Chapter 51: The Important Promise

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Nathan and I found our table which happened to be the closest one to his mother's. Part of me feels like his mother specifically chose this table for us because it was closest to the ladies who doubted Nathan would ever commit to one girl for a lengthy period of time. They would steal the occasional glance at me and give me an overly kind smile - as if they pity that I'm with someone who used to bounce around from girl to girl. I ignored it. They could pity me all they wanted but little do they know Nathan treats me better than any guy ever has.

We were served our meal, which was three gigantic courses. For starters, we had a choice of french onion soup or salad. Nathan tried to kindly decline both offers, saying that he wanted to save room for the main meal but I knew he didn't want the vegetables so I told the waiter he will take the soup. After a few minutes of complaining, he finally took a bite and decided quickly that he really enjoyed it. Then, we had a complete roast beef meal served with garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, and grilled carrots. It was delicious but I could not finish my whole plate because it was so filling, Nathan, however, finished his in ample time and ate the rest of my plate. It was scary how much that boy could eat. Last, we got our dessert that was just served - a large brownie with chocolate ganache and raspberry sauce with extra raspberries on top.

Nathan took a big bite and moaned. "This is the greatest meal I have ever had in my life."

I nodded my head with a smile. "For sure."

We proceeded to finish our dessert and music started to play quietly via the live band that was on stage. We saw Nathan's mom rise from her seat and Nathan's step dad gave her a quick kiss before she went on stage. She smiled at the crowd and began to speak, "Thank you all for coming here this evening to contribute to such an important cause."

Everyone clapped, including Nathan and me. I looked over at my boyfriend and saw the proud look in his eyes as he listened to his mother talk about the charity more in depth for the next few minutes. I never realized how much he admired his mother until this moment, seeing how he was hanging on her every word as if she possessed all the wisdom in the world. After a few more minutes, Nathan's mom finished her speech. "Thank you all again, now lets dance!"

Again, people began to clap and some  stood up and made their way to the dance floor with their partners, as well as Nathan's mom and step dad. Once a slower song came on, Nathan gave me a knowing smile. "Care to dance, princess?"

I nodded my head eagerly and Nathan held out his hand, which I gladly accepted. He held my waist gently and clasped my other hand as we moved to the music slowly. Nathan's mom waltzed by us and shot me a wink - at that, Nathan laughed and twirled us in the opposite direction. He pulled me closer and I looked up at him as he studied me. "Tonight has been amazing."

"I'm glad to hear that," Nathan smirked. "I had to make it up to you somehow."

I tilted my head to the right. "Make what up?"

"Your birthday," Nathan answered quietly.

My heart sank slightly seeing that he was still bothered by our fight. "It's okay, Nate. It's water under the bridge."

Nathan nodded his head slowly but wouldn't meet my gaze. After a few seconds, he looked at me sincerely. "You deserve the world, Audrey, and I am going to spend the rest of my life or however long I have with you giving it to you."

"You deserve the world too, Nathan, don't you realize that?" I asked. I had to arch my neck upwards so I could look him in the eyes. He simply stared but remained silent, so I elaborated. "You act like you deserve nothing, but you are the kindest, funniest, and strongest person I have ever met. I know you have had struggles in your life and done things you aren't proud of but that doesn't mean you don't deserve someone who can provide with all the love in the world."

Nathan's warm hazel eyes began to swell with tears that he quickly blinked back. "I love you."

I smiled brightly. "I love you too."

▪▪▪

Nathan and I remained swaying back and forth on the dance floor for what was probably a long time because when I opened my eyes and looked around, barely anyone was in sight. Moving my head from Nathan's chest, I looked up and him. "Hey Nate, maybe we should head home."

Nathan looked around and also noticed the lack of people and nodded his head with widened eyes. "Wow, we really lost ourselves, didn't we?"

I giggled as he gently grasped my hand and led me out of the ball room and to the nearest elevator. I looked over at my boyfriend and scrunched my eyebrows in confusion. "Nate, why are we in the elevator?"

Nate shot me a mischievous grin. "I may have a couple surprises in store."

I shook my head and the elevator dinged as we got to the top floor.

We walked down the hallway in silence, but a comfortable one, when we reached the door Nathan said, "Okay, close your eyes and don't open them until I tell you to."

Hesitantly, I nodded my head and closed my eyes. I heard Nathan open the door and he gently grabbed my hand to lead me inside without me falling or hitting anything. Eventually, we got to where Nathan wanted me because he let go of my hand and after a minute he said, "Okay princess, you can open your eyes now."

My eyes snapped open and I gasped at the sight. We were in one of the hotel's suites and there was rose petals and candles lit everywhere. I continued to look at the room in awe but then my eyes landed on Nathan, who was leaning on one knee and held a tiny box in his hand. My heart started to beat wildly and I tried to speak. "N-Nathan, w-what are you d-doing?"

Nathan gave me his wicked grin that he first gave me many moons ago when we had met at Ed's. "You know I love you, right? More than anything on this earth?"

I nodded my head slowly but nervously. I can't believe what he was about to do - or what I think he's about to do.

He flipped the box lid open and stood up. Coming closer, he grabbed my hands to pull me in and my eyes drifted down to the ring which was absolutely beautiful. It was shaped like a crown but was rose gold and had dazzling diamonds dancing all over it. I looked up to see Nathan smiling at me, the brightest smile I have ever seen him have to offer. "I was going to give this to you for your birthday, but we all know how that went," he let out a nervous chuckle. "But I decided this would be a much better time because maybe after six months of being in a relationship would be more appropriate."

"Nathan I-"

My boyfriend put his hand up to signal me to stop talking. "Don't worry, I'm not asking you to marry me - yet," he winked and I started to giggle. He took the ring out of the box and slid it onto my ring finger. "At first, I wanted to, but Darian kindly pointed out you would say no while you're in school."

I nodded my head as I laughed. "He knows me well."

Nathan kissed my hand. "So I decided instead of an engagement ring, it could be a promise. A promise that you are mine and I am yours, as long as you'll have me. And maybe one day, you and I can get married but for now, a promise is good enough for me."

"A promise sounds perfect, Nate," I beamed at him.

He looked down at me and he looked as if he was about to cry. "How did I get so lucky?"

I tilted my head in fake thought and grinned after a moment. "It helps that you have the body of a Greek God."

Nathan threw his head back as he chuckled loudly. Once he was finished, he stared at me in all seriousness. "I love you so much, Audrey Holland."

I placed a small kiss on his lips and smiled at him. "And I love you more, Nathan West."

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