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After the whole Jeffrey debacle, Kat had run away to America for two years. And when she'd arrived at her sister's wedding, he didn't think he'd ever seen his daughter so miserable, so concerned about what others thought.
The wedding itself had been a revelation, but thankfully she hadn't remained absent too long this time, back in London after nine months to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary.
Scanning the room, he found her standing and laughing with her brother-in-law.
Her eyes were on Ed, but when her boyfriend crossed the room and stood next to her, he swore those eyes softened as she took the drink he offered and gave him a swift kiss.
There was confidence oozing from her every pore, and he didn't see her once look around to see what other people were thinking as her man slipped an arm around her and nuzzled her neck.
Nick was good for her, and he liked to think he had played a hand in this match up.
Dancing with Kat later, he smiled at her. "You look happy."
She responded with a smile of her own. "I am." She paused a moment, considering what she had just said and finding it true. "I really am."
He nodded in Nick's direction. "He's a good man."
He saw her gaze soften again. "Yes, he is."
"So when are you getting married?"
He was highly amused when her head flew back around. "Dad!"
"Yes?" he replied, all innocence. "You can't blame a man for getting sentimental at his anniversary party."
"For that reason, and that reason only," she warned. "I'm letting you off."
He grinned. "And I want grandchildren. Little monsters."
Her face bright red, she raised the hand off his shoulder to cut across the air between them. "Conversation over."
Enjoying a moment of peace and quiet in the study two days later, he poured himself a drink. Hearing a knock on the door, he lifted his head and saw Nick. "Come on in. Drink?"
Thinking such nervousness was not normal for the usually confident man, Victor sat back in his seat and took a sip from his glass.
"Mr Ellis." (Why, so formal!) He cleared his voice and started again. "Mr Ellis, I would like to ask permission to marry your daughter."
He inwardly congratulated himself. He should consider a career change – psychic!
Outwardly, he maintained his poise. This wasn't just any man, and it wasn't just any daughter. He wanted to be sure. Leaning forward, he eyed his prospective son-in-law.
"You'll look after her."
"Without a doubt."
"Well then," the older man said philosophically, "I couldn't imagine giving my permission to a better man." Rising, he extended his hand. "Good luck."
Nick grinned as he shook it. "I'm going to need it."
Victor wondered when the proposal might happen.
He'd thought perhaps at the anniversary dinner, but then realised that a big showy thing was more Amy's style, not Kat's – and that Nick would know that.
And thus, it wasn't until breakfast the next morning when Kat sneaked in to take her chair, a wide grin on her face, that Victor realised the man had done it.
He wondered who would be making the announcement, but his youngest daughter unwittingly did it for them shortly after: when Nick entered the room and leaned down to kiss Kat, she lifted her hand to his cheek.
"Holy crap." He started at Amy's use of language. "You're engaged!" He winced as her squeal hit a high pitch.
"Yeah, I am," said Kat, unable to suppress her happiness as she brought forth her hand.
"About bloody time," exclaimed TJ, pulling her cousin's arm toward her. "Nice rock."
The family erupted as congratulations flowed.
Not long after, Victor tugged his daughter into his arms. "Happy?"
She squeezed him tight. "More than I ever thought I could be."
She was pulled away by her sister next and he watched both of his little girls – not so little now – talking excitedly, one over the other.
Sensing his wife beside him, he tugged her into his arms. "We did good."
She sniffled. "Yes we did."
"I love you Bunny."
"I love you too."