Page 47 of Hero Next Door

“A wonderful year.” I relax as I pull her gift out of my pocket. “And here, I want you to have this, I would have given it to you this morning but you were snoring away when I left in the early hours of the morning.”

She laughs and slaps me playfully, not at all offended by my joke, and quickly tears the wrapping paper off my carefully wrapped jewelry gift. As soon as I saw the star design necklace in the store I knew that I had to get it, because I am always calling Esme my star. I just knew that she would love it and judging by the way that her eyes have lit up like a Christmas tree, she definitely does. Thank goodness, I can breathe at last.

“This is incredible!” She throws her arms around my neck. “I love it, Theo, thank you. It’s perfect.”

She turns around so that I can clip the necklace on her, and as soon as I see the chain dangling around her front, my heart sings with joy. It looks stunning, even better than I imagined it would, she looks fabulous. Elegant, sweet, beautiful. My star, truly. Unexpected tears ball up behind my eyes as I stare at her in awe.

“You look great, Esme. I know I say that all the time, but you really do look incredible.”

Just as I am about to hug her, to hold her gratefully against my chest, she does something that completely knocks the wind right out of me. She drops to one knee in front of me and pulls out a small box containing a ring.

“Now, before you say anything,” she insists, just as I am about to get myself in to a tail spin. “I know that you will think this is something you should do, but I have been thinking about it a lot. A real lot actually, and you saved my life, Theo Landon. You have been my hero pretty much from the day that I met you, so for a change I wanted to flip the script. I want to be the one to take on this role and I really hope that you don’t mind.”

I’m shell shocked, if I’m honest. I did always think that it would be me down on one knee one day, but I’m not bruised or anything. My ego isn’t bothered by this switch around. It’s actually pretty sweet.

“So, Theo, since you are the man who I love more than anything in the world,” she continues once I nod along and agree with her. “I want to know what you think about me spending the rest of my life making you the happiest man alive? Would that be okay with you? Because I know for sure that I would love it. You make me happy. Theo, you have helped me to come out of my shell, to see myself worthwhile when I didn’t before…” Oh my God, if I thought that I was close to emotional tears before… now she has me right on the cusp. “And I want to make you see how wonderful you are as well. I want to be Mrs. Landon, your wife, the love of your life.” Esme pauses for a moment while the emotion strikes her unable to speak for a second. “So, will you… you marry me?”

“Of course I will!” There isn’t even a second of hesitation. “I want to be your husband as well, you know. I love you, Esme, and I actually love the engagement ring that you got for me. But I want to buy you one as well. Is that alright? Because I saw the engagement ring that I wanted for you a long time ago and I want you to have it…”

She leaps up and kisses me hard. “I’m hardly going to say no to jewelry, am I? Of course you can.”

But it’s her who slips the ring on to my finger, who seals our connection as fiancées now, who takes our relationship up another notch and I’m pleased. I’m grateful that Esme saw what she wanted and she went for it, and I’m even more pleased that thing she wanted was me.

Now, we have our happy ever after to look forward to, starting with me buying Esme a ring and ending with us getting married…

Well, actually it will end with us spending the rest of our lives together and that’s the bit I can’t wait for most of all.

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Tags: Mia Ford Romance