To the most amazing, loving, wonderful woman I have ever known – my dearest grandmother!
Happy Birthday, Amma.
Reach the stars
Fly a fantasy…
Dream a dream
And what you see will be…
Rhymes that keep their secrets
Will unfold behind the clouds
And there upon a rainbow
Is the answer to a never ending story
Her fingers flew over the keys, the music rarely dipping even as the old wood creaked into the song. She didn’t need to look at the keys to know which panel was chipped, which one needed just a little extra pressure. She had played the tune long enough to be able to gaze at the blue expanse of ocean and the diamonds scattered on the water by the blazing, yellow sun high up in the sky. At this time of the day, almost noon, there was nothing and no one to obstruct the view that she had first fallen in love with more than a decade ago.
Krishna Annah Singh Raizada, known only as Annah to everyone except her family, since the day she had decided that was the Christian name she wanted – one that connected her to the O’Reilly lineage, loved this part of the Isle more than anything else. The parlor held the first few memories of the winter of 2012 that had brought her here. It was the only place – that had been left untouched by alterations that had happened over the years. The parlor and the lighthouse.
She smiled at the sight of the lighthouse, still as fading and old world as Kathy-Ma wanted it to be always. Except the stairway, of course. No one could argue with her Papa when he put his mind to something – not even Kathy-Ma. She still felt weak and drained when she remembered the long, never ending arguments when she had announced her decision to formally train as a pastry chef at the Culimary Arts Insitute in New York. Between her two fathers each childishly warring over who would actually get to pay for her education, it had been difficult to even stand let alone insist that she wanted to pay her way through her life, at least when she could. If it hadn’t been for Ma who had cared two hoots about the two men who each towered over her with angry glares and clearly outlined logical arguments on why one was more qualified to pay for her tuition than the other, Krishna would have stayed put in Goa and ensured she never spoke to either of her fathers thereafter.
PJ had remained unabashedly detached citing her need to avoid punching both men in the face and Tally – well, her aunt could pretty much laugh through any situation. And so she had. And made fun of both Arnav and Shay – neither of whom cared much for her rather sarcastic and, in Krishna’s opinions, well deserved barbs. It had been the end of that fight when her fathers had both turned to Kathy-Ma and demanded that she allow them to pay for the lighthouse repair and the merger of Sun Cottage and the Isle properties respectively in return for allowing Krishna to pay for her own tuition.
“It was their plan all along, you know.”
Krishna stopped playing as she heard Kathy-Ma’s ever so lilting voice float in from the entrance.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have barged in.” Khushi apologized softly as she walked in, carrying a sleeping five year old Anahita in her arms.
Immediately Krishna’s eyes softened. Ana was her youngest and hence favorite cousin-cum-sister and she looked so much like her Papa that it was impossible to not fall as much in love with her as Krishna was. “She fell asleep? At this time?”
Khushi smiled and settled down on the large couch, adjusting the little girl who didn’t so much as budge. “You have to play just a few strains and she goes right to sleep, thereby living right up to her middle name.”
Krishna chuckled. “Aurora. Sleeping beauty indeed.”
Khushi smiled and allowed her fingers to thread through her daughter’s hair. For a moment, Krishna felt a piercing pain in the region of her heart, just as she always did when she watched any of her cousins with their mothers. A part of her told her that it was stupid to miss the mother she never even knew, especially when Kathy-Ma, PJ and Tally had been no less than mothers to her all these years. But the other part urged her to feel that pinch, even reveled in it as the only way of keeping her mother’s memory alive. If anything, Anjali Singh Raizada deserved it. Blinking back her tears, she forced herself to look into her Kathy-Ma’s eyes.
Unfortunately for her, her Kathy-Ma saw through most minds with careless ease. And so it was no surprise that Khushi’s eyes were soft and full of borrowed grief. With the afternoon sun slanting through the large windows and lighting up the part of the parlor that she sat it, her Kathy-Ma looked nothing less than an angel. The years, a baby and all the work she did at the Isle and otherwise had done nothing to her appearance. If anything, she only looked more ethereal with each passing day.
“I’m sorry, sweetie. I don’t mean to read your…”
Krishna shook her head forcefully. “It’s not you, Ma. I just keep forgetting to check myself. And honestly, I don’t want to be hiding any of my thoughts from you. Not just yet, anyway.” Krishna finished with a small smile. “Plus, you at least don’t do it to annoy me. Leah on the other hand. I hate that girl. Can someone please tell her that she is only ten?” She said with a mock-angry tone, referring to her half-sister who had just turned ten earlier in the year – a celebration she had missed and never heard the end of thereafter.
Khushi chuckled. “Sometimes I forget that the two of you are separated by more than a dozen years of age, Krishna. What did she do, by the way?”
“Nothing. She just reads my mind sitting all the way here in Goa with such ease…and it is rather inconvenient having to shoo her off in the middle of a conversation.” Krishna said, throwing her hands up in the air.
Once again, Khushi chuckled. “She takes after Ally then – Payal’s worst nightmare has come true after all.”
“How does everyone take after Tally, I wonder?” Krishna said with a curious smile. “You insist I am like her – which I think I am. Leah. Even Gillie and Jenny. No wonder ManU keeps insisting Tally and he need to have another child. To think at least Gillian and Jennifer should have taken after their father.” Krishna finished with a wry grin.
“I am fairly sure your ManU isn’t getting his wish. Not if the scene at breakfast was anything to go by.” Khushi said wryly making Krishna laugh. Gillie and Jenny – Tally and ManU’s six year old twins had decided to test their mother’s patience to its breaking point with their food tantrums this morning. If it hadn’t been for Granny H’s intervention, Krishna was sure she would have finally seen her Tally break down into frustrated tears..
“But you are right.” Khushi frowned for a moment and then grinned widely “We not only have only girls in this generation, all of them are eerily like Al. The woman is rigging the entire gene pool.”
“Not Ana yet. She is all Papa. We have hope, Kathy-Ma.” Krishna held up crossed fingers and immediately the two women burst out laughing only to be silenced when Ana whimpered in her sleep and snuggled into her mother’s arms. As Khushi adjusted the little girl and patted her back to sleep, Krishna shook her head and thanked her stars silently for giving her what her twelve year old self would have never dreamed of – a family. She had two fathers, two mothers, an aunt, an uncle, a grandmother, cousins. She had a full life, a happy one. She couldn’t let small, irreversible regrets take away from everything she had been blessed with.
When she looked up, Khushi was crooning softly in Ana’s ears, her face aglow with such warmth, Krishna wished she were a painter to be able to capture that moment for eternity.
When the little girl was asleep again, Khushi looked up at Krishna. “You want to tell me what’s on your mind? You’ve been preoccupied since you’ve been back.”
Krishna smiled. “Of course you saw it. Sometimes I wonder how you manage to go about normal work like a mortal, Kathy-Ma. What is it you cannot do now?” Over the last decade, following the night she had witnessed the O’Reilly magic at its peak, Kathy-Ma’s powers had exponentially increased. She had confessed on multiple separate occasions on being able to read minds, control the weather, alter emotions, see the future and even transport herself to any location she wanted to be through her thoughts. And yet, she lived like an ascetic, using none of her powers to do anything more than what could help her family and friends. In addition to managing the Isle with Tally, she had setup an organization that helped people, especially teenagers, deal with alcohol and drug addiction. And though a large part of her funds came from the ARC and from ManU and her Dad’s joint venture – Liquid Gold – a chain of high end resto-pubs that had just inaugurated their seventeenth establishment in country, everyone who could volunteered to help.
“I cannot read your mind now that you’ve closed it off.” Khushi said softly. “You can talk to me, you know that.”
Krishna bit her lip once again and then sighed, her shoulders slumping visibly. “I feel like such a fraud, Ma. I am training to be a pastry chef when I know that anything I cook up is going to taste like magic irrespective of what I do. I feel like I am cheating everyone and everything. The other day, Chef Olsen asked me to be sous-chef on this event he was responsible for and I…I messed up. I mean the Ragu was burnt. The entire kitchen reeked of it. Chef Olsen was so barking mad. And then…one taste and…”
“You know most people would be thrilled with that kind of…” Khushi said with a smile and then shook her head. “I understand. But look at it this way, despite not really needing to do any sort of training – you are making sure you learn everything there is to learn about cooking. If your magic were to disappear tomorrow, you would still be a great Chef. That is worth something.”
Krishna knew Khushi had a point and yet she couldn’t help but feel less than elated.
“You should talk to Arnav. Ask him about deals he backed off from because he was able to read the other party’s mind and pinpoint the threshold of the acquisition.” Khushi offered.
Immediately Krishna cheered up. “He is such a hero, isn’t he? No wonder the magic never left him. I think Rowena just couldn’t take that away from him.” She knew her voice reverberated with pride. But then she was unabashedly proud of her father. Nothing could ever change that.
“He is just as proud of you.” Khushi whispered softly.
Krishna grinned and then hit her head lightly. “I did it again, didn’t I? How do you think silently, Ma? I just can’t seem to be able to do that?”
Khushi shook her head. “How do I offer advice when I should check my own eavesdropping?” A second later however, she spoke again, this time her voice lower and somber despite a touch of light hearted teasing. “Are we allowed to mention the book now?”
Krishna felt her face warm up. “You read it.” She said softly and then looked away. Following her friends’ comments on the story, she had, in a moment of unpremeditated action, emailed the story to the four women in her life – Kathy-Ma, PJ, Tally and Granny H. And she had regretted it ever since.
Well, at least you didn’t send it to Dad, Uncle A and ManU
Shut up, Leah. And don’t you have homework to finish? Krishna rebuked with a frown and then forced herself to look at Khushi. “What did you think?” Her brow creased with worry.
Khushi smiled, a small blush streaking across her cheeks, making her look even more beautiful if that was possible. “It was beautiful. I can’t believe you were listening so carefully every time any of us was narrating any little anecdote over the years. I can’t believe you actually spun a story out of it all. How did you even think of doing this?”
“I don’t know,” Krishna shrugged. “I knew years ago that I needed to write it all down and make a story out of it. I guess the one thing that stood out in when Granny G told us about the curse and the O’Reilly sisters’ story was how there was nothing written, nothing that someone could refer to. There should have been. I guess….yeah that was it. I just wanted to keep the story safe forever. Someday Leah, Gillie, Jenny and Ana should read it. They should know.”
When she stopped talking, Khushi’s eyes were shining brightly. “You took our story and made it something else, sweetie. Thank you for doing this for all of us.”
This time, it was Krishna’s turn to blush. “You are just being nice, na? Like you always are?” She pouted. “I mean, you really won’t tell me if it was all crap, will you?”
Khushi looked at her plainly, her face devoid of any expression. And then she shrugged. “Fine, don’t trust me. Ask your Tally or PJ – you trust them to be honest, I hope?”
“Aw –Ma – I didn’t mean…” Krishna stumbled over her words and then saw the impish smile on Khushi’s face. “Ha ha. Very funny.”
“I learn the art of emotional blackmail from you, your Ladyship.” Khushi said matter-of-factly. “Do you want to do something with it?” She asked a second later, “Maybe get it published. I’m sure either Aman or Arnav will have some networks in the…”
“No no no.” Krishna shook her head vigorously. “I never wanted to be an author. This is not even about my writing. This is just our story…And I just wanted someone outside of our family to read and tell me honestly if it is written well. That’s why I even asked my friends to read it. I would never…” For a second the memory of green eyes that had discovered her secret flashed in front of her and she blinked the image away lest Kathy-Ma saw it. Now THAT would be bad.
“None of them guessed this was your story?” Khushi asked curiously.
Krishna shrugged. “I go by Annah – they don’t even know that I have another name. I’m sure they passed off Raizada as an indulgence. They don’t know all your first names. So…”
Khushi nodded. “And what did they have to say about it?”
“All of them have a crush on ManU.”
Khushi chuckled. “Why am I not surprised?”
Krishna smiled and then continued thoughtfully. “They liked the story. Or at least they said they…” Krishna saw Khushi raise her eyebrows and then shook her head. “Fine, they like the story. But they think I should have included how Papa found out about your shared birthdays.” Then she cleared her throat. “About how he proposed.”
Khushi smiled, her face alight with joy as understanding dawned in her face. “And you didn’t know how to respond because you don’t actually know.” Sheguessed softly.
“He didn’t actually ask me how to propose. I had so many ideas all ready for when he asked me, you know?” Krishna grumbled even as Khushi laughed out loud at her words. Then she fell silent, before shrugging slightly “If you don’t want to tell me…that’s…fine of course. I can imagine that is personal.”
“There you go again with your emotional blackmail master weapon. Really Krishna…”
But Khushi didn’t get to complete her statement as another voice, deep and soothing, barged into their conversation
“After all that you’ve written about us, K, I don’t think personal means anything anymore.”
Krishna whirled around to see her Papa walk in to the parlor, immaculately dressed and handsome as ever, the not-so-slight white in his sideburns making him look positively distinguished. Not that he needed anything external to add to his inherently magical self, she concluded with a grin.
As she watched he walked over to her and gave her a quick peck on the cheeks before he turned to look at Khushi. Like always, to Krishna that moment seemed like a moment she was witnessing from behind a crystal ball that held just the two of them, the connection between her Papa and her Ma, so beautiful, it had only strengthened her resolve that she would settle for nothing less when it came to finding love.
She watched as Arnav Singh Raizada bent to kiss a sleeping Ana lightly before he kissed Khushi too and settled down on the couch beside her.
“You read it.” She said, trying to curb her rising embarrassment. “You gave him the document.” She glanced at Khushi accusingly.
To her surprise, Khushi merely shrugged. “He needed to know just how wonderfully you’ve written it all.”
“This is so embarrassing,” Krishna muttered under her breath.
“More than the first time you had your period?” Arnav asked with a smirk, his eyebrow raised in a well-defined, teasing arc.
Krishna’s cheeks flushed with blood. “God, Papa…”
“Arnav,” Khushi frowned at him with a shake of her head, her mouth still curved in a smile. “Don’t embarrass her. I don’t want to regret giving you her work.”
Arnav grinned and held his hand up. “Fine.” Then he turned to Krishna. “So you want to know about…”
Krishna shook her head, pushed the piano stool she was sitting on away and rose. “I don’t want to know anything.” She said quickly. “I should check on Leah. I promised to take her to Anjuna today for the bazaar.
“K – come on…I am just as embarrass…”Arnav interrupted but left his statement incomplete.
Krishna looked at her Papa in surprise. He looked genuinely contrite. It didn’t help that his wife was literally glowering at him.
“What…?” He turned to Khushi, bewildered. “I am offering to tell her…”
“Never mind, Arnav.” Khushi frowned and patted Ana’s head lightly.
Krishna smiled to herself as her Papa said something in response and she found the perfect exit to escape. She would speak to Kathy-Ma later. And then she would ask. Her Papa, was incorrigible.
“I feel like a cow!” Payal said as she turned to her left and then to her right, her lips turned down in a pout as she looked at herself in the mirror.
Khushi rolled her eyes and continued to check off things that needed to be taken care of for the evening.
“How many times do you want me to envy you out aloud, Payaliya?” Ally yelled from the bathroom. “But since I am in a good mood today, here you go again -I should have known you would be one of those annoying women who only have a neat little baby bump without any other additional weight anywhere. There, are you happy now?”
“If it wasn’t your wedding day, Aditi Alannah O’Reilly Gupta to be Mathur in a few hours – God that is a mouthful. Do something about it once you are married okay?” Payal replied as she tried to suck in her stomach making Khushi laugh out aloud.
“Payal – that is not going to work, you know right. Stop fidgeting. You look stunning. Pregnancy suits you.” Khushi said, putting her notepad aside.
It was true. In the deep forest green bridesmaid dress that fell over all her curves easily, her dark hair and dramatically made-up eyes stood sparkling. The fact that her face glowed almost round the clock these days, only added to the beauty that Payal was at the moment. Khushi felt a strange sense of calm when she saw her friend and she couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to experience impending motherhood.
Stop thinking about that. Or I might need to do something about it right away.
Khushi looked away, hiding a smile as Arnav’s voice rang in her head, his voice seductive like the ocean lit by a full moon sky.
I thought you didn’t want to share our time for a few years? She returned in silence as she rose from the bed and walked over to the mirror to glance at herself once before Payal and she needed to make their way down and towards the wedding enclosure that would host the reception later in the evening.
You could always convince me.
“Do you realize that you are very transparent about this silent talking thing that you do with him?”
Khushi looked up in surprise even as she stumbled against the dresser and winced.
Payal was smiling at her with twinkling eyes. “I’m strangely glad that you both have that magic binding you. If I didn’t know better, I would say Rowena was a closet romantic.”
Khushi grinned back and chose to say nothing. When Arnav had discovered that his magic still pulsed in his body as strongly as ever, she hadn’t even been surprised. Rowena had finally done for her what she never even considered doing for Ciara.
Smiling to herself at the thought, she walked over to the tall mirror that Payal had been standing in front of and looked at herself, for a second longer than she usually did. The same forest green that hinted at mystery and striking beauty, looked strangely molded to silence of the deepest variety – one that she experienced in its full glory every time she was with Arnav at the alcove. Her hazel eyes borrowed from the reflection of the hugging bodice and glittered brilliantly, like the deep green emeralds she had worn to the Halloween dance last year. It seemed like it was such a long time ago when she had danced with that masked stranger and here she was just months later, exchanging silent thoughts about having babies…
The door to the bathroom opened with a small click and Khushi and Payal watched in silence, both dispelling every thought in their head as Ally walked out of bathroom.
If Payal had kept her wedding gown simple and elegant, Ally had literally pulled out all stops for her wedding gown. True to the declaration she had made when she was eight, Ally opted for drama and extravagance. Her wedding gown, snow white in a ballgown style with a fitted bodice, a cinched waist and a full organza tulle skirt that flared to occupy a radius of at least two feet around her, was simply spectacular. And in the absence of the dramatic makeup that was usually her style, her simply scrubbed face with barely there face paint and simple diamond hoops that Khushi had gifted her for the wedding, she looked every bit the fairytale princess, she had scoffed at in the years following her tenth birthday.
“I guess I look stunning” She remarked with barely contained glee and instantly Khushi and Payal burst out laughing.
“What, being a bride doesn’t come with a modesty clause, you know?” She remarked flippantly as she eased her way to the mirror.
“I wouldn’t know, Ally.” Khushi said with a smile. “But even if it did, I am sure you wouldn’t be above seeing right through it.”
Ally chuckled and shrugged. “I do look stunning.” She turned to Payal – “Your turn.”
Payal laughed and to Ally’s surprise, gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “You look stunning. I know Aunty G is happy today.”
Ally’s smile softened and she blew a kiss at Payal and then at Khushi. “Thank you.”
“We should get going, Payal before ManU starts calling like Shay did at your wedding.” Khushi said with a smile.
“Trust Krishna to come up with that name. It sounds like I am marrying a football team,” Ally replied wryly and then chuckled. “There’s a thought.”
“Poor ManU. So much to live up to.” Payal added and the three women burst out laughing.
Settling down a few minutes later, Khushi shook her head. “Al, Arnav will bring you to the Church. We are going to leave Aunty H and the others.”
Ally nodded and took a deep breath. “I’ll see you in a while.”
With that Khushi and Payal hurried out of the room in a swish of rustling fabric and warm smiles.
“I can’t believe she asked him to give her away.” Payal commented as Khushi helped her down the stairs.
Khushi laughed softly. “I think Aman and Ally expected us to think Shay would give her away and that Arnav would be his best man. And changed the order just to throw us off. I really wouldn’t put it past them. But I think she didn’t expect Arnav to agree. Those two are strange. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are arguing their way down the aisle.”
“I think we should all wish each other luck to get through the ceremony alright” Payal said with a dramatic sigh before they stepped out of the Isle into the morning sun.
The ceremony was as beautiful as Khushi had dreamed of and both she and Payal had to admit that there was a weirdly comforting sense of completion when she saw Ally walking down the aisle on Arnav’s arm. Krishna had looked resplendent, this time right in the middle of things – a bridesmaid just like Khushi and Payal had been. In her own forest green gown, she had looked stunningly like a glimpse of the beauty she was going to be in the future.
Now hours later everyone had changed into more relaxed attire and on their way to having all their tired senses dulled by delicious food and ever flowing wine. Dusk was falling beautifully around them even as the first strains of music began to fill the air with music. Khushi watched as Aman led Ally to the dance floor. They looked at so much peace with each other, beautiful in the way their gazes lingered and fingers intertwined ever so lightly.
“Dance with me?”
She turned to smile up at Arnav who was holding his hand out to her. She nodded and put her hand in his and allowed him to lead them up to the dance floor. Even as she did, she saw Shay and Payal step on to the floor. For a moment, Payal’s eyes caught Khushi’s and Khushi smiled. Who would have thought that hearts half-alive just months ago would be brimming with such joy? The thought should have scared her, as the thought of extreme happiness always had in the past. Not anymore. In whatever had happened since Halloween of 2012, Khushi had at least learned to live without the fear of the future, if nothing else.
She nodded at Payal and two friends parted gazes to look back at the men they loved.
“No masks today?” She inquired with a teasing smile, referring to the Halloween ball.
“None needed anymore.” Arnav replied as he twirled her around swiftly only to catch her by the waist. “If the alcove were a woman, she would be you.”
Khushi smiled. For all his terseness, Arnav was quite the wordsmith when he wanted to be.
“I am trying to be eloquent here.” Arnav said with a smile as he dipped his head to kiss her mouth. “Not to mention trying to forget the conversation we were having earlier in the morning.”
Khushi looked up at him and grinned. “Why are you trying to forget it, I wonder, when keeping it fresh in your memory would be so much more…ermm..fun.”
Arnav’s hands tightened around her waist as he pulled her closer, molding her against him, uncaring of the audience around them. “Are you teasing me, because…”
Khushi shrugged and winked at him before she rested her head on his shoulders.
Immediately she felt a deep sigh ruffle his entire frame.
“Khushi,” He whispered softly.
And just like that everything around them swirled, so quickly, Khushi didn’t have time to gather her bearings or catch her breath till they came to a grinding stop in the alcove. As she pushed herself away from him even as his hand remained curved around her waist, she saw that they were at the alcove, the clouds above them casting a grey curtain on the sky. It was a familiar scene and just as she expected, the pace of her heart picked up.
“Arnav,” She began but Arnav shook his head and pointed her to the direction of their favorite palm.
Immediately the images cleared and she saw him, the eighteen year old Arnav leaning against it, his back taut with tension.
Khushi turned around and saw her own sixteen year old self standing at the entrance, her eyes still alight with hope even as her face was cast with worry.
It was the same scene of heartbreak that she remembered with such clarity in her memories – the morning of their shared birthday –and yet…
No sooner had the realization of the setting dawned on her, the clouds parted and the sun streamed through, filling the alcove with a pale gold light, dispelling any hint of sadness. It was not going to hurt. Not anymore, she realized as she saw her younger self walking up to Arnav as he turned around. There was still anger etched in his face, eyes sunken and low. But there was no cigarette, no smoke.
“You aren’t going to wish me, Angel?”
Arnav’s hands tightened on Khushi’s waist as his younger mirror spat out the words.
There was sound of angry laughter that seemed to come from the eighteen year old.
“I wanted to come last night, Arnav.” She began.
Khushi closed her eyes but there was still no pain. He wasn’t going to hurt her. She needed to believe.
And as if her sixteen year old self had heard her, the younger Khushi stepped forward. “Wish me too.”
There was confusion in eyes that weren’t drugged with coke anymore. It was not a memory. It was a wish. It was hope.
“I mean…we share this day. It’s my…”
Khushi looked up in surprise as the images of their younger selves flickered and disappeared, leaving only an alcove bathed in golden sun and covered with azure skies.
She looked into caramel eyes that stared at her hopefully. “You knew.”
Arnav nodded with a rueful smile.
“That evening in Ireland when you refused to tell me your birthday.” He stepped closer to her and cupped her face, his eyes now urgent. “How much longer were you going to protect me, Khushi? Don’t you believe that I can do better?”
Khushi shook her head, too overwhelmed to say anything. She simply placed her head on his chest and allowed the moments to pass. He knew. He finally knew. She felt the first rays of a smile burst open in her heart as her lips curved.
“I didn’t want to do this without telling you that I wish I could change the past. I can’t, I know. But the future is ours.”
She looked up and nodded. “It is.”
Arnav stared into her eyes and Khushi felt everything around them come to a standstill. They weren’t at the alcove. They weren’t in an illusion he created. They weren’t in the wedding enclouse, dancing as the music played on. They were alone. Together.
“Marry me, Khushi.”
She should have been surprised by the suddenness of his proposal. But she felt only joy in her heart as it exploded into a brilliant sunny rainbow full of colors. She was a fool to have ever doubted the significance of this moment in the grand scheme of things. Whenever it happened, it was going to be special and this way.. She should have known this is how he would do it. It was so uniquely him, so beautifully them. It was never going to be a question or even a discussion. It was just going to be this.
She looked up into his eyes that were already smiling down at her in happiness that didn’t need to be contained or be wary of anymore.
(The Author’s Note can be found on the right hand panel)