The wait outside the house was excruciating for Daniela. She acted coy, like she wasn’t taking her feelings for Felix seriously, but inside she knew that he was her other half and without him she wasn’t complete. She wouldn’t know what she would do if her father said no.
“Ela?” Her mother called from inside the house. “May I speak with you?”
The girl walked inside to see her mother standing in the kitchen, her apron on over her cotton dress to stop it from getting dirty. She looked at her daughter who looked so beautiful with the sun behind her head illuminating her dark hair and sun kissed skin. Her dark green dress fitted her perfectly, the lacing on the bodice making it hug her figure. Hanna Gilbert could hardly believe the woman her little girl had grown into.
“Are you alright Mother?”
“I just want to talk to you for a moment. Sit down.”
Daniela moved into the kitchen and took a seat on one of the sturdy wooden chairs that sat around the large wooden table where her family ate. Her mother took a chair opposite her, smoothing her hands on her apron as she always did.
“I understand that Felix has asked you to marry him.”
“That is true Mother.”
“And you have accepted him?”
“Good. I’m very happy for you Ela,” Hanna said, reaching over and clasping her daughter’s hands, “but I want to make sure you know what you’re doing.”
“What do you mean?”
“I want you to know that you still have options. Just because you and Felix have been sweethearts since you were children doesn’t mean that you are meant to spend the rest of your lives together.”
“But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life with anyone other than Felix. I love him Mother and I always will.”
“But you’re so young and you’ve never known any other man in the way you’ve known Felix so how do you know that there isn’t something better waiting out there for you? I spent my youth believing I would marry my childhood sweetheart but then he became betrothed to a merchant’s daughter from town. I was heartbroken. I don’t want the same thing to happen to you.”
“I promise you that won’t happen because this is different. Felix loves me just as much as I love him and he would never do anything that would hurt me. Please trust me on this Mother. Felix and I are meant to be together forever. Nothing is going to tear us apart. And we're going to get married with or without your consent.”
“That’s how you always feel when you’re young, like your life is stretching out ahead of you and nothing is going to stop you from doing what you want. But life is a lot harder than that Ela, you should know that by now.”
“Then if we’re not meant to be together then something will tell us so,” Daniela said confidently. “And not you or Father but some sort of divine message.”
Hanna leant over the table and embraced her daughter, breathing in the scent of her hair, musky and clean.
The two women turned to look in the direction of the voice. Felix was standing in the doorframe, his face solemn and his beautiful dark eyes fixed on Daniela. The girl broke away from her mother, standing up and walking slowly towards Felix. Her breathing grew faster and her eyes were open wide in anticipation of Felix’s news.
“Your father has given me his approval and has put his blessing on our marriage.”
Daniela squealed with joy, throwing her arms around Felix and hugging him tightly. There was a huge release in her chest when Felix said her father approved. She had been so scared he wouldn’t allow them to marry that she could hardly believe the sense of relief that washed over her when she realised her dreams could come true.
“Congratulations,” Hanna said warmly, moving across the room to embrace her future son-in-law. “You’ll look after her, won’t you?”
“Of course Mistress Gilbert. I would never forgive myself if I let anything happen to Ela.”
“Then make sure nothing does happen to her, or you’ll have me to answer to.”
“Mother,” Daniela complained, “stop it, you’re almost as bad as Father. We’re not even married yet and you’re harassing him.”
“I should probably go home,” Felix said, feeling a little awkward stuck in between these two women. “Father will want to hear the news.”
“Come and visit soon,” Daniela pleaded, reaching up to stroke his face.
“I will, I promise. Good afternoon Mistress Gilbert.” He nodded to Ela’s mother before leaving the house through the open door.
Daniela could no longer fight the urge to dance that was building up inside her. She thought she was going to explode with joy. She squealed and began hopping and skipping around the kitchen.
Her mother looked on, concerned that her daughter didn’t seem to be thinking of the future at all, but her heart warmed to the sight of Daniela looking so happy. She wasn’t going to take this moment away from her.
Let her enjoy it, she thought. Maybe I’m wrong and a marriage to Felix will be the best thing for her. If not then she’ll have to learn from her own mistakes. She’s an adult now, she should have to learn to make her own decisions.
But despite all the rational thoughts that were flying round Hanna’s head there was one instinct that refused to go away.
I don’t want her to get hurt.