Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Yay! I'm finally finished with this. I've been working on Madly, and hoping to finish it so I can then concentrate on Stranger in Paradise. Thanks to everyone who read and/or reviewed. Have a Happy New Year!
Wouldn't It Be Nice
The happy times together we've been spending
I wish that every kiss was never ending
Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn't be a single thing we couldn't do
We could be married
And then we'd be happy
You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it
But lets talk about it
Oh, wouldn't it be nice
-The Beach Boys
Bruce stalked back and forth across the room, heedless of his surroundings. There were more important things in his mind than the décor of his dining room. That had already been taken care of long ago. But he still hadn't pinned down the words for his proposal to Diana.
The door creaked, and Bruce's head snapped to see who was at the entrance. An unusually cheerful Alfred. "Sir, Miss Diana has arrived. Shall I see her in?"
Bruce took a deep breath and nodded. "Yes. Thank you, Alfred."
"It is my pleasure, Master Bruce."
Bruce stared at Alfred's retreating form, once again feeling helpless and nervous. No matter how many times he told himself she would say yes, he wanted this night to be perfect. No fumbling, no idiocy, no mistakes. But this had all the marks of a disaster.
They had already been to her quarters numerous times. She had taken lunch with him in Gotham, often in his office. Visited the site of the future Themysciran Embassy. They had even patrolled his city once. But tonight was their first date back in the Manor. Granted, things could not go as badly as they had the last time they were here, but this was a new environment. As a result, it introduced thousands of variables. Why had he chosen it again? The idea of a do-over was losing all its appeal as the seconds ticked by and he realized the ghosts of that night might still be too powerful for the both of them.
But it was too late now, and there was no way he would leave this room without that ring on her finger. It'd been two months since Queen's wedding, and this business needed to be over. It was wreaking havoc on his nerves. More than that, he was tired of saying goodnight to her, tired of entering the Manor and not knowing whether or not she'd be there. But soon that would all change. He hoped.
Bruce stopped pacing, forced himself to stand behind one of the dining room chairs. He gripped the wood backing as he heard Alfred and Diana approach. At the sight of her, he felt gratitude for the sturdy construction of the chair. It was the only thing keeping him up.
Before leaving Diana with Bruce, the butler grasped her hand. The overt show of affection was easily returned. But Diana was always good with making people feel loved. She might have doubted it in that past year, but Bruce knew, once she had healed, her open, caring nature would reassert itself.
"You look lovely, dear," Alfred said, smiling at Diana. After years of frustration and patience, the old man got his way. Bruce was finally settling down, and with a girl Alfred heartily approved of. His favorite, actually.
"I will be in the library if either of you need me," Alfred said, then left.
Diana stood in the doorway, watching Bruce as he stared back at her. She was gorgeous. It was nothing new, but it was also something he could never desensitize himself against. The more he got to know her, the more beautiful she became.
And of course there was her physical appearance. Her hair was up but loose, the dark curls cascading down her back. The dress nearly distracted him, and he followed the black material that skimmed her body from shoulders to just above her knees.
His heart stuck fast in his throat.
It was the same dress she wore that night. Apparently he wasn't the only one planning a do-over.
He grabbed a rose from the vase on the dining room table. Thankfully it had been stripped of its thorns, for he held onto it for dear life as he stepped towards her.
She didn't take the flower from him when he stopped in front of her; instead, she held the hands that held her rose. Raising it up to her nose, she breathed in the rose's scent. It was too much, not being closer to her. Bruce bent his head, burying his face in her neck.
Diana tilted her head back, sighing as his mouth slowly moved up the slim column of her neck. "Bruce," she whispered, pulling him flush against her. The rose fell to the floor, forgotten as his lips met with hers. Somehow he managed to maneuver them back to the chair at the head of the table, even with eyes closed, mouth occupied, and Diana floating in his arms. He didn't trip or stumble, and yet it felt awfully like falling.
He lowered himself into the chair, and she followed, her back resting against the edge of the table as she faced him. Bruce looked into her eyes, searching the blue depths for any trace of sadness or doubt. To his relief, he found only happiness. He leaned in to kiss her again, but she pulled back. "When are you going to ask me?"
So much for waiting until after dinner. Oddly though, having the issue out in the open made him feel much better. Her question managed to dispel all his nerves.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he lied, trying to keep from smirking. He could feel the engagement ring burning a hole through his pants pocket.
Diana moved forward, her breath hot against his cheek. "Bruce, don't make me wait through supper. Ask me now."
The silk of her dress rustled against his suit as she moved closer to him, both teasing and taunting him in equal measure. Bruce's eyes nearly rolled back in his skull. "Are you not going to ask me?" she asked, running her finger against the shell of his ear.
"Patience, Princess," he choked out.
"Alright, Bruce, we'll wait." She moved to get off him, and he knew that right now patience was a very stupid idea. Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her back to him. "I changed my mind."
"I thought you would."
He gave her one last kiss before pulling the small, velvet covered box from his pocket. He opened it and held it up for her inspection. "Do you like it?"
Diana looked at the ring with an appraising eye. Intricate carvings decorated the delicate band of platinum. There were three round diamonds, the largest in the middle, with smaller couplets of deep blue sapphires alternating between the clear stones.
"It's beautiful. Is it…" Of course she suspected. How many times had she been in the entry hall, seen the ring sparkling on the left hand of his mother in the Wayne family portrait that hung there?
"Yes. Does that bother you?"
An immediate denial rested on her lips, but she held back, pausing to spare the question more time. He watched her twist the ring over in her fingers. The ring that signified the deep bond and love between his revered parents. It probably signified much more. A renewed hope that he could find happiness in a normal life. Trust that she would not hurt him. The belief that she could make him as happy as Martha had made Thomas. Things he would tell her, if she asked. But he hoped he wouldn't need to. That she would already know.
"It is a great responsibility. To care for someone's heart," she answered.
Of course she knew. Bruce moved his hand to rest over her heart. The warmth of her skin permeated the thin material of her dress, and her heart raced under his fingers. "It is a good thing, then, that I've given you mine. I couldn't trust it with anyone else."
He watched, mesmerized as she parted the collar of his shirt, let her own fingers trail over his chest. She gazed at him, her beautiful eyes shining, just as they had when she looked at him before he'd hurt her.
She pressed her lips to his and whispered, "You have mine as well."
An indescribable ache bloomed in his chest, and he caught his breath at the sensation. Having only known heartache and sorrow for the majority of his youth and adult life, it took a second for him to realize he was experiencing joy. A joy so deep that, even with his near limitless knowledge, there were no words to convey it. Joy and overwhelming gratitude to the woman who gave him this gift. Unable to speak, he savored her open mouth, the softness of her skin beneath his fingertips, the small noises she made as he tried to absorb everything about her and this moment, to keep it forever. And he knew.
It was time.
He pulled away and waited for her eyes to open. Taking her left hand in his, he lifted it to his mouth and kissed her palm. "Diana, I love you. Will you marry me?"
He waited for her answer, breath bated.
Her mouth parted, forming her answer, but no sound carried over her lips. Wiping the tears falling from the corners of her eyes, she swallowed and tried again. "Yes."
"Of course!" Diana reaffirmed, her eyes widened in shock. "Did you honestly expect me to say something else?"
"No, but a person can never be 100 percent certain," he said, almost sheepishly. "It wasn't insecurity. In my line of work, I've learned to plan for all eventualities.
"Oh, Bruce," she sighed in fond exasperation. "What am I going to do with you?"
This, of course, led to more kisses and reassurances. If the emotion and elation of her acceptance weren't enough to make him dizzy, the things she did to him would have. By the time she convinced herself that he well and truly understood this was one thing he didn't have to doubt, his head felt fuzzy and he had difficulty breathing.
In spite of that, Bruce managed to slip the ring on her finger, though his hands trembled so badly he nearly dropped it. He had a similar problem when, one month later, he added her wedding band to the engagement ring. The only comfort he had in the midst of this unusual display of ineptitude was the fact that Diana's hands were just as unsteady when she performed the same action.
As the priest conducted the rest of the ceremony, Bruce stared down at their joined hands. This was it. Their new beginning. Taking a deep breath, he turned with her and faced the smiles of their friends and family.
"It is with great joy that I introduce to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne."