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Love Beyond Words

By:Emma Scott

es is nothing short of miraculous. But we could use some music, don’t you think?”

“I suppose…”

Julian gestured at someone and an accordion began to play. A violin joined it, and then a man began to sing—a gorgeous tenor in a gondola near the prow of their own. The gondolas carrying the musicians converged on theirs to form a small flotilla that held their boat still on the water that glowed in the setting sun.

“Julian.” She clutched his hand tighter. “What have you done?”

The music surrounded them, a song of love as old as the city, and then Luca turned around and held out his hand to Natalie. Her heart pounding madly in her chest, she took it and let herself be pulled to her feet. “What…?”

Luca turned her around, steadied her, and there was Julian on one knee, a small box in his hand.

“Natalie Hewitt,” he began, his throat chocked and his astounding blue eyes shining, “there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”

She clapped her hands to her mouth, dimly aware of other passengers in other gondolas watching intently, elbowing one another and pointing.

“I love you, Natalie, so much that I…” Julian’s breath hitched and his words were tremulous. “I can’t express it, not in a hundred books or a thousand poems.” He opened the black velvet box to reveal an antique diamond ring that glittered in the setting sun. “But I can offer you this symbol of infinity—my infinite, boundless love for you—and ask you to marry me. Will you?”

“Yes,” she said in a tiny voice, and then half-laughed, half-sobbed at the audience straining to hear. “Yes. Yes, of course! Oh, my beautiful love, yes.”

The people in the gondolas burst into cheers and applause, as did those watching from a bridge above them. The musicians and singers started up a lively song, vibrant and celebratory.

Natalie heard none of it, saw none of it. Only him. She sat beside him and let him slip the ring over her finger. His kiss tasted of his salt tears, and her own, and then she pulled away and held his face in her hands.

“You already asked me, didn’t you?” Natalie said, a beautiful, hazy memory tugging at the corners of her mind. “I remember…”

“Yes,” Julian said. “I already asked.”

“And I said yes,” she said. “I said yes to you, even in my dreams.”

The End