By: Cora Brent

As for me, I’d lucked into a promotion as a security supervisor. It meant more hours but also more pay and I’d still have plenty of time for classes in the evenings and online. Someday I’d be a renowned geologist and Cecily would be a dedicated art teacher. I was sure that would happen. Together we could make anything happen.

There was a sharp click and I saw that Cecily had turned the camera around and snapped a photo of me. She lowered the camera and grinned. “You seemed lost in thought,” she said.

I pulled her closer until she was standing right in front of me. Her back settled against me while I crossed my arms over her chest. Her heartbeat quickened when I nudged her ponytail aside and kissed her neck.

“Oh,” she said suddenly, tapping my hand. “I forgot to tell you. Yesterday morning before we left I went to the post office and mailed Kayla’s package.”

“That was nice of you,” I said, still a little surprised that Cecily and Kayla had struck up a friendship once Kayla had reached out and apologized to Antha for her behavior in high school. Then Cecily and Kayla had spent some time together when we were in Hickeyville for Christmas and had shockingly bonded. They spoke at least once a week and since Kayla had given birth last month Cecily was always proudly showing me the latest photos that Kayla had texted her.

“I had a field day picking out baby outfits,” Cecily said, laughing. “Baby Caden will be one well dressed little dude.”

When Kayla and her husband informed us at Christmas that they were going to name their son after my brother I was touched by the news. My father was too. He got a little teary eyed and hugged her. He was looking healthier than he had when I went to visit after his surgery. He’d even begun working in Nell’s new store. From what heard, business was booming.

My father was also delighted to welcome Cecily back to the family. Before we left Ohio he pulled me aside to eagerly ask when we were getting married again. I told him the truth. For now Cecily and I were enjoying what we had. We were in love and that was enough. When the time came to accelerate to the next chapter I was sure we’d know it.

The Grand Canyon was one of the most astonishing sights on earth. Yet after a few minutes of staring at it I found that my attention was roaming elsewhere.

Cecily was still in my arms and I was tall enough to be able to look down and see the planes of her face, the soft smile on her lips. I couldn’t remember what life had been like before I loved her.

We’d never know what would have happened if we hadn’t gotten married so young, if we hadn’t given up on one another, if we hadn’t spent so many painful years apart. Yet I’d endure the worst of that agony a thousand times in exchange for this moment.

“Bran?” she whispered.


“I have a secret.” She moved my hands lower, over her belly. I didn’t feel anything unusual but my heart skipped a beat.

Cecily twisted her head, looked up at me and smiled.

“Really?” I asked as a big, dopey grin spread across my face.

Her smile grew. “Really.”

I turned her around gently and kissed her with tenderness.

Then, in front of the Grand Canyon and dozens of fellow tourists, I held her hands and dropped down on one knee.

“Marry me, Cess.”


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