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The next morning Anna and Phillip pulled up to her parent's house. Anna called her dad, asking him to come outside so that Phillip could talk to him privately and without the kids seeing. As soon as Phillip came to the point, Art pulled Phillip into a hug and slapped him companionably on his back. He came around to the other side of the truck and pulled the door open to give his daughter a hug. He wiped the moisture away from his eyes.

"I'm so happy for you," Art said, as he hugged her tight. Ellen approached the truck and Anna showed her the ring. Immediately, Ellen's tears began to flow and she hugged her daughter fiercely. She then turned to Phillip and hugged him as well.

"I have one more surprise," Phillip said, a huge smile on his face. Anna's heart leaped to see his gorgeous smile. It hadn't shown itself very much lately. He pulled a small gift bag from under the driver's seat. "Let's go talk to the kids."

They all gathered in the front room. Phillip's face was a mix of nerves and excitement. Brody and Zoe came in and sat next to their grandparents.

"So, your mom and I have something very important to share with you," Phillip said.

"I knew it!" Brody said. "You're getting married."

Zoe sucked in a breath. "Are you guys really?"

"Before we talk about that," Phillip said. "I have something very important to ask Zoe."

Zoe's face lit up and she walked over to stand near Phillip. "Zoe, I love your mom very much. But I couldn't love her like I need to if I didn't love you and your brother too. Being a daddy is a very important responsibility, and so I want to make sure you know that I will do everything in my power to be a good daddy to you and your brother."

Phillip handed her the small gift bag. Zoe eagerly pulled the black velvet box out and then when she saw what was on the inside, she gasped. She pulled out a necklace. It was a small emerald that matched the color of her mother's, surrounded by tiny diamonds on a thin silver cord.

"Zoe, even though I can't be your real daddy, I want to try and be the next best thing. Would you let me take care of you as I plan on taking care of your mom?" Zoe blinked and looked at him. She threw herself into a hug with Phillip.

Phillip took the necklace from Zoe and latched it on the girl. "Now, that is only for special occasions. I want you to make sure you don't lose it so you can wear it on the day your mom and I get married. When we're done for today, you'll need to give that back to your mom for safekeeping."

Phillip stood up and walked over to Brody. They did their special hand sign, and Phillip pulled Brody into a side hug. Brody came over to Anna.

"Well, I guess if you're gonna marry someone, at least its someone as cool as Phillip," he said and he bent over and gave his mother a hug. Fresh tears sprang to her eyes. She couldn't remember the last time she'd been so happy and it was all thanks to Phillip. She looked over and beamed at him. She was lost in the soft look he gave her back.

****

"What am I going to do with you?" Anna said, her legs comfortably laying across his legs. She and Phillip sat on her couch. She smoothed back his hair from his forehead.

"Well, I've got a few ideas but maybe it's not polite to say out loud," he said, tracing a finger down her cheek.

Anna slapped him on his chest. He grabbed her hand and kissed it.

"So when are we getting married?" Phillip said.

"I was so surprised you asked, I haven't even thought about it," Anna said. "A summer wedding would be more practical. I don't have to work, so going on a honeymoon will be easier. Though a fall wedding sounds nice. Either will give me some time to get something put together. Make sure we invite Marg and Hank."

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