Neil's horse was still panting after what seemed an eternity of waiting. Waiting to decide her future. David stood like a statue a couple feet away from her, with her students gasping, eager to see who their teacher would get hitched to. She felt like an object, claimed by two men, and had had enough. Alice waited at the side, and nodded when she glanced over, sighing at her predicament.
Her prayers were met with silence until she feared they would not be answered all those months she had begged God for an answer. Only word word consumer her mind, "David". Only Neil had stood in the way of their courtship, and she had come to realize that with both men, it would be a completely different outcome.
After seeing Margaret and Neil together, she knew that she had been ruled by emotions with the doctor. Yes it was more than a pleasant feeling to fall for him over the past year or so. But she needed a man her age who struggled with the same things she did, a man called by God to serve. She needed a friend who would be at her side when those romantic feelings dissipated. It would be a marriage that would last, and she knew she loved him with her heart.
"Children, go back inside where Rob Allen will begin your spelling tests." Her students mumbled at missing the climactic moment they had all been eager for. She strode over to Neil with, her face devoid of all emotion.
"Neil, I cannot choose you. You are married, and an unbeliever, and it saddens me to know that I will not choose you. Margaret had said earlier at the teahouse that I should marry David, and I know she is right. I had replied that you were a man worth fighting for. And my last words are this: fight for her too. Show her how to love fully, and recover a marriage. Fight for it."
He gazed at her, dread filling him. She had chosen the better man of the two. And she was right, they had been carried away with their feelings, and he knew it would only ensue in more heartache for him and Margaret than there already was. Christy spun on her heel to meet David, tucking her arm in his. She had done the right thing, and knew it would only get better from here on.
David led her to the drawing room, where they had spoken of meaningful things over the time they had been at the mission. David gazed down at her clear blue eyes, oblivious to what she was saying. He shook his head out of his reverie, and caught the last bit of her sentence.
"You grew more beautiful by the day Christy." He breathed the words, lifting her left hand to kiss it.
Christy smiled at him before pulling out the ring box, and opening it. She gasped at how lovely it was, simply but refreshingly stunning.
"David, I don't know if I will ever deserve you." Tears spilled down her cheeks, which he wiped away with his thumb. He held her close to him, and stood there for however long it took. He pulled back to take the ring and slid it on her finger. She laughed through her tears, and stood on tip toe to kiss him. He pulled her in for more, oblivious to the people who might see what was going on in the drawing room.
Ruby Mae strode by, then pivoted back to witness the preacher and teacher having some time to themselves. "Oh my…" She brushed a curl of red hair back, and clasped her hands together squealing. Fairlight scooted her out of the room before she found her words again.
David ended the kiss, and grinned at her like a schoolboy. She reached up to straighten his collar, his eyes on her, never once leaving hers.
"David, I am positive I spotted Ruby Mae judging from her vibrant locks." He slid an arm around her waist, subtly moving her closer.
"I thought you were only focused on me," he joked. "It doesn't matter who sees us; our engagement will be known all over Cutter Gap within an hour or so. I supposed it's reached even Ida by now." Christy giggled at his antics.
"Now let's go see who we can tell." They bounded into the kitchen where Fairlight stood at the counter dicing up a tomato. Alice was in the dining room, reading contracts regarding the mission, and writing more letters to the Board about the how they were doing in terms of resources. She folded the last letter when the newly engaged couple arrived at the roughly hewn table, their smiles evident as to what they had been up to.
"She said yes," David exclaimed, holding Christy's hand while she let out another giggle. Alice hugged them both, and asked when they were going to plan the wedding. She also noted how Christy had matured in the last hours to realize she made the same mistakes as David, and that they both struggled to make the right choices. With their foundation on God though, they would weather some tough storms, and stay together for the rest of their lives.
"I can see how thy Lord works all things for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to Thy purpose. Congratulations you two. I know thee has been excited, but I have noticed a schoolroom has been left without a diligent teacher as thyself."
"Oh I forgot about all those dear little faces," she said breathlessly, her eyes widening.
"I have a sermon to finish Christy, so I'll return to it. One thing is for certain though."
"I love you." She kissed his cheek, feeling like she was permanently on cloud nine, her thoughts a mess when she was around him. She doubted she would be of much help to her students, and that David would struggle to finish that sermon long into the night. For their minds were elsewhere, and she would have to get used to that in the coming days.
Everything seemed as it should be, and she thanked the Lord she was going to to marry such a devoted man who would be faithful to not only his wife and future children, but to God. This thought made her overjoyed, and kicked up her heels on the way to the schoolhouse when she thought no one would be watching. Chances were that Alice had been, and she chuckled at that.