‘The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude’
Sulani Vacation Rental
Hand in hand they strolled on a balmy evening, the world around them was dipped in solid gold during one of the most beautiful sunsets Sophie had ever seen. It was accompanied by a soundtrack of the crashing of the waves mixed with the rustling of the breeze in the crests of the palm trees.
The breeze was warm and laced with exotic scents tickling her olfactory senses with hints of flowers, coconut, Stryker’s After Shave and their suntan lotion. The feeling of his hand holding hers, gentle but also firm felt amazing, relaxing as well as exhilarating to Sophie. The perfect day.
“This is the spot, right? Your favorite spot in the whole wide world – except for Windenburg – I think that’s what you told me.” Styker smiled.
“Yeah, this is it. Just the right amount of sunlight, but not too much, you can see the bay, the water is so clear you can see all the fish, when you turn you see the volcano and all the palms. Yeah, I think this is my perfect spot, if I were better at drawing, I would draw nothing but this for the rest of my life.”
“Great.” Stryker said then stepped in front of Sophie and knelt down, right in the shallow water, pulling a small box from his swim trunks before he dipped down.
Sophie inhaled sharply. Was this a dream?
“Stryker!” she said breathlessly.
“Oh yeah, babe, this is happening. But the right way this time, the way you deserve, as perfect as humanly possible. I hope you are ready, cos it’s coming. Don’t break this fool’s heart.”
He now reached forward and took her hand in his.
Sophie let it happen, too surprised to do anything at all.
“Sophie Cameron, most beautiful of all flowers, with a heart of gold, braver than any person I have ever met, light of my life in the darkest of nights, my guiding light, my rock in the stormiest oceans. When the world had chewed me up and spat me out, when I was lonelier than I ever could have imagined a person being, when I was at the very end of my road, you never left my side, you came to me, you rescued me, you saved me from myself.” Stryker swallowed hard, taking a deep breath remembering a very dark time in his life before he smiled up at her again and continued his speech.
“You showed me colors I had never seen, you taught me the liberation of dancing like nobody is watching. You made me a father, you made me a man, a REAL man, made me understand what that even means. You are the key to my success. You are everything that is good about me. I brought you on this vacation to ask you a very important question, as it was here in Sulani where the same promise we had made to each other was broken before, through no fault of yours, only because I had not yet realized what really is important in life. Now I know, a lesson I learned a very hard way, a lesson that hurt you while I was learning, which I regret the most. But I know forward is the only way to go, no use in looking back and living in the past. Sophie, my beautiful angel, will you do me the incredible honor for the second and final time and say you will be my wife?” his always raspy voice was soft and went straight into Sophie’s innermost core.
Sophie fought back the tears, tears of bad memories of how close they had come to disaster, memories of heartbreak, memories of the scariest night of her entire life, which she pushed far from her mind, leaving only tears of joy, of seeing the man she loved so much that it had made her go outside her usual comfort zone so many times – for him. The man who despite all the rough times had given her the greatest gift she could have ever asked for, something she had wanted since she could remember, yet never thought she would ever have: a child.
She nodded, then remembered her siblings talking about their engagements and how important it is to the one asking that the one being asked verbalized their answer.
“Yes Styker, I will marry you.”
Visibly relieved and emotional, Stryker rose up and they hugged.
“I love you.” he told her.
“I love you more.” she told him.
“Ahem … we forgot the most important part, Soph.” Stryker chuckled looking at the ring still in its box still in his hand.
Both laughed, as he pulled away, took her hand which she held it out for him and gently placed the ring on it.
“Stryker! That is not the ring you had given me before! Holy crap, this thing is gigantic!”
“Yeah … took the liberty to upgrade you. You are no longer dating some B-Lister, you are engaged to a real celebrity now, need the bling to show for it. You like it?”
“It’s incredible! Wow! It is beautiful! Oh my God!”
“Then I did all right. I wanted it to match the incredible woman who will be wearing it. I chose one that is understated elegance, a simple beauty at first glance, and you don’t even realize how amazing and invaluable it is until you look closer.”
“Closer? This is huge, you can see it from space! Kinda like my butt.” Sophie giggled.
“Don’t make me spank that butt! Nobody is allowed to talk trash about my wife-to-be. Also a lesson you taught me.” Stryker winked at her.
Stryker kissed her fingers one by one, giving her time to admire his latest tattoo, a giant phoenix rising from flames lapping at it from somewhere inside his trunks, the image taking up his entire chest and stomach, and right in the middle of the bird in big, impossible to miss letters were her name and the name of their son, Spencer. Sophie knew this was his way to brandmark himself as hers for all eternity, and another way for him to show her his commitment. Not to mention that it made him look even more rugged and raw in the most sexual way imaginable. Sophie had never been much for inked men, but she sure couldn’t get enough of this one. Seeing, feeling, hearing Stryker did something to her that made her someone she didn’t even recognize sometimes.
“Gawd, I love you, Stryker! How a wallflower like me ever ended up with a guy like you is still beyond my comprehension but I quit asking questions.” Sophie said.
“I don’t deserve you, Soph, I’ve proven that in the past, but you stuck it out with me anyway, so I am not asking many questions anymore either.”
They kissed, longing and with growing intensity, until he whispered in that deeper, huskier, raspy voice
“That’s not the ring box you are feeling now …”
Sophie nodded her head towards their rental home and breathed
“Let’s go back inside …” in a voice she barely recognized as her own.