I pull away and look him in the eyes. “Calum, this isn’t going to get easier. The album is sounding really good. I think Love Scrum is really happening and that means we’ll have to travel and do shows.”
“I know, babe,” he answers with confidence. “It’s okay. I’m okay with it. I was just in my own head, as usual. I was selfish and stupid, but I’m not being selfish and stupid anymore. I’m proud of you, of what you can do. I’m proud to be with you, even if it means we have to be apart sometimes.”
He kisses me again and I nearly weep. God, I’ve missed this. It still feels the same. The heat is still there.
When Calum falls to one knee, I throw a hand over my mouth in shock. He pulls a ring box from his pocket and opens it; a bright, white diamond ring flanked with amethysts sparkling in the late afternoon sun.
“I’ve never known someone who could make me feel the way you do,” he says with one of those just-a-tiny-hint-of-a-smile expressions he’s perfected. “I feel seen and understood. Never judged. I know I’m a handful. I know I require special care and feeding. And it’s not needing those things that make me want you. It’s the way you make me feel when you’re near. It’s your smile and your talent. It’s your laugh and your intelligence. It’s the way I want to be close to you, touching you, all the time. Billie, I love you. And I want to make sure you know it every second of every day.”
I’m so caught up in his words, what he’s telling me…I can’t speak at first. Doesn’t matter because my Calum isn’t finished apparently.
“I was so stupid, Billie. I almost let you go but I don’t want to ever let you go. And I won’t stop you from pursuing what you’re good at. I want you to do this and I will be there to cheer you on. We’ll figure it out. It will be fine.”
It will be fine.
He just said those words while offering up the most beautiful Ludwig Thurman diamond engagement ring ever created…to me. Calum really believes “it will be fine,” or he wouldn’t say it. I do know this about him.
“Are you going to take a b-breath, my l-love?” I stammer, not sure how I managed to form words to come out of my mouth at all because I’m full-on crying again. Like, a super ugly cry with what must be an absolutely dreadful look to go along with it. Gah.
But I don’t care…really.
Because Calum is here, and I think he’s asking me to marry him.
“Don’t need to take a breath. My heart is breathing for me because you’re here. Because I’m looking atyou…mylove. You are the one I choose. On you, I fix my eyes.”
He says this without hesitation, without even a beat, and I know he’s quoting lyrics from Phil Wickham’s “Eyes Fixed.”My beautiful hockey goalkeeper keeps kneeling on the soft beach sand and holding onto that open box, presenting the ring to me, forgetting to say the words, not realizing he never asked the question.
But it’s perfect.
It’s so much my awkward, beautiful, complicated Calum, yes, but really, it’s also so very right coming from him this way.
There are no demands or ultimatums given. Just the offering of his love and his commitment to me so I will know without any doubt that for him, this means forever.
It’s him being the perfectly imperfect Calum Lefleur I love so very much.
And there is only one answer I can possibly give to the question he didn’t ask me with words but rather shouted from the rooftops by his deeds.
“Well…I say yes.” Then I take the stunning ring from its box and slip it onto my finger, holding my hand out to admire how well it looks sparkling against the sun now beginning its dip down the horizon. I love the band of amethysts surrounding the square diamond. A truly spectacular ring he chose for me.
Calum stands and pulls me to him, his big hockey hands cupping my face reverently before giving me one of those long-lingering-romantic-end-of-the-movie-kisses to make me swoon. He’s got that certain something—a special magic that still takes my breath away when he looks at me like he is right now with his gorgeous Van Gogh iris-blue eyes.
But he is also a conundrum. In so many ways.
Sharply serious, brutally honest, deadly handsome. He is all of those, yes. But he can also be wildly romantic, madly passionate, and devastatingly swoony. I’ve never known anyone like him, and I’m sure it’s because God broke the mold when he made Calum Lefleur.
“I think there’s paparazzi taking pictures of us,” he says against my lips, still holding me close.
“Oh?” I look to the side, and indeed, there are several photographers capturing our special moment, videos rolling and cameras clicking, along with the cheers and whistles from beachgoers who’ve caught on to a marriage proposal in progress. We’ve got quite the little press corps on us here. “Do you want me to ask them to stop? Or maybe we should just leave the beach?” I suggest, in case all the attention is making him uncomfortable. Though Calum doesn’t seem bothered in the least by other people watching us. He did choose a public beach to do this, after all.
“No need. I think your brother was the one who alerted them.”
I feel my eyes go wide. “My brotherknew about this?”
He nods and presses a soft kiss on my forehead. “Mm-hmm. I needed a little help buying an engagement ring for a Jewish girl I’m going to marry. Didn’t want to mess that up so I asked Kit to steer me in the right direction. He took it a step further and came along to Ludwig Thurman with me. Your brother really loves you a lot.”
I give him a kiss on the lips. “I lovehima lot, and he advised you well. Excellent choice in the jewelry storeandin this ring. I love it so much. I love you so much.”