Chapter 33 – Will You Marry Me?
“Lucius, your eyes. They shine so brightly whether it’s day or night. They’re wonderful.”
He was silent.
Somehow, her heart felt suddenly heavy when she heard his voice called out on her with such sorrow. Concerned, she shifted her steps back to him but Lucius began walking toward her and continued speaking.
“The first time… we met, you didn’t use the parasol. No matter how many times the maid tried handing it back to you, you just kept standing in the sun.”
Tiana stopped walking midway, blinded by the intense look of his golden eyes moving closer and closer to her. She has no choice but to wait for him as she couldn’t move a muscle.
“A while later, you, who had been reluctant to take the parasol, looked up at the sky, and I couldn’t take my eyes off you. It felt like I had lost all my senses watching how your eyes sparkle with pure joy of just simply looking up in the sky. Today I feel like I did then… How can such a mundane act of yours disarm a man such as myself, is beyond me.”
As Tiana’s feet were glued to the ground, the beating of her heart suddenly depended on Lucius’ every word as if her life was hanging on each thread of emotions he was ready to confess.
But he stopped. Tiana sighed abruptly in protest; he was so near yet so far from her. Then, Lucius carefully pulled something out of his breast pocket.
As Lucius took hold of the luxurious black box in his hand, he took a deep breath for a moment and then approached her again slowly.
“I still remember the day when, looking at the same sky, you gazed upon me with your sorrowful eyes. I’ll never forget how you made me feel, I couldn’t understand it but… Even then, you said the same thing. That my one-of-a-kind eyes are wonderful.”
“At that moment, I finally recognize what I want through your eyes. You are the one. If you are, wouldn’t you look past all of my transgressions? If you are, wouldn’t you stay by my side smiling just like you are now? Someone with such eyes drowning me towards the purity of your soul… I wanted you by my side.”
Taking two steps in stride, Lucius then carefully opened the lid of the black box with a slightly nervous expression on his face but a very determined heart. With no more words to utter, he stared at her fervently, anticipating for what was to come.
Inside the box is a ring with an enormous and brilliantly sparkling jewel, reminiscent of a diamond but with a bit of gray and bluish tinge. Tiana has never seen such preciousness in her life.
She stood there, beautifully frozen, starkly comparable with the unexpected ring in front of her. She blinked several times before staring back at those golden eyes that she loves so much.
Then, the gracious man speaks again with so much sincerity in his voice.
““Tiana, will you… marry me?”
Tiana drew a sharp breath. She hasn’t been breathing well throughout the time he approached her. She felt her heart was about to explode with so much emotion she was feeling all at once. She found her hand covering the gape of her mouth. The unpredictability of the situation surprised her to the core, in a very good way.
How could he? A ring? A proposal? It was like a fantasy: the way Lucius, in his striking pose, held the box in front of her with such softness and resolve in his eyes.
‘Am I dreaming? My love has proposed to me… He’s holding a ring…’
Her hands trembled uncontrollably, as the pounding of her heart and the suddenness of the duke’s action made her unable to process what transpired.
Of course, she wanted to scream ‘yes,’ and allow him to put on that marvelous ring on her finger, but how could she? Astonished, shaking, and overwhelmed—the mixed emotions were making it impossible to compose herself.
“Oh… is this too much? Is the ring unnecessary?”
Unable to read the meaning of Tiana’s stillness, Lucius’ face turned blue and he lowered the box slowly, thinking perhaps Tiana had rejected him.
‘Hey! No! Never!’
“I want it! Give it! Please give it to me!” Atlas, Tiana found her voice again after much inner struggle.
“No, that’s not what I meant. You’re right. The ring is perfect. Uh, sorry! I’m a bit shocked, so…”
Failing to keep her exhilaration at bay, she spoke too fast that she didn’t even know what she’d said. She felt a burning heat concentrating on her cheeks that she placed her still shaking hands on them.
“Oh, I’ll take the ring, but this proposal is way too exciting!” She said, embarrassed that her greediness might show amidst such intoxicating feelings.
Lucius looked at Tiana, with his hopes up even though he couldn’t make out what she was saying. The color on her face that she futilely attempted to hide said it all though, so he concentrated on that and ignored all the gibberish she uttered.
Realizing that she was not making any sense and to talk more would be fruitless, Tiana finally shut up. She then mustered her courage to bring forth what was truly in her heart through her eyes as she gazed upon him with sincerity, and nodded.
Finally understanding and confirming Tiana’s feelings, Lucius eagerly removed the ring from the box. He took another step forward, gently lifted Tiana’s left hand, and lovingly slid the ring onto her wedding finger.