Maria was at Leon's California home. She woke up to the smiling sun and the gentle rise and fall of Leon's chest which her head rested on. On impulse, she smiled, feeling as his fingers trailed up and down the sinuous outline of her spine.
She turned to look up at him, smiling even more after realising he was fully awake, a smile on his face too.
"Good morning," she said, reaching out to trail her fingers along his jaw.
"Morning beautiful," he replied, leaning in to kiss her gently. "What do you want to do today?"
Maria shrugged. "I don't mind staying in with you," she exclaimed with a teasing smile. Leon was tempted to capture her pretty little lips and so he did, flipping her over on her back while he leaned over her, his intentions clear.
Maria gave him a small peck. "Mmm, as tempting as this is, I've gotta take a shower. Wanna join me?" she asked, already up, grabbing her robe to cover her naked body.
Leon shook his head. "You go ahead, I've got to make a quick call anyway."
"OK." Maria walked into the bathroom, smiling when she saw her reflection in the mirror. She could see that she was a happy woman and she was sure anyone seeing her would think the same. It was as if she glowed, she thought happily.
Her gaze lowered to untie her robe when she suddenly paused, something catching her gaze. Eyes widening, Maria gasped upon seeing a wedding ring, sitting in a tiny black box. It was a beautiful diamond ring that captivated every fibre of her being. With shaky hands she reached for it, her heart plummeting at the magnitude of what it represented. Her mind swirled with questions, her heart soaring at the possibility of what it meant. No one but Leon could have placed it there and so Maria went to ask him...
"Leon," she began saying as she opened the door. Her breath caught, her hands instantly moving to cover her mouth to hide her gasp when she saw Leon at the entrance, in front of her – on bended knees.
With a smile, he asked, "I can never truly express how happy you make me. I want to experience the feeling for the rest of my life with you. Maria Chandler will you make me happier by becoming my wife?"
Maria couldn't hold back her tears as she nodded repeatedly. "Yes...yes!"
Leon rose and hugged her, both reveling in the joy of a question and it's reply.
Maria smiled at the reminder – three months ago when Leon had asked her to marry him – two months after their reunion. Now here she was, in the dressing room, preparing herself for the wedding.
Maria was anxious, and the wedding wasn't the only thing that spurred that emotion. On the vanity dresser, sat a little white stick getting ready to show her her fate. Maria knew doing the test on her wedding day may not have been the wisest thing, but she also knew she couldn't wait for much longer. Three minutes never seemed so long.
Swallowing, she stared at herself in the mirror, noting the wonders the makeup artists and hair stylists had done to her face. Her ivory skin glowed under the sequined top dress.
"Honey, are you OK?" Maria's thoughts broke when she heard her mother's voice.
Immediately she stood. "Yeah, I'm just reveling in the surreality of it all, you know," she smiled.
Julia shared her smile. "You look absolutely beautiful, sweetheart."
"Thanks mom, you look amazing too," she complimented, noting her mother's royal blue silk dress that went in hand with her theme: Royal blue and cream.
"I have something for you. Your father gave it to me a day before our wedding. He saw me admiring in a store and decided to surprise me with it." With that said, she opened her hand to reveal a silver necklace with a tiny crystal pendant.
Maria was in awe. "Mom, it's beautiful."
Julia smiled agreeably. "Its now yours," she stated.
Maria's head flashed up. "Mom, I can't –"
"You can. Your father would have wanted you to have it."
Maria felt teary at the mention of her father. "I wish he was here, I miss him so much."
Julia hugged her. "Oh me too honey but I have a feeling he –" Julia cut herself off when her gaze met up with the pregnancy test behind Maria.
"You're pregnant?" she asked, withdrawing to look at Maria.
Maria was shocked as she turned to look on the test herself. She gasped seeing the two red strokes that appeared. Her heart soared, trembling she whispered, "I'm pregnant," and when it really hit her, she repeated the words with more enthusiasm. "Mom, I'm pregnant!" she squealed, hugging her mother.
Julia hugged her tight, happy with her daughters happiness. Pulling apart, Maria sniffed. "I can't believe this is happening."
"Believe it honey, it's your turn to be happy."
Maria tried to control her tears so as to not ruin her make-up, but it was hard.
"Come on, sit," Julia said, Maria did so without hesitating, allowing her to place the necklace around her neck.
Julia nodded. "Now come on, it's time to make you a wife."
Sean Oakley had offered to walk Maria down the aisle and without a bit of hesitance, Maria had agreed. Now, after leaving the dressing room, Maria found him waiting on her, a proud smile on his face.
"Stunning," he complimented and Maria's reply was instant. "Thank you."
On cue, the musicians welcomed the, here comes the bride instrumental and all the members of the congregation turned to see her, all smiling. Hannah and Marianne was also present, both invited by Maria who had forgiven them but not to the extreme point of making them her bridesmaid. She had none and had thought that her and Leon was all that mattered.
Leon turned also, his gaze instantly meeting Maria's, his breath hitching in his throat as her appearance took his breath away. She walked between the sea of people like an Angel – his angel, naturally glowing beneath the beautiful dress that she wore. A dress that hugged her figure and emphasised her subtle attributes, flaring gently at her knees where it flowed carefully against the line of blue carpet.
As she drew nearer, all the reasons of making him a proud man was made clear. He had managed to find himself a beautiful woman with a heart of gold and a value just as such; priceless.
His eyes didn't leave hers and her eyes didn't leave his as their expression spoke the message, their lips couldn't. When they both held hands, it seemed no one else was in the room but them.
"Dearly beloved..." the priest began and they both smiled, grips tightening, Leon using his thumb to caress the top of her hand. The priest continued until it was time for the vows, Maria went first.
By then she already felt teary and for the first time, she broke her gaze and glanced at the eager congregation. Leon's family and friends and her family and friends including a few coworkers.
Maria swallowed and smiled nervously. "Years ago I found love at my lowest and I labeled myself the happiest girl alive but circumstances placed my happiness on pause. Years later, not in the most favorable situation, I found you again and fate showed me I was been given a second chance with you," her voice slightly broke but Maria quickly regained her composure.
"Things happens sometimes and we question ourselves and God without knowing what's really in store for us. I forgot what true happiness felt like, I forgot how it really felt to be in love...until you. You are everything I ever wished for in a man and today I know that wishes do come true because of you. I want to spend the rest of my life epitomizing happiness with you and at my lowest, I know that you'll be my strongest point, at my worst I know you will be my best. I promise I'll be your rock, and your shelter to the storms. I promise to inspire and be there for every difficult moment. I promise to love only you until death do us part." Maria concluded with a sniff, using her fingers to wipe away the tears she couldn't stop from falling. Leon mouthed an I love you, and Maria smiled amidst her tears.
The pastor indicated it was Leon's time and with a kiss on the top of Maria's hand, he began.
"Maria, my love. I can paint an entire picture from the beauty in your eyes, I can forever dance to the music in your laugh and be inspired by the kindness in your heart. A forever with you is what I anticipate and even though it may seem like a long time, I'll spend my days making you happy – being happy with you. I consider myself a lucky man, not only because I have you but because we have each other. You are the beat to my heart and the very oxygen to my lungs – the person that keeps me alive. I'm not a perfect man and I won't try to be but what I'll do is love you even after forever. Until death, I'll love you in the bad times, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. I will be the vacuum to your tears and the body for your comfort. This I promise you." Leon watched the tears that flowed from her eyes the love that gave action to them.
After the placing the ring on her slender finger, Leon just couldn't wait to kiss her and with a few more words from the priest, he was given the permission to kiss his bride. He held her tight, he held her close and he kissed her like it was the very first kiss they'd shared – full of promise, full of love and a lifetime of happiness.
Jubilant applause and cheers rang out from the members of the congregation as Leon and Maria walked down the aisle together, hugging family and friends.
Later, waving their goodbye's, Mr and Mrs Oakley went to the limousine that would carry them to their house and then a hotel for the night. For their honeymoon they planned on The Bahamas.
In the car Maria reached for the test she had tucked into the straps of her heels.
"I have something for you," she said, watching as Leon's brows knit in curiosity.
Before he could ask what it was, she was already handing him the small white stick, knowing that the news would bring him immense joy to him. She watched as his eyes widened. He looked down at it and then her, his mouth agape before he choked out a laugh.
"We're pregnant?" he exclaimed joyfully Maria's heart soared even more.
She nodded and muttered, "yes."
Leon was overjoyed at the word, he was over the moon at the evidence and he was ecstatic that they'd have someone else to share their happiness with. He then knew what tears of joy meant when he felt something warm slither down his face.
"Thank you," he said. "For choosing me, I love you so much."
By now Maria was crying too as she hugged him. "I love you too," she sniffed.
And together they proved how true the words were to them both.
Hey guys! Thank you so much for sticking it out til the end. I hope you enjoyed Leon and Maria's journey as much as I did. Please leave a review or comment so I may know what you think!
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