Part 2: Getting Ready

It is all ready. The stars and the moon are out. The gardens are lit with thousands of little lights. The crickets are chirping and there is an owl I hear hooting every now and then.

Rafe and Emma are with Natalia. They have been so great in helping me with this. They were to keep her occupied this evening, so that I could get everything set up. Just before they arrived, Emma is suppose to send me a text message. I just hope this goes as planned.

My nerves are getting the better of me right now. I almost just want to rush and get this over with. But I know to savor the moment. I want this to be memorable for both of us. I don't think my sweaty palms and the giant butterflies in my stomach are helping the situation any though. Natalia doesn't even know what's coming.

My cell phone quickly distracts me from my nerves. "We're nearing the gate!" it read. I better get into place.

I set up the garden so that they would have to walk through a little ways until they reached the fountain that is located near the center. I would be waiting there on a bench next to it. As I took my position, I spotted them rounding the corner and suddenly I couldn't breath.

Natalia was there with our kids and she looked stunning. Her hair was blowing lightly in the breeze. She simply took my breath away. She was the perfect mother and friend. She was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I sat there on the bench until they were several feet away.

Natalia glanced around the garden and then looked at me. "You did all this, didn't you?" she asked, her lips forming a slight smirk. "Yeah I did. Do you like it?" I wondered already knowing the answer.

"This is… beautiful," Natalia replied walking up to me and placing her arms around my neck. "I'm glad you like it," I said as my arms wrapped around her waist.

Rafe and Emma looked on as Natalia took in more of the surroundings and the interaction between us. Rafe was the first to say something after several minutes of silence. "Do you want me to take Emma back to the farm house so you two can be alone?"

I looked at Natalia and then at Rafe and Emma. "No, I think I want you to hear what I have to say." This put a giant smile on Rafe and Emma's faces. I think I even heard a little squeal from Emma.

Natalia gave me a look of concern. I placed a small kiss on her nose and took her hands into mine. "Natalia. I had it all straight in my head what I was going to say, but seeing you with our kids made me forget it all." I glanced over at Rafe and Emma still smiling. Rafe gave me a thumbs up for encouragement and I looked back at Natalia, whose eyes were already showing signs of tears welling up. "You have changed me. I was stuck in my ways and you changed that. In fact, I think you even made me better. I realize I'm still not perfect and I still make a lot of mistakes, but I try. Something that is perfect though, is when you are with me. I don't ever, ever want to lose that. I want you with me forever, the rest of our lives." With that the tears that Natalia fought so hard to hold back were falling. I let go of one of her hands to brush the tears away. "I love you more than I ever thought I could. And each day that love grows more and more," I continued. "Natalia, will you spend the rest of your life with me?" I took the ring out of my pocket and held it up to her. She looked at it and then at me. Her face instantly lit up and she quickly put her arms around my neck and pulled me for a deep kiss that in simple words blew my mind. We pulled apart and she stepped back. "Well, if you think I'm saying no, then your crazy!" Natalia said as I placed the ring on her finger. I put my arms around her for another kiss, and applause broke out.

Rafe and Emma were all smiles and clapping furiously. They seemed to be just as excited that she said yes as I was. After a moment, they came over and joined us. Hugs and kisses all around. It was one of those rare family moments that make me really realize what all I have to be grateful for.

"So…" Natalia started as the four of us walked around the gardens a little more. "So, what?" I asked a little curious as to what she was thinking. "Are we going to have some sort of commitment ceremony, or do you want to go out of state and get legally married?" Natalia finally asked. I stopped and looked at her as she took a few more steps ahead of me. "I really hadn't thought to much about what to do. I think asking you was a pretty big step to begin with," I told her.

Rafe and Emma were listening and I could tell there minds were ticking after I said that. "What if you two just think about it for a day or two? Just enjoy the engagement. It's not like you have to do it tomorrow. Most engagements last months, sometimes years," Emma finally stated with a grin. "Yeah, Em's right. No hurry," Rafe chimed in coming over to put an arm around his mother.

I stood there unable to say anything. They were right. There was no hurry. It had taken me long enough to finally ask Natalia to commit to me, why hurry into planning some sort of ceremony to go with it.

Natalia walked up to me and took my hand. We headed back to our cars, soon being left as Rafe and Emma decided to see a movie. As Natalia and I settled in, with seat belts buckled, Natalia leaned over and took my face in her hands. "I love you more than words can say, Olivia Spencer. I hope you know that there is no need to worry about the ceremony." I looked into Natalia's eyes and replied, "I know. And I love you too." She smiled and leaned into kiss me.

"Something you should worry about though is getting me home as soon as possible," Natalia slyly remarked as I started the engine. I glanced over at her and hit the gas.