The next ultrasound and another $450 showed there had been no changes in Grace’s condition. It wasn’t worse but it didn’t show signs of correction either. Fortunately, their little boy was growing normally and was very healthy. Just four more months.
Ben was glad he had decided to go ahead and pot some additional marijuana plants to up production. The Cesarean Section was going to cost $25,000 plus depending upon how long she was hospitalized. And that didn’t include infant care.
Nick talked to Rachael and they decided it would be best for him and Grace to switch apartments.
Grace immediately began to put her touch on the apartment. She made Nick and Ben trade out her furniture for theirs. She reasoned it was ‘man cave’ furniture and was better suited for Nick. Nick was just pissed because they had to move it. Then they all painted like crazy the entire weekend. The results were amazing.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ben was ready to propose to Grace. He wanted it to be special so they packed up and went to the Bluffs for the weekend. This time, they were the only ones there.
The couple walked out to the edge of the cliff where the sunset was majestic. “This is my favorite place,” said Grace dreamily, “It’s where I knew that I loved you and you loved me. The night our son was conceived.”
Ben led her over to the stone ‘bench’ so they could sit down. The same one they sat on four months earlier. “I have a confession,” he said as he pulled Grace into his lap. “I cried the next morning while you slept. I was confused and afraid of my feelings. I will never hurt you again Grace. Never. Do you remember what you said that night? You said you wanted to stay right here and not worry about tomorrow.”
Grace smiled as sad smile. “I knew you were going to leave and I didn’t know how to stop you.”
“Babe, I don’t want you to ever feel like you have to worry about tomorrow anymore. I want you to look forward to all of our tomorrows. You have no idea how happy you have made me in the short time I have known you. The very first day I saw you in the coffee shop I thought you were an angel. And now, you and our son, you are my family now. The two most important people in my life. Period. I love you both so much it hurts.”
“Ben, I love you too. You know that.”
Ben’s heart was hammering in his chest and his hands were shaking. He stopped and took a breath to calm himself before asking the question that would change his life forever. He let his breath out slowly. “The only thing that would make it better is for you to become my wife. Grace, will you marry me?”
Grace was crying softly. “I’m sorry Ben. I don’t know why I’m crying. It must be pregnancy hormones.”
Ben caught his breath. He didn’t expect her to say no. “Oh god. I’m sorry, it’s too soon…”
Grace shook her violently, “No…happy tears. Ben, please don’t take it back.” Then she began to nod her head just as violently. “Yes! Ben, yes, I will marry you.”
Ben let out his breath and started fumbling for the ring he bought and placed it on her finger. He could barely see through the tears swimming in his own eyes. He had never been so emotional before he met Grace. She made him crazy.
“Look, the sunset!” exclaimed Grace. “It’s perfect!” They both turned and watched as the sun disappeared behind the clouds in shades of orange, pink and yellow.
After the sun set, Ben kissed his fiance.
They couldn’t get enough of each other. Their passion began to escalate and Grace started tugging on Ben’s shirt. “Grace, not here,” said Ben between kisses.
“Yes. Here. Now, I need…” said Grace breathlessly.
That’s all it took. Ben spread out the blanket he brought for a picnic and they moved their passion to the blanket.
Ben made love to his future wife outdoors, under the stars, cloaked in the shadows.