The Hero Inside
Six weeks later…
Danielle was busy in her kitchen, rushing to finish getting the rest of the food together for the dinner she was having tonight. Her two girls suddenly came running in fighting over who was going to sit next to their Aunt Annie. Her husband came in after them to try to get them to settle down, but the girls kept at it.
Danielle finally stopped what she was doing and shouted, "Chloe and Olivia, please! Neither one of you are going to sit next to your aunt. You are sitting between me and your father. I want you on your best behavior tonight, which means this petty little fight you're having needs to stop right now."
Chloe replied, "We're sorry, Mom."
Olivia added, "Yes, Mommy. We're sorry."
The two of them ran back out as Danielle's husband leaned over to give her a kiss and she asked, "Honey, can you please go and make sure that they hurry and finish getting dressed. People are going to start arriving any minute. This party is very important."
"Of course," he answered. "Don't worry so much. Tonight is going to be just fine, you'll see."
"Thank you," she shouted after him as he left the room to help their daughters.
Just as she finished taking the roast out of the crock pot and on the tray in which she was going to serve it from, the doorbell rang. Danielle quickly took off the apron which she was wearing, ran out to open the door, and saw that their first guests had arrived. She let them in and asked them to take a seat in the living room while they waited for the rest of the guests to arrive.
After a half hour went by, her living room was full of people and her daughters had already run off with a few of the other kids who had come along with their parents too. Finally, Annie walked in with Auggie; his arms around hers. He had just gotten out of the hospital a few days ago and it took time for him to get back to feeling normal, but with Annie's help, he was recuperating just fine.
As soon as Annie led him into the living room, all of the guests stood and clapped their hands together. Auggie took a step backwards, but remained in the room as a courtesy to Annie and her sister.
Annie reached out to pull Danielle close and whispered quietly enough so that only she and Auggie could hear as she asked, "Danielle, what have you done? I mean, we expected you to throw a party which is why we dressed up, but…"
Auggie interrupted, "It's all right, Annie. Danielle, thank you for this; it just surprised me. Why did everyone clap though?"
"Because you saved my sister's life, Auggie," Danielle answered. "You have no idea how grateful I am to you. I am also grateful that she is finally happy. I have to admit, I didn't think that she would ever let herself be again. You're a miracle, Auggie, and I wanted to throw this party for the two of you as a way to show you my gratitude."
"Anyone would have saved her life if they could have," Auggie responded. "I just happened to be the one who was there. I am no hero. I just love her very much. Thank you for the party, Danielle. It is very generous, but if you'll excuse me for a moment. I'll be right back."
Auggie used his cane to guide him out of the room and Annie just watched him with sadness in her eyes. Danielle took a hold of her arm and guided her into the kitchen. Then, she wrapped her arms around Annie, giving her a hug, and looked at her in the eyes.
She said, "Annie, I am so sorry. I wasn't thinking. I just wanted to show my appreciation and show how happy I am that you two are finally dating."
Annie replied, "The party is wonderful, Danielle. The truth is we expected you to throw us a party as soon as you invited us to come for dinner. We both love it. It's just that you told everyone that he saved my life. Auggie has a hard time with being called a hero. He lost his sight in an accident over in Iraq. The rest of his team was killed. After a few weeks out of the hospital, his fiancé left him because she didn't see him the same way she did before; just because he was now blind. It took him a long time to overcome wondering why he was the only one who survived and without sight. Please don't make a big deal about him saving my life."
"I am going to kick everyone out and the four of us can have dinner alone," Danielle quickly responded. "It will be fun!"
"That isn't necessary, Danielle," Auggie said as he reached out for Annie, who quickly went over to him and put her arms through his. "Dinner with a bunch of friends' sounds like a lot more fun and the food smells delicious. However, I would like to ask Annie a question before we all go back in there, if you don't mind."
"Of course not," she replied.
Auggie pulled Annie in front of him, pulled out a box from his jacket's inside pocket, and opened it up in front of her. Inside was a ring and both Annie and Danielle gasped at the same time. Annie looked up into Auggie's eyes as she began to cry very quietly.
He smiled as he started to talk saying, "Annie, you and I have been through a lot in the past year and the truth is I have loved you for almost just as long. I may not be able to see you, but I know that you're beautiful from everything that you are. If you are willing to spend the rest of your life with a blind hero, no matter how long that will be, I would love it if you would marry me."
Danielle was crying as quietly as Annie was. She had to use her hands to from blurting out the joy she was feeling. Annie just starred at Auggie at first and in answer to his proposal, she stood up on her tip toes and kissed him on his lips quite passionately.
"You see in a different way than everyone else," Annie answered as she let go. "This is why I am in love with you. My answer is yes."
Auggie leaned down and kissed her again as Danielle began to cry openly now. Her husband was standing in the doorway of the kitchen and had overheard everything. He walked over to Danielle, who wrapped her arms around his. When Annie and Auggie finished their kiss, Danielle ran over to them and gave them an even bigger hug.
"Annie, I am so happy for you," she said. "You have to let me help you plan the wedding. It will be absolutely beautiful. Auggie, thank you so much for being you. Now, we definitely have something to celebrate. Let's go back to our party!"
Annie just laughed as she watched her sister drag her husband away and into the living room and spoke saying, "You know that she is never going to shut up about the wedding now, don't you? I am not sure if proposing to me was such a good idea after all. You'll be stuck with my crazy family forever. We are a packaged deal. Are you sure that that is what you really want?"
Auggie kissed her on her forehead and replied, "Definitely. Just wait until you meet my family. Believe me, I know crazy."
"What do you think Joan will say," Annie asked? "Do you think that we'll become the new Romeo and Juliet of the CIA?"
"Maybe," he answered. "Except that our story won't end in tragedy."