Era of Rebellion - Navigation

Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
One year after the Battle of Yavin (36:2:12) in the Alderaan system: Delaya (Leiliani: Rodney Castle).
Lieutenant Sierra Dakkar and Grand Moff Claudius Rodney.

Claudius Rodney had created a major *faux pax* when he brought the young Sierra Dakkar to his personal chambers on Delaya. With his wife gone he had succeeded in placing her in his bed, although he did not take advantage of the situation and pursue her more physically. As the morning light broke he opened the door carrying a breakfast platter of some of the finest delicacies found within the castle walls. There was a flower in one of the glasses on the planet as a romantic gesture favored by his generation. Now wanting to wake her, he gently placed the breakfast tray upon her lap as delicately as possible. He gently moved his face over the sleeping Sierra, but despite knowing that she needed he rest, he placed a kiss upon her lips to wake her, as in a fairy tale. A smile crept upon the venerable features of his face as he smiled down upon her with his brown eyes. His hand moved to gently stroke at her blonde locks, doing his best to comfort his only patient.

It seemed like Sierra couldn't properly rest until she was back within the castle walls. She shouldn't have been surprised when Claudius opted to take her into his bed...but she was. It seemed symbolic, like she had replaced his wife, whom she had not seen throughout their entire visit. Their closeness made it easier for her to relax, fall asleep, and allow her body to recover properly.

That morning, Sierra lay curled up on his bed on her stomach. The blankets were gathered near her waist. She looked so peaceful, even though her arms were sprawled out like a thranta's wings. She began to wake to the feeling of the tray. It was the kiss that woke her. A perfectly soft, delicate kiss, where she didn't need to look to know who was on the other end. A smile was there when he pulled away. "Good morning, love." He was an amazing nurse. Her smile grew the more he touched her. A moment later, she realized that a full breakfast sat in the tray on her lap. The flower was beautiful. It was touching how far he went for her. It made her love for him grow. Claudius was a better man than she could ever have imagined. "Mmm. Breakfast in bed?! Thank you. It looks amazing." And she was starved. Most of the day prior had been spent sleeping and trying not to push herself. "I like this part the best," she said, fingers hovering over the pretty flower. Before she began eating, she ran her hand over his cheek. "Have you eaten?" He needed to get used to her taking care of him because that wasn't going to change.

"No. I have not eaten," Claudius reported to her, taking a seat on the bed beside her. "I have been in meetings all morning trying to be brought up to speed on all that has occurred," he explained to her, as he was content to watch her eat. "You look much better today. Your color looks much healthier," he said, as he removed his hand from her air to avoid disrupting her meal. "After you've eaten, we need to get you out of this bed, and out into the garden," he said, as he took control of her care. "I am no expert, of course, but that has never stopped me before," he said, with a soft laugh, as he reached his hand into her fruit cup and picked a single piece of starfuit. He devoured it one bite, before holding his hands up defensively. "I won't steal anymore," he said to her, as he impatiently waited her to finish so their day could get started. He wanted so much to inform her about all that was happening, but he did not want to overwhelm her first thing in the morning. Gradually she would coax it out of him during his planned botanical excursion.

Sierra made a face. "I don't like that report, Governor." She picked up a pastry, offering to him. She really wasn't going to take no for an answer. Her own demanding stomach ensured that she began to eat her breakfast. She was *starved*. How long had it been since she ate an actual meal? She recalled choking down plain chicken broth soup the night before, but this was so much better! "I feel much better. Thank you for bringing me here. Did you learn anything of use in your meetings? Was the bastard present? I don't want to miss seeing the next time he chokes on a scone." She smiled jokingly ... but not really.

She was looking forward to getting out of bed. She wanted to see the gardens with him...she wanted to see the *galaxy* with him. He sneakily stole a piece of starfruit, making her gasp dramatically. "I think you should steal more." She used her fork to piece another starfruit. The first piece she ate, the second she offered to him. "I can't have you wasting away on me. Don't make me fatten you up." If he was watching her closely, he'd probably notice that she was trying to hurry. She wanted to be caught up on everything. She felt like she missed everything while she was asleep.

"I should summon him and show him the proper way to eat a pastry," Claudius declared, as he took a small, dainty bite of the pastry she forced upon him. "No. He was not present. He was with his daughter, which is perhaps his one saving grace," he explained, as he really did enjoy the time he had spent with his *niece*, Callista. "I promise you I will fill you in on everything, but in the sunshine ... not in here," he said to her, before moving his face forward to bite the fruit right off her fork. He pulled away from her, rising to his feat, and revealing he was already dressed. "The younger generation is far slower than mine. Still in bed at this hour?" he said, teasing her, as he attempted to motivate her to get up, get dressed, and get *out*. He moved towards the windows and dramatically pulled open the curtains, allowing the sunlight to suddenly fill the bedchamber that set atop the second tallest spire in the castle. The day was young ... and so was she. He turned, offering her a smile, as he raised his hands up and down several times, "Up, up, up!" he chided her, as he sat down upon the window suit, the sunlight cascading down upon him and lighting up all of his features. He was handsome in his youth and well regarded, but the years had not been kind to him. Perhaps as Sierra stripped away the weight of the galaxy from his shoulders his condition would improve.

"Please don't. It was the perfect excuse to leave." Sierra snickered. She continued to eat, her thoughts twirling back to Callista. The little girl was adorable and so sweet. "Do you think we can request private tea time with her?" Her eyes followed him. Her breakfast was nearly gone when he started to taunt and tease her. He was already playing the younger generation card? When he tired out later, she'd poke and prod at him for being an old man. *Her* old man. Her hands took hold of her tray, slowly sliding it into the empty space beside her. She let her legs dangle on the edge of the best. It looked like she was anticipating that first unassisted step. Claudius had carried her in here. Every step after that had been taken with his help, or the help of any nearby furniture. She began to overthink it. She was stressing herself out until he derailed her crazy train.

The blinding morning light splashed into the room. It crept over her body and consumed his. The age difference between the two wasn't a stopping block. She was incredibly attracted to him now, just as she was when they were alone in the dark, depths of space. She gave him a look, then stood. She was surprised to find that most of her energy had returned. She was strong enough to stand on her own. "Argh! It burns! Make it go away!" She tried to cover her eyes playfully. He had her in motion now. Sierra wasn't thinking either, she only acted. She was pleased to find her belongings had made their way to his private quarters. Of her things, she selected a very simplistic navy blue dress as well as her under garments. Tucking her clothes beneath her arm, she danced towards him like she'd never been injured at all. She stole a kiss from him, then departed into his bathroom to change.

Before his mirror, she stood grooming herself. The girl who stared back at her was so different. She wore a smile. Her complexion had improved. She adjusted the small bow at her waist. When she felt that she would steal his breath away, she set herself free back into his room. Her look was topped off with flats. She wasn't steady enough on her feet to deal with heels right now. He'd have to be sympathetic to the fact that Sierra was vertically challenged. "Okay. I'm decent. Let's go see this 'sunlight' you speak of."

Claudius noted that this was the second occasion she he had declined to wear her uniform, but he chose not to say anything. He understood that the locals, and even some in the palace, had succumbed to Rebel propaganda that the Empire was somehow responsible for the destruction of Alderaan. He could understand why she did not want to subject herself to the stares and even the insult, but he was wearing his grey-green Imperial uniform that he had cleaned of her blood. As they moved down the spiral staircase that led from the bedchamber to the great hall of the castle he never let go of her. His arm was interlocked with hers and his hand mingled with her hand as well. The staff would have much to gossip about that evening. As they approached the large doors that led to the carefully constructed botanical gardens with their extensive flowers, hedge maze, and some of the only living specimens of flora from neighboring Alderaan. The air that enveloped them was crisp and clean ... a far cry from what the citizen of Leiliani were forced to believe several kilometers below. "There. Isn't that better?" he said, to her, as he finally moved from beside her. He took both of her hands in his, squeezed them tight, and stood before her. "I love you, Sierra. The thought of losing you rattled me to my core. I could not bare it. I want you with me at all times," he said, smiling down at her sweetly with his big brown eyes. His hand came up again to its familiar resting place, threading between her blonde locks. She was surely beautiful, but she was also a wonderful human being. No human was perfect, but she was perfect for him.

The reason why she had not worn her uniform on this occasion was very simplistic and quite selfish. She wanted to look cute for Claudius. More than that, it sounded like a grueling uphill battle to dress in her uniform. She *really* didn't want to wear her boots either. Her feelings on the Imperials had not changed. She would return to the star destroyer as soon as possible. For now, she had a date with a married man...

His sense of romance matched that of her own. She liked the old-timeyness of the way their linked their arms and hands. It was the kind of affection that ensured her he wanted to be close. Sierra refused to worry about those who saw them together now. She was a noble lady who had made her choices. She intended to follow through with Claudius, because there was no one else in her eyes.

The garden was a kind reminder of the good things about home. The scent that engulfed them was pleasant and refreshing. She particularly loved all the colors of the garden. The vivid reds, dashing violets, and healthy greens. "Much better." She sighed. Sunlight and time out of bed was exactly what she had needed. As he moved away from her side, both of her small hands came to reside in his. The smile on her face never seemed to go away. Love was apparent in the way she looked at him. Suddenly, it seemed entirely worth it to take the damage of the bomb for them to be like this. His words struck her harder than shrapnel. Her heart was overflowing with love. "I want that too. I don't want us to be apart anymore. I've come to depend on you more than I can ever imagine. I love you, my sweet Claudius" Her head tilted towards his hand. She favored the way his fingers threaded between her soft hair. Her soft features seemed to grow concerned. "Do we need to pretend otherwise for appearance's sake?" They hadn't been very convincing from the beginning. She was waiting for the moment when his wife dropped from the sky and called her a tramp.

Claudius was feeling incredibly nervous ... his heart was beating far too rapidly for a man his age. He had not eaten that morning, because he could not eat. In the light of the morning sky among the flowers he looked at her basking in the glory of nature and he was convinced that none other was right for him. His eyes moved skyward towards the thrantas and he remembered what could truly be considered their first and *only* date. Perhaps he was moving too fast ... perhaps he was being impulsive ... but he had always trusted himself and his judgment. "There will be no more pretending," he said, as his eyes locked on hers in a confident and reassuring tone. Without warning he dropped to one knee in front of her, and one hand left hers for only a moment to retrieve a small box from the trousers of his uniform. "I have lost my daughter, my wife, I *cannot* lose you. Will you marry me, Sierra?" he asked her, as he opened the box to reveal a nearly millennia old ring that the very first Duke of Delaya had given his wife. His family forbade him to use it on the commoner Julia, or the outside Htaere, but Sierra was one of *them*. He had the blessing of all to elevate her into position of becoming the next Duchess of Delaya. He swallowed during the unbearable silence that preceded her answer, the collar of his uniform nearly strangling him as his throat bulged. No matter what her answer was his life would be inexorably changed.

It was relieving to hear that they wouldn't need to continue a facade anymore. Accepting that Sierra loved him immediately made it more difficult to pretend she didn't even though everyone knew. Jelena's funeral had been enough to make their feelings for one another crystal clear. "I'm glad," she told him. In the same breath, Claudius had dropped to a single knee in front of her. Her eyes went wide. There was only one meaning for him to fall into such a pose. She was breathless, hanging on every word that came from his mouth. The hand that still remained linked with his was shaking with emotion. As much as she loved him, she had no idea that he intended to bring her back to the Ringali Shell as his wife. The ring came second to his proposal. She looked it over. It was gorgeous. He was so wonderful. She needn't any additional time with him to dance around the truth: Claudius Rodney was her soul mate. In an instant, she had dropped to her own knees and brought him into a tight embrace. "*Yes*." She said sweetly into his ear, which she then rapidly kissed. Her kisses trailed over his cheek and to his mouth, "*Yes*!" She said it again, kissing him and grasping his face softly. She was crying again. Her cheek were damp as the happiest moment of her life came to be. "Claudius... I love you so much," her hands moved through his hair slowly. "I *swear* to you that you will not lose me. We'll simply be together until the very end."

If one word could describe Claudius' reaction it would be *relieved*. He rose almost immediately as he hord the word began, wrapping his arms around her, and lifting her in the air. He did a flourish, spinning her around happily, before allowing her to be placed back down upon the ground. "I love you. A thousand times I love you," he said, as he began to lead her over towards a small stone bench near the flowers. He needed to sit, and he was sure she needed to too. "Before you get too excited there are some things you should know," he said, placing his hand into her lap as he began to tell her what had happened while she was resting. "My brother's wife has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom. As you're probably aware she's pregnant with two young children. On my father's behalf I have authorized whatever payment they demand," he said, as he explained the first bullet point to her. "My cousin Gaius, head of security, is still recovering from his wounds in the blast. What he suffered, I am told, was worse than yours, although he is not as near and dear to my heart," he said, although he should not have made a joke at his cousin's suffering. "It appears to have been a Rebel device that was detonated. It was not enough that they chose to murder Jelena ... now they wish us all dead it would seem," he explained to her, as his head began to sunk. "Gaius has informed me that they used the excuse they were bringing food to the refugees as cover to smuggle the bomb into the funeral. He told me as soon as he is back to health he will hunt them down," he explained, feeling bad for telling her all this so soon after being engaged. "Were you able to contact Major Kiley and request official food be delivered?" he asked her, looking up at her with a hopeful look, like a pet in desperate need of adoption. But being married to Claudius Rodney was more than being married to a man ... it meant being married to a career too.

This must be what a princess in a story felt like. Sierra was very passionately in love with the Grand Moff. There was joy in the air when he lifted her up and celebrated. She smiled. "A thousand times I love you," she repeated to him. It was nice to think that they would spend more time together. Her days would begin and end with Claudius, her future husband. The new weight of her engagement ring on her finger was a welcomed change. She idly wondered how long it would take to clap together a royal wedding. While this would be his third time, it was only her first. She would jump through every hoop she needed to in order to marry him the way she was taught was proper. For now, she *really* needed to sit. And so, that was exactly what they did. One of her hands remained in his for the continuous affection.

She ran her fingers over his hand. It was shocking to hear that Lady Zara had been kidnapped. "Is there anything more we can do for your brother?" And how did one steal a pregnant woman? Sierra wanted to extend her help to Marcus, should he need it while he paid the ransom. The more he explained to her, the more she was convinced that someone was out for the Rodney family. Gaius was in critical condition. They seemed to have mutual feelings of distaste for the man. His joke made her snicker. Claudius had been the only one there for her after the initial blast. There was more disgusting news; the Rebels had caused the explosion by using a rouse to enter Delaya. She looked away from him. It was so *wrong*. "What horrible monsters..." She wanted to serve the Rebels revenge. Jelena's funeral had been destroyed. Gaius, though maybe not the intended target, had been badly hurt. Now Lady Zara was gone. Could all these events be connected. "We'll find out who is *exactly* behind all this and see to it that they are punished accordingly. The Rebels cannot get away with what they have done."

And then there was another topic: Major Kiley. Discomfort woke within the pit of her stomach as soon as the name came up. "I contacted her the evening we returned from Tarkintown," she reported to him grimly. "But..." Now she *really* couldn't look at him. "She was demoted." Sierra thought of Arden and the kind of day in the park she would have with Sierra and Claudius' engagement. Trying to be honest with her soon to be husband, she told him why. "Because of me. I've been promoted and assigned to your as you adjutant." Anddd just like that, their engagement was over. "On top of that, the Empire is under the impression that the Rebels will steal any incoming food. Because of this, no supplies will be sent in." She accepted being married to the career. She only hoped that she could improve her relationship with the career. "I'm sorry. This all happened shortly after I got home the morning of Jelena's funeral. I didn't think it appropriate to talk about then. And after the explosion..." Her voice trailed off.

"Kerrie demoted... No food..." Claudius stammered, in disbelief at how things had changed in just the few days he had been here on Delaya. "Congratulations on your promotion, my love," he said to her, as he thought of nothing else in the galaxy for the time being. "No more of this today. Today is our day," he said, and he turned his head towards her, placing a loving kiss upon his fiance. As his lips pressed against hers, his tongue slid from his mouth, and gently massaged her own tongue. His arms moved around her, drawing her closer, in a tight and loving embrace. He was holding on to her so dearly, and he considered never letting ago. Although she did not realize it, nor did she perhaps intend it, Sierra had succeeded in her mission of distracting the Governor and keeping him away from his command. Even as the couple sat there on the bench the bombs began to fall back in the Ringali Shell, and neither of them knew a thing about it ... just as Arden Zevrin wanted it.

Failure wasn't a feeling that Sierra liked. She hadn't been able to get him food. Kerrie was demoted. Sierra had no idea how well she'd perform as his adjutant. For Claudius, she would go further than her best. Concern appeared in her eyes, then faded over his hasty subject change. Today *was* their day. This was one day where duty needed to wait. They'd figure everything out one step at a time. The Arden problem was one that Sierra alone had to conquer. Maybe, just maybe, if she could overpower Arden, then she could keep Claudius close and dear to her. The mission had not been a total success. She wasn't supposed to love him like this. His lips cut off any further words she might have to say. She let him block out everything else with his affection. Her soft lips pressed against his. The fire she cradled inside of her chest for him burned strongly as their tongues moved together. His arms drew her closer, closer until she carefully boarded his lap. Her legs straddled him. Her dress rode up, but not to scandalous measures. Both of her hands locked behind his neck. Their bodies seemed to function as one, not two separate entities. She feared what they would return to. There were so many evils in the world that she couldn't protect Claudius from. She was going to have to be there to take every fall with the Grand Moff. Desperate to stop her thoughts, she kissed him harder.

With their relationship out in the public eye he was not surprised when the beautiful young blonde climbed upon his lap. He allowed her to have his way with him and be could barely keep up with the aggressiveness of her kissing. His hands moved over her back, ruffling her dress, as he drew her so close that their hearts began to beat in sync. When the kiss broke, he leaned his head back and smiled lovingly towards her. "My mother wants to see you," he said, without the fear he had previously used when delivering those words to Julia or Htaere. His mother actually *liked* Sierra, which he never thought he would ever hear her say. "I expect they'll want a wedding that outshines the recent memory of cousin Gaius. Are you up for that? Don't let her roll over you! Be your own woman," he encouraged, with the full realization that their wedding had far ranging consequences that went beyond simply two people in love. The future of the planet was at stake, as were several matters of import within the Galactic Empire.

Their closeness was so wonderful. Sierra found it amazing how she never felt anxious about her body around him. She knew that, when the time came to give herself to him, it would be a beautiful affair done out of love and not manipulation. Her breast rested against his chest. She could *feel* his beating heart. With that, Sierra fell in love for him all over again. Her cheeks had turned red during the kiss. She was his little blushing bride now, wasn't she? Talk of Duchess Livia and their wedding made her feel excited again. She stayed seated in his lap. "I'll see to her. At the Alderaan Select Academy for Young Ladies, I took a course on managing noble wedding stress," she laughed, not kidding at all! "I'm ready for all of it. I won't let Livia walk all over me. This is *our* wedding, not hers." Not a comment that she was going to pass by her mother-in-law, who'd only recently learned of her husband's bastard son. "My only request is that you don't pile responsibilities on yourself because of the wedding. We're a team. That means you get to share."

"Forgive me when I say that everything that happens under this room inevitably involves my mother," Claudius said, feeling somewhat embarrassed by his elderly mother's control over him, despite the fact that he was in his mid-50s. "My responsibilities seem to grow with each passing hour. I could not bare to carry the burden alone without your much needed support, Sierra," he admitted to her, without any reluctance. Neither of his previous wives had any experience or knowledge of governing or political affairs, but fortunately Sierra was well connected in Delayan society and an Imperial officer to boot. She was the ideal candidate to help him get a handle on both his Oversector and Delaya. "There is still the matter of the succession. Do you still wish for me to maintain my status as heir to the Duchy? Are you prepared to be *both* Commander Dakkar *and* Duchess Sierra?" he asked her, realizing the entire weight of his world was now crashing down upon her.

Sierra smiled. "I'll make sure she feels involved, while not allowing her to go power crazy." Her previous relationship with Livia was going to be helpful. She knew that the woman liked her. They'd spent so much time together in the younger years. She found nothing for him to be embarrassed about. Livia was a gentler soul than the one who had birthed her. Sierra felt that she could be very helpful to Claudius, that they were truly *perfect* for each other. She enjoyed how open he was with her, making the irony of her deceit all the more deep. "You needn't carry any burdens without me. I'm going to be your wife, Claudius." Wow. Those words slid off her tongue like they belonged there. She would derive an infinite amount of pleasure from being his wife. She could weather the storm with him, and maybe see a day when the war ended.

The question of succession hadn't come up since the trip there. She had pushed for him to claim his birthright. She was still extremely supportive of him. She halted a quick response to his question when he reminded her that *she* would be the Duchess as well as a Commander. Duchess Sierra. It had a nice ring to it. Duchess Sierra and Duke Claudius. Her hands brushed over his shoulder. She rubbed him, knowing how tense he must feel. "I'm prepared. I believe that you are the best possible candidate. You have the experience. This planet *needs* your help. I will work to sway the public in your favor. I don't want your coronation to become a public fiasco. We will solve the food problem in Tarkintown with my family's money. I have done so little with it since I inherited it. I want to do *good* with it."

"The first thing I need you to do is get them to change that bloody name, Sierra," Claudius said, as every time he heard the term 'Tarkintown' used to describe it his blood boiled. "It is things like that, which are giving the people the *false* belief that the Empire was responsible for all of this," he said, his voice growing in volume as he had neither the experience nor the skill to fight a propaganda war against the Rebellion. "There are Rebels here that are responsible for all of our problems," he confessed to her, irrationally, as he drew on her more and more for support of his irrational paranoia. "I have done my best to keep the ISB off my home world, but ... but do you think we need them here?" he asked her, the very thought of bringing those evil spies to Delaya had never crossed his mine. To Claudius the ISB was the reason why the Empire had such a poor public image, and their representative in the Ringali Shell had done her utmost to harm him and his family, but he could not deny their methods. In his moment of weakness as he became overcome by all that was happening on this world would he turn to the devil to *save* his world from non-existent Rebels? Well, that was what wives were for.

She nodded. She needed to consider a name that would better suit the refugee camp. Her fingers rubbed him more insistently to bring the temperature of his blood down from a boil. "The public is misinformed. We have to open their eyes to the true culprits of Alderaan's destruction." As well as Jelena's death and the bomb at the funeral. Sierra took it upon herself to launch the war against the Rebel propaganda. If there was one planet that needed to side with the Empire, it was Claudius' home planet. She felt angry for him too. The Empire was misrepresented on Delaya. She listened to him talk about the Rebels hiding out on Delaya as well as bringing the ISB onto his homeland. It was a *bad* idea. "No. I believe we should exhaust all other resources before we bring in the ISB. Keep them away from Delaya. You won't get the planet back once they are here." Though she was an ISB agent, she felt herself different from her comrades. She didn't have the tongue of a snake like Arden or the poisonous bite of some of the other officers. "I think we need to do more research. As soon as I feel better, I will go to the refugee camp to find out more information about the Rebels who delivered the food. If we can identify them and find them, then we can eliminate them like the weeds that they are." If the Rebels were smart, then they had already scurried off of the planet. If they still remained, Sierra would find them.

"Alright ... alright, yes ... it was a bad idea," Claudius admitted to her, as he tightened his arms around her. He held as tightly as he had ever held another human being with the hope that she would help him get to the bottom of this and discover what was really happening on his planet. "If you wish to return to the refugee camp you have my blessing, but with all that is occurring I must insist that cousin Gaius see to your protection as commander of what is left of the Alderaan Guard," he explained to her, as he wished no further harm to become to his beloved, young fiancé. "As he suffered greatly he is perhaps the one man we can trust at this crucial time," he reasoned to her, as he was eager to see the refugee crisis brought to a quick resolution. His mind was as far from his duty with the Empire as it had ever been. He moved his face towards hers, while a hand moved to cup the side of her head. His lips connected with hers *again* as he was unable to cease kissing her. Despite all that was happening ... she had said *yes*.

She was taking a proactive approach. Her recovery was not finished yet, but she intended to start her research. If Claudius truly did succeed, then this would be her planet to worry about too. It always had been more like a home to her than Alderaan. She wanted to get to the root of this problem and solve it. The young Dakkar had much to work on and little time to make magic. Though Julius was back on his feet, everyone had come to terms with the fact that he would not be around forever. It was time to appoint a new Duke. She nodded her head, "Okay, I agree to your terms. We have to be careful." She looked at him as if she was implying *that means you too*!

It was easy to switch gears with Claudius. They could speak of their wedding, the Duchy, and the Empire all in the same breath. He could make her heart skip a beat when he kissed her...and that's exactly what he did. She scooted up as close as close could be in his lap. There, beneath a beautiful orange flowered tree, Sierra shared a passionate kiss with the man who would soon become her husband. Her ring was visible, worn on her left hand that currently clasped his face gently. She was so elated over their engagement. He had caught her completely off guard, surprising her with the fact that he wanted all the same things she did. It was a tale as old as time; the tale of true love.

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