"Mama!" Marian shouted as her mother's car came to a halt beside her and she got in.
"What's wrong, dear?" Mrs. Paroo asked her daughter, momentarily forgetting about the conversation she and Winthrop had been engaged in.
"I just told Harold I'd meet him at the footbridge at eight 'o' clock!" Marian said, obviously panicking. She wasn't even sure if she trusted Harold.
"Oh, that's wonderful dear! Finally!" Mrs. Paroo squealed, oblivious to her daughters panic.
"Thither, you're really going to the footbridge?" Winthrop asked.
"Yes, Winthrop, I guess I am," Marian said, giving up on the fact that her mother would help her get out of it. Her mother seemed more than pleased that she was going to the footbridge. Marian slumped back in her seat, thinking about where she would be in less than half an hour. It was now 7:30. She had just enough time to get changed and fix her hair without Harold telling her not to.
"Mama, look," Marian said, pulling out her new phone as their house came into view.
"Why, Marian, where did you get it? It's just like mine, except it is green, your favorite color." Mrs. Paroo asked.
"Harold gave it to me. He also bought us ice cream, made me president of the drama club, and…" Marian pulled out the letter as her mother parked the car.
"Marian, this is wonderful! Harold found this?" Mrs. Paroo asked.
"Yes, Mama. I need to go get changed now," Marian said.
In her room, as she readied herself for her meeting with Harold, she wondered why he had looked at her the way he did when they were backstage. He thought she hadn't noticed, but she had. She also wondered why she was actually going to meet him. Oh well, she'd have to wait ten more minutes. It was almost eight, so she headed toward the front door.
"Bye, Mama," Marian called.
"Have fun dear. I'd like to meet Harold later if it is possible," Mrs. Paroo called just before the door slammed shut. Marian gaped at her mother's manner of interfering as she walked down the steps.
As Marian neared the footbridge, she was having a mental battle with herself as to whether she should turn back or not. It was interrupted as the bridge came into view and Harold called
"Marian, you're late."
"You said eight 'o' clock, Harold," Marian said as she nervously made her way up the shallow incline to the middle of the bridge.
"I'd say about 14 years late. It took you this long to get to the footbridge with a guy," Harold said.
"It was almost longer. I was wondering whether I should turn back or not all the way here," Marian said as she finally reached him and stood nervously. She gasped inwardly when he took her hand in his and gently caressed it with his thumb. He certainly knew how to charm a girl.
"Why, Marian?" Harold asked. Marian was so smitten by the fact that he was touching her hand that she didn't notice him pulling her closer until her body touched his. She resisted until he took her other hand.
"I didn't know if I could trust you when we were alone," Marian answered, still nervous. She'd never been here during the night, much less with a boy.
"Marian," Harold began, moving one of his hands to rest on her back. "Don't you know that you can trust me? The truth is, future madam librarian, I love you," he finished. He almost laughed out loud at the shock that crossed Marian's face.
"Marian, I know you're not sure who to trust and it's okay. Just know that I'll wait. I promise," Harold said. He swiftly caught her lips with his, his thumb still caressing her soft hand. He felt her return the kiss and smiled. When he broke the kiss, Marian looked at him, confused.
"What?" Harold asked.
"Why me? Every girl at school adores you, especially Mrs. Shinn's daughter and her friends. Maud and Ethel used to be part of that group. Never mind, just… why me?" Marian asked, wriggling out of his grasp. He kept a firm grip on her hand, though, to prevent her from leaving.
"Marian, those girls are just stuck-up snobs. You're different, in a good way. Ever since we met a year ago, I knew you were different. I said it once and I'll say it again. I love you, Marian Paroo," Harold said. Marian could see the shyness through his calm, collected manner and smiled.
"Harold Hill, it took you this long to admit that?" Marian teased as she moved closer to him again. "I love you, too," she said before pressing her lips to his. When she broke the kiss, she pulled away from him and started walking away.
"See you tomorrow in school. Thank you," Marian said.
"Thank me for what?" Harold asked, puzzled. Marian, however, was already out of sight. Harold couldn't wait for school tomorrow as he walked home.
Marian quietly entered her house, not wanting to wake her mother and brother. She decided to read a little before bed, so she sat down on the couch and picked up her book. When she opened it to the right page, she saw a single red rose in it. Marian quickly took the rose out and closed the book. She laid back and inhaled the rose's scent. She knew it was from Harold. Happily, Marian the future librarian walked up stairs and went to bed.
This is the end. If anyone is interested in a sequel, I will publish one shortly. It will involve a lot of MarianxHarold fluff. It will also show how the town and the popular school girls react to the news of the two, plus the new school production at River City. Please R&R. Thanks.