Evening came too quickly for them, cuddled underneath three layers of blankets and warmers, sharing lazy kisses and idly talking of superficial matters and silly wordplay.
"Tomato. Dome. Tomb."
Henry scoffed. "I have no idea!"
"Anecdote. Inept. No, wait, this one's too hard…"
"But what was the secret?"
"You gotta figure it out!"
"You said it yourself, it was too hard!"
"No, I meant coming up with words with "ne" were too hard. Oh, wait, that's not—"
"Hah! That's what it was, the second and third letters…"
Jo grunted. Henry laughed at her grumpy face - she did often ruin her own games...
"You're adorable like that.", he said simply.
She moved on bed and laid on top of him, hair cascating around his face and her lips hovering above his. "How about this?"
Moaning hoarsely as he moved both hands to her back, Henry nipped at her lips temptively. "Adorably… wild."
"That's it?" she scoffed.
"That's not it. There's so much more. You're so incredibly hot, my love, but I'm so very hungry. I can't think. Not even about this. But you're quite a turn-on, if that's what you want to hear."
Jo rolled her eyes and moved away, sitting on her legs next to him, exposing her scarcely dressed torso as the covers slid down, hair shorter than shoulder-length exposing her neck teasingly. "Fine. But you'd better take me somewhere fancy tonight", she said and stormed out of the room.
Henry smiled and then mentally slapped himself. "Tantalizing! That's what I should've said!"
And he surely didn't let her down.
They went to this fancy little restaurant in Soho, that held a special meaning to them. There was a secluded table near the balcony waiting for them to arrive.
She smiled widely at him, approval clear in her eyes. He did often sport fashionable suits, and this one surely made him even more handsome.
The restaurant was cozy and the table had been neatly set for a romantic dinner.
"This is where we had our first date! How sweet."
Henry smiled back, listening attentively to every word but completely unable to tear his gaze from her. She was stunning in her long, light-colored dress with small details in lace. "Nine years ago today, I brought the most brilliant woman here on a date." He paused. "I wonder where she went!"
Jo giggled and punched his arm as they sat.
"Yes! You're right here! Still right here. You accepted me for who I am, and I am honestly thankful for that, because I don't know what I would have done if you'd turned me down. Of course you couldn't possibly resist my charms, even though I was an arrogant, sad man back then. Now I'm just arrogant, but I haven't heard you complain about it yet."
She rolled her eyes. "Give me a few more years and I promise I will!"
"Oh, you will, I am sure." He laughed slightly, and his voice softened. "See, I've been thinking a lot about what you said this morning. Admittedly, about what we did in the afternoon as well" he said, shaking his eyebrows at her, earning a laughter. "But mostly about our talks. And I have come… to a conclusion."
She frowned at him, guessing where he was going. "Stop beating around the bush, Henry."
He laughed. "Alright. But let's take a walk first."
They left the table and walked out to the balcony.
The restaurant stood on the 67th floor, and the view was nothing short of amazing.
The evening was chilly and windy, and quite frankly, she thought she wasn't dressed appropriately for this. But she bore with him.
Henry wrapped his arms around her as she leaned on the railing, sighing softly.
Quietly, he spoke. "Did you ever think we'd be here someday?"
She leaned back and shook her head – no.
"Me neither. Never would I have imagined… I could love again. I know it's tacky and I sound like a bitter old man, but love's been hard for me in the past few centuries."
He shifted slightly, picking something up from his pocket. Once he had it, he slid his arms beneath hers once again and popped the small velvet box open before her. She held her breath when she saw the delicate silver ring with tiny colored stones adorning it.
It was as simple as that. No speeches, no poems, nothing. It just didn't seem necessary.
She spun around to face him and caught that glimpse of hesitation.
It might've been cruel not to reply immediately, but she couldn't help but be mesmerized by him. Those gorgeous, loving eyes staring into hers. That lovely faltering smile waiting on her. Those inviting lips…
They looked exactly the same as they had nine years prior, when he sheepishly invited her over for dinner, and on the terrace of his former apartment they shared their first kiss.
She slid her arm on his shoulders and kissed him deeply, pulling him closer to herself. For long minutes, there was no other reply.
Once they finally broke apart, Henry reached out to cup her face. "I'll take that as a 'yes'?"
She shook her head and smiled, on the verge of tears. "Of course it's a yes, Henry. Of course I will marry you."
Henry pulled her into a meaningful embrace, and they stayed glued to each other for a long while.
Until, of course, they heard someone else on the balcony clap and say, "Alright! Let's get this party starteeed!"
They jumped apart at the sound of a familiar voice. Jo was utterly confused and quinte honestly, a bit mad. "Lucas? What are you doing here!?"
A second later, she was probably more confused as to why he was wearing a suit. It took her a moment.
Jo laughed, seeming to get all the pieces together. "Oh, this gotta be a prank!"
Henry laughed. "Why?"
"Seriously? You're wearing a tux, and Lucas is here too, looking all important?"
Lucas did want to comment on the important part, but didn't get the chance.
"I didn't dress up enough for this!"
"You look fine!", Lucas said finally, handing her a small bouquet of lilies.
Henry smiled and kissed her on the cheek. "You're gorgeous, darling."
She was still laughing, "Unbelievable. You guys…"
Lucas cleared his throat and for the first time she paid attention to their surroundings. The balcony had been nicely, yet discreetly, adorned with flowers and lightly colored silk, small glasses with candles delicately hanging from the ceiling and on the railing. It was all so pretty that she didn't know how she'd missed all that. On the corner was a table with five white picture frames. One for Abe and Abigail, one for Amanda and another for her son, one for Jo's brother and the last one for Jo's late husband.
She covered her mouth in shock.
Henry softly whispered, "They couldn't make it here today, but they gave us their blessing."
She hugged him tightly and then both turned to their make-shift priest. It was quite entertaining for all of them.
Lucas cleared his throat.
"We are gathered here today in the presence of these witnesses," and he pointed to the table with the pictures, "to FINALLY join Henry Morgan and Joan Martinez in matrimony. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together - let them speak now or forever hold their peace." He paused and looked at the pictures. It was quite silent until Henry cleared his throat to urge him on. "Right. So, uh, do… do you Henry, take Joan as your wife, to love and respect, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until uh, death?"
Henry smiled and looked at her, bringing her hand to his lips and kissing it. "I do."
"Do you, Joan, take Henry as your husband, to love and respect, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death?"
She squeezed his hand and let her tears fall freely. "Yes. I do."
Henry turned towards her and slid the beautifully adorned ring onto her finger. "I, Henry, give you this ring as a symbol of my love and commitment to you."
She still cried softly, but managed to caress his face and smile lovingly.
"By the power vested in me by…uh…m-my boss, Henry, I FINALLY pronounce you husband and wife and husband/wife. You may kiss the bride".
Jo laughed and kissed Henry softly on the lips, full of mirth.
Once they were through with the improvised ceremony, the three had dinner quickly before Henry excused them. "It's been lovely, Lucas, I greatly appreciate your help, but we must go."
Jo was startled and nearly upset – there was still so much dessert to eat!
"I thought you'd said Italy, right? Is Venice good enough? Or do you prefer Rome?"
She couldn't quite reply. "I—I… I don't know! What?"
Henry cocked his head "I figured. So we'll go to both! See you in a week, Lucas! Lest we decide to live there!", he joke matter-of-factly, taking Jo by the hand and gently pulling her towards the exit. "Come on, wife, we got a plane to catch!"
"What!" was all she could muster before breaking into laughter. "You're unbelievable!"
They walked away quickly, leaving Lucas behind, with a half-empty bottle of wine, a smile plastered on his face and a bouquet of lilies.
One is never too old for a new beginning, it seemed.
And this was, for sure, the new beginning they deserved.
Can't say I didn't warn ya u.u
Do I get comments? :D