April's Fool (3)
I wipe them away and take one last look at the horizon. Out of nowhere, I hum Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland. It must be my imagination when I hear:
“And if you come with me to stay, we’ll live in dreamland night and day.”
I freeze in my place and turn around. Astonished.
“I read your letter. Pardon my intrusion,” says Alec, flashing me a bright grin.
Petrified from where I stand, I observe that he is wearing an arm cast and has bandages wrapped around his forehead. He is also supporting his weight with a cane. I see that Jane helped him because she was beside Alec as he leans on one of the open doorways, and he stretches his arms to me, crouching a little. His eyes are gleaming with tears.
I rush and envelop my arms around his torso.
He laughs heartily. “I would carry you in my arms and twirl you around, but no can do.”
I feel so much happiness, but I cry on the lines of his chest. I shudder, and then I laugh. Still in his embrace, he presses his lips on my forehead, and I breathe heavily. He chuckled in my hair.
I sigh, contented. “You have no idea how glad I am, Alec!” I cry, still.
He wraps his free arm around me, enveloping me in his warm body. I nestle my face in his chest.
Then I pull away and hit him, “You!” I scream. “I ask the crew for your name, and your sister also said your name was not on the list. What the heck, Alec?!”
Angry tears flow down my cheeks.
He is still laughing as he says, “I beg your pardon, love, but my name on the passenger list was Charles Alexander,”
I scream again, letting out all the frustration and cry.
He pulls me in and embraces me once more. “I really am sorry, my love. I was knocked out for days. The crew that helped me were my friends, and they did not give up on me. So when we arrived, they told me they put me in a hospital to regain my strength. The minute I woke up, I immediately went to my house, and everyone said that mother and Victoire were here,” he explains. “Then Sergei gave me your photograph and a letter addressed to me. I rushed here, hoping my family is still here and thank God that you are still here.”
His embrace becomes tighter, and I feel his fingers squeeze my forearm. I hug him back.
“You know, you could have just waited in the house,” I pout.
He laughs, “And what, miss the look on your face you just made? I want to surprise you, my love. Were you not surprised?”
I nod. “Yes, I am. Aunt and Victoire are going to kill you.”
We laugh at my sentiment. In contentment, Alec sighs. All I could muster is smile lovingly at him.
He places my strands of stray hair behind my ear and gazes into my eyes. He smiles brightly, so glad that he is seeing me. The heat lingers as his thumb grazes against my cheek.
Tension easing away, comfortable in his touch, I nestle myself in his embrace. I say, seriously, “I love you, Charles Alexander Sinclaire. Whatever the heck you name yourself, I will always love you, Alec.”
I feel the air he blew on my hair as he chuckles. His hazel eyes glimmer when I look up as he stares intently into mine, and he gently caresses my lower lip with his thumb. He leans closer, closing his eyes. I lean forward to meet his lips with mine. The kiss is deep and long, and after one breathless moment, he pulls away and gazes into my eyes. He kisses me again.
“From the moment I laid my eyes on you, even without the arrangement of our parents, I knew we were destined to intertwine. I love you with all that I am, Sierra Desiree Charmonte. My bride.”
We both laugh, contented in each other’s arms.
“Are you never going to ask me properly?” I hit him.
He chuckles, “I would go down on one knee right now if the engagement ring is with me and not on mother’s finger.”
But he still tries to go down on his knee. He grimaces as he grips firmly on his cane. I stop him from going further. “You may ask me when you are fully recovered.”
And since he was already at my eye level, I grab his chin and kiss his perfect bow lips.
His lips upturn into a gorgeous smile when he stands up straight. Alec then offers his arm, and I link mine to him. There, slowly but happily, Jane follows us behind. Alec and I made our way to Delmonico’s, like a betrothed couple, for we are meant to be, ready to face the beginnings of our future and the rest of our lives together.