Turning to him, she said with a sniff, “You’re insane.”
Damian only smiled. “In my defense, my love, I only wanted us talk in a place where you wouldn’t have anywhere to run away to. It was your idea, however, to fu—-”
She cut him off, asking hastily, “Don’t you have something to give me?”
“You mean this?”
The billionaire unzipped his ski jacket to retrieve a small, velvet box, and an incredulous laugh escaped her. “How…”
“I can’t take credit for making the avalanche happen,” he said dryly, “but I did have this with me for a while now.” And as he spoke, Damian went down on one knee before opening the box to reveal a diamond ring.
“It’s perfect, Damian,” she said shakily.
“It will be…” He reached for her hand. “—-when it’s on your finger.” Looking up, he asked simply, “Will you marry me, Sarah Jeanne Clarke?”
She could only nod, too emotional to speak as she watched him carefully slide the ring down her finger. It fit perfectly, and its weight on her finger felt so wonderfully right.
Later, Damian held her hand throughout the flight back to Fox Lodge, and she found herself momentarily closing her eyes to whisper to God, I’m sorry I doubted You. And thank You.
It was, however, a prayer that would turn out to be painfully premature.
Although their parents and Naomi’s guests hadn’t a clue about their near brush with death and the marriage proposal that followed, key members of Damian’s staff had been properly apprised, and they surged forward with a wide range of concerns as soon as the chopper landed and the billionaire carefully guided his stepsister, now also his fiancée, as she followed him out.
“Go on,” Sarah urged, seeing the number of employees waiting to speak to Damian. “I’ll wait for you at my room.”
“I’ll be with you in a moment,” Damian promised, “and then we’ll make the announcement together.”
Sarah unplugged her phone as soon as she made it back to her room, and the first thing she saw was all the calls she had missed from Hardy. Shit. He must be frantic by now, and that wasn’t good. She tried calling him, but when all she got was his voicemail, she finally decided to leave a voice message.
Hey, Hardy. I’m sorry I missed your call. I know you’re worried about me, but there’s no need to be. I give you my word. Everything’s great, really great, even better than I imagined. Call me as soon as you get this, alright? Miss you, and love you always. I’ll see you soon.
After ending the call, she quickly changed into something pretty and sparkly, one that would properly reflect her mood, and since it seemed Damian wouldn’t be with her anytime soon, she also spent a few minutes applying makeup, wanting to look her very best once the world knew she would soon be Mrs. Damian Fox.
But the moment never came.
Minutes passed, one after another, and it was as if she suddenly felt she had been shot, the pain so intense that it nearly had her crying out. Something was wrong. And she found herself rushing out of her room and running down the stairs. Something was wrong. And when she made it to the lobby, it was to see Damian stepping out of the doors, with a limousine waiting for him outside.
And it was just like before, and she was running for him again.
Something was wrong.
So, so very wrong.
She saw him getting inside the limousine, and in her panic, she lost her footing just as she reached the steps. When she started to fall, a sob escaped her, because she knew then. She was too late. She would never catch him again—-
But this, too, was just like before.
Damian reached her in time, his arms catching her before her head could hit the ground.
Everything was almost the same, everything was almost just like before…except for the look in his eyes.
And it was then she realized.
Even if she had stopped Damian from leaving—-
She was already too late.
The look on his achingly beautiful face said it all.
“You changed your mind,” she whispered numbly. “You don’t…you d-don’t want to be married anymore. You r-realized you n-never loved me—-” Her voice caught. “Didn’t you?”
And to it all, the only thing he said was, “I’m sorry,” and oh God, it just made her want to laugh and cry, and in a moment, she found herself doing just that. Laughing. Crying. And it just went on and on, louder and louder, that it had the people around them, people who had worked for them for years, people who knew how long she had loved and chased after Damian—-
It was the first time she saw these people look away, the first time they found the sight of her love too uncomfortable to bear, and it just drove the point home.