Late afternoon, the next day, River called Melody and asked her to meet him at a certain address. She didn’t recognize the address and had no idea where she was going, but, little did she know, she was about to be in for the surprise of her life. When she arrived, River was already there waiting for her.
“Hi there! What is this place,” she asked.
From where she was standing, she couldn’t see much and thought it was just a beautiful garden or park.
“This is a new venue. It just opened today. It’s called the Gardens of Love.”
She thought it sounded like a lovely name for a garden. But when she finally looked around, she saw what it really was. She was nervous and excited and confused at the same time.
“Why did you bring me here?”
“I didn’t get any sleep last night. I was thinking about you…about us. I know you wanted to take things slow–and things have been very very slow. But, you once said that you wanted me to be in your life forever, and I couldn’t agree more. I think we’re both at the point where, if something doesn’t happen soon, we’ll both go mad. I love you. I’ve been in love with you ever since our first conversation.”
“Y-y-you love me?”
“With every pixel of my body.”
“I don’t know what to say!”
He took her by the hand and led her into the garden. It was the most beautifully manicured place she had ever seen. The flowers were perfectly placed all around, and the sun’s golden rays bathed the white columns and chairs. Oasis Springs had a unique way of making everything far more beautiful than they already are. This place was perfect–almost as if it was made for this lot. It was the perfect place and the perfect day to say what he had to say. There was a stage to the side of the garden. He helped her up and held her hands.
“I want to dance with you on this very stage with all of your family looking at us.”
She was beginning to realize what was taking place and got very emotional.
“You do,” she asked with tears in her eyes.
He helped her off the stage and led her to the front of the venue. There were rows of garden chairs all facing a beautiful arch decorated in beautiful, fragrant red and white flowers and ribbon. Her heart was pounding as she slowly walked toward the arch with him. She couldn’t take her eyes off it like it was calling to her. She had so many emotions all reeking havoc in her brain and her breaths were very heavy. She thought she might faint. When they reached the arch, River faced her and said everything he had been wanting to say for a very long time.
“I want to stand right here with you next to me and tell the world how much I love you. I want to tell everyone that I would do anything for you…even die for you! I would never do anything to hurt you. I will always be here for you. I love the way you smile when you’re nervous. I love the way you think. I love how strong you are. I love that we have shared interests. I love how you call me Riv. You are an awesome mother, and I love how your daughters are respectful and funny. I love them too…”
He lowered himself to one knee, which made her even more nervous, and pulled out a small black box from his pocket. He opened the box and pulled out a gold ring with a huge diamond in the center. He took the ring in his fingers, presented it to her with both hands, and said, “I want to spend the rest of my life loving you and supporting Marli and Mia. Will you marry me, Melody?”
Although she understood what was going to happen minutes ago, she still wasn’t prepared for the actual proposal. She felt so many things. She never expected to be engaged after being together for just a few weeks–and officially for fewer than 24 hours. But then again, she dated Paxton for years, and look how that turned out. She knew she loved him although she never told him, and even though he was right there on bended knee, she found it hard to believe. She wanted him, she felt safe with him, her children love him, her sister loves him, and he brought out the best in her. There was no reason for her to say no. She carefully took the ring from him and held it delicately in her fingers. She waited so long to be loved and wanted. It was all very surreal.
“You really want to marry me,” she said quietly.
She was crying so much she could barely speak.
“I want nothing else in this world. So, what do you say?”