He was on his way to Martina’s place for dinner and was nervous as hell because he was going to propose. It was one thing to date an MP and quite another to be married to one. What about the times when he’ll be working late during the week and sometimes even on the weekends? What about the evenings they planned to spend together but can’t because some urgent meeting is called? Would she be able to cope with that? He sincerely hoped so.
He checked his breast pocket for the box. It was a beautiful and very expensive ring. As soon as he saw it, he knew it was the one just as he knew that she was the one. Why on earth did it take him this long to propose? He should have done so as soon as he realized that he was madly in love with her but he didn’t because of his Catholic supporters. They would have a fit when they found out that he had been romantically involved with a non-Catholic and was now going to marry her. Too bad. He wasn’t going to allow his career to get in the way of his happiness.
He had popped into the liquor store to pick up a bottle of her favorite wine and now he was heading towards her building. His heartbeat accelerated with each step. There’s nothing to be nervous about, old chap, he told himself. She loves you. Why wouldn’t she want to marry you?
When he got to the elevator, a woman was standing there. She smiled at him. “Good evening.”
“You look familiar.”
“I guess I have one of those faces.”
The elevator doors opened and she preceded him inside. “Which floor?” she asked after pressing the close and number 10 buttons.
“The seventh. Thank you.”
“You look an awful lot like the actor, Ralph Fiennes.”
“I’ve never been told that before.”
“I think you do although you’re much more good-looking.”
“Ralph Fiennes is a fine actor so, to be told that I look like him is a great compliment. Thank you.”
The elevator stopped and the doors opened. “Goodnight,” she said.
“Goodnight.” He stepped out and headed towards Martina’s flat.
He rang the bell and minutes later, she opened the door. His heart skipped a beat when he saw her. “You look lovely,” he said as he stepped inside. The dress she wore hugged her exquisite body in all the right places.
“Thank you,” she said, reaching up and kissing him on the lips. “And you look gorgeous.”
“Thank you. I rode in the elevator with a woman who told me that I looked a lot like Ralph Fiennes.”
“No way,” Martina exclaimed. “You’re far more good-looking.”
“That’s what she said.”
“It sounds like she was flirting with you.”
“If that’s the case, she was wasting her time.”
She took the bottle of wine from him. “Masseto! Thank you.” This time when she reached up and kissed him on the lips, he put his arms around her. Holding her tightly against him, he responded hungrily to her kiss. Several minutes later, she pulled back, “If we continue like this, the dinner will get cold,” she exclaimed breathlessly.
“There’s no chance of us having a late dinner, then?”
“Nope. We’ll have it while it’s nice and hot. Now, have a seat at the dining-table.”
“All right.” He released her and followed her into the dining-room. She continued on to the kitchen.
Minutes later, they were having Chicken piccata served over Creamy Garlic Parmesan Risotto.
“So, was she attractive?” she asked him.
He looked at her, perplexed. “Was who attractive?”
“The woman you rode in the elevator with.”
“Oh. I’d forgotten about her. I didn’t really notice.”
“Sure you didn’t,” she teased.
“I didn’t. Ever since I met you, I haven’t looked at another woman.”
“Good. And I haven’t looked at another man.”
After dinner, they went into the living-room where they enjoyed slices of Baked ricotta cake with the wine he brought. In the background, Smooth Jazz played. “That was delicious,” Laird said, when she took his empty dessert plate from him.
“I’m glad you enjoyed the cake,” she said, smiling.
“I enjoyed everything.”
“Good.” She excused herself and returned minutes later. After she sat down, he knelt before her and in his hand was a little black box which he opened. She stared at him and then the ring, her heart pounding.
“When we met, I knew that you were the woman for me. My only regret is that I didn’t do what I’m about to do soon after. It had to take my fear of losing you to another man to bring me to my senses. Martina, I’m madly and desperately in love with you and it would make me deliriously happy if you were to say yes to this question: Will you marry me?”
Martina nodded, smiling through her tears. Holding out her hand, she said, “Of course, I’ll marry you, Laird.”
He slipped the ring onto her finger and then, reaching up, he cupped her face between his hands and kissed her. “Shall we make a toast?” he suggested when he drew back and was sitting beside her on the sofa.
They picked up their glasses. “To us,” he said.
“To us.” They touched their glasses before taking a couple sips of Masseto.
“Do you think you’ll like being married to an MP?”
“I know that I’ll love it.”
“Life with me is going to be hectic most of the time.”
“I know,” she said. “It can’t be much different from what it is now.”
“Where would you like to go for our honeymoon?”
“Somewhere exotic and romantic.”
“Hmm. Any suggestions?”
“Sure. I have three suggestions. Number one is Bora Bora because it’s one of the most beautiful islands in the world and the place for romantics and honeymooners. Number two is The Azores, an for an idyllic getaway and number three is Cape Town, South Africa.”
“Which one do you choose?”
“Bora Bora because I can just picture the two of us lying on the white sand of a secluded beach after taking a dip in the aquamarine water.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“I can’t wait.”
“Nor can I. How soon would you like to get married?”
“It’s mid-June now. How about November 20?”
“Great. Now that we’ve set the date, what about the church?”
“I was thinking, St James.”
Her brow wrinkled. “Isn’t that going to be a problem, though? I’m not Catholic.”
“You don’t have to be a Catholic in order to marry in the Catholic Church but you must be a baptized Christian.”
“I’m a baptized Baptist.”
“And I have to see my local bishop and ask for permission to enter into a mixed marriage because you’re non-Catholic.”
“Will he give it?” she wondered.
“I don’t see why not.”
“What happens after you get his permission?”
“I have to settle the wedding date with the church. Then, I have to make an appointment as soon as possible to talk with the priest, deacon or staff person who is responsible for preparing couples for marriage.”
“For the reception, I was thinking that we could have it in The Lansdowne Club.”
“That sounds good.”
“I will contact them tomorrow as well and arrange for you and me to visit.”
“Great. Once, we have secured the locations for the ceremony and the reception, we just have to concentrate on the invitations. I will call Emma and ask her to take me to the best boutiques or shops for a wedding dress.”
“I hope our lives don’t become so busy and buzzing over the next few months that we don’t have much time for each other.”
“I promise you that won’t happen.”
“Good. Are you nervous?”
“Not yet but I’m sure I’ll be closer to the time. What about you?”
“I was nervous before I proposed but I’m fine now. I’m excited about the wedding, the honeymoon and our future together.”
“I like when you get excited,” she said softly, rubbing his thigh, making his trousers feel tight as he became aroused.
His eyes darkened and taking her glass, he set it down along with his on the coffee table. Then, he rose to his feet and pulled her up. Holding hands, they hurried to her bedroom.
Sources: All Accor; Brides; Wayfaring Weddings; Forever and Company; Learning Religions; St. James Cathedral Basilica; For Your Marriage; Wikipedia; Roman Catholic Church of St. James; Hampton Court House; Insanely Good Recipes; Delicious