Hopelessly Devoted

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Chapter Seventeen: Do I hear wedding bells?

Spring was here in no time. The weather was becoming more and more pleasant and it looked like Generations Steel was favorable to win their case. They really were being very conscientious of the surrounding environment and the community. We had been so busy and time had moved so quickly that I was unfortunately neglecting Ryan. I still made sure we had time together and often stayed at his place, or he was at mine. I knew he was missing me though, so when he asked me to set aside an evening for us I readily agreed.

“You can’t take the day off.” Tex told me, “we are leaving for New York at the start of the week and I need you here.”

I had just finished up at the estate and was walking toward the door. “Texas, we’ve talked about this. You are not my boss, Darnell is. That being said, you do not get to tell me what I can or can’t do. Yes, you are giving me an exclusive and I really am grateful. But I do not have any bearing on your case whatsoever. I literally am just reporting from the field. I’ve already spoken with Mr. Harmon and Mr. Ewing assuring them that I will meticulously pour over any notes that I miss.”

My hand was on the door knob. I turned and pulled just to have Tex reach out and close it again.

“Can we not do this please?” I asked him, reaching my hand out for the knob again.

“Ryan James sees you plenty enough. You are working hard here, doesn’t he respect that?” he asked me.

“Really Tex, are you seriously going to play that card?” I shook my head at him, “Ryan has taken whatever time I have been able to give him and not once complained. He asked me to please make this time for him, and to be honest…he deserves it. He is my boyfriend you know.”

“Temporarily.” He said.

“Don’t start that again.” I told him, turning the knob and flinging the door open.

He moved out onto the porch behind me but thankfully did not follow me to my car this time.

“Fine. That’s fine Selena. Go ahead and have your date with him. Just remember to be packed and ready to go to New York.”

“Will do.” I called out, waving as I got into the car.

Ryan told me my dad wanted him to stop by to help with the baseball draft. That’s my dad, from one sport to the next for him. Since he needed to see him, I just had Ryan pick me up there. Mom and I enjoyed spending time together upstairs as I used her vanity to put my face on and get ready. She fawned over Ryan and told me how lucky I am to have found such a good man. When she asked me how things were going with the job and Tex…I forced a smile at her. With a smirk, she kissed me on the head and hugged me tight.

“I’m always here for you baby girl. You know I’m team Selena, no matter the outcome.”

I nodded my head against her and hugged her back hard.

“Hurry up.” She told me, as she went out the door and down the stairs.

Dad gave a victory shout so I gathered he and Ryan had once again managed to do some good work when it came to the fantasy team. I finished up my primping and grabbed my things, noticing it was suddenly unusually quiet down stairs.

I went to the landing and called down, then moved from step to step until I could bend down and see into the living room. Ryan was there with my parents and they were both smiling at him. I walked the rest of the way down loudly, and stepped into the room.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

Mother took her eyes away from Ryan and spoke a little too enthusiastically, “Nothing hon. Just chit-chatting.”

“Uh-huh.” I said, looking to dad and Ryan.

“You look beautiful.” Ryan said, reaching out to kiss my cheek.

I moved my face up to assist him, but kept my eyes on my parents…who were still just standing there smiling ridiculously.

“You two alright?” I asked them.

“Well of course.” Dad balked at me. “Now you two get going before it gets too late.”

Ryan told them both goodnight and held my hand as he led me to the door. I gave my parents a sly grin.

“You two haven’t been into that years old pot that was hidden in the old monopoly game have you? You know you can’t keep that stuff forever.”

My mother’s mouth dropped and my dad laughed. “Selena Marie Ayers!” mother said briskly, “No we have not, and just how do you know about it at all young lady?”

I laughed back at her, “You guys really should have found other places to hide the Christmas presents besides your bedroom closet.”

“You little sneak.” She said, pointing at me. “I ought to whoop your fanny for that. If you weren’t grown I swear I would.”

“I know momma.” I laughed again at her. “I love you both, goodnight.”

“Yeah, goodnight girlie…we’ll talk again soon.” Mom promised.

I was still laughing as Ryan led me to the car and helped me inside. “You are in trouble.” He sang at me. This made me laugh that much more.

For the past few months we’ve had to keep our dates local due to me not really having time to do much else. Tonight was obviously going to be special however, since Ryan had driven out of town and the city was coming up over the horizon.

“Where are we going?” I asked him.

“I’ve got a great night planned.” He told me, bringing my hand up to kiss. “Since, I finally get more than a few hours with you.”

“I’m sorry I’ve had to work so much.”

“Don’t do that. You know I’m alright with it. I’ve certainly had to put my time in too.” He turned the wheel and we exited off the lighted bridge and onto Center Street. “I had hoped I would get to do some of the leg work with the firm out at the estate, but Harmon insisted they needed me back at the office dealing with the other clients and getting needed files out to them.”

“Really? I didn’t know that.” I said.

“Yep, but it’s alright. You are all mine tonight.”

He smiled over at me and I smiled back. No matter what, I was going to make sure he had a wonderful night out. One because he was so good to me, and two because I was all but certain that Texas Conrad had a lot to do with Mr. Harmon insisting Ryan stay at the firm. Just wait until I saw his face again.

Ryan took us to the same restaurant where we had our first date. We got the same table and reminisced about that night. He confessed how nervous he was and how much he hoped I liked Italian food. After dinner, he drove me out to the pier and we repeated our time going down the boardwalk and visiting the same shops. When we were walking back on the beach, shoes in hand and surf lapping at our feet, I tugged his hand and looked up at him.

“Thank you for this trip down memory lane.” I told him.

“It’s not over yet.” He said, and I realized we were at the same spot where he first kissed me. I laughed a little as he moved behind me and held me again. He hugged me close and kissed my head. We looked out at the ocean together and I sighed, grateful for him and this time together.

Finally, just as before, Ryan slid around to my side and I turned to face him. His hands cupped my face and his lips fell onto mine. We had sweet little kisses, and full on passionate ones. When we stopped, I kissed him once more and squeezed his hand, turning to walk back to the car. Ryan’s hand held mine and he gently pulled me back to him. He was staring into my eyes, watching me as I came back to where I had been.

“What’s wrong?” I asked him, searching his eyes.

“Not a single thing.” He said softly, “Everything is absolutely perfect. I knew when I first met you that I had to do whatever I could to get you into my life. Over this past year, I have been so blessed. I’m partner at my firm, our parents adore the both of us, and you are the love of my life. There is nothing left for me to accomplish except to move forward.”

“Ryan…I don’t understand…”

But then I did understand. Because right at that moment Ryan slowly went to one knee and pulled a black velvet box from his pocket. I watched as he lifted the lid and held it up before grabbing my hand again.

“I love you Selena. There is nothing more I want in this world right now, then for you to agree to spend the rest of our lives together. Will you marry me?”

Okay, so before I let you know just how this scenario played out…let me first clue you in to the inner workings of my brain. Did you ever see that episode of SpongeBob Square pants where he was to become a waiter that only knew fine dining? Yeah, it was the one where Squidward basically told him to empty his mind of everything except how to be that kind of waiter.

So this part comes up where he’s asked his name and he just freezes. Like, he can’t even function, because all these little Spongebobs in his head had dumped all other information so he couldn’t process. Well, that was me at that moment. All my brain Selenas were suddenly running around, pulling at different cerebral membranes trying to get my thoughts to catch up to my mouth.

Ryan was still staring up at me. “Selena?”

“Yeah.” I said, watching him.

“Is everything alright?”

“Uh-huh.” I answered.

Ryan laughed. “Well then, do you think you could answer me?”

“Yeah.”

He laughed again. “Yeah you could answer me, or yeah to the question.”

I just nodded. Giggling to himself, he closed the box so he could grab my other hand gently pulling me down to my knees in front of him. I closed my eyes as he brushed hair out of my face; I opened them to find him staring at me.

“You are so beautiful.” He told me.

The next moment he was kissing me as he had the first time. I felt the heat rush through me and the tingles erupted up and down my arms. Why was I even confused? This man was the one who made me feel things I feared I would never feel again. He has loved me and been there for me in all the time I was building myself up again. I would be crazy not to marry him.

“Yes.” I said against his lips.

He slowly pulled back from me. “Yes?” he asked me, making sure I was looking right back at him.

I smiled, and it was the biggest most genuine smile I could give. “Yes Ryan James…I will marry you.”

He tackled me after that, covering me as my back landed on the beach. We laughed and kissed for quite some time before he raised me back up to slip the diamond on my finger.

That night I called mother as soon as I could and she answered on the first ring. I knew they had been up to something.

“Yes dear…is everything alright?” she asked innocently.

“Oh don’t play that with me. You knew exactly what was happening tonight.”

I heard her squeal and then heard my dad ask her what I’d said.

“I said yes.” I told her, and then she excitedly told dad and they each tried to talk over each other into the phone.

After a bit I told them I had to go and called both Cassie and Amber. It was late, but I told them they had to come to my house. When they both showed up, their faces looked as if they were ready to go to war. They probably thought I was in a fit with Tex again, but as soon as they started I simply held up my hand, flashing the diamond, as Ryan came to my side.

It was an outright scream fest. We all stayed up and talked for another couple of hours before the girls had to leave. Once the door was closed, I squealed out as Ryan scooped me up into his arms and carried me up the stairs. It really was the most wonderful night.

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