Mateo stood basking in the cool twilight of evening on the hillside overlooking Avalor City. Thanks to Elena, it had become his favorite overlook of the city and a regular trysting spot for the couple. The cool sea breeze was a pleasant whisper against his face as it ruffled his untidy hair. He could still see the faint orange glow of the sun as it retired beyond the western horizon for the night.
Smiling slightly, he looked over the bay, noticing the glimmering reflection of the lights from the city on the shore as he fingered the tiny box in the pocket of his wizard's robe. Within that box was a ring–– the ring that his grandfather had given to his grandmother on their wedding day. It was a beautiful ring–– solid gold with two small turquoise stones set on either side of a large oval cut diamond. A thrill of nerves ran through him as he considered what he had yet to do that evening–– he just needed to wait for the opportune moment.
So lost in thought was he, that he was startled when a pair of delicate arms slid around his waist, and a soft, feminine form pressed herself to his back in an affectionate embrace and gently kissed his neck. Closing his eyes and leaning into the kiss, Mateo smiled blissfully, simply enjoying the moment of closeness before he glanced over his shoulder and looked into the warm amber-colored eyes of the woman he loved. He felt the familiar flutter of butterflies in his stomach as he always did when she looked at him like that–– like he was her whole world. Like she loved him.
"Did you finish that letter to Alejandro?" he asked.
"Yes, it has been sent along with the newly appointed ambassador to Malvara who has will also deliver Alejandro's wedding slash coronation gift."
"That's right, he and his second-in-command are getting married soon, aren't they?"
"Yes, her name is Shari, I believe," Elena said thoughtfully, brushing her fingertips in idle circles where they rested against his stomach, "And she's about to become Queen Shari. Apparently, they've been secretly together for over a decade."
"Wow, that's remarkable!" Mateo couldn't imagine having to hide his love for Elena for that long. It was true that he had planned to hide it indefinitely when he believed there was no chance for anything more between them, but he supposed it would be easier to hide one sided unrequited love than to actually be involved with someone in secret.
"Mhmm. It is. But he's a remarkable person. And he's making some remarkable changes in Malvara. His last letter said that slavery had been abolished and he was working on expanding their education system to include the non-magically gifted citizens as well. I think he's going to be a great king."
Mateo reached a hand up to brush softly against her cheek and said quietly, "Just as you are going to be a great queen."
Blushing, she tightened her embrace and laid her head on his shoulder. "That remains to be seen," she whispered. "Right now, I'm just a very much in-trouble-with-my-grandparents crown princess."
"They still haven't forgiven you for running off to Malvara?"
Elena laughed, "Oh, they've forgiven me, and I can tell that they are fundamentally proud of everything that we accomplished, but Abuelo is so black and white when it comes to the law that I can tell he's unhappy that I went against the council's plan for dealing with Malvara. You know him," and she stepped back and stood tall, giving her best Francisco impression, "'The law is the law and as crown princess, you must uphold the law.'"
Mateo laughed and reached out, pulling her into his arms. "What about your grandmother?"
"She's relieved I'm back and overjoyed that we are both safe. But she's furious that I put myself in such danger, 'you could have been killed, mijita!'" she said in a passable imitation of Luisa's voice. "Of course, she's glad that Malvara is no longer a threat and that we have a long future of peace to look forward to."
"At least Esteban is happy with you, isn't he?"
Elena laughed, "Yes, he is over the moon that I brought home a signed peace treaty between Avalor and Malvara. Avalor is the first kingdom in living memory to establish an official alliance with Malvara. It's what he was working so hard for all those months. At least I've got that."
"So Avalor is bandit-free, assassin-free, dark sorcerer-free, and generally threat-free for now. It looks like you are a free woman."
Beaming, Elena said, "Yes! The council agrees that I no longer have to go everywhere with a guard detail. Though," her eyes softened slightly as she looked at her royal wizard, "I'm going to miss having you by my side night and day."
"Well, it's not like I'm really going anywhere. I pretty much live at the palace these days. But I know what you mean. There's no longer a need for us to be joined at the hip, so to speak. And I agree, I will miss that. But–" Mateo took a deep breath, this was it. The moment he'd been waiting for, " –what if we could fix that? Make it so that no one would bat an eyelash at seeing us together night and day? Even more so than before?"
Cocking her head to one side, Elena raised a curious eyebrow. "I'm not sure I follow..."
He turned and stepped so that he was standing in front of Elena, facing her. Her breath caught in her throat as she saw the intense heat smoldering deep behind those eyes she loved so much–– he took both of her hands in his, and said, "Months ago, we stood in this same spot and you told me that you wanted everything with me–– love, marriage, children–– a life, together. Well, I want it all too. With you. You are my one and my only–– my true love, my soulmate, my other half. I want to fall asleep every night with you in my arms. I want to wake up every morning and have your smile be the first thing that I see. I want to be the one to make you smile when you've had a bad day. I want to be the one to give you medicine when you're sick. I want to be the one who keeps you warm when it's cold. Elena, I want to grow old with you. I want to stand by your side until the end of time–– to whatever end.
He took another deep breath, looking a little uncertain as he continued, "I know that as the crown princess and future queen of Avalor, I'm not really supposed to be the one to do this. I'm nobody and have nothing to offer you aside from my heart, but I figured that–– since we'd sort of talked about this already–– I'd risk it. Elena Castillo Flores, Crown Princess of Avalor, I promise to love you every minute of everyday and every night until the end of forever," tears were shining in Elena's eyes as Mateo paused, pulled the little box from his pocket, got down on one knee and, opening it, held it out to her, "will you do me the incredible honor of marrying me?"
Elena was utterly speechless. She stared into those hazel eyes that she knew so well–– that door to a secret world where only kindred spirits could enter–– and could vividly see in her mind's eye the life of love, laughter and joy that he was offering her. She could see the holidays they'd share. She could imagine the birthdays they'd celebrate. She could even see the beautiful babies they would create together and feel the overwhelming love they'd share as a family.
Smiling broadly as the tears began to trickle down her cheeks, Elena held our her left hand to Mateo, who was still on one knee, smiling his gentle smile, his eyes shining with love and hope, and said, "Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes!"
As he slid the ring onto her finger, she pulled him to his feet and launched herself into his arms, crying tears of joy as she half laughed, half sobbed into his shoulder. "But you're wrong about one thing," she whispered between tears.
He pulled back, tears staining his own cheeks as he smiled crookedly at her–– adoration written all over his face. "And what's that, mi amor?"
"You're not a nobody. You are a precious soul and you are everything to me–– your heart is more than enough, and certainly more than I deserve. You are my life and my soul."
Cupping her face in his hands, Mateo leaned in and brushed a soft kiss against her lips, smiling as he murmured, "I love you, my heart. Mi amor." Pulling back, he asked, "Should we go and break the news to our families?"
Shaking her head, Elena smiled mischievously and said lightly as she pulled him in for another kiss, "No, our families aren't going anywhere, we can tell them tomorrow. Tonight, I want you all to myself. Tonight is ours."
Grinning roguishly, Mateo said, "I like the sound of that."
The couple sat near the edge of the cliff, overlooking the kingdom that would be theirs to care for and protect–– entwined in each other's arms as they shared kisses and talked of the future. The future that was theirs to shape. The future that held so many possibilities. The future that they would face side by side–– together.
Oh my goodness! I can't believe this is the end! We made it! I just want to say that I am so incredibly thankful for each one of you who has faithfully read this far. You guys are the reason I was able to finish! And the encouraging words that you've left on every chapter- thank you! I'd very much like to hear your feedback on the ending and the story overall now that it's complete. I have to give some serious kudos to my awesome beta, Rugbeewrites! You can find her amazing eleteo fanart (among other things) on her tumblr blog - lovelyrugbee. I plan to keep writing. I've got one shot ideas coming out of my ears and if you guys have any suggestions, send them to me! Either here or you can come shoot me a message on Tumblr. I also have another Eleteo long fic that I'm working on fleshing out and can't wait to share. Anyways, thanks again! You all are amazing!