After supper, we settled to listen to some music and have a quiet game of chess.
I looked at Leo wondering how it was I felt so happy and yet so peaceful. When I was in love with my husband and with Philip, I’d felt sort of dizzy, over excited. Was this maybe real love, and I had been infatuated previously?
He raised an eyebrow. He always knows when I’m thinking hard. I said “When I have been in love before I always felt giddy and dizzy with it, sort of over excited. What I feel now is a deep contentment that makes me so happy. Yet when I look at you, my heartbeat races. Is this real love?”
Leo smiled and leant over the board to kiss me. “I find this different as well. Previously I seem to have been more focused on sex and the looks of the woman. Now I have feelings of needing to protect you, that my world is complete with you in it. And sex with you is far more satisfying than with any other woman ever”.
I giggled “I think so too, let’s go and make sure just once more, after all I’m an engineer and like to thoroughly check a situation before I make a definitive statement”.
We abandoned the game.
He came to me, I thought to help me up, but he knelt and took my hand in his bandaged ones and said “Anthea, love of my life, please will you marry me and make my life complete?”
I could feel the tears and stammered, “I think I have to, so that you can make my life complete too.”
He lifted me up and kissed me. We were standing there wrapped up in each other, when there was a knock on the door and his father came in. He had been away on a fishing trip and missed all of the fuss.
Gerard looked at us and smiled. Then he said “So you two have finally realised what has been obvious to us all for ever?”
Leo said, “Dad, it’s far worse than that, Anthea has just agreed to marry me”.
Gerard turned and walked out. We looked at each other is surprise. Leo took the opportunity to kiss me again and thoroughly distracted me. Gerard returned a few minutes later with a bottle of champagne and three glasses.
We sat together again, smiled at his toast and kisses. Then Gerard said, “So now tell me all about the excitement you caused while I was off fishing”.
Next day the doctor visited and declared my foot well on the way to recovery and checked Leo’s hands, giving him very light bandages to keep the hands clean. He now had more movement in them.
Gerard told us we had to be in for dinner and to dress for it. Leo sent me off to sleep for the afternoon as he said I had been overdoing things a bit. I had a hairdresser and make up specialist come in and help make me look more civilised, I had little with me to look after my hair and appearance. Fortunately I had left some of my clothes here after I’d run here leaving Philip. One dress was a little formal, full length, but it did hide the soft shoes I still had to wear.
When I came in to the sitting room before dinner, there were my parents, my brother and some of the other family members.
Leo came and helped me to a chair. Then he knelt and took my hand. He said “In front of the people most important to us both, I ask you to be my wife”. I replied “Happily my love”. The family all applauded. Leo took a box from his pocket and opened it. A plain gold band with a single diamond set in it. He said, “Please will you wear it until we can choose an engagement ring together” I replied “No, that is the ring I want, from your heart”. We put it on my finger and he kissed me. The butler came in bearing champagne and glasses. Everyone toasted us.
My mother and father came first to congratulate us. My mum said, “So it’s for real at last?” My brother said “I can’t imagine a better brother in law”. Leo replied “you have been like a brother all my life, more so since my siblings died, now it’s going to be formal”. My dad said “When he phoned to ask my permission as a formality, you could have blown me over with one puff, but I am so happy, he is a really good man.”
Dinner was very special. All the staff kept smiling at us. This was even better than that happy family dinner after I received my doctorate.