry for holding you back." He admitted as he leaned in and pressed a soft and meaningful peck to my neck.
My eyes shuttered closed as he continued to leave a trail of hot, sweet kisses all the way down to my collar bone. His fingertips danced around my jaw, leaving quick sparks across my skin.
My eyes briefly opened and I realized this jerk had sidetracked me. I chuckled and immediately started to push at his chest to separate him from me.
After a slight loss of balance, he caught himself but it was hard to miss the dazed and confused look in his eyes. "What the hell, Mya?"
I tried to play the smirk off my lips. "Okay. I'm sorry and of course I understand wanting to stay in our bubble, but I made a promise to your mom that I'd be there for her on her day and I intend to keep that promise. Also, we can't have another junior broom closet session up here. At least not today." I winked to him, knowing he knew what day I was referring to.
"Ugh my mom always finds a way to kill the mood." He groaned and leaned his head against my shoulder. I chuckled at his actions and ran my fingers through his hair.
"Why do you always have to do the right thing?" He whined playfully.
I just laughed as I grabbed his hand and we rushed back to the party. When we finally made it to the entrance that led to the backyard, I realized something.
I began to slip the ring off my finger and slip it into my clutch.
"What are you doing?" Theo questioned with a quizzical brow.
"Today is Camilla's day. I don't want anyone to be taking attention away from her. We can tell everyone tomorrow before we get on the plane, okay?"
He grinned. "Yeah of course."
He leaned down and gave me a sweet peck on the cheek before taking my hand in his and leading me back to our table.
We walked in just in time to see a major wedding moment. Camilla and Graham stood at the dessert table with their fingers perfectly entwined while they sliced into the beautifully decorated and towering wedding cake.
The photographer snapped multiple pictures as they fed each other. I laughed as Graham smudged a little bit of frosting and crumbs on Camilla's nose.
Her eyes immediately went wide but it wasn't long before she picked up her own clump of cake and smacked it onto his cheek, making them only laugh harder.
I laughed along with Theo as we watched the whole scene. Back when I first met her, Camilla would've rather died than be seen actually having a fun time, but now that she had re-found herself, she was truer to everyone around her and more importantly, truer to herself.
She had become a happier, more cheerful person who wasn't afraid to live in the moment. Camilla found herself again after so many years of it laying dormant, and I'll always be proud of her for that.
As the photographer snapped a few more candid pictures of them with the cake, the couple returned to their seats next to Theo and I with the biggest grins.
The caterers started making their rounds with the cake, delivering it to all the tables and I as patiently awaited my sweet and savory slice, I couldn't help but notice Camilla's eyes consistently on me.
Every few seconds I'd peek at her out of the corner of my eye and she'd immediately turn away. Something was up. Finally, I just turned my whole attention to her.
"Everything alright, Camilla? You need something?" I questioned.
The look on her face showed I had caught her off guard.
"Uh. Let me think for a minute." She paused for a moment and took a swig of her champagne. "Nope I'm good!"
"Are you sure?" I gave a weak chuckle.
Just as I say that the cake arrives to our table and Camilla immediately digs in, avoiding our conversation completely. I watch as she stuffs her mouth full and nods in content.
"Mmm. This is such good cake!" She says with her mouth filled to the brim.
Graham has a surprised look on his face as his usually poised and well-mannered wife continues to pile food into her mouth. He just laughs and takes a forkful into his own mouth.
I look to Theo and he just gives me a shrug, seemingly not having a clue about what's happening. I pick up my fork and start to clear my plate. About halfway through I feel Theo's hand slip into mine and in a soothing manner, I feel his thumb smooth over the top repeatedly.
From beside us I hear Camilla set her fork down and her chair scoot out. Theo's eyes dart to her, his eyes widen and immediately starts shaking his head.
"I'm sorry, Theo but I just can't wait any longer." She responds to him. "I need to see it! I can't believe it's finally happening!"
Confused, I look between the two of them as Camilla swoops in between the two of us and snatches my hand from Theo's.
Camilla's eyes search my hand and then looks me dead in the eye before dropping it with a nervous chuckle. "You have done what we talked about...right, Theo?"
"Yes, mom." He laughs.
She sighs in relief. "Oh, good! I thought I gave it away. But where is it?"
"Where's what?" Theo taunts her and she immediately slaps his arm.
"You know what! The ring!"
"Oh, yeah! Amaya has it." He smiled to me.
"Come on, Amaya! Let me see! Theo refused to let me see it before he proposed. Said it might bring bad luck."
"Never heard that one before." I chuckled at Theo.
"I didn't want to take any chances." He said in a nonchalant manner. "And it worked out."
"It sure did." I winked to him as I pulled out my clutch and unzipped it. My fingers grasped around the ring and discreetly pulled the piece of jewelry out for Camilla to see.
As soon as her eyes locked on the ring, they tripled in size. She grabbed it out of my hand and ran over to Graham.
"Graham! Look look!" She said as quietly as she could but she really couldn't contain her excitement. Thankfully the rest of the guests were far enough away and the band was playing loud enough that they couldn't hear what was going on.
I wasn't ready for the world to know just yet. I just wanted Theo and I in our "happy little bubble" for a bit. But as I looked out into the crowd, I saw my dad grinning ear to ear and held up a big thumbs up as my mother held his arm, trying to contain his excitement.
I just smiled and sent him a thumbs up back. I guess we'd be sharing that happy little bubble with both sets of parents.
"Who all did you tell?" I questioned as I leaned my head on his shoulder.
"Well I asked your parents for permission to propose to you. And then I asked my mom advice on when I should propose & she told me how romantic it would be in the front gardens..."
I just stared into his eyes as he kept talking, not noticing my vision locked on his. It was those eyes that I had fallen in love with.
Those sweet, chocolatey brown eyes that I had been so lucky to wake up next to every morning. The ones that shone brightly and crinkled around the edges when he was happy. Just like they were doing now.
His eyes told a story. Not just of his life, but of our love. Looking into those pools of syrupy sweetness only brought back all our moments of love.
Every substantial moment of affection or passion we ever shared, I remember gazing up into these beautiful eyes.
And when we're in our 70s, with our grandchildren all around us and when the pictures just don't do us justice, I'll be able to look into these same eyes and be submerged in the memories of falling in love.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, kealyyWrite a Review