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"Don't look. Not just yet!" David warned in amusement. I smiled up at him. "In fact, stay out here for just a second, but you gotta turn around."

We were out on his front porch, and he was holding my hands in an affectionate grasp.

"I hate surprises, David," I whined, but he knew I was being playful.

"This will be worth it. I promise." Kissing my cheek, he carefully turned me around and smiled flirtatiously, making my heart squeeze.


"One sec." He walked past me and into his house, leaving me to laugh under my breath. I stood patiently outside, letting myself admire the green grass and the pink-white flowers that blossomed from his trees. There were purple balloon flowers draping over his lawn so beautifully that it made me smile. Before I knew it, he was back outside and stepping in front of me.


"Whenever you are," I responded, letting all my worries of today get caught in the soft breeze.

"I do hope you like it," he wished, obviously a little nervous. Gently, he turned me back around and opened his front door. "After you. I must warn you, it's very cheesy."

I stepped inside, and the first thing I noticed (besides Sofie bouncing around my legs excitedly) were the white rose petals that made a path leading somewhere I didn't know. I giggled. It was marvelous.

But I noticed something else that made me gasp. "David... You put pictures all over your walls!" My gaze traveled all around the living room, and my feet followed.

"Wait, is this part of the surprise?" I asked, squinting my eyes at him and reaching down to pet his dog.

"Yes and there's more to come."

A huge grin found its way onto my face, and I couldn't stop it. I even let out an excited squeal before making my way to one of his pictures. "This is your baby picture? Aww."

"Yeah, that's me. What do you think? Was I cute?" he chuckled.

"Did they wrap you in silk and diamonds?" I wondered as I stared into the picture.

He held up his finger and mocked a posh, obnoxious voice, "Only the most expensive silk in all the world." We laughed.

"And only the most precious diamonds mined from the toughest Kimberlite rocks," I added, making us laugh even more. "You hated your parents' wealth that much, huh?"

"It made things easier, but equally hard. I couldn't live up to their expectations. But... I don't want to hide my past from you." He gestured toward more of his pictures and I looked to see one of his family. He was young, maybe in his early teenage years. He had a brother who wasn't nearly as handsome and a little sister who visually took after their mother. Their father looked stern and uptight, so I could tell he was strict.

"What exactly were their expectations?" I inquired, staring at his youthful face.

"A great example would be marrying a woman."

My shoulders sagged in sympathy for him. "And you... did the opposite?" I observed another picture where he was holding a man in his arms. I guessed that he was in his late twenties in that one.

"Rowan was his name. We never got to marry. The ring on his finger was an engagement ring."

I pouted when he used past tense. "You know, maybe we shouldn't... we don't have to talk about it."

"Casper," he called. I looked at him, my eyes expressing distress. "I've had seven years to deal with my loss. He passed away when we were thirty, about a year after this picture was taken. I mean, I don't think I'll ever be able to not feel the pain, but I can cope. I can love again."

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