Disclaimer: I do not own either National Treasure movie or any of the characters. I only own my OC Arabella.
Chapter Sixteen: Surprises
Once we exited the drainage tunnel we ended up wading back to shore. When we made it back to solid land, we all collapsed onto the ground, still catching our breath.
" So, now we call Sadusky?" I asked, wringing water out of my hair with my right hand. Ben laughed a bit and looked over at me.
" How'd you figure that out?"
" It's what we did last time. And this adventure has been following suit of many events from last time so, it only seemed rational. Oh, and you'll need to be negotiate your way out of going to prison for kidnapping the President." I smiled at him. " Have fun with that." Ben rolled his eyes and walked off, taking Patrick's phone to call with. I stared down at my hand and sighed.
" Looks like I'll probably be needing to get a cast for this." I muttered, fixing the soaked bandages a bit. Riley sighed as well, scrubbing a hand through his short hair.
" That's my fault…" He muttered.
" How on earth is it your fault?"
" I broke the rope accidentally, and that caused everything to break and for you to fall." Riley said quietly, dropping his head to my shoulder. I shook my head and took his hand in mine.
" Riley, it wasn't your fault. The rope was just old. Besides, I was the one who lost my footing. Don't go blaming yourself, I won't allow it, Mister Poole." I told him, wrapping my right arm around his shoulders and I leaned my head atop his, closing my eyes. I heard him grumble a bit and I smirked, knowing I'd won that conversation.
I wasn't sure how long we sat there, waiting for Ben to come back, but I was glad we'd all gotten a moment to relax. I enjoyed sitting in the sun, relaxing with my amazing boyfriend, listening to the faint sound of birds chirping. I made a mental note that we needed to take more days like this. When Ben did return he gave a small sigh.
" Well, looks like Abigail, Riley, Arabella and I are being escorted to somewhere… of course." Ben said as we all stood again.
" They didn't say why?" Abigail asked, running a hand through her drying blond hair.
" When do they ever?" Was Ben's response.
" Got a point there." Riley said in a monotone, threading his fingers through mine. I squeezed his hand before we all began walking back towards the main path, where we were then met by park rangers and men in military uniforms. Abigail and I were given blankets to wrap around our shoulders to keep warm and then Ben was seized by the arm and we were escorted to a waiting black van. It was extremely quiet on the ride in the van. We were surrounded by state officials, soldiers and park rangers. I could only guess we were going to be questioned about the kidnapping of the President, which had been only Ben in the physical aspect, but all of us in the master plan.
We arrived at a plane hanger, and were once more escorted into the hanger. We saw a group of men gathered around a table. As we stopped walking, the men turned and I felt my eyes widen and I forced my jaw to stay closed. There, in a dark blue jacket, light blue button down, white pants, and black shoes was the President. The President of the United States. I began to think, Oh, shit, we're REALLY in trouble now… We were probably going to go to jail. For life.
Riley began to smack Abigail's arm.
" Stop." She whispered. He did it twice more, a look of pure shock crossing his face. " Stop it!" Riley turned to look at me, seeing as I was standing between him and Ben. He then looked at the President and back to me and I took that as a 'is that really him!?' and I nodded. Ben took a step or two forward.
The President began to step towards us. One of his bodyguards quickly stepped up beside him.
" Mr. President?" He asked.
" Craig, give us a minute." The President responded.
" Sir, for your information, this is the man who kidnapped you."
" As I recall…" The President stood a few feet in front of Ben. " We were exploring a hidden tunnel and a door accidentally closed and this man saved my life." I smiled. At that statement, I somehow knew that the President was going to let the kidnapping slide… maybe Ben talked to him and the two found some sort of mutual understanding or something of that affect. " Gates."
" Sir." Ben said respectfully.
" For the record, after centuries of exploration, on this day, you have brought honor to your country and your family." The President then looked over at Abigail, Riley and I. He smiled a bit. " You've done this country a great service. I thank you." I grinned.
" Thank you." Abigail said, smiling and hugging her blanket around herself.
" Thank you so much, Sir." I responded, unable to stop grinning. Riley wasn't able of coherent speech and grinned, making a happy sound that everyone could guess meant 'thank you'.
" Craig." The bodyguard came over, holding something. " I thought you might like to take a look at tomorrow's headlines." He took the newspaper and handed it to Ben. Riley's brow furrowed.
" Tomorrow?" He asked.
I looked over Ben's shoulder and saw a column that read;
Thomas Gates Proved a Civil War Hero
Ben nodded silently for a moment, and I could almost feel the emotion rolling off of him.
" Thank you, Sir."
" All of you, along with Emily and Patrick Gates will get credit for this discovery." The President said. Ben looked back at us and I gave a smile and nodded, urging him on. The President gave us a confused look.
" And Mitch Wilkinson, Sir." Ben said, giving a small nod.
" Is that right?"
" It's true, sir." Ben responded.
" Ben, I am curious about that favor I asked you. Any report regarding what's on page forty-seven?" He asked. I furrowed my brow and looked over at Riley and Abigail, who both looked equally as confused. Page forty-seven? What was he referring to? The Secret Book?
" I believe I can help with that, Sir." Ben told him, all seriousness in his voice. Okay, obviously this had something to do with the night Ben kidnapped him.
" So it's good?" The President asked.
" Life-altering, Sir." The President nodded to the side to gesture that he and Ben were going to go talk. They began to walk away and Abigail nudged Riley's shoulder.
" What's on page forty-seven? Are you talking about the Book?" He called after them, referring to the President's Secret Book. The President turned and looked at us, an almost non-existent smirk on his face. He then asked,
" What book?"
As Ben and the President went to talk, I looked around and then pulled off the brown, scratchy blanket from my shoulders. I lifted my left hand. I looked at the soldiers and other people around us.
" Would it in any way be possible for me to get to a hospital? My wrist is starting to throb again." I asked, pointing to the still wet bandages on my hand.
The next morning, we all went out to buy new outfits, seeing as our adventure clothes were ripped and torn. The night before we'd been informed along with Thomas Gates being proved a hero in the newspaper, they were announcing the discovery of Cibola, which they were currently ridding the water that engulfed it. I now had a cast on my wrist, which had taken a good two hours to have put on. Me being me, I had everyone sign it. When I woke up in our hotel the next morning, my body ached horribly, and as I took a shower to rinse off all the grime I couldn't get off the night before, I discovered bruises on my ribs and ankle as well as a few minor cuts on my jaw, right cheek and neck, all courtesy of loosing my footing.
We'd all been invited to a special party that night that celebrated Cibola's discovery, and we all figured we'd just show up in comfortable clothes. I bought a loose fitting blue floral blouse that I got a waist belt to wear with it, along with a new pair of blue jeans and a tan leather biker-style jacket. I'd acquired a small obsession with jewelry and bought a heart-shaped necklace and black rose earrings. I kept my boots, deciding that they weren't completely ruined yet. I kept my hair loose, the curls resting on my collarbone.
When we went to lunch, I began to notice that Riley was acting a bit odd. He seemed really nervous, on edge and he kept jumping at small noises. When I asked him what was wrong, he dismissed it as the previous days events finally catching up to him. I guess that may explain it, I was still calming myself over it too; almost dying a few times takes it out of you, I don't suggest trying it. What I didn't mind was the fact he kept so close to me. He held my hand tightly and had an arm around my waist whenever he could. I absolutely loved being close to him, I loved feeling the heat that came off his body and the warmth that I felt in my heart (I don't care if it sounds cliché, it's true).
That evening, we arrived at the party at Mount Rushmore and Riley told me he was going to go buy some things at the gift shop to, quote, 'Remember this adventure forever'. I laughed and let him, milling around by myself for a bit. Emily and Patrick were helping workers begin to catalogue what they found down in Cibola, and Ben and Abigail were off talking somewhere.
Mount Rushmore was lit up in bright lights, the stoic faces of the presidents staring out across and above us. I walked over to a waist-height wall and sat on it, swinging my legs to hang over the edge. My jacket hung open and I felt only a little bit cold, the night air having a bit of a bite to it. I stared up at Mount Rushmore and smiled a bit, still loving seeing it properly for the first time. I glanced over my shoulder to look for Riley, he'd been gone for about ten minutes. I spotted him, walking through the crowd with a bag in one arm, a cup of something to drink in the other. A woman with red-blond hair stepped forward to stop him.
" Excuse me." I heard her say. Riley stopped and turned to look at her. They were close enough for me to hear what they were saying, but I wasn't making it too obvious I was listening. " Hey, you're that guy, the treasure hunter guy, right?" She asked. Riley gave a small shake of his head.
" No, actually, the guy you're thinking of is somewhere over there." He told her, pointing with his cup-occupied hand towards the right. He gave a small smile that matched the energy of the monotone he'd spoken in. The pretty woman laughed and shook her head, grinning.
" No, you're him." She pulled out a book. Riley's book. " Riley Poole. I recognize you from your book!" She told him excitedly. Riley's face went into shock as he stared at her. " Will you sign it?" She asked hopefully. The bag slipped from Riley's arm and crashed to the ground and he blinked once.
" Okay." He said in a breathless and shocked voice. He took the book and smiled at her as she gave him a pen as well. He opened the book and signed his first autograph. Handing it back, I could hear the woman say something about how much she enjoyed the book, and as he thanked her, he caught my eye and I grinned at him, giving him a thumbs up. I then turned back to look at the mountain before me, happy Riley finally got what he'd wanted.
After a moment I heard someone walk over. I turned around and saw Riley, setting his bag on the ground. He grinned at me.
" Hey there, Mr. Author!" I said, reaching out and ruffling his hair. He laughed and straightened out his hair again, jumping up to sit next to me. " I see you've met a fan and signed your first autograph to someone who wasn't me." He grinned brightly and kissed my cheek.
" Well, you'll always get to say you got the first autograph."
" Well, I get to say you're my boyfriend so I'd say that tops all of that." I decided, leaning back into his chest, feeling his arms wind around my waist, holding me closer. I put my hands on his and leaned my head back against his shoulder.
" And I get to say you're my girlfriend so that beats everything." Riley told me and I could hear a smile in his voice. I felt a blush raise to my cheeks as I laughed a bit. Riley nodded towards Mount Rushmore. " Tell me something about each of those guys up there."
" You heard me."
" You want me to go all history geek on you?" I asked incredulously. " I've been refraining from doing that. I thought you didn't like it."
" No, I don't like it when Ben does it. I like it when you do it, it's kind of adorable and at times kind of hot, actually." He told me, pulling back to grin at me. Grinning back, I laughed quietly, looking up at the mountain.
" Okay, I'll do it. So, George Washington; commander in chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and the first president of the United States. Thomas Jefferson; he was the third president of the United States and also the principle author of the Declaration of Independence. I bet he didn't figure it would get stolen all these years later." Riley chuckled at that comment. " Theodore Roosevelt; twenty-sixth president of the United States and shortly after he ended his presidency he went on a safari in both east and central Africa. And Abraham Lincoln; sixteenth president of the United States, delivered the Gettysburg address in eighteen sixty-three and he was assassinated, and that assassination was not conspired by Thomas Gates." I finished with a smile up at him. He grinned down at me.
" I love it when you do that." He said again, pulling me closer. I turned in his arms and wound my arms around his chest, sliding my hands beneath his jacket. He leaned down and kissed me, and I eagerly returned it. When he pulled away I rested my head against his chest. We sat there a moment and listened to the mindless chatter around us. Riley shifted a bit and I felt him let go of my waist. I looked up at him in confusion and pulled my arms back, sitting up straight.
" What's wrong?" I asked.
" Nothing." He said standing, putting his hands in his jacket pockets. He licked his lips and looked down for a moment.
" Obviously it's something." I told him, getting a bit worried. He turned and faced me.
" I was just thinking. About when Ian held you hostage with that gun and then Mitch threatening to kill you with the knife. I cannot express how horrified I was that I was going to loose you yesterday. I can't picture my life without you in it, I love you so, so much, Arabella. I hate it when I see you in pain, and I love making you happy and seeing you laugh. I don't know how a guy like me has gotten so lucky to get the most gorgeous and caring and funny woman in the world." Riley told me, smiling at me. He grabbed my hand and ran his thumb across my knuckles gently, licking his lips again. " So, Arabella, I'd like to ask you something." His bright blue eyes met mine and he smiled at me, slowly getting down on one knee.
" Arabella Fletcher, will you marry me?" He asked, pulling a ring box out of his pocket. I felt my jaw drop in shock and my free hand flew up to cover my mouth. Riley was grinning up at me, looking hopeful. I was barely aware of the people who were stopping and staring. My heart was racing and I dropped my hand, finally able to grin back at him.
" Yes, Riley! Oh my God, yes!" I told him, nodding quickly. Riley relaxed visibly as he quickly slid the ring on my left fourth finger and stood quickly, yanking me into a tight hug. I was slightly aware of the applause that had suddenly sounded around us. I was too happy to even acknowledge anyone but Riley. I pulled away enough to pull him in for a kiss, placing both my hands on his cheeks. I felt Riley smile and kiss back, winding his arms around my waist again. I was just getting lost in being so close to Riley, my mind unable to form coherent thoughts. Riley was no longer my boyfriend, he was my fiancé. My fiancé! This was without a doubt the best day of my life!
Unfortunately the need for air beat us both and we pulled away, resting our foreheads resting against together. I grinned at him, stroking my thumb across his cheekbone.
" I love you so much, Riley." I told him quietly. He was still grinning as well, and he pressed another kiss to my lips before saying,
" I love you even more, Arabella." I pulled him closer again before I noticed Abigail and Ben pushing through the crowd towards us, both smiling widely. Pulling away from Riley I gave Ben a tight hug when he opened his arms for one. I squeezed him tightly and he rubbed my back.
" Congratulations, Arabella!" He told me happily, grinning down at me.
" Thanks!" I told him.
" Now, if he ever hurts you in any way, let me know." Said Ben in a very big brother-like manor. I rolled my eyes.
" I will, but he won't." I assured him, turning and finding myself pulled into a hug by Abigail. She pulled back and grinned at me, laughing happily.
" Congratulations! Okay, let me see the ring, I have to ask." She said. Actually, I needed to look at it too, I didn't even pay attention to it much. I held out my hand and looked down at a silver banded ring that appeared woven in the front and a small diamond sat on the front. It was beautiful, but even if Riley had given me a ring from a cereal box I would have said yes.
After talking with the two for a while they went off to go talk and I threaded my fingers through Riley's again.
" The thing about that ring is that I bought it at a that sits on the foundation of this historic old tavern that apparently some rebels during the Revolutionary War met at," Riley began to explain and I smiled, sliding my hands up his arms and across his shoulders. When I rested them on his next he let out a quiet laugh and blushed a bit. " I'm guessing that you don't really care about that, do you?" He asked. I shook my head.
" No, I love the fact that you're explaining something historic, just like I usually do. And now I guess I see what you mean that it can be hot when you talk like that…" I told him.
" I was referring to you when I said that." He said, putting his hands on my waist again. I grinned and pulled him a bit closer again.
" And now it also applies to you." Riley grinned and chuckled.
" Good to know. I'll have to start doing some research and do that more." He joked and I just grinned and nodded, giggling when he kissed me again. I wound my arms around my neck and slid a hand into his hair as the kiss deepened.
We both stood there for God knows how long, and I could vaguely make out the sound of fireworks in the distance. The sound made the both of us know the second chaotic adventure was over. But, as Riley said earlier on, this wasn't going to be the last. Our life was just going to keep getting even more chaotic, but the fact that we were now both engaged ensured that we'd stick through it together.
I suddenly pulled back and looked up at Riley.
" Riley, you're going to have to meet my parents." I told him. He blinked for a moment and then nodded.
" Yeah. We should probably also tell them pretty soon that we're getting married." The statement made us both smile again.
" But that can wait till tomorrow, don't you think?"
I wrapped my arms around his chest again, his arms winding around my waist as we watched the fireworks explode in the sky above Mount Rushmore. Second adventure down, so many more to go.
Afterword: YESSSS THEY ARE ENGAGED! =D WOO! =D Also, this isn't the last chapter! =D I was thinking of doing a few more about returning to D.C. and Arabella and Riley calling her parents and, of course, Riley getting his Ferrari back! =D
I also REALLY want to make another story about another adventure! (that would also probably include them meeting her parents) But, first, I'll have to find a new legend to base it off of, so, if anyone has any suggestions please to let me know!
grapejuice101: Ahaha! Yeah, she always gets into some sort of trouble like that; probably cause she's the one everyone cares about in some way. I'm glad you liked it! Hope you enjoyed the chapter! =D Thanks for the review!
Phillipfan24: I'm glad you liked the chapter and enjoyed this one! Thanks again for the review!
MidoriPoet: I'm glad you liked the RileyxArabella moments! I wanted some more of those before the proposal in this chapter =D Thanks again for the review!
Crystal-Wolf-Guardain-967: I thought it would be a sweet way to end the chapter! I'm glad you liked it and hope you liked this chapter! Thanks again!
Thanks for all those who have also added this to their favorites and story alerts! Means a lot!
Again, to anyone who might have a suggestion for a myth/legend for a new story for this series, let me know! Please review and let me know what you thought! Thanks again!