“You should stay home today,” I murmured against Tommy’s lips, twining my arms around his neck.
He smiled and kissed me again. “I’d love to, but I can’t. I’ll try to get home early.”
“Really early.” We were going to Newcrest to have dinner with my family tonight, and it’d be nice to have a little time alone with him before we left.
He chuckled softly. “Really early. But now I’ve really got to go.”
I reluctantly let my arms drop and watched as he stepped out of the door, heading for the police cruiser parked on the street. I sighed dreamily, leaning against the wall. I’d never known how romantic Tommy could be until the night before when I’d come home to the most magical scene of my life.
As I walked up to the house, I thought that now I knew why Alison and Luc had been muffling giggling most of the way home. Fragrant blue flowers were piled high next to the house for as far as I could see, forming a corridor leading into the backyard.
I turned to the door and met Tommy’s eyes through the glass. He stepped outside and smiled nervously.
“What is this?” I asked in wonder.
He drew me into his arms. “Dinner.”
Almost in a trance, I went to the couch and dropped down onto it. I could still smell the sweet flowers and not just because they hadn’t yet been cleared away. Every detail of that night was etched into my memory.
Tears filled my eyes as Tommy went down onto one knee, but I quickly blinked them away. I couldn’t miss a moment of this.
“You’re the only woman I’ve ever loved. You’re perfect for me, did you know that? I didn’t realize it then, but I’ve been yours since we were nine years old. I know I’m a better man for knowing you. I’m going to love you for the rest of my life. Will you keep building your life with me? Loralee Thoreau, will you marry me?”
“Yes!” I didn’t even have to think about it; of course I wanted to marry him.
I could still feel joy practically bursting out of me. Some people, I knew, were going to say we were too young to get married, but they didn’t know what was best for us. I’d felt this same feeling of rightness when I’d decided to move here with Tommy. Sure, I’d been afraid, but this was also what I’d wanted. And I’d been so right about it; the transition had been hard, but, now, I loved our house and the town. Newcrest would always be my hometown, but, I think, Oasis Springs has really become my home.
“You have to come visit more,” Mama chastised as she pulled me into a tight hug.
I laughed, pulling back from her after she squeezed the breath out of me. “It hasn’t even been two weeks.” I might like to come out here ever week, but there just wasn’t the time or money for that.
“Are you sure? Feels like longer.”
“Mama,” Luc said, coming into the living room, “I think you’re smothering her again.”
She huffed and rolled her eyes. “You’re all against me.”
As the greetings continued, I studiously avoided looking Luc in the eye. I was sure he knew exactly what Tommy had asked me last night. If he gave me a knowing look, I’d break and spill the beans right there. I just wanted to wait until we had sat down for dinner.
Though it was probably only fifteen minutes after we arrived, it felt like an eternity passed before Mama called dinner ready and gathered us all at the table. After we had all been served, I beamed around at everyone; I couldn’t possibly contain the news for another moment.
“I have some news!” Luc looked over at me and started to grin. Tommy reached over and took my hand as I beamed at my parents. “Tommy and I are engaged.”
“What?!” My parents said in unison. Mom looked elated while Mama looked completely blown away.
“Oh, baby, that’s amazing,” Mom enthused. “When did it happen?”
I squeezed Tommy’s hand. “Last night. Alison and Luc took me to Josh’s game, and Tommy set up the most beautiful scene at the house. The flowers alone must’ve cost a fortune.” He’d even told me he’d taken a cooking class so he could cook our meal himself.
“You’ll have to tell us all about it after dinner.” Mom’s eyes twinkled at me. “It sounds very romantic. Doesn’t it, Camille?” She looked over at her wife and laid a hand on her arm. “Our daughter is getting married. That’s wonderful news.”
At first, I thought Mama was going to disagree somehow. I knew she liked Tommy; she even seemed to have come to find our house charming. But this was my mother and sometimes she didn’t react well to change. Instead, she surprised me.
A smile spread across Mama’s face. “It really is.” She picked up her napkin and dabbed under her eyes. “I can’t believe I’m getting another son!”
All through dinner, my parents couldn’t stop talking about the wedding. Mama thought it would be perfect if we had it here, but Mom said it was up to me and Tommy. Then Mom said it would be nice if I wore one of their wedding gowns to which Mama said a wedding gown should be special and represent the person wearing it. There was one thing they agreed on, though.
“You have to let us pay for it,” Mama asserted after we went into the living room.
“Oh, Mama, I can’t ask you to do that.”
“Really, Camille, that isn’t necessary,” Tommy said.
She shook her head firmly. “I want to do this.”
Mom nodded. “Camille is absolutely right about this. We want to pay. The two of you should have the wedding of your dreams.”
I smiled at Tommy. As long as I was getting married to him, it would be the wedding of my dreams. But it would be nice to keep our savings for the honeymoon. “What do you think, Tommy? They seem pretty adamant.”
He shook his head with a chuckle. “It’s hardly up to me. I’m pretty sure this will be your wedding. I just have to show up and say ‘I do.’”
Mom laughed. “This one gets it!”
Mama snorted softly and leaned in to me to whisper, “Consider yourself lucky. Try planning a wedding with two brides.”