Chapter 19 (ImFanci)
"Oh, Miss, I'm goin to miss ye something fierce!" cried Etta as Diana bent down to hug the woman who had been her companion for the last several weeks. They were standing by the docks. Diana's luggage had already been loaded on to the ship that was ready to set sail for warmer waters.
"I'm going to miss you, too, Etta. Thank you for everything." Holding her at arms length, Diana told Etta, "Perhaps I'll come back for a visit. Or some strange twist of fate brings me back to stay. Right now, I don't have any reason to."
"Pardon my boldness, but tha man was not smart to 'old on to ye." Diana had confided to Etta about Inspector Kent, and Etta thought him to be a complete idiot for a man who excelled at upholding truth and justice.
Giving Etta a sad smile, Diana replied, "It's alright, Etta. We just weren't destined for each other. I'll be fine." Looking over Etta's shoulder, Diana continued, "At least one of us found our soul mate. I'm very happy for you."
Etta agreed, "Yes, tha Mister Trevor is a fine man and I'm lucky to 'ave found 'im. Good luck to ye, Miss." With an encouraging smile, Etta finally turned away from her former employer and walked to the man waiting for her.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spied that a carriage just pulled up. Diana recognized the Earl of Gotham's Crest on the door. She quickly turned around to face the ship. Damn, Bruce! Why is he trying to convince me to stay, again? She started walking towards the boarding plank to avoid arguing with him.
She had admired the way he calmly handled her rejection of him for Clark, and for keeping his promise to have Clark treated by the finest doctors. But when Bruce insisted that she stay in London under his care after Clark dismissed her, she needed to return home to find some solace.
"Diana! Diana, wait!" She stilled at the voice calling her. She dared not turn around, fearing that her imagination had gotten the best of her. But her heart began to race in hope and excitement.
She sensed that the man who called out for her now stood only a foot away behind her. The gentle voice that followed only confirmed that she was not losing her head. "Diana. Please turn around." Unable to resist, she did as he asked, and looked up at the handsome face that had lately invaded her dreams.
"Inspector Kent. It's nice of you to send me off…" Diana did not get to finish what she was going to say.
Clark held her nape and waist as he kissed her – in front of a crowd of boarding passengers and working crew members. The audible gasps and murmurs were ignored by the kissing couple. For once in his life, he did not care about propriety. All he knew was that he felt like flying through the air without the aid of any machine man could ever invent.
Diana started to put her arm on his shoulder to bring him closer but he pulled away. Her lips were still tingling from the kiss. She opened her mouth to speak, but Clark interrupted her.
"Please hear me out. I'm sorry if I caused you any hurt or embarrassment the other day at the hospital, or even today." As Diana continued to look at him expectantly, Clark continued on, clasping both her hands in his. "You're an amazing woman, Diana. I've realized that my life would be empty without you. I'm not a wealthy man, but I can promise you that I will do everything in my power to make sure you never go without, and I will work extremely hard to make you happy every day of your life. As I said before, I would gladly give my life for you."
"I don't know the depth of your affection for me but I know you do care about me. I am truly, madly, deeply in love with you. I know we both come from two different worlds but you and I were meant for each other. You would make me the happiest man on earth if you accept my hand. Don't go. Say you'll stay and marry me." Clark was pouring out his heart and his pride. The longer she did not answer, the more nervous he became.
Slowly shaking her head, Diana answered with a smile, "You silly man. I don't think that even the gods of ancient Greece could change my heart's desires. I love you, too. And I want nothing more than to be with you the rest of my life." She gave him a quick kiss on his lips. "But I do have to board this ship…"
"Diana..." Clark began.
"…and I want you to come with me." Diana knew she caught him off guard. "You want to marry me, then you'll have to meet my mother first."
"Of course. Yes, I certainly have to meet your mother first. But I didn't pack…wait a minute. I do have a trunk. I'll be right back." With a wide grin, Clark went back to the carriage and instructed the driver and footman to bring the well packed trunk to the ship's loading area.
When he returned to Diana's side, she had just finished making arrangements with the ship's purser for an additional cabin and payment. Clark said, "When we return, I'll draw some of my savings to pay you back."
"Clark, you needn't worry about the cost of the voyage. Apparently, the Earl of Gotham had already reserved and paid a cabin in your name."
"Well, then, we should thank Lord Wayne for his generosity. Perhaps invite him to the wedding?"
"If you are in agreement, I think we should be married on Themyscira, instead. This way, we don't have to travel back to England in separate cabins." Diana's eyes held Clark's gaze with the promise of many tomorrows. Arm in arm, they boarded the ship. They stood together on the forward deck until the ship finally set sail. They looked out at the open sea as they held on to each other, eager to begin their lives together.