* "I just don't want to jump unless there's someone to catch me." * "I'll catch you... And if I happen to miss, I'll sit by your bedside and nurse you back to health." ~Tenth Kingdom
We were a sullen bunch as we rode into Cairo. I was so exhausted I would have fallen off the camel if I wasn't practically tied to it. It didn't help that O'Connell said hardly anything the entire journey.
Jonathan said he would take care of the camels--he knew a place to board them--but probably he was just going to go sell them. It wasn't like we didn't have money up to the ears with the treasure. Beni was good for something after all, I guess.
This left me and O'Connell alone. We looked at one another awkwardly for a minute, not sure what to say. He ended up beginning the conversation: "I guess this is where we part ways, then."
That stopped me dead in my tracks. I hadn't considered that he wouldn't feel the same way. He'd told me he did, hadn't he?... But he hadn't, actually, as far as I could remember. He hadn't said anything of the sort. He'd listened while I blathered on, and then I'd kissed him.
"Except..." Rick continued, and I realized I'd been standing there, silent, for who knows how long. "I mean, it's just that..."
I waited, this time, I waited for him to say whatever he wanted to say to me. I'd said my piece earlier; I'd tossed my heart out into the ring, and it was up to him to either trample it or match it with his own.
Rick grew increasingly nervous as I remained mute. "Err," he said, "you said it yourself--who would have thought, the two of us, right? Everyone will say it will never work."
My heart sank like a lead weight. This was not going well.
He must have interpreted the look on my face and decided to go with a different tactic. "No, no, that's not what I mean. You and I are the only people's opinions that matter here. And since you don't seem to be sharing yours at the moment, I guess I'll go right ahead."
It took all of my strength to nod, though my throat was closed so tightly I couldn't have spoken if I wanted to. Rick took my hand, and my heart pounded so violently I was sure he could see me shaking. "The thing is," he continued, "there's some things I've wanted to say to you, for a long time, since, well, a while. I'm not being very eloquent with this, but the thing is, Evelyn... You're the most beautiful woman I've ever met, you're so incredibly brave and just...alive, and I... And the thing is, I realized at some point yesterday that I would give up anything for you. I would do...anything. Every time I look at you I realize...that I love you."
It was not my intention, surely, to remain silent after hearing the most romantic, true declaration of love I'm ever likely to hear in my life, but the rush of tears blocking my airway made it completely impossible to speak. He looked stricken after a few moments of my simply standing there, so I settled instead for throwing my arms around his neck and clinging for dear life. That way, at least, he couldn't run away before I regained the ability to speak.
"Evelyn?" he said after a moment. "Are you all right?"
"I love you," I somehow whispered, and he asked me to marry him just like that. I've never made an easier decision in my life.
We're on the water, sailing for Great Britain across the channel. One week from Friday we will be married, in front of a bunch of people I've never met, who will, Rick says, adore me, he is sure. I think this means I will make some enemies, but other people aren't what I'm thinking about right now. The only one that matters to me is right here, and his name is Rick O'Connell.
Fin! Merci to all :):):)