The following morning Eloise called her mother on their drive back to the house, in a few hours they would be flying back to Virginia and confronting William.
“Hi Mom,” she said once her mother picked up the phone.
“Hi Ellie, how was your Christmas?”
“Good, I have some news to share,” she started, Marcus reached over and squeezed her hand.
“Yes, Marcus asked me to marry him and I said yes.” She pulled the phone away from her ear as her mother screamed with joy.
“That is wonderful! When are you planning on the wedding?”
“We were thinking the last weekend in March because that is my spring break.”
“That gives Joe and me time to get a hotel and tickets to fly out to the wedding.”
“Marcus and I are going to pay for your airfare. You can stay with us at our home, we have plenty of space,” Eloise offered.
“No, no, we will stay at a hotel, but I won’t say no to paying for the plane tickets. They are expensive going from Washington to Virginia,” her mother replied, Eloise felt relieved she would accept their offer to pay for their plane tickets.
“Good, we’ll see you in a few months,” Eloise answered and saying goodbye she hung up.
“Sounded like she was happy for you,” Marcus commented and Eloise smiled.
“She always worries about me, I think now that I have you, she can relax a little,” Eloise explained, his hand slipped up her arm to cup her cheek.
“That is a mom’s job to worry. I know my mom was not happy when I joined the Marines and went to fight overseas.”
“I wouldn’t either, the very thought of losing you makes my heart clench.” She turned into his touch and kissed his palm.
“I promise I won’t be going anywhere,” he assured her, she smiled and they drove the rest of the way to his house in a comfortable silence.
Pulling up to the house, Eloise could see the entire family waiting out front.
“Am I to assume they all knew you were asking me to marry you?” she commented pointing to their family. He blushed and mumbled,
“My dad knew and the kids figured it out. I am sure the news spread to the rest once we left for the camp site. Jill said all the kids were happy I was asking you to marry me, now they are going to be even happier to hear you said yes.”
“All I did was play the games they wanted yesterday, although Vincent doesn’t seem to like me much,” she added and he shook his head.
“Vincent had it in his head that I was moving to Colorado to work with Travis. I know Travis offered me a spot in his company when I exited the military, but I told him no. I had the business plan set up for Zephyr Protection and was in the process of getting my business license. He and I talked and he understands you and I are going to be living in Virginia. I told him that everyone could come out and visit us for the Fourth of July and we would come back here for Christmas,” Marcus explained, she smiled.
“You are the favorite uncle,” she pointed out and he blushed even redder.
“Come on, they look like they are going to break down the doors if we don’t get out now. We only have a few hours before we need to leave for the airport,” he said. She laughed and climbed out of the car to be instantly bombarded by the children.
“Did you say yes Aunt Ellie?” Adam asked, he had grabbed her left hand and held it up for everyone to see the ring glittering on her hand.
“Yes, I did,” she answered, laughing when the children all cheered.
“Yay! This means we all get to go and see Uncle Marcus’ house,” Bobby commented and she looked up at him in surprise.
“I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had a chance to throw a housewarming party,” he explained.
“Then when you all come for the wedding, we will host a huge party,” Eloise promised the children, they all whooped and ran back inside the house.
“Come and eat breakfast, you can tell us how he proposed inside,” Beth called. She stood on the porch leaning against Trip, his arm draped around her shoulders. Marcus took her hand and they went inside to join everyone for one last breakfast.