The Arbour

November 15, 1971. The twins were turning eighteen! A major mile marker in any young person's life. Adulthood, responsibility, university.

The entire first floor of the Maxwell house had been turned into party central. In the afternoon, the girls spent a lot of time decorating, and picking out records for the DJ to play. This was one of the biggest nights of their lives. After the prom, it was the biggest so far.

Among the Maxwells, the Larsons and the Bradshaws, a fabulous buffet feast had been prepared. It had all been  festively arranged  on trestle tables Colleen had borrowed from their church. The dining room table had been moved to a side wall for a dessert table. The biggest challenge was keeping David and Kyle away from that table before dinner was served!

Colleen and Estelle had made the birthday cake. It was a three tiered confection, with eighteen pink candles marching up one side.That was Emily's favourite colour .The other side had eighteen green candles, Joanie's favourite colour.

Later in the evening after the buffet had been served, and the cake cut, the girls opened presents. They were both delighted with their gifts, but there was none for Emily from David.

She was a bit disappointed, but David had said that the promise ring he gave her in June was supposed to be her birthday present. She wasn't greedy by nature, so she just accepted her birthstone ring as her gift. She did love it, and it made a great birthday gift.

When the dancing in the living room was in full swing, David danced Emily right over to the back door.

"It's hot in here, stuffy. So many people! Do you want to go outside for a few minutes, Em.? It's above freezing today, and it isn't snowing. I think we should take advantage of that, take a little breather."

"Sure, I'll just get into my coat and boots. They're in the front closet."

"No they aren't I brought them back here."

"Uh.. Okay."

She shot David a puzzled look, and shouldered her way into her coat as he held it up for her. When they were both warmly dressed, they stepped out onto the patio.

"We haven't had a second to ourselves since you got here. I really miss you, David. With you on a different shift every week, and me going into semester finals, I hardly get to see you at all!"

"I miss you too, Em. That's why I want a little private time with you now."

As they walked across the patio, Emily noticed the path right away. It had been dug out of two feet of snow, and it led right to the pine arbour at the bottom of their lawn.

"I've been helping mom and Judy get ready for the party all day. Dad and Kyle must have dug this out some time this afternoon. I wonder why?"

"Actually, Kyle and I dug this path today. I asked him to help me, because I needed a quiet private place to talk to you tonight. Let's go to the arbour at the end of your back yard. The pines look
so nice with the snow on them, like Christmas trees. We can sit
and talk for a bit, catch up on all the news from school and
home. I know you love the arbour."

"It's true, I have always loved it, no matter what the season."

They walk down the path and enter the arbour through a lattice archway intertwined with thick vines that are now without leaves or blossoms. There is a long wide marble bench with a spruce hedge directly behind it.

"Why is the duvet cover from your bed on the bench? Does your mom know about this?"

"Mom doesn't know, but I don't think she'll mind. The marble is
freezing to sit on. I want you to be comfortable when I talk to you. It's really important, and I don't want you distracted by a frozen butt."

"Okay, I'm really intrigued now. What are you up to?"

"You'll see, have a seat."

David kneels on one knee on a fresh bed of pine needles that have been recently spread in front of the bench. He takes both of her hands in his, and gazes lovingly up into her eyes.

"Emily, I love you. I have always loved you, and I will always love
you. Past, present and future. My love for you is embedded in my
heart and soul forever. It would make me the happiest man alive if
you would marry me."

Stunned, Emily stares at him, speechless for a moment. Tears of joy roll down her face. she leans forward as he turns his face up to hers.

"Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes!!! I love you I love you I love you I love you!!!"

Emily screamed breathlessly as she threw her arms around David's neck. They kiss long and passionately. He is still kneeling, she leans forward from the bench. He takes a tiny satin covered
jewel box from his pocket.

"I love you Em. More every day."

He opens it to reveal a gold ring with a yellow topaz and opal in the middle, surrounded by diamonds. Her birthstone for November, and his birthstone for October. He puts the ring on her finger. It's perfect. He gets up off the ground and they snuggle and kiss for awhile.

"I've never seen anything so beautiful! Did you design it?"

Emily holds the ring out to get a good look of it on her finger. It's dazzling.

"I knew I wanted both our birth stones, but mom suggested the
heart shape of diamonds around them. It turned out pretty well. Kyle got Joanie to borrow one of your rings from your jewellery box for the sizing."

"So only your parents, Joanie and Kyle know, that's good. At least I get to surprise mom and dad  with it.

"uuuhh... your parents know too. I asked them for their blessing to
marry you."

"I'm assuming you got it." She laughed.

"Oh yeah, they were thrilled. Your mom hugged me and cried. Your dad shook my hand and then hugged me. That was weird. I've never been hugged by any man but my dad."

Emily throws her arms around him and they kiss some more. Suddenly they heard some loud whistling coming down the newly dug path. The whistling stops several feet away.

"Come out come out wherever you are. Emily, if you don't come
in soon, Joanie is going to expire from suspense!"

David and Emily stood up and straightened their clothing as
best they could and walked out of the arbour through the

"Subtlety is not your strong suit, Kyle."

David grinned as they followed him down the path.


The End

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