Page 40 of Merry Miss

He continued before she mistook his meaning. “I convinced myself I was going so that I could assure myself of your safety. But then I imagined finding you and having to walk away again. And I want more than that. Ineedmore than that. So I decided that when I found you, I was going to ask you to marry me. Because you, Delia, give me… hope.”

She shook her head in what looked like disbelief, and her ill-fitted spectacles slipped down her nose.

“Hope?”

“You make me believe.”

“In Christmas?”

“In love.”

She blinked at him.

Had he been wrong to imagine she felt the same? He had been relatively confident that he’d have no difficulty convincing her…

But at her continued silence, the blood in his veins turned to ice.

He reached into his pocket, his hands not quite steady, and withdrew the other item he’d retrieved. He’d spent damn near an hour crawling around searching for them.

“My spectacles? They aren’t broken?”

She reached out, and Jack grasped her hands. “Not even a scratch.”

“But why?” she repeated.

Jack slid off the chair so that he was kneeling before her. “I only knew you for one day.”

“And one night.

“Yes. These don’t quite fit, do they?” Jack slid the replacement spectacles off her face.

“They were the best I could find.”

“But they weren’t quite right for you. They weren’t the best fit.” Jack observed as she shoved the original pair into place.

“No. The perfect size was impossible to find. My father had these specially made for me.”

“Just like you,” he said. “You took me forever to find. That’s because you are not the silver lining, Delia. You are the prize. My prize, I hope. I don’t understand it, but I feel as though you were specially made for me.” He grimaced at how selfish and idiotic his words sounded.

He was making a genuine fool of himself.

She’d gone oddly still and unusually quiet—which wasn’t like her at all.

“I don’t mean to rush you,” Jack added. “It’s a lot to take in. Perhaps you need more time to get to know me. I’m not always the ass I was when I first found you—”

“You weren’t an ass.” Her expression was soft, and Jack wanted to take her into his arms, but instead, he waited.

Her lips parted making a soft kissing sound. “You want to marry me? You want to get to knowme? Does that mean you love me?”

Something his grandparents had said the day before jolted the pieces into place. Now was not the time to be stoic or proud.

“I do. I’d have nothing but silver linings without you.” He touched her lips. “I know you think they are enough. But not for me. And not for you. Not where the rest of our lives are concerned.”

She leaned toward him. “It’s just that I’ve grown rather used to settling for them.”

“You are the sunshine, Delia. An unexpected sunny day in the middle of winter. I love you.” Jack didn’t understand why, or how.He just knew.She was honest, giving, and real.

And after barely knowing him for one day, she’d claimed his heart.


Tags: Annabelle Anders Historical
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