Romance Fiction posted February 6, 2011 Chapters:  ...34 35 -36- 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Will Sara agree to marry Joe?

A chapter in the book Another Pretty Face

Chapter 15; part two

by barbara.wilkey

While Col. Joe Barnes visited his parents, he was reacquainted with Sara, the baby sister of his best friend, Josh. Sara became pregnant during her senior year and raised her daughter, Cassie by herself. Josh was killed during Desert Storm.
"Joe hasn't said anything about moving to Alexandria, has he?" Dani sighed. "We need to give you a chance to finish talking." She turned toward where Joe and Matt were talking.
When the women got closer, Joe put his arm around Dani. "Have you convinced Sara to marry me?"

"You need to discuss where you'll live and other important details. Sara can't say yes until she has all the information." Dani reached for Matt's hand. "We need to leave them alone."

Joe watched them walk away, then wiped his brow as he turned toward Sara. "I didn't explain enough, did I?" He glanced toward the country club. "I hope the minister doesn't have other plans for this afternoon."

Sara placed her hands on her hips. "Why is what we need to discuss so difficult?"

"Because I know how much you love your parents and I'm afraid you won't want to leave."

He released a deep breath. "OK, here it goes. I've hired a grounds keeper for your house. He'll take care of it until I retire, then we can come back here to live. I think it'll be a perfect retirement home."

He avoided eye contact. "I know you don't want to be away from Cassie for very long, so our honeymoon will be short. I've made plans to fly to New York City tonight and tomorrow. After that we'll fly to Alexandria. Dani has narrowed our house search down to four. You can choose from the four houses and decorate it however you choose."

He gave her a quick glance. "After you decide on the house and furnish it with the necessities, we'll get Cassie, pack, and say goodbye to your parents. I know you wanted to take Cassie to a zoo, so I've made plans to visit the National zoo on our way to Alexandria. When we're home, you can finish decorating the house."

Joe took a white piece of paper from his pocket. "After we're married, you'll need to sign this." He held it for Sara to see. "It's an adoption paper. Roy agreed to let me adopt Cassie."

"You thought of everything." Sara turned and stared at the white limousine, before facing Joe. "I guess I have no say in anything, do I?"

She chewed her lower lip. "The house I live in has been chosen for me." She held up her fingers. "Oh, I'm sorry narrowed down to four houses. Without my consent you made arrangements to adopt my daughter. We've never even discussed you wanting to adopt Cassie. The house I own has a grounds keeper I've never met."

She stomped her foot. "Dani even chose the underwear I'm wearing under the wedding gown that she chose for me. I didn't even get a say in the nightgown I'll wear on my wedding night."

"I'm in trouble again, aren't I?" Joe gulped. "Would it help if I reminded you I've made plans for us to take Cassie to the National Zoo? I've also made plans for us to pick out sheets to go with your new bedspread."

Sara stared at him. "Everything sounds perfect, but I'd like some say in my own life." She started to walk off, but then came back. "I'd like some say in which house I live in, who's going to care for the house I own, which city I live in, and who's the father of my child." Moisture welled in her eyes. "I'd even like to decide on my own underwear."

Sara started to add something, but walked toward the rose-covered archway.

Joe crept toward Sara. When he got close enough for her to hear, he
said, "You're right about everything. We should've made these decisions together and I should've never assumed you'd want me to adopt your daughter. I love you and all I could think about was being married. I couldn't stand the idea of going back to Alexandria without you, so I did what needed to be done to make that happen. Even though I tried to do everything like I thought you'd want it done, I should've included you. I'm sorry." He turned and walked away.

He had almost reached the driveway, when Sara called, "Joe?"

"What?" He didn't turn.

She stood a few feet from him. "If I could've chosen Cassie's father, it would've been you."

He faced her. "What?"

"Cassie's father, I would've chosen you."

"Thank you." He turned and continued walking.

Sara watched Joe head toward the lake. "Where are you going?"

"To my car. I'm driving to Alexandria tonight."

She caught up to him. "Why?"

"Because I royally messed up and need to lick my wounds before I try again."

"Don't I have a say in this either?" She took his hand.

"You had your say and made it very clear I'm a jerk."

"I thought you said you loved me and always would." She kissed his cheek.

"I do love you and always will." He paused. "You just ripped my heart from my chest. Do you have to rub it my face too?"

"Joe, if you'll stop long enough and listen, I'm trying to tell you I love you."

"I was wrong."

"Yes, you were very wrong, but everybody makes mistakes. I've forgiven you. Are you going to forgive yourself, or are you going to walk away and take the chance it'll ruin our relationship?"

"Did I hear you say you love me?" After she nodded, he continued, "Did I hear you say you've forgiven me for making all the decisions and controlling your life?"

"You heard right on both accounts. Col. Joe Barnes, I love you and I forgive you." She smiled. "But don't make it a habit of making all the decisions. This is the new me. I plan on standing up for myself."
"Believe me, I won't. You've taught me a lesson. I won't make the same mistake twice." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Would you like to go bowling?"

"What?" She wrinkled up her nose.

"I'm asking if you'd like to go bowling."

"That's not the question I expected."

"I thought maybe I should start from the beginning."

"I think our relationship is farther along than going bowling together. We've made love and --" she reach into his pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper, "we have a fourteen year old daughter together."

He put his arms around her. "How long will it take you to plan our wedding? I guess my real question is which day would you like to get married?"

"I really don't see a need for a long engagement." She paused and glanced at the country club. "How about today?"

On one knee, he took the small black box from his pocket. "Sara, will you marry me?"

"When I did your laundry, was this ring inside the duffle bag? Was this what you were afraid I'd find?"

"I'd originally planned on proposing before I left that Saturday, but Cassie was abducted so it didn't happen."

"One more question. What is an arch of sabers?"

"Six or eight uniformed military members create an arch by holding up sabers. After the couple is pronounced man and wife, oops, husband and wife, they leave by passing under the arch."

"OK, I like that. If you want an arch of sabers, I approve."

After adjusting his knee still on the ground, Joe said, "Sara, please give me an answer. Will you marry me?"

Their eyes met. "Yes, I'll marry you and I'll sign Cassie's adoption papers."

Joe stood and kissed her, before he placed the ring on her finger.

She stared at the ring. "This is huge. Are you sure we can afford this?"

"I'm sure we can afford it. Do you like it?"

"It's gorgeous. Why did you get something so large?"

"I've already told you, Task Force men are always doing things for women with pretty faces and you're another pretty face.," He lifted her right hand and touched her little finger. "See this finger." After she nodded, he said, "You have me wrapped around it." He glanced toward the country club and saw Cassie standing in the doorway. "And your daughter does too."

"Joe, are you positive this is what you want to do?"

"I've never been more positive about anything in my life. You just made me the happiest man in the world." He kissed her. "Are you sure about today? We can get married any day you want."

Sara surveyed the white limousine, her ring, and then the country club's garden. "I'm positive about today. Let's get married."


Book of the Month contest entry


Thank you Matterofprint for your lovely artwork, I Will. This is the final post of Another Pretty Face. I'm glad you have stuck with me throughout the entire novel.
A few people didn't like the idea of Joe planning the wedding without Sara's help. They thought it was unrealistic. Other's thought it was very romantic. I will consider both points of view while I edit. This ending reflects my orginal manuscript. I also want to thank my special angel's who have continued to support my postings with numerous pumps throughout my illness. I don't have the energy to do a lot of reviewing and you have continued to keep my posts high enough my fans are rewarded. I appreciate that.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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