Friends since they were children,
Eliza never once imagined that
their relationship would blossom
into a romantic one. Franklin
was so handsome and he had
his pick of very beautiful and
accomplished young women.
Eliza had always dreaded the
day when he would marry.
Her feelings for him had
changed when she turned
sixteen. It was hard being
around him and pretending
that he was like a brother to
her. It was even harder seeing
him with other girls.
When she and Franklin went
for their walks, always accompanied by
a relative, she would ask him
questions about a particular girl
to gage his feelings but he always
changed the subject. She thought
perhaps he had developed an
attachment to the girl but
didn’t want to say anything until
he was sure that his affection
Then the moment she always dreaded
came. They were sitting in their favorite
spot under her aunt’s supervision. It was
a beautiful, sunny day. Eliza breathed in the air,
smiling as the sun hit her face. She held a rose in
her hand which Franklin had picked for her.
That was very sweet of him, she thought.
He was always doing thoughtful things.
How she adored him. Sighing, she turned
to her friend who was watching her.
There was curious expression on his face
and she grew concerned. “Is something the
matter?” she asked.
“Over the years I have developed feelings
for someone close to me and I haven’t had
the courage to tell her. I am not sure of how
she feels about me. What do you think I should
Eliza blinked, trying hard not to show the pain
that had gripped her heart. She quickly turned
her head away from him so that he could not
see the tears in her eyes. She blinked them back.
The last thing she wanted was to break down in
front of him. He must never know how she felt
about him. Never. “I-I think you should tell her,”
she said quietly. “You won’t know her feelings
unless you declare yours.”
There was a moment’s silence and then she
felt Franklin reach for her hand and his
fingers closed round hers. His hand felt so
warm and strong. She wanted to pull her hand
away, get up and run from there. She wanted to
go to her room and lock herself in and cry until
she couldn’t cry anymore.
“Eliza, you and I have been friends since child-
hood. The happiest moments of my life have
been with you. I can’t imagine being with
anyone else. Eliza, I love you.”
Her head spun round, her eyes wide with
shock. “What?” she exclaimed.
“You’re crying,” he said, brushing the tears
from her cheeks.
“You love me?” She couldn’t believe it.
“Yes. I have loved you for a long time
now but dared not declare my feelings
because I didn’t want to run the risk of
ruining our friendship. You never showed
particular favour to any of the young men
so I hoped that perhaps you might be
more inclined to develop a romantic interest
in a man whom you consider to be your friend.”
Eliza beamed through her tears, her heart
bursting with joy. “Oh Franklin,” she cried. “I
love you. I loved you since I was sixteen. I wanted
so much to tell you but was afraid that you won’t
His eyes were tender as they searched her face. “Oh
my dear Eliza,” he murmured. ” We would have
spared each other undue anguish if we had
declared our love before. Well, the matter has been
resolved. We love each other and it means now that
I can ask you to marry me without fear of rejection.”
He got down on his knee, his eyes held hers and both
of his hands held hers. “Eliza, will you do me the honor
of becoming my wife?”
Eliza nodded, the tears falling. “Yes,” she sobbed.
He smiled and stood up. He pulled her to her feet.
“Now, I will go and ask your father for his permission.”
“I don’t suspect that you will meet with any resistance,”
Eliza told him. “My father is rather fond of you.”
They walked back to Eliza’s house where Franklin was
warmly received. Her aunt followed them, dabbing
at her eyes and smiling broadly.