A/N: Hello, my lovely friends! As you all know, today is Valentine's Day, and you may or may not have been wondering where I've been these past couple of weeks. Well, I can answer that - You can expect about 5-7 one-shots or two-shots or even three-shots posted by me within the next week.
Haha xD I love V-day. It makes for great inspiration.
Anyway, this story I'm posting first, because I think it's a good starter for the week. This entire story is actually mostly based off of the way my math teacher proposed to HIS wife, so the creativity isn't all mine, but you can thank him for this story :P
I remember our whole class just took a day off and we basically had a life-lessons day led by our favorite uncle - Uncle Taas (His real name is Mr. Haas, but we call him Uncle Taas when he goes all philisophical on us or something xD)
But back to the task at hand (Sorry for the way I write this A/N, I've been speaking with a British accent all day and it's starting to affect my brain, too :P), this is just my teacher's story with a few of my own add-ins. I don't own his creativity. (And sorry for any possible OOCness in what you're about to read - it was necessary)
Disclaimer: Come now, if I really owned The 39 Clues, the following would have actually happened.
Proposals and Disappointments
Ian had it all planned out in his head.
He felt jumpy, like he had just downed three cappuccinos at once. He kept fidgeting, or adjusting his suit, or pacing around until he had nearly walked ruts into the floor. But he couldn't get the ridiculous grin off of his face.
His plan made him happy.
It seemed a little evil to him, and she was sure to give him grief about it afterward, but he couldn't just make it easy for her, right?
No. He had to have a little fun with it too.
"Are you SURE you know the signal?" Ian asked, rubbing his hands together.
Hamilton gave a thumbs up from his spot on the deck, and Dan rolled his eyes. "Dude, we've gone over this a million times. We got it."
Ian nodded, adjusted his black tie and walked back through the house, headed for his Lamborghini parked out front. He honked the horn and waited.
Ian planned on this night being quite a story to tell everyone later.
Tonight was the night. Amy was absolutely sure of it.
And apparently, so was her best friend.
Sinead couldn't help but squeal a bit.
"You have to tell me EVERYTHING when you get back!"
Amy smiled. "You know I will."
There were quite a few reasons why both of them suspected Ian would propose tonight.
#1: Their date at a fancy restaurant.
Sure, Ian was of a higher class society than she would ever be, but she always begged him to take her on small, casual dates instead of the classy, formal dinner dates he preferred. She was just more comfortable that way, and he understood that. But tonight, he'd insisted, and wouldn't take no for an answer, no matter how much she tried.
#2: Ian's peculiar behavior the past few days.
He'd spent most nights in the parlor, pacing around in deep thought, like he was trying to work something out in his head. This wasn't necessarily unusual, as branch leaders were almost always stressed, but most of the time he gave up after 11:00 and went to bed. Lately, though, she noticed he didn't fall asleep until 2:00 or later. So he was over-stressing.
#3: Natalie's inability to stop grinning - almost mischievously - whenever their gazes locked.
The first time it happened, both Ian and Natalie had walked out of the library at the same time, heading in different directions. When Amy walked passed Natalie, she had cast her eyes downward and bit her bottom lip, but a giggle had still escaped. This went on for a while and whenever Amy asked about it, Natalie always seemed to wave it off or change the subject, leaving her all the more confused.
Not a very good collection of clues, but still, Amy thought, they had to mean something. They had to be tied together somehow.
So, of course, she'd confided in Sinead. They'd spent the past few nights brainstorming, coming up with only one conclusion.
The sound of the honking horn made Amy jump. They stood up from their seats on the couch and Amy grabbed her purse.
Sinead wiggled her eyebrows and Amy rolled her eyes.
"See you later," she said.
"Will I?" Sinead said, a smirk on her face.
Amy smacked her shoulder. "Shut up!"
She closed the door behind her and walked down the steps towards her smiling date. Ian opened the passenger door for her, shooting her a grin before climbing into the driver's seat.
At the restaurant, Ian ordered for both of them, since Amy's nonexistent understanding of French hindered her menu-reading abilities. Their food came quickly, which was impressive, considering the place was mostly packed, but they hardly ate any of it. Most of their time was spent on conversation. Mostly casual, everyday things: branch wars, politics, even some talk about the latest sibling rivalry - the Holts had become quite competitive about each other's chances of getting the last spot on the Olympic swim team.
Just as the conversation was taking a turn toward what Dan had put in Natalie's food last week, Ian stood, placing his napkin on the table.
"Would you excuse me for a moment? I need to go get something," he asked, giving her a small, apologetic smile.
"Go ahead," was her response. "Take all the time you need."
He flashed another smile before walking away.
Amy was struggling to shove down the excited feeling in her stomach. This was it. He was going to come back with a ring, and he'd get down on one knee, and he'd ask her those special words, and she'd say yes, and as they kissed the people around them would clap and whistle, then they would go home and happily listen to Dan's protests of shock and disgust.
She reached into her purse and inspected her small amount of makeup in the hand mirror. As long as her eyeliner wasn't smudged, she was happy.
Amy waited a few more minutes, sometimes tapping the table with her fingers or taking a small sip of water, her patience thinning. What was taking him so long?
She looked up and finally saw the top of his head as he made his way back to the table.
Amy expected him to kneel or something when he reached the table, but he didnt. He pulled out his chair and sat back down. And what he'd come back with wasn't a ring, either.
It was a glass of water.
He had come back with a glass of water.
Ian just felt so EVIL.
And it was FUN.
When he set the water glass on the table, he saw the expected look of disappointment on her face. Of course he knew that she thought he'd be proposing tonight. That was what his entire plan revolved around: her constant disappointment - enough to get her to give up the idea of a proposal. That was all he needed - her to give up on it.
But that also required him to get her hopes up constantly and then deflate them again, which he knew would come back to bite him later. But at the same time it was completely necessary.
So he made a suggestion after a few minutes of silence.
"Why don't we go see if the horses are out tonight?" Ian said. "We could take a ride around the plaza."
Amy's eyes lit up again immediately. He saw it in her expression: Maybe he'll propose on the carriage ride. Yes, that has to be it.
It was funny how he knew exactly what she was thinking.
They'd only gone on one carriage ride before, and that had been a year ago. He still remembered the bright lights of the plaza, the semi-tall buildings covered with thousands and thousands of colorful Christmas lights. They'd enjoyed pointing out places they had gone, or places they might like to go. Businesses, shops, bookstores, movie rentals, they passed them all, the citizens of Attleboro walking along sidewalks or trying to get their cars through the traffic and go home.
Ian saw the memory pass through Amy's eyes too, and he knew she thought that would be one if the most romantic, cheesy, cliche ways to propose to someone. And she loved the thought.
Ian paid the bill and escorted her outside. He made sure his car was locked - it would hardly help them if it got stolen - and glanced up and down the streets. A lot of people were out and about, which surprised him. It was getting late. He looked at his watch - 10:30.
Ian inwardly smirked, forgetting about the other pedestrians' late night life and pretended to look around for the line of horse-drawn carriages. But he was well aware that the horses stopped making their rounds at 10:00. Amy apparently didn't know that, though, with the way she was glancing down every street they walked past, eagerness plain on her face.
Eventually, after fifteen minutes and no sight of the carriages, Ian summoned his finely-tuned acting skills and gave a big sigh.
"It looks like the horses have retired for the night."
Amy frowned and sighed too.
"Well," Ian said sadly, looping his arm through hers, "lets go home. I'm sure your brother is up playing video games instead of studying for that big exam you mentioned he had."
Amy nodded, clearly disappointed. "Home it is, then."
He led her back to the restaurant, the Lamborghini still waiting for them, parked out front. After getting situated in the leather seats, safety belts securely buckled, Ian started the car and shifted into drive.
Amy blew a piece of hair out of her eyes. This was NOT how she thought everything would go down.
And now they were going home - getting farther and farther away from a possible proposal with each tire rotation.
Ian sat comfortably back in his seat, smiling slightly to himself. He looked perfectly content with how their 'date' had gone.
Had she been wrong all along? Was he not going to ask her to marry him?
Some feeling bubbled up inside her, and she recognized it. It was an emotion she felt quite a bit, with her crazy life. It was basically a mixture of disappointment and frustration. Disappointment because she had been so excited and jittery for nothing; frustration because she'd spent so much time thinking about it and had turned out to be wrong anyway. But she shoved the feeling down and occupied herself with staring out at the night sky - the stars were bright and the moon was full. It was gorgeous and took her mind off of the night for the time being.
Ian turned onto a smaller street, putting them about five miles from the mansion. The purr from the engine was enough to put her to sleep, which showed her how tired she really was, but Ian ruined that just as her eyes were beginning to close. He looked at her, like an idea had just come to him.
"You wouldn't mind if we stopped by the hotel, would you?" Ian asked. "I left something in Jonah's suite I was going to give you."
Amy tried to keep from getting her hopes up, but there was still that annoyingly optimistic voice in the back of her head that said there was still a chance. It could still happen.
Listening to that voice one last time she said, "Sure."
The car swerved into the hotel parking lot. The Marriott was a simple rectangular building, painted with a dull beige color. There were planted trees lined up in rows in the grassy medians of the lot, and the neon sign on the roof of the building cast light glows and shadows on the leaves and asphalt. The couple hopped out of the vehicle and Ian grabbed two bags out of the trunk.
"What are those?" Amy asked.
"Spare clothes," Ian explained. "I figured you wouldn't want to wear your dress all night."
Amy looked down at the simple green dress Natalie had persuaded her to wear and nodded in agreement. A shirt and jeans sounded much more comfortable than what she currently had on.
They made their way across the parking lot and crossed the threshold of the lobby. They quickly found the elevator, where Ian punched in the top floor's number.
The elevator music version of 'What Makes You Beautiful' grated against Amy's ears and she found herself even more anxious to get to the top.
When the elevator dinged and stopped, Ian took her hand and literally dragged her down the hall.
He knocked on the door to room 397 and waited for someone to open up.
It took five minutes, and a few more impatient knocks from Ian, before a sleepy Jonah Wizard finally opened the door.
He rubbed an eye. "Dude, it's like, 11. Ya gotta knock so loud?"
Ian politely pushed Jonah out of the way and walked into the hotel room, shutting the door behind him. He whispered something in Jonah's ear, and whatever he said seemed to wake him up more.
"Oh." Jonah nodded, a smile growing on his face. "Yeah, sure."
"I'm going to go change," Amy announced, heading for the bathroom with her bag of spare clothes.
Jonah nodded and walked to the kitchen of the suite, letting them both do their things, while Ian, in turn, left for the second bedroom.
Ian grabbed the object off the bed and inspected it. Ah, yes. Hopefully this would be the last time, and then she would forget about proposals tonight. He quickly peeked his head around the corner, hiding the object behind his back. He made sure Amy was out of the bathroom before he emerged from his hiding place.
Amy looked at him expectantly in her new jeans, jacket, and sneakers, waiting for him to show her what he'd dragged her there for.
Ian gathered a big smile, braced himself, and brought it out from behind his back. He widened his smile - just for ridiculousness's sake.
Amy's expression of utter disappointment was obvious, no matter how much she tried to hide it.
The object in his hands was a giant, green, fuzzy, heart-shaped pillow.
He prepared his amazing acting skills once again and amplified them by 20.
"I was doing some exploring last week at Bed Bath & Beyond when I saw this!" he explained. "I know how much you love green, and, I know this thing can't possibly compare to how I feel about you, but I just thought you would love it."
Ian rambled on and on, acting completely oblivious to her rapidly sinking mood. He finished off his act with a huge step forward, presenting it to her with the biggest, happiest grin he could muster. She took it and forced a smile.
"Thank you," she said. "I love it."
Ian's smile broadened, and he saw a flicker of annoyance in her eyes at his unfazing glee. But it quickly passed, and they bid Jonah goodbye, throwing a "See you tomorrow!" over their shoulders. Amy gripped the pillow under one arm, her other hand entwined with Ian's as they made their way back to the car.
Oh. My. God.
Those were the only words that went through Amy's mind as they drove along, Ian looking perfectly pleased with himself. She hugged the pillow to her chest tighter, staring up out of the sun roof at the stars.
"They're very out tonight," Ian commented casually. "The stars, I mean."
"I don't think they've ever been this bright before."
"Nope," Amy agreed, not really listening.
They neared the Cahill estate, and Ian added casually, "You know, I've got a few extra blankets and coats in the trunk. We could go out into the field and watch them for a bit."
This wasn't an unusual thing for him to suggest. Stargazing had turned into one of their favorite things to do together, so since it was such a normal thing for them, the idea that he was suggesting a perfect proposal spot didn't even register in her head. She had given up on THAT idea the moment that damned pillow had appeared, and she was resigned to the fact that Ian was definitely not going to pop the question tonight.
Amy did, however, have a problem with stargazing tonight. "Ian, we're in the middle of January. It's barely 8 degrees outside!"
"We'll only stay out there for about 10 minutes," Ian promised. "It won't be too long."
Eventually she grudgingly agreed, and Ian pulled into the long driveway.
Amy looked ahead at the mansion.
No lights were on, so everyone was probably in bed. She couldn't see the guest house through the trees, so she had no idea what Sinead might be up to in her lab. There was no one to interrupt her work this time, and she was probably taking advantage of the quiet.
It had been Amy's idea to have the other Cahills stay in a hotel instead of the mansion this time. The last reunion they'd had had almost ended with the mansion burning down, courtesy of Ham and Dan's 'lab expiriment' with Sinead's equipment (Which they had never actually gotten permission to use). If it hadn't been for Nellie's quick work with a fire extinguisher, the whole mansion would still be just a giant pile of ash on the ground.
Ian pulled off the gravel and onto a different path, circling around the house towards the back of the estate. She noticed him cringe when they hit grass; apparently he didn't like having dust and dirt get all over his shiny new paint job.
But despite his wincing with each bump and hole in the ground, he drove them along until they reached an abnormally flat spot of earth and rolled to a stop, putting it into park.
Ian left the car running as they both got out of the vehicle and unloaded the bundle of blankets out of the back. They spread a blanket out and quickly lay on it, pulling another thick one over them. They snuggled closer together, Amy burrowing her head into the crook of his neck, his arms wrapped around her. They made light conversation and pointed out various constellations, both of them occasionally spewing random facts and legends about the brave warriors and slain animals and such in the sky.
They stayed there well after the ten minute mark, but didn't want to leave the warmth of their cozy cocoon. It wasn't as cold as Amy had expected it to be, but that probably had something to do with Ian laying so close to her. She could practically hear his steady heartbeat, he was so close.
Eventually, though, the cold started invading their shell of warmth, and Amy had to get up and walk around a bit to get her blood flowing again.
She checked her watch - 11:56.
Ian, too, was moving around to get the warmth to come back.
Just as she was about to sit back down on the blanket, Ian stopped her, grabbing her arm.
"What?" she asked.
Ian looked like he was going to sit down, but instead he kneeled down on his left knee. He took her hand.
What was he doing?
"Amy Cahill," he began suddenly, a small smile playing on his lips. "Smart, funny, beautiful, Amy Hope Cahill..."
She frowned a little, her cheeks turning red at the spontaneous compliments. Where was he going with this?
"There are no words to explain how much I love you, and how happy I have been these past 4 years with you."
Oh, God. He wasn't actually...? No. She had discarded the idea awhile ago and wasn't going to let it get her hopes up again. He was probably going to shoot up and yell "Psych!" any second.
"You have made me the happiest man alive - and I don't want to ever let you go."
It was sure starting to sound like it, though...
"So I just have one question to ask you," Ian said.
Amy's eyes widened in realization. It WAS.
The smile on his face grew wider.
Ian's eyes sparkled brilliantly under the light of the moon.
But his question was definitely not the one she'd expected to hear.
"Will you honk the horn for me?"
Amy's surprise was overshadowed by plain confusion, but she obliged and slowly walked over to the car, opened the door, and honked the horn twice.
Dan couldnt have been happier.
The Eternal Grand Master of Taekwondo was handing him his black belt, and was opening his mouth to congratulate him on his awesome skills. But the sound that came out of his mouth was certainly not an expression of pride in his favorite student.
Dan jolted awake, sitting upright in his deck chair. He looked around for a bit, getting his surroundings to stop spinning, then cursed his own existence. The Grand Master had disappeared.
Oh wait. Two honks...
"Hamilton!" He shoved his friend out of the other deck chair and the buff 24 year old jumped up into a fighting stance.
"That was the signal!" Dan whispered. "Plug in the lights!"
Ham's eyes widened and he lunged for the outdoor wall outlet, shoving the metal ends into the socket.
As soon as Amy honked the car horn, the confusion disappeared and was once again replaced by shock.
There, in the distance, on the railing of the deck behind the mansion, Christmas lights spelled out four distinct words in cursive:
Will You Marry Me?
Her hands flew to her mouth and tears collected in her eyes. She had been expecting it, but that didn't stop the surprise.
After a few moments of taking it all in, Amy looked down at Ian. He was still down on his knee, but this time, a diamond ring sparkled in the starlight, and Ian looked absolutely calm and confident.
"Now, before I give you this, I have one more thing to ask of you," he said.
Amy nodded dumbly.
"Would you do it again?"
She couldn't help but smile at his ridiculousness. She reached back inside the car and pushed the middle of the steering wheel, sending two more honks to break the silence of the night.
Almost instantly, a dozen fireworks shot into the sky one by one, exploding into brilliant flares of color.
She laughed as she realized what exactly had been going on all night long. Ian had led her along like that on purpose, just to catch her off guard at the last minute. She had totally fallen for it. It was genius - and evil at the same time. He knew perfectly well how disappointed she had been, time after time, and the whole evening she'd been like a pawn in a chess game.
So, when he said, "Amy, will you do me the honor of being my wife?" she decided to unearth some acting skills of her own.
Amy furrowed her eyebrows and frowned. The last of the fireworks dissipated, leaving the sky just as it had been before, with the exception of a few smoke trails.
She whirled to face him.
"You think, after all you've put me through tonight, with the water and the horses and the freaking green pillow, that I'll just forget it all and say YES?"
Ian's expression dropped and he looked surprised at the rejection. He couldn't even seem to get a sound out.
Amy smirked and grinned immediately after, her act disappearing just like the smoke trails. She walked up to him, got down on both knees, threw her arms around him and kissed him. Then she pulled him as close as she could.
"Yes," she whispered, closing her eyes and savoring the feeling of his arms around her.
Amy felt the rumble of Ian's silent laughter in his chest and she giggled, breathing in the familiar scent of clove.
Ian grabbed her shoulders and gently pushed her away so he could look her in the eyes.
"You had me going there for a minute, Cahill," he admitted. "I genuinely thought you were turning me down."
Guilt settled itself in the pit of her stomach, but she quickly squashed that feeling beneath the satisfaction of revenge.
"Hey, you led me along ALL NIGHT," she reminded him, lightly brushing his cheek with her fingers. "That was just my dose of fun. Consider it payback."
Ian chuckled and hugged her again. He buried his face in her hair. "I'm sorry I disappointed you over and over and over again tonight," he mumbled.
Amy gave a small laugh. "Apology accepted."
Ian laughed and stood them both up suddenly, spinning her around in his joy. She let out a small squeal and tightened her hold on him as an impulse reaction so she wouldn't fall.
Ian set her down and the dome of stars eventually stopped spinning.
He looked into her brilliant green eyes, so bright in the starlight. Had they ever sparkled as brightly as that? He couldn't answer for sure.
He tilted her chin up and lightly pressed his lips against hers. He guessed that wasnt enough for her, though, because she jumped into his arms and kissed him fiercely. It caught him off guard for a few seconds, but he sank into it immediately. He held her by the waist, her legs wrapped around him securely and her hands tangled in his hair.
Neither of them knew how long they stayed that way, nor did they care. As long as they were together, nothing could possibly seperate them at that moment.
Unless they broke for air, of course, which only lasted for a few seconds at a time.
Eventually Ian set her back down, resting his forehead against hers. Their breaths came out in white puffs, their cheeks red from the cold.
"You know," Amy said in between breaths, "this was probably the most romantic thing you could have possibly done for me."
"What can I say?" he replied, laughing lightly. "I'm an expert when it comes to romance."
"Yes, because romance is all about having fun with disappointing the other person," Amy said sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
Ian chuckled again. "I apologized for that, Love."
Amy closed her eyes, biting her bottom lip at the use of the nickname that sent good shivers through her every time she heard it. "I know."
They stood there, resting happily in each other's embrace. One thing was for sure - the stars were definitely no longer the main thing on either of their minds.
Ian broke the comfortable silence first.
"I can't wait to see Daniel's reaction when we tell him."
Amy laughed. "Oh, as if you didn't recruit him to help you. Who turned on the lights?"
"Hamilton," Ian replied with a shrug.
She narrowed her eyes. "And the fireworks?"
Ian averted his gaze. "...Dan."
"Ha," she said. "Knew it."
Ian stroked her hair, and she sighed, perfectly content now with how things had gone tonight.
"I love you," Amy said, resting her head against his chest.
"And I love you," Ian said. "Never forget that."
She smiled and kissed him softly one last time. "Never."
Aaaand...that's it. Probably not my best work, but I can live with this :P I spent HOURS, and HOURS, and HOURS for you all. Yeah, that's right. Feel good.
You'll be seeing a lot of me this week! Review please! :D I'll tell you the titles of the next two one-shots:
- Don't ask about the titles. You'll find out soon enough ;)
But until then... Cheerio!