“Promise me you won’t tell Caelan,” he commanded.
“No, I mean promise. It’s important that he doesn’t know.”
“I promise on my engagement that I won’t tell him,” she said easily, but meaning it.
That definitely convinced him that she wasn’t going to tell; he nodded immediately and took a deep breath in preparation. He placed his arms on the table and took in another deep breath before opening out his palm.
On top of his palm rested a little box, only an inch or so long. It was deep blue velvet and she immediately knew what it was.
She had to hold in an incredibly girly squeal.
“Shush,” he hissed, indicating that it hadn’t worked as well as she’d hoped. “You’ll wake him up.”
“Sorry. Oh my God, an engagement ring?” she asked, trying to hold back her grin.
“A promise ring,” he corrected her, a small smile on his lips at her reaction.
“When are you going to give it to him?” she asked, bouncing in her chair.
“After I’ve got enough courage to tell him about... myself,” he murmured.
“About the parentage thing?” she asked, sobering immediately.
He nodded. “Yeah. You kind of convinced me that he needed to know.”
“Good,” she smiled at him.
She leant across the little table and threw her arms around him, squeezing him tightly. When she sat back, she took the box off him.
“Can I see?” she asked.
“Of course,” he replied.
She grinned and slowly opened it. She squealed quietly, bouncing up and down a little. Inside was a heavy gold ring with a bird, its wings spread, what looked like fire rolling off it. Around the bird in a cursive script was, ‘Dum vita est, spes est’
“While there is life, there is hope,” Beth murmured, translating it; Latin had been one of the only school subjects she’d enjoyed.
“The bird, it’s a phoenix. It means there is always hope, because the phoenix rises from the dead,” Zeke explained. “It’s my family ring, from my mother’s side. I don’t like to wear it because it reminds me of her, but… I like the idea of it on Caelan.” He shrugged, a slight blush over his cheeks.
“Ah, you two are so cute,” she grinned.
“Shut up,” he muttered.
She laughed a little and closed the box before handing it back.
“He’ll love it,” she told him.
“I hope so,” he murmured. “I was going to tell him last night, after we— Um, you don’t need to know about that.”
Beth laughed quietly. “Thanks.”
“But then there was that incident with Conrad, and I just… didn’t want to tell him anymore. It would put him in more danger than he was already in,” he said, ending in a whisper, his eyes on Caelan’s sleeping form.
“Who is Conrad to you?”