Page 22 of Hopeful Hearts

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“There, down on the beach.” She pointed.

As they neared the bay, Sophia saw a strange formation of signs or something on the sand.

“I don’t see anything.” Brodie scanned the beach below, but she detected a fraction of nervous energy in his tone.

“Wait, why are they waving at us? That’s the girls, I know it.” She grinned as they crept closer to the water's edge and her four friends came into view. Emmet was there too, along with their parents, all of them waving like crazy.

They rose a little higher, and she waved back like a maniac.

“You spoil me,” she said as Brodie took her hand and waved along with her.

Once they realised they’d gotten her attention, the group pulled a giant white banner out from nowhere. It billowed in the breeze, the red words moving in and out of view as Sophia read them and read them again.

Brodie’s handwriting was as messy as ever, but her heart skipped a beat as the words ‘Marry me, Sophia’ settled in.

“I can’t believe you did all this.” Sophia stopped waving to wrap her arms around Brodie and he squeezed her tight.

“Is that a, yes?”

“You know it's a yes. Of course, it’s a yes. You didn’t have to do all of this.”

“I know, but I wanted you to have a proper proposal. You deserve something you can look back on forever.”

“I will do. If my eyes could take photos, I’d take this one and have it blown up into a huge canvas. Then, I’d hang it on the wall and just stare at it and smile. I love that you did this for me.”

He cupped his mouth and yelled down to our loved ones, “She said yes.”

They probably couldn’t hear him from such a distance, but the happy couple could hear them when they started cheering and whooping with excitement.

“Do I even know you anymore? This is so not you, planning all of this.”

“I can plan. Just because I choose not to doesn’t mean I can’t. Although, don’t get used to it. This has exhausted the planning part of my brain for at least a decade.”

Sophia laughed as she pulled an exhausted expression and fell back into her happy place. His arms wrapped around her and pulled her in as the sound of their friends and family drifted away, replaced by the rhythm of the waves lapping the shore.

Fighting the inevitable fatigue, Sophia forced her eyes to stay open and absorb as much of the moment as possible.


As much as Sophia had been looking happier these last few days, she’d also been looking exhausted, so it did not surprise Brodie to find her already in bed when he got home from work, instead of cooking dinner like she had planned to.

“You awake?” he asked, creeping into their bedroom so as not to wake her.

When there was no response, he stepped closer and his whole body tensed when he realised something was wrong.


She barely managed a moan, and his palm flew to her forehead on instinct. “Shit. You’re burning up.”

“I’m okay,” she whispered as he pulled the quilt off her and put a hand to her chest. She was clammy and burning up. Her body trembled underneath his touch and he ran to the window and pushed it open.

“You’re scorching hot.”

“I’m fine,” she murmured, again, and it made him seethe with anger. All of him wanted to yell; she wasn’t fine. She looked like death and he should have been home sooner to keep an eye on her.

He hated himself for talking to his client about his stupid wedding details when his fiancée was alone in a state like this.

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