“Oh, Frank – this is gorgeous.”
“I thought you might like it.”
He pulled her chair out for her. It was a cozy, candlelit table for two in a private corner of the restaurant, with a view of the moonlit garden and the fire in the stone fireplace. The table linens were soft cream, the flatware was real silver, the china was real china. The champagne chilling tableside was from Elizabeth’s favorite winery – their finest blanc de blanc too, not the label available in the stores. Surely this was a very special occasion. Could it be that he – ? Was it possible that he might – ? She didn’t dare think it. Wouldn’t dare hope it.
It didn’t matter though, not really. Frank was more dashing than ever, with his fresh haircut, polished shoes and pressed suit, wearing the cologne she had given him for his birthday, the one that stirred her to her toes. Judging by the way he had been looking at her since pulling up to the house in the rented limousine, she knew she had made the right choice, with the little black dress and the pearls and the matching earrings. Simple, just like he liked it. “No distraction from the main attraction,” as he liked to say. Sure, they were only freshwater pearls, but she knew he didn’t care. She had found new shoes, too, for the occasion – black with laces double-crossing up the ankle and three small beads down the front to match the pearls. Tonight he was king, and she was, well, if not yet queen – but no matter – she was the happiest and most honored subject in the kingdom. His kingdom. All his . . .
As he returned the waiter’s greeting, she continued gazing dreamily, unable to take her eyes off of him as the waiter removed the foil from the champagne cork, unwound the wire and gently twisted the bottle. At the cork’s pop, she started and suppressed a laugh. As the sweet, exquisitely small bubbles rose in her glass, she had to work to contain the thrill of delight and expectation rising with them. And Frank – her dear Frank – was watching her face in the candlelight and smiling. When the waiter backed away, her eyes were moist.
He raised a toast.
“To us,” he said.
“To us,” she answered.
Already she couldn’t wait for him to take her home…..
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