"Does Galinda know that you are asking us for permission to propose marriage to her?" Gwenot smiled at the very nervous girl.
"No, she doesn't. We have never even talked about proposals or being engaged. Glinda has just always taken for granted that we would be married. The notion never even occurred to me either, until Byjon mentioned it to me." Elphie said quietly.
"Ah Jon, always the traditional romantic. That was the one thing that he somewhat regretted in his early relationship with Walik." Gwenot said in an effort to help Elphie settle down a bit.
"That's what he told me. He said that even if we know what we want and know that it is going to happen, I should give Glinda the honor of saying yes to a proposal of marriage. She loves traditional relationship things. I try very hard to give her convention however I can." Elphie replied.
"But what about you darling? Are there reasons that you want to do this, beyond wanting to provide my daughter with something traditional?" Gwenot asked with a reassuring smile as she handed Elphie a mug of hot cinnamon-vanilla milk that she had inconspicuously conjured.
Elphie looked at the mug of milk in Gwenot's hand and realized that there were other reasons and that she wanted to propose. She smiled tentatively at Gwenot as she took the mug, grateful that her twitching fingers had something to do and quickly tried to organize all that she had been thinking about.
"I am not able to see the future as she can, but I know that I want it to be with her. I've been thinking about this on and off since Byjon talked to me about it, so part of it is fulfilling my promise to him to give her the opportunity to say yes. I've even researched marriage proposals in relationship books to figure out what to do. But it has gone beyond that. Things are going to be very hectic in school from now on. I think the formality of being engaged will help give us both some stability. I know it will help her when we are not able to spend very much time together." Elphie said as she played with the handle of the mug.
"Go on Elphaba." Gwenot said sensing that there was more that Elphaba wanted to say.
"She has always taken the lead in this. She broached the subject of us being in love as opposed to just loving one another and called us girlfriends. She is the one who first mentioned marriage, the future, even having children. I want those things too, with her and she knows that I do. But I want her to know, to be able to feel, without a doubt, that I'm not just following her lead. That I'm not just going along to please her, like I've been known to do. I want her to know that I've thought about it, even envisioned it, in my fashion. I want her to be able to hear the words, to see and feel that I really truly want to be, and that I am ready to try to be her wife. Some of it may be selfish as well, I want to hear her say yes, to see her eyes and know on some level that I cannot even identify that when push comes to shove, this is what she honestly wants for her life. I know that it is, in my heart. But Byjon was correct I think. A formal proposal of marriage will help all of what has come before gel, give us a new, mature lens to look at our futures, the rest of school and careers. It's also a selfish motive because I love to give her the things she envisioned when she was young; to see the delighted wiggles and hear her excited giggles. Those things are my air, they keep me alive." Elphie said and then realized that she had been rambling and had no idea if she had even made any sense. She looked at Gwenot and Samion and couldn't interpret the looks on their faces. They looked just as kind and reassuring as always, but there was something else. Her anxiety level shot up because she thought that she didn't say the right things.
"Gwenot, Samion, I don't know if I will be a good wife, but I know that I am going to try with everything I am and everything that I have to be one. And Glinda will want for nothing. I promise that she will have everything that she needs and wants, and not just materially and financially but intellectually, creatively, physically, magically and socially as well. I love her with all of my being, I want to spend my life with her and I want her to spend hers with me. I want to ask her to do that, properly and formally. Please may I have your permission to do so?" Elphie said on the verge of being frantic.
"Elphaba, my darling girl, of course you have our permission to propose to Galinda." Gwenot said calmly and clearly not wanting the state that Elphie had worked herself into to get any worse.
"I may? Oh thank you, thank you." Elphie said, her relief palatable. Both Gwenot and Samion had to hide their amusement at the fact that Elphie honestly thought there was a chance that they would say no.
"Elphaba, I am so sorry if we gave you the impression that we were hesitant to give our permission. A proposal of marriage is a big step. We just wanted to make sure that you were approaching it with thought and understanding all of the ramifications. We are confident that you do." Samion said with a smile.
"It is very apparent how much you love Galinda and you have shown us in many ways that you respect, honor and take care of her, and it is no secret that you make her very happy. We are thrilled that you are going to become an official member of the family and we can call you our daughter. But you need to be aware that we do not want Galinda to be married until after she graduates." Gwenot said.
"I don't either...I mean, wait." Elphie stammered.
"She knows that…we know that and we agree." She said after taking a deep breath.
"Good. Now have you thought about when you might want to propose?" Gwenot smiled and Elphie looked at her in confusion.
"You requested our permission to ask Galinda to marry you, now you have to ask her." She continued gently.
"Honestly Gwenot, I haven't really thought out the details. I just knew that I needed to ask you first. I did this all wrong didn't I?" Elphie said unhappily.
"Darling you have done this perfectly. And we may be able to provide you with a little assistance if you would like it." Samion said with a grin.
"Starting with some advice from one nervous proposer to another." He said and Gwenot chuckled.
"Yes please." Elphie said gratefully.
"The sooner the better." Samion chuckled.
"I waited so long between the time I asked Gwenot's parents for her hand and when I actually put a ring on her finger that I was a nervous wreck. I nearly talked myself out of doing it."
"Oh no." Elphie said with a little groan.
"What is the matter darling?" Gwenot said.
"A ring. The books said that I need a ring. I have to buy a ring. How do I know what to get?" Elphie said miserably.
"Elphaba, please look at me. Samion and I can provide you with whatever assistance you might need. So please do not become distressed. You are nervous and we understand that. But you need to remember that we have been anticipating the day when someone asked for Galinda's hand in marriage." Gwenot said reassuringly.
"And the rest of the family has as well." Samion said, sitting back down on the sofa with a wooden box. Elphie had not even noticed that he had gone into the other room.
"Many families all over Oz have traditions surrounding passing down family heirlooms, including engagement rings." Samion said as he took a velvet pouch out of the box.
"This was my great-grandmother's engagement ring. It was given to my great-grandfather by his uncle, to give to his future bride. My grandfather inherited it and gave it to my father to give to my mother. It was passed on to me to give my son to present to his bride or to my daughter's suitor to present to her." He took a ring out of the pouch and held it out to Elphie, who merely stared at it.
"It is exquisite, isn't it?" Gwenot smiled.
"It…it is beautiful. I admit I know almost nothing about diamonds but this one seems very unique." Elphie said after a time, but did not take the ring.
"It is called an Old Mine cut, my great grand uncle did it himself." Samion said with pride.
"It is squareish, but with rounded corners. It looks a little like a cushion." Elphie smiled.
"Very good eye Elphaba. This type of cut is what the more modern cushion cut diamonds are based on. He took great care with this. It is one and three-quarter carats with the highest quality color and clarity. Look how it reflects the light."
"Oh my, the way it sparkles is intriguing, mesmerizing even. Just like her." Elphie whispered.
"It would honor us greatly if you would propose to Galinda with this ring." Gwenot said.
"I…It would be my honor. I had no idea that engagement rings could be so…radiant and perfectly suited." Elphie said.
"Thank you Elphaba, this means a great deal to Gwen and me and it will mean the world to Sali." Samion said with a catch in his voice.
"Elphaba, I would like to broach a rather unusual notion with you." Gwenot said.
"Okay." Elphie said, confused but much calmer now that she knew that her love's parents not only approved of them getting married, but were helping her figure out what to do next.
"I know that you want to give Galinda some traditional romance by proposing to her, but if I know my daughter, she is going to want to reciprocate." Gwenot smiled.
"Reciprocate? As in propose to me?" Elphie said, clearly surprised at the thought.
"Maybe not like you will, but I think once the initial excitement settles she will want you to have the same honor of saying yes." Gwenot said.
"Of course, why didn't I think of that? She always says together things are best. What should I do? That wasn't really covered in the books." Elphie said seriously.
"No, I wouldn't imagine that it would be." Gwenot agreed as she got up.
"Wait here please for just a moment."
"I hope you are feeing a little calmer Elphaba." Samion smiled.
"A little, now I just need to figure out how and when. Is there an appropriate time to do these things?" Elphie asked.
"It is a very personal thing. We might actually be able to provide you with a when…" Samion said.
"But the how will be up to you." Gwenot said as she came back carrying a small velvet pouch.
"This is my thought, but it is up to you. I want your word that if this idea does not suit you, you will tell me."
"I promise." Elphie said sincerely.
"Good. My suggestion is that you have this with you when you propose. It was the very first real diamond ring that she received. She loved it and wore it all of the time, but outgrew it when she was seven or so. We gave most of her old jewelry to charity auctions, but kept this one for its sentimental value. I think that it will fit you, but if not we can deal with that after the fact. When Glinda starts to talk about reciprocating, simply give her the pouch. My best guess is that she will know exactly what to do after that."
"She is quite ingenious with these sorts of things. I think that this will be perfect thing." Elphie said feeling a little overwhelmed.
"Thank you, I do as well. Just do not look in the pouch, that way it can be at least a bit of a surprise."
"She does love to surprise me." Elphie smiled.
"And be surprised by you. If you would like to do this surprise in private, just by coincidence we have a time that might be appropriate. If you want to do it sooner rather than later." Gwenot said.
"I think sooner is a good idea, I tend to do best with little lead time in these situations. In the books they provided all sorts of possible proposal scenarios some of which I cannot even imagine, like on the dance floor or at a sporting event. But there was one that was with the family. If you would like to be present, we can plan it that way." Elphie said earnestly.
"Oh Elphaba, my darling girl, what an incredibly sweet thought. It is true that in some families proposing marriage is a family event, but not in either of our families, unless you want it to be. This is a very special and precious time that should just be between you and Galinda." Gwenot said obviously touched by Elphie's offer.
"Thank you, I think I would prefer privately." Elphie said shyly.
"On Tuesday, Samion and I have a charity event at the club. We will be gone most of the afternoon and well into the night. It is pre-Lurlinemas event that we hope will become an annual thing. We were going to invite you and Galinda to join us, because most of the household will be there in some fashion. Sargy, Trezia and Jefet are all helping out at the club in the evening, Cook is preparing things for the bake sale and Hensign is coordinating the auction items along with Samion." Gwenot explained.
"Tuesday is soon, but good soon. I shouldn't have time to talk myself out of this before then." Elphie smiled slightly.
"Now I just need to figure out what to do."
"Samion and I, as well as the staff will do whatever it is that you need us to. You not only have our permission Elphaba, you have our support." Gwenot said.
"I know. All of this is just so…I don't even know what."
"We understand Elphaba." Samion said.
"Yes, we do. Now, as your future mother-in-law I am suggesting that you go to bed and let this settle a little. Tackle it again with a clearer mind." Gwenot said.
"I'll try to sleep, but you are right, it does need to settle."
"Good, now, why don't I walk with you down to your room." Gwenot smiled as she rose from the sofa and picked up the pouches.
"I am very happy that you are going to be my daughter-in-law." Samion said as he gave Elphie a fatherly hug.
"I'm glad that you will be my father-in-law." Elphie said feeling more overwhelmed than ever.
She walked down the quiet, dark hallway with Gwenot and stopped in front of Glinda's open door.
"I realized how much I needed her in the carriage on the way back from Colwen Grounds. I mean I knew I needed her before, but this was something profound and a little frightening." Elphie said after a few long beats of staring at her sleeping love.
"It happened like that for me too Elphaba, as it does for many people. I would like to offer you another suggestion." Gwenot said.
"Of course Gwenot." Elphie said as she walked over to her own room and was pounced on by Nusee.
"Yes, hello Nuisance." She smiled and Gwenot chuckled.
"You are planning this proposal for Glinda, to surprise and delight her. But it is your time too. My suggestion is to keep it simple and familiar. Plan something that will benefit you both." Gwenot said.
"My time too, I don't know why I didn't realize that." Elphie said.
"Because you are in love and very focused." Gwenot chuckled.
"Go put these away then at least try and rest. We will find time to talk more in the morning if you wish to."
"Thank you Gwenot, for everything. Your love and support means a great deal to me."
"As yours does to me Elphaba." Gwenot said and embraced Elphie for several long and reassuring beats.
"If you feel you would sleep better in Galinda's room, please do so. You had a long trip and a somewhat stressful week."
"I will thank you. Goodnight Gwenot, thank you for indulging me so late."
"We are always here for you." Gwenot said and hugged Elphie again.
"Goodnight darling." Gwenot said then left Elphie alone.
"I just received permission to propose to Glinda." Elphie told Nusee after she put the ring pouches into her desk drawer then sat down in her chair to try and bring some order to her thoughts.
"I don't suppose that you have any suggestions as to how I should go about doing that." She sighed as she scratched the kitten's ears and he started to purr.
Elphie sat there for quite a while thinking about what she had just done and what her future in-laws had told her and much to her own surprise she was not second-guessing herself. She was overwhelmed, nervous and many other things but she trusted her decision. Eventually she went to get her relationship books to see if there was anything that she missed in the sections on marriage proposals. She thought about what Gwenot told her about simple and familiar. It was close to three in the morning when she realized that there was nothing more simple and familiar to both her and Glinda than a romantic dinner, with a sparkled ceiling and dancing.
"Nuisance, why is it I can only see the blatantly obvious in the lab?" Elphie sighed as she dangled a tassel in front of the cat.
"I hope you won't mind if you are not invited." She chuckled and Nusee looked at her with his head tilted.
For a short time Elphie talked out loud to her Familiar, not finding it as ridiculous as she used to. She decided that if she thought about this in terms of a surprise romantic dinner that she might survive until Tuesday evening. It amused her that Nusee seemed to agree with her. Now that she had a when and a how, she needed a where. Nusee seemed very displeased with the suggestion of in one of their bedrooms and even more so with the dining room. Elphie took Gwenot's advice to heart and settled on the library, but by that time, Nuisance was asleep. Or napping or whatever it was he did where his eyes were closed but his ears moved back and forth when she spoke, Elphie thought with a chuckle.
Knowing that she needed to at least try to get a little sleep, Elphie took a pillow, blanket and her journal over to Glinda's room. Her love was lying on her stomach, unruly hair all over the pillow. One foot had escaped from under the covers, so she gently put it back. She watched her sleep for a time then settled in on the sofa. She processed through Colwen Grounds, her thoughts and feelings on the way home and everything that had happened that evening in her journal then close to dawn, lulled by Glinda's soft snore, she fell asleep.
Glinda woke up and blinked against the morning light as she stretched. She was getting ready to hop out of bed and go see Elphie when she noticed Elphie on her sofa. She was semi-reclined on a pillow against the arm, under a blanket. Her glasses were still on, and her journal was open on the blanket. Glinda was very curious as to what led to this arrangement and why Elphie was writing in her journal. She picked up the journal, closed it and laid it on the table, hoping that whatever was in there was nothing that had upset her love, but respecting her and her privacy far too much to find out for sure. She was just glad that she was sleeping.
When Glinda came out after her bath an hour or so later, Elphie was sitting up.
"Hi Elphie!" Glinda chirped.
"Good morning Lyndie. Why didn't you wake me?"
"And miss your morning grumps, not on your life." Glinda chuckled as she sat down beside her love.
"Did you sleep well my sweet?" Elphie said after a short time.
"Yep, I would like to ask if you did, but I'm not sure if you've been awake long enough yet." Glinda giggled.
"Are you going to keep this up all day?" Elphie huffed.
"Maybe, we'll see how things go after breakfast."
"I'm going to change." Elphie said as she got up.
"Why don't you go say good morning to your parents and I'll meet you downstairs."
"Okay Elphie, have fun changing." Glinda said then gave Elphie a soft kiss. She walked her across the hall, gave her another kiss then skipped away. Elphie watched her go and couldn't help but chuckle.
"Good Morning Momsie!" Glinda bubbled as she bounced into the parlor.
"Well look who is up. Good morning Galinda." Gwenot smiled as she accepted a hug from her daughter.
"Is Elphaba on her way?"
"She'll be here in a bit. She was sleeping on the sofa in my room when I woke up. I hope she got some decent sleep."
"You know she will be fine darling. Why don't you go say hello to Cook and tell her that you two are ready for breakfast." Gwenot said.
"Okay Momsie, have you eaten?"
"I did with your father, but I will sit with you and Elphaba so we can catch up. Your father will be home for a family lunch."
"Goody. I'm so glad I'm home. The decorations are so pretty and I can't wait to decorate the tree, and get Elphie under the mistletoe." Glinda giggled.
"Maybe I should put some up in the doorway to my room."
"Well, we'll see about that, now go say hello to Cook." Gwenot smiled.
"Okay." Glinda said and bounced out, much the same way that she had bounced in.
"Hi Cookie!" Glinda bubbled.
"Galinda child, welcome home." Cook said as she gathered Glinda into her arms and hugged her hard.
"It's good to be home, what's for breakfast?" Glinda laughed.
"Ah some things never change. But where is Miss Elphaba?"
"She's getting dressed. I think she had a not so good night. It takes her a little bit to shake off Colwen Grounds. You know something Cook; you would really like the woman who takes care of us there. Her name is Devi." Glinda said as she played with one of Cook's serving forks.
"If she makes Elphaba eat, I'm sure I would. I'll whip up some waffles for you two." Cook said.
"With bacon?" Glinda grinned as she dipped the fork into a bowl of preserves.
"Of course child. Your father said that you won an art show prize." Cook said as she started to work.
"I did, my picture was in the newspaper, I'll show you after breakfast." Glinda said excitedly then told Cook about the art show while she nibbled on the piece of toasted bread with blackberry preserves that Cook gave her.
Good morning Gwenot." Elphie said as she came into the parlor.
"Good morning Elphaba. How are you this morning?" Gwenot smiled.
"I'm fine. Where is Glinda?" Elphie said a little nervously.
"She is talking to Cook."
"Okay. May I talk to you before she returns?"
"I took your advice, simple and familiar. I think a romantic dinner in the library would be a perfect setting." Elphie said.
"I think that is a perfect idea Elphaba. And we can help you get things set up easily, if you'd like." Gwenot said.
"I appreciate that, but something occurred to me last night. What if she wants to go to this event at your club?"
"That's possible I suppose. Honestly though, once she finds out that everyone will be gone, I think she will suggest staying here." Gwenot smiled and Elphie blushed.
"Actually, you both might like some of the things going on in the afternoon. Samion did mention that you might like to help classify and sort things for the auction. We can arrange to set up the li…"
"Elphie!" Glinda said as she came into the parlor, interrupting the conversation.
"Lyndie." Elphie chuckled.
"Well I'm glad the grumps are gone, but what's going on in here?" Glinda said looking between her girlfriend and her mother with narrowed eyes.
"You are a suspicious girl." Elphie chuckled.
"I am an empathic girl." Glinda said, not yet appeased.
"I am planning a little surprise for you." Elphie said and Glinda's little frown broke into a broad grin.
"Oh boy! What is it?" She wiggled happily and Gwenot knew by the look on Elphie's face that tomorrow evening was going to be indeed special.
"Come my darling daughter. While you have breakfast Elphaba and I will try yet again, to explain the meaning of the word surprise to you." Gwenot chuckled.
"I can't believe that I forgot this. You distracted me with talk of surprises." Glinda giggled as she stood outside of the parlor after breakfast.
"Forgot what Lyndie?" Elphie asked and Glinda pointed at the doorframe and giggled.
"Why do you have a sprig of Phoradendron flavescens tied with a green and gold ribbon hanging there?"
"If whatever you just said means mistletoe, it's a holiday tradition." Glinda said and waggled her eyebrows.
"Well I know that Phorad…uh, mistletoe can stimulate the immune system, is sometimes used for treating circulatory and respiratory system problems, and the berries are sometimes poisonous but I'm not sure how that would factor into a holiday tradition. Especially not one that would warrant that expression." Elphie said.
Gwenot had come from the kitchen and was observing the exchange with a certain amusement.
"Do you see what I have to deal with?" Glinda said to her mother with a broad grin and a happy little bounce.
"I could say the same thing. Why don't you tell me what the non-medicinal use of mistletoe is, besides as a rather pretty decoration." Elphie smiled.
"According to Lurlinemas tradition, any two people who meet under a hanging sprig of mistletoe are obliged to kiss." Glinda said happily and Elphie's eyebrows shot up.
"Why not?" Glinda giggled and pulled Elphie into the doorframe and kissed her very softly.
"Well by my own admission, I know next to nothing about celebrating this holiday. And traditions are important." Elphie said. She was blushing, but returned the soft kiss.
"That's the spirit Elphaba." Gwenot smiled.
"Lurlinemas customs and traditions vary." Gwenot said as they settled into to the parlor.
"Kissing under the mistletoe is common in Gillikin, but not so in other parts of Oz. As are other things, like holiday trees."
For the rest of the morning Elphie, Glinda and Gwenot talked a little more about the holidays. Glinda promised to warn Elphie about any upcoming traditions that required her participation and integrate her slowly into the festivities. Gwenot told them about some of her favorite holidays growing up then took Elphie and a very excited Glinda on a decorations tour, telling her the history of the decorations, pointing out family heirlooms and just plain sentimental ones. One of Elphie's favorite was a crayon drawing of a holiday tree with gifts underneath it that Glinda did when she was four. Gwenot told Elphie that many of the decorations for the tree were made by Glinda over the years or were ones that they had collected. As they made their way back to the parlor, the talk turned to winter in general and some popular cold weather activities that Glinda was looking forward to. Most of them involved snow, which Gwenot informed them was predicted to come any day. Glinda told Elphie about ice-skating, sleigh rides, snowball fights and the one that intrigued Elphie the most, making men out of snow.
Samion came in during the talk of snowmen and added some snow play stories of his own, including building snow forts and the first time they showed Glinda how to make snow angels. Over lunch wintertime talk turned to holiday activities in town, like special concerts and the event at the club. Samion and Gwenot explained in detail what was going on and what they were doing to help. Glinda was very excited and wanted to participate, but true to Gwenot's prediction, once she found out that almost everyone one was going to be out of the house the next night, spending time at a crowded auction, even one with art and clothes did not seem like nearly as much fun as staying home alone with Elphie. But Glinda still wanted to help set up and prepare in the afternoon.
After finding out that there were going to be games and similar activities for the children before the main event, Glinda told them about throwing darts and beanbags. Then they both told them about dinner with the gang, and other things that had happened over the last few weeks at Shiz. They took dessert into the parlor and they talked a little about Colwen Grounds. Elphie told them about her sister's tutoring and her work with the Ministers and Glinda told them about the public appearances, shopping, Elphie's hiding spot and the haunted dining room. She even ran upstairs to get all the sketches she made.
"Elphaba, while you are out of the house tomorrow afternoon, Hensign can set up the library however you would like it to be. And Cook can have whatever dinner you would like ready for you. Hensign will be going over to the club, but I'm sure he can stay and serve dinner if you would like him to." Gwenot said quickly after her daughter left.
"I feel very sneaky right now." Elphie said with a slight smile.
"I would appreciate him setting up a table and Cook preparing the meal, but I can handle everything else. I'll need the distraction I'm sure."
"Are you still comfortable with your decision darling?" Gwenot asked.
"I am. I am nervous, a little scared and I think maybe even excited. I am so very glad that it worked out this way." Elphie said.
"People are not the only things that can be beshert my darling. Some things are just meant to be." Gwenot smiled.
"What's meant to be?" Glinda asked as she bubbled back into the room.
"You asking questions." Samion chuckled and Glinda frowned then grinned.
"Were you talking about my surprise?"
"Yes." Elphie said.
"Mean green thing." Glinda grinned then kissed Elphie.
As Glinda showed her parents her sketches, Elphie heard and saw a Colwen Grounds that was unfamiliar to her. She listened, captivated by seeing her ancestral home through her love's eyes.
After a very long lunch, Samion reluctantly went back to work. Gwenot had some work to do as well, so Elphie and Glinda bundled up and took a walk. Nusee started out with them, but half way to the stable, he mewled and scampered back to the house. Glinda was glad because she thought that it was just to cold for him. They talked to Tymik and the grooms for a bit then took the horses and walked to the meadow, via the greenhouse to say hi to Gardner. As they walked, they talked about Elphie's thoughts on seeing Colwen Grounds through Glinda's eyes. They also talked about helping with the charity event, more about the holidays and just being home. They also just held hands and quietly strolled. After they took the horses back to the stables, they went to the gazebo and sat together looking out at the lake. It was quiet and peaceful and inspired Elphie to sing softly while holding her love in her arms.
Dinner was just as much fun as lunch had been, only this time Gwenot and Samion filled the girls in on the non-holiday goings on in town and family things. Glinda wanted to hear about Byjon's project but Gwenot convinced her to wait until after the charity event when they could discuss it at length. After dinner, Gwenot asked for Glinda's help with something and Samion took the opportunity to take Elphie into the kitchen so that she could talk to Cook about dinner the next night and to Hensign about setting up the library. Neither one knew the real reason why, but they were more than happy to help Elphie surprise Glinda. When everything was worked out for dinner, Hensign and Samion talked with her for a bit about the auction items and what she would be doing the next day. She listened and asked a few questions, but excused herself because the fact that she had just planned a dinner to propose to Glinda caught up with her.
She went into the music room and sat down in one of the chairs. She still did not regret her decision, but it was now more in the realm of reality than theory. She didn't want Glinda to feel her nervousness so she settled herself down a little by processing what she just did. As she did that, she realized how tired she was. The day had been fun and relaxing. She was home with her family and not only could she feel the love and acceptance, she could accept it and return it without questioning it all the time. She felt safe, comfortable, content and accepted that as her reality here and now. Not wanting Glinda to worry about her, she went to the parlor and spent some time watching her very talented love draw things on posters and talk to her mother about the masquerade ball.
"You look tired my love." Glinda said with a smile as she sat down on the sofa beside her love.
"I am a little." Elphie smiled.
"Why don't you go get ready for bed? I'll finish this last poster and be right up for some snuggles." Glinda said quietly then kissed Elphie softly.
"I'll wait for you. I enjoy watching you work like this." Elphie smiled.
"Okay Elphie." Glinda said.
One hour later they were in their nightclothes, snuggling on the sofa in Elphie's room and talking about their first full day home. Glinda could feel that Elphie was content, but there was an underlying something there that she couldn't identify, but she attributed it to her being tired.
"Do you want to share a bed Elphie?" Glinda said after ten minutes of quiet snuggling.
"I do not need to. I think that I will be able to sleep well tonight. I did not sleep badly last night, I just did not sleep long enough and don't look at me like that, you knew that already." Elphie smiled.
"I did, but aren't you proud of me for not saying anything." Glinda grinned.
"I am actually. I love you Lyndie, I am glad that we are home."
"I am too Elphie. Now, let me tuck you in tonight." Glinda grinned.
"That's not necessary my sweet."
"I know, but I want to. If I can't share your bed, at least let me put you in it and give you a goodnight kiss to dream on."
"How can I deny you?" Elphie smiled as she got up from the sofa.
"I'm hoping this is one of the times that you can't." Glinda giggled.
Glinda fluffed Elphie's pillows, helped her get settled, covered her up then ran her hand through her soft hair, all things that Elphie did for her. Then after a long, loving gaze she kissed her gently, then with more vigor, then deeply and intricately.
"I love you my precious Elphie. Sleep safe." Glinda whispered then kissed Elphie again.
"I can see why you like being tucked in so much, it is very nice."
"It is isn't it? " Glinda giggled as she adjusted the covers again.
"Good night my sweet girl. I love you." Elphie smiled.
"This is hard, leaving you like this." Glinda said.
"When you get to the door, tell me you love me again, then blow me a kiss before you turn out the light." Elphie said with a smile.
"You are the expert." Glinda giggled then kissed Elphie again, caressed her cheek and went to the door.
"I love you Elphie, goodnight." Glinda giggled then blew Elphie a kiss.
"I will fall asleep with that precious giggle in my ears." Elphie said and Glinda reluctantly turned out the light and went to her own room.
She lay in her bed for a bit thinking about Elphie. She comforted herself with that thought she knew her love's pattern well enough to know that she would sleep tonight, and more than likely very deeply. She drifted off to sleep, trying to imagine what her surprise might be.
Glinda and Elphie spent a very nice morning together taking another walk then snuggling and catching up on their kisses. But their separate duties awaited them after lunch. Glinda waved to Elphie as she rode away to the club with Hensign and her father. Then she went off to the kitchen to help Cook with the bake sale by drawing the items for sale on their corresponding identification cards. Sargy and Trezia were in there helping as well and Glinda had a wonderful time talking with them about what was going on in their lives, sharing bits of hers and trying to sneak a cookie or a brownie. Before she knew it everything was finished, loaded into a carriage and she was on her way to the club with her mother, Sargy, Jefet and Trezia.
Elphie enjoyed her time learning about the set up process for an auction. She cataloged, organized and even wrote out some description cards for the auctioneer. Samion had introduced her to some of his co-workers, but mostly she worked on her own or with Samion and Hensign. It was interesting for her to watch the men interact. It was more formal than Samion's interactions with Cook, but it was relaxed and friendly. Hensign even engaged her by telling her about some of Nusee's more interesting antics and how he rather missed them now that the kitten had moved on to pester Sargy.
Gwenot came into the workroom to tell Samion that they had arrived and watched Elphie work for a bit.
"Can you believe our little girl is going to become engaged tonight Samion?"
"She still seems too young." Samion replied.
"I know, but she has matured before our very eyes. Has Elphaba said anything about it?"
"No, she has been immersed in this. She has talked with Hensign in a casual way, but mainly she just worked."
"Well that is her way." Gwenot smiled.
"I know, Hensign said he was going to check with her before he went back to the Manor to make sure he understood exactly what she wanted."
"That's a good idea. Cook told me before we left that everything would be ready."
"Gwen, do you think it is prudent of us to leave them alone tonight. Remember what happened after I proposed to you?" Samion said with a concerned smile.
"Sami my treasure, I assure you everything will be fine. They know what we expect of them and I am confident that they will behave appropriately." Gwenot said reassuringly.
"All right then, you know best in these matters." Samion smiled.
"Well it looks like Hensign has left, why don't we pry Elphaba away from her work and send her out to look around at the other things with Galinda before they go back home."
Glinda, holding Elphie's hand, led her around and explained the games to her. They even took a turn trying to throw a ring over a bottle and trying to make a bell ring by hitting a pad with a mallet. Glinda showed her the posters and her drawings of baked goods. They walked around for about half and hour when Samion and Gwenot joined them for a bit. The main event was going to be starting soon, so Samion and Gwenot sent them off with a hug and a kiss. Glinda waved to them, bouncing and bubbling as they rode off then chattered about what she had done until they got home.
"So what do you want to do first Elphie? We have the whole night, just us." Glinda said when they walked into the door.
"Yes we do my precious girl, the whole night. And the first thing you need to do is get ready for your surprise."
"Really?" Glinda wiggled excitedly.
"Well actually the first thing you need to do is select a nice outfit for me, then go get ready. Take a hot bath, do your hair, anything you want to do." Elphie said as they walked up the stairs.
"Ooooh, a romantic dinner?"
"That's part of it. No more questions though."
"Oh boy." Glinda bubbled and rifled through Elphie's wardrobe, finally settling on her deep purple outfit.
"Thank you my precious, now go get ready and then stay put. I will come for you in about an hour." Elphie said.
"A whole hour?" Glinda pouted.
"You can get ready in less time than that?"
"Good point. One hour. I am so excited. I love romantic dinners." Glinda wiggled.
"Me too, now go. And remember stay put with your door closed." Elphie grinned.
"I will." Glinda chirped then gave Elphie a substantial kiss and skipped off to her room. She blew Elphie a kiss, accompanied by an excited wiggle and a giggle before she shut the door.
Elphie stood there for a moment to organize her thoughts before going to bathe and dress. After looking at herself for a long time in the mirror, she took the two ring pouches out of her desk drawer. She put the one meant for her into one of her pockets then took the ring she was going to give Glinda out and looked at it. It was the first time that she had even touched it and she could almost feel its power. She knew that engagement rings were a symbol, and what this one symbolized threatened to overwhelm her. She quickly put it back into its bag, leaving the drawstring loosened, and put it into her other pocket. After a talk with Nusee, she hurried down to the library.
She thought that everything looked perfect. A table for two had been set up with a white lace tablecloth, full formal place settings and an ice bucket with a bottle of apricot nectar and a bottle of munchkinberry juice in it. She had not asked for that, but was delighted that it had been included. There were candles lit around the room, a fire was crackling in the fireplace and the victrola was ready to go.
There was a space to have a long leisurely meal, plenty of space to dance and a sofa to snuggle on. As Elphie looked around, a brief flash of panic hit her. She had no idea when the best time to propose would be, during dinner, dancing, snuggling, before they did anything. She also realized that she had no idea what to say. She went to the bookshelves, desperately looking for a book that would tell her the best time and a hint of how to start when a gentle voice broke through her frantic thoughts.
"You'll know my Emerald Ingénue. Your heart will know the right time and the right words, just listen. You will know."
Elphie looked at the book in her hand and put it back on the shelf as she took a deep breath. She had trusted all of this so far and saw no reason to stop doing so now. She would know what to say, when the time was right.
"Thank you Byjon." Elphie whispered as she went to the kitchen to get their dinner.
Glinda fastened the necklace that Elphie had given her around her neck, and then touched the little heart lying against her chest. It always felt like one of Elphie's whisper kisses against her skin. As she put the finishing touches on her hair, she imagined looking at her precious girlfriend across the table, dancing with her under what she knew would be a twinkling ceiling, maybe even a little hanky panky. It did not really matter to her, just being alone with Elphie like this, really alone like that hadn't been in what she considered too long, was enough for her. She gave herself one last look over in the mirror. She wanted to look perfect for her love.
Elphie looked again at the cart that she had placed near their table. Everything smelled and looked wonderful. A nice salad was in a big bowl, waiting for them to add dressing and toss. Warming pans held grilled fish fillets with pear-fig chutney, mushroom risotto and almond-cheese scalloped asparagus. A selection of custards and puddings were in a small chilling pan on the lower shelf along with carafes of water and cider in a bowl of ice. Elphie had left the menu up to Cook and she could not have been more delighted. She looked at the clock and gathered her thoughts. She wanted Glinda to walk into the perfect setting, so she put on some soft music and sparkled the ceiling, adding in an occasional falling star then took the rose from the small vase that was on the cart and left the library, closing the door behind her.
Glinda heard a tap at her door and jumped, then giggled. She had been totally immersed in her daydream.
"Come in please." She said with a broad smile.
"Hello Miss Upland. " Elphie smiled handing Glinda the flower.
"You look absolutely stunning."
"Thank you Miss Thropp, you are quite ravishing yourself." Glinda giggled.
"May I kiss you please?"
"Before dinner? How brazen of you. But feel free." Elphie chuckled and Glinda did, very slowly.
"Maybe we should go, before dinner gets cold." She exhaled when they parted.
"Or we warm up." Glinda said with a happy bounce as she took Elphie's arm.
"Elphie, in the library?" Glinda beamed as they stood outside of the double doors.
"Yes my precious girl a romantic dinner and dancing in the library." Elphie said as she opened the doors then soaked in Glinda's delighted squeal.
"Elphie how perfect, a fire, twinkling stars, music, candles. You."
"And you." Elphie smiled as she held Glinda's chair as she sat down.
"And Cook went all out. She made your favorite pear-fig chutney for the fish and the asparagus dish I like." Elphie said as she took the lids off of the warming trays.
"It all smells yummy. Elphie this is wonderful, thank you." Glinda said then took Elphie's hand and brought it to her lips.
"I love you."
"And I you." Elphie replied and the gazed at one another for many long beats.
They savored their meal, the music, the ambience and each other, in no hurry at all. They talked, laughed, teased and toasted one another with nectar and juice from crystal flutes. When the food was gone, and the music had ended, Elphie got up to put on some more music then held her hand out to Glinda.
"May I have this dance?" Elphie said, feeling a brief flash of excitement.
"I would love to dance with you." Glinda grinned.
And they did. They waltzed slowly and tangoed passionately savoring the tingles and the feel of their bodies in motion just as they had savored every thing else that evening. When the fourth recording ended, instead of putting on another Elphie stroked Glinda's cheek and took her hands into hers. She knew this was time.
"Elphie?" Glinda queried when Elphie merely gazed at her for several long beats. Elphie summoned up her courage, took a deep breath then kissed Glinda's fingers.
"Lyndie, I stand here looking at you and this room, and it still hard for me to fathom that I ended up in this situation. From the nightmare that was my existence to this, this unbelievable life. But all of the fear, humiliation, abuse and pain that I endured fades a little bit more into the background every time I see your smile, hear your adorable giggle, feel your soft touch…" She paused and wiped the tears from Glinda's eyes.
"Or feel the sting of your tears on my fingers. I may have been born to Melena and Frex, but it is you who gave me life. Lyndie, you are my best friend, my constant companion, my gentle lover. You guided me, led me, pulled, dragged, coaxed and nudged me into this amazing life I now have, even when I fought and fussed. I would be deeply honored if you would allow me to continue to share that life with you, because it is you that makes it worth living." She said in a quiet voice filled with emotion. Glinda realized what was happening and inhaled.
Without taking her eyes off of Glinda's tear-filled sparkling blue ones, she reached into her pocket and into the velvet pouch to retrieve the ring. Her hands were trembling, but she held the ring in one and took Glinda's quivering left hand in the other.
"Galinda Upland, will you please marry me and be my best friend, my constant companion and my gentle lover for the rest of our lives?" Elphie said with a catch in her voice as she managed, after one false start, to slip the ring onto Glinda's finger.
Time seemed to stop. There was no sound but the combined beating of their hearts. They were not even breathing.
"Elphie, you just asked me to marry you." Glinda said in a whisper when she finally found her voice.
"Yes, I did." Elphie replied then kissed the ring on her love's hand.
"Oh Oz, you proposed to me." Glinda said as she looked from the ring, into Elphie's eyes then back to the ring.
"Yes, I did." Elphie said with a shy smile.
"Oh Elphie, yes…yes I will marry you. I will marry you!" Glinda said with tears streaming down her face, hitting her broad grin.
Elphie smiled her biggest brightest smile then took Glinda into her arms holding her tightly.
"Thank you for accepting my proposal of marriage."
Glinda was a bubbly, sniffly, overly emotional mess, holding onto Elphie like she was going to disappear.
"All of this, this wonderful romance, was to create the mood. It is perfect Elphie! So very perfect." Glinda managed to say then she started to frown and say something else.
Elphie knew where this was headed by the look in her eye. So she put her finger to Glinda's lips and held up the other small pouch that she took out of her pocket. Glinda's eyes opened wide and she bounced as she took the pouch then squeaked with delight when she looked inside. Her mother was a genius, a brilliant genius. Glinda sniffled and looked into her love's black, expressive eyes and felt more true love than she ever had.
"Elphie, my precious, precious Elphie." Glinda said as cupped Elphie's cheek gently.
"Proposing to the love of my life never entered into my imagination when I was younger, in spite of how vivid it was." She smiled and Elphie smiled shyly in return.
"You asked me to marry you, you proposed to me and it was everything, and nothing like I imagined all at the same time. It was perfect. But you did what you always do and made a perfect situation even more so by allowing me the opportunity to say the words and hear the reply. You hit me like a falling tree Elphie. I've always known what it is like to be loved and to love, but I never knew the utter and complete joy of loving unselfishly until you. You have given me the greatest gift that one person can give another, your heart. You allowed me the honor of learning to love and care for it and for you. I can't imagine my life without you. I can't not love and cherish you, I simply do not know how. Elphaba Thropp, will you please be my wife? Will you marry me and forever be my best friend, my constant companion and my gentle lover?" Glinda said as she slipped what she recognized as her very first diamond ring, her favorite ring onto her love's finger.
"Just as you never imagined asking someone to marry you, I never imagined being asked. But I can't think of anything that I want to be more than I want to be your wife. Yes, I will marry you Lyndie." Elphie said softly, with the hint of a smile.
"Yippee!" Glinda squealed and threw her arms around Elphie.
"We're engaged! We're engaged!"
"Yes, we are." Elphie said with a bright smile.
They held each other for a long moment then stood forehead to forehead gazing into one another's eyes as the words sank in.
"We're engaged. To be married." Glinda whispered.
"We are engaged to be married." Elphie whispered back.
With their eyes locked in a deep and expressive gaze and they slowly put their palms together, intertwined their fingers and let their jolt flow through them. Their lips brushed in a prelude to a kiss. A kiss that they both knew would seal their promise to one another. For Glinda it held the promise of possibilities. Wonderful possibilities of wonderful things to share and experience in a life with the person that she loved more than life itself. For Elphie this kiss was the promise of certainty. Comforting certainties of having an amazing life of love, safety and hope, and exploring the wonders of that life with the person that had given it all to her. They both knew what this kiss meant, not only for them as individuals, but also for them as a couple. By mutual consent, and with mutual understanding they brushed their lips together, caressed one another's cheeks then started a slow, deliberate and meaningful kiss. A kiss that made them both tremble with emotion and tears form in their eyes. And when they parted, time once again stood still as all of their inevitabilities and eventualities were reflected in one another's eyes as new possibilities and certainties.
"We're engaged." Glinda smiled and they kissed again.THE END OF INEVITIBILITIES AND EVENTUALITIES The beginning of the rest of their lives
A/N: Please do not get out the torches and pitchforks to come after me just yet. This story had to end sometime. The logical place to end one story and start another seemed to be the beginning of their lives as an engaged couple.
The third installment of my Gelphie trilogy is called Possibilities and Certainties. To make the transition as easy as I possibly can. I posted the first chapter of it at the same time that I posted this one. It's a short chapter, but it will pick up right where I & E left off and get the new story rolling.
Thank you to all of my loyal readers and reviewers. I am glad that you have enjoyed Easier Said Than Done as well as Inevitabilities and Eventualities and I hope that you enjoy Possibilities and Certainties. mecelphie.