Chapter 9: Elisa

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At noon the next day, Mr. Elias was back at the Jones plantation with a single notion fueling him forward. I had helped Felicia—Miss Felicia—get ready for the day and was escorting her out in the garden where Mr. Elias was awaiting with two horses. He assisted her in mounting then got up on his horse. I walked behind them as they enjoyed a slow ride through the gardens. The sun beat down on us, causing little beads of sweat to form on my forehead. I wiped them away with the back of my hand. The horses bucked their heads as they passed through a patch of overgrown foliage. I could sense awkwardness between Mr. Elias and Miss Felicia. He seemed nervous and shaky and I knew exactly why.

They engaged in light conversation about the weather and the upcoming parties until they were deep within the lush rose bushes of the garden. Mr. Elias hopped down and helped Felicia find her feet as well. They looked at each other shyly once they noticed how close they were to each other. I bit my lip unsure if I should intervene. I was supposed to be chaperoning, but how close was too close? This was technically still the 21st century  and no one ever chaperoned anymore. What were you supposed to do? One of the horses flicked its tail lightly slapping Felicia on the arm. They cleared their throats stepping away from each other. I breathed a sigh of relief, running a hand on the horse as I passed by it.

"Good horse." I whispered.

Mr. Elias picked a bright yellow rose handing it to Felicia. They continued on until they stopped at a white gazebo decorated in flowers and Christmas lights that usually lit up at night. They sat down on the white bench with a sizeable space between them. I busied myself with a rose bush plucking out the dried leaves, but kept an ear out as Mr. Elias slid over, picking up both of Miss Felicia's hand.

"I remember when we were just a couple of kids playing hide and go seek in these gardens, do you?" he asked. 

Miss Felicia nodded, taking a quick scan around her.

"I used to hide in that same rose bush." she said.

He grinned leaning in closer as if he had a secret.

"I always knew you were there, but I never told Andrew so he wouldn't find you." He admitted.

"Haha, thank you for keeping me safe."

"Felicia, there's something that I must confess. It's been at the forefront of my mind for as long as I've known you."

I internally squealed continuing to pick at dying leaves.

"I have been in love with you since you baked me those oatmeal raisin cookies. I thought maybe it would go away, but as the years have passed, it has only gotten stronger and I can't resist it anymore. You grow more beautiful each day, and I no longer want to let a day go by where I can't have you with me."

I witnessed as he got down on one knee and produced a black velvet box from his inner jacket pocket.

"Felicia Christine Jones, will you marry me?"

Felicia gasped as he opened the box revealing the blue diamond ring I'd seen the day before.

"Of course I will. I would want nothing more." she said, her voice coated in emotion.

Mr. Elias slipped the ring on her finger and gently kissed her on the lips.

"I have to go tell Andrew, he'll be so happy."

"I'll race you to the house." Mr. Elias suggested.

"Loser has to marry the winner."

"Deal." he grinned.

They sprinted towards the house leaving me to catch them in their dust. I sneezed at a dirt cloud, but managed to catch up right as they made it to the porch.

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