Betrothed, p.15
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       Betrothed, p.15

         Part #6 of The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice

  Caitlin stood there, on the hilltop, staring back at Caleb, and she could not for the life of her figure out why he was acting so strangely. She had never seen him so nervous, so at a loss for words.

  She even thought she could see drops of sweat on his forehead, and she had never seen him sweat before. Why was he so nervous?

  Was being back here, at his family's home, making him nervous for some reason? she wondered.

  And what was it that he wanted to talk to her about?

  Caleb suddenly knelt down on one knee, keeping his eyes fixed on her.

  "Caitlin, I have lived for centuries, but you are the one and only love of my life. If I have to live a thousand more years, there's no one else I would rather spend it with. "

  Suddenly, something clicked for Caitlin. He was down on one knee. He was talking about spending the rest of his life with her. He was reaching into his pocket, and as she watched, he pulled out a small, black velvet box.

  Her heart leapt into her throat. She was utterly shocked. She had never expected this.

  She loved Caleb with all her heart, and had always wished that they could be together forever, that she could spend eternity with him. But she had never quite known if he'd felt the same, if he'd felt as strongly about her as she had about him. And in the vampire world, forever truly meant forever, and she assumed that vampires rarely, if ever, proposed to each other. She had always believed that if a vampire ever proposed to another vampire, then that, more than anything, would be a sign of true love. It made human love pale in comparison. It was a love that truly meant forever.

  She already felt as if she had known Caleb for lifetimes. Everything felt right when she was with him. And as he knelt there, and opened the box, and she saw the huge, magnificent sapphire and ruby ring, excitement rushed through her.

  She was being proposed to. Asked to be married. To spend a life with someone. There was a man in the world who loved her enough to want to spend eternity with her. She could hardly breathe.

  When she was young, a little girl, she had dreamed of a day like this. But she had never dared to imagine, even in her wildest dreams, that something like this would happen in such a miraculous, beautiful place as this, atop a hill, overlooking a beautiful countryside, a gorgeous ancient castle - and more than anything, by the man she loved. And she never dreamed she would be offered such an exquisite, magnificent ring. She felt weird even taking it.

  "Caitlin," he continued, as he broke into a slow smile, "will you marry me?"

  He slowly extracted the ring from its box, and held it out.

  She slowly reached out her hand, which was shaking, as he slipped it onto her finger.

  Caitlin was shaking so much, she could hardly speak. She wanted to scream YES, but her throat went dry, and her voice got stuck in her throat.

  "Yes," she finally managed to whisper, as she started crying. "A thousand times, yes. " Caleb stood, and they embraced. It felt so good to hug him, to feel his body wrapped around hers, and she felt the tears pouring down her cheeks as he did. This was all she had ever wanted from the world. To be with a man who loved her as much as she loved him. And to be with him forever. To know that he was hers, and that he always would be.

  Caitlin leaned back, as Caleb did the same, and the two stood there, faces just inches away. She could see the love in his eyes, and they both leaned in and kissed each other. She felt her whole world melt with that kiss, which they held for seconds.

  Finally, slowly, they pulled back. She reached up and placed her hand on his cheek.

  "I love you," she said. "And I always will. "

  "Mommy?" suddenly came a voice.

  They both spun and saw Scarlet and Ruth skipping towards them.

  Caitlin knelt down and reached out and gave her a huge hug as she ran into her arms. She picked her up, and spun her around.

  "What happened?" Scarlet asked. "Why are you crying?" Caitlin set her down, and held her by her shoulders.

  "Scarlet," she said, "we have some very good news for you. We're getting married!"

  Married. It felt so unreal to say it. As she did, the word resonated through her body like a bomb.

  Married. Marriage. She couldn't believe it. Her. It was really happening to her. Not to one of her friends. But to her.

  Scarlet screamed in delight, and Ruth barked by her side.

  "Married married married!" she yelled.

  Scarlet jumped up and down hysterically, and leapt into Caleb's arms, too.

  "Can I come? Can I be the flower girl? Can I wear a pretty dress?" After spinning her, a huge grin on his face, Caleb set her down.

  "Of course you can," he said.

  "Then where will we live after that? Where will our home be?" Caitlin looked over at Caleb, who slowly looked back to her. They both knew that the time had come to make a formal decision about Scarlet. They both could read each other's minds: it was time to formally adopt Scarlet, to officially make her part of their family. They wanted her to be their child. To make official what was already unofficial, since the moment they'd met her.

  Caleb nodded gravely back at Caitlin, silently giving her permission to speak for them both.

  Caitlin knelt down, and brushed the hair out of Scarlet's face.

  "Sweetheart," Caitlin said, beaming, "We have some even better news for you. If you'd like, we want you to be our daughter. Our real daughter. We want to truly be your mommy and daddy.

  Would you like that?"

  Scarlet teared up, and tears rolled down her cheeks.

  "I was hoping you'd ask me that," she said.

  She went in and gave Caitlin a hug, tightly gripping her leg, then ran over, and gave Caleb one, too. Caitlin picked her up, and she and Caleb all embraced her in a single hug, each planting a kiss on her forehead.

  "From the second I saw you," Scarlet said, "I never loved two people more. "

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