Shawn led Mikayla to the root of a tree that had grown into the shape of a bench and sat her down.
"You okay? I was right, wasn't I?" Shawn had his arm around Mikayla and gently hugged her. "Sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry, I guess I just wanted to know why you left me... Without even saying goodbye."
Mikayla knew Shawn would never cry in front of anyone, but she could tell he was fighting back tears, thinking about her little brother.
"I'm sorry." Mikayla said between sobs, trying to stop crying. "It's just... Every day I'd see you with her and it would make me, I dunno, jealous I guess. Everyone kept telling me you two were engaged and... I guess I wanted to get away from all the gossip."
Shawn then realized what Mikayla was saying.
"Wait, what do you mean, jealous?" He asked with a mischievious glint in his eyes.
"What? Did I say I was jealous?" Mikayla was all of a sudden straight-backed and strong. "When did I say that? I've never said I was jealous of anyone in my life!"
But Shawn knew she'd said she was jealous of his supposed fiance and Mikayla knew it, too. She also knew she'd never been able to fool Shawn, who could see her lies like they were written out at his feet.
"Okay, fine. I was, and still am, jealous... Depending on the situation. Hey, that reminds me, were you engaged to Katrina?"
Shawn laughed. "No, absolutely not! To tell you the truth, I was trying to make you jealous. But I was hoping you'd confess to liking me, not run off to the elves!" Shawn was laughing, holding his side, and Mikayla sat next to him, staring, mouth agape. So he'd liked her all along?
Mikayla then realized what she'd been missing in her quest to find the elves. Shawn. Shawn had always brought a light into Mikayla's dark life, and she had never even known until now.
All joking aside, Shawn gently cupped Mikayla's face.
"I never wanted to marry anyone in my whole life, Mikayla. I thought I'd come of age, then climb the mountain and become one of the Silent Brothers, since you seemed to have no interest in me at all in that way." Mikayla tried to pry his hands off, feeling uncomfortable, and Shawn let her. Instead, he pulled her into an embrace, whispering in her ear.
"I love you, Mikayla. I've always loved you, and I always will." He pulled away, looking Mikayla directly in the eye. "Now that I've built myself a house and a farm, and I can offer something for your hand, will you marry me?"
Mikayla looked at him, absorbing his every detail, like how his nose was slightly crooked from the time he'd broken his nose, or how his beautiful hazel eyes were flecked with green, or how his usually pale skin had developed a farmer's tan over the years. His chestnut hair was highlighted with light brown from the sun, and he had a light dusting of freckles.
She then realized how deep her feelings went. Without a word, Mikayla nodded, and there they sat, watching the sunset, childhood friends, engaged.