Onward

This picks up after episode 5.1. Hope you enjoy.

Telling Matthew was easier than he thought. He obviously didn't think he would have any objections, but he also didn't think he would put it together so quickly. Jean was rather amused. She knew Matthew believed they belonged together. After their time in Adelaide, they weren't fooling those that were close to them. They tried to be discreet. Matthew knew something was amiss when Lucien got back into town. He was different. Happier, dare he say. When Jean was back in town less than a week later, well that sealed it for him. He observed them when they came to visit him in the hospital. Even in that state, he could tell. There had been a change in their relationship. Casual touches that seemed to last longer than normal and the loving glances they gave each other. No, they weren't fooling him. Then, after hearing about Mei Lin and that ordeal, he knew for certain they were meant to be together. He thought he would have to nudge Lucien to ask her so he was pleased that he had done it on his own.

Jean and Lucien waited for Matthew to come down. No one else was around so Lucien took the opportunity to wrap his arms around his fiancé and nuzzle her neck, walking her backwards to the alcove at the side of the stairs. Jean was beaming as Lucien was peppering her neck with small kisses. She looked around for anyone before she pulled back to meet his eyes. Teasing him, she said, "I take it this means we aren't keeping this a secret anymore?"

Lucien's eyes were shining with joy. "I will yell it from the rooftop right now." His excitement made her giggle. He put his hand on her cheek. "But maybe for now we should just keep it to close friends and family. I cannot wait to marry you, Jean." He continued caressing her cheek, drawing her in for a kiss. It was gentle at first but became deeper. They broke apart, resting forehead against forehead, trying to regain their breathing. Jean was rubbing her hands along his back. He had a hand rubbing her hip and lower back while the other was still at her cheek.

Matthew started to make his way down the stairs and witnessed the tail end of their kiss. He stopped and smiled to himself, scanning the area for any other witnesses. Glad to see there were none. He was surprised at them both for taking such a risk in public. The engagement must have boldened their moves. He decided it was okay to continue onward and interrupted the lovebirds. He cleared his throat as he continued his trek down the stairs. He tried to hide his smile as they practically jumped apart.

Jean reached over to quickly wipe away lipstick remnants from Lucien's lips. Lucien cleared his throat. "Matthew, Colonists' Club?"

Matthew smiled, "Perfect."

They were able to get a table in the back and they were pleased to see Cec was working as well. He brought their drinks to the table and noticed Jean's ring. "Are we celebrating anything special tonight?"

The three looked at each other as Cec waited for a response. Jean gave Lucien an approving grin. "Actually, dear Cec, we are." Lucien reached for Jean's hand. "Jean and I are engaged."

The smile on Cec's face was instantaneous. He had been pulling for them. "That is excellent news, Sir. Madame. The next round is on me." He went around to Jean and gave her a hug and patted Lucien on the back.

"Thank you, Cec."

"Yes, thank you, Cec."

He held Lucien's eyes. "Your father would have been so very happy, Sir. I know he wanted the best for you and loved Mrs. Beazley very much. He would consider her the best."

There wasn't a dry eye at the table. Lucien rose out of his chair and hugged Cec, taking him by surprise. "Thank you, Cec. Dad would be right." Pulling back, he met Jean's eyes, "She is the best." He looked back to Cec. "We're just keeping it between close friends and family for now."

"Say no more, Sir. I'm very happy for you two and your secret is safe with me. Let me know when you are ready for a refill." With that Cec left their table.

Lucien sat back down, gently rubbing Jean's back.

Matthew cleared his throat, "You know, if you two are trying to keep this under wraps, you may want to be a little more discreet." He looked down at her ring.

Her hand flew to her ring finger. She turned the ring around so the gold band portion was all that was showing. "Yes, you're quite right, Matthew." She had been leaving it at home but neglected to today. Lucien reached for her hand again and squeezed.

They talked over events of the past few days. They were all pleased that Charlie seemed to mend his relationship with his brother.

Pausing to raise his glass for a toast, Matthew said, "To the future and what it holds."

Lucien and Jean raised their glasses as well. "To the future."

"So, who all knows?"

"Our children, Mei Lin, you, and now Cec. I think we'll let Charlie know as well."

"Well, I'm happy to be one of the few. I really thought I'd have to help push you."

Lucien laughed. "Thank you, Matthew. Given everything that's happened…I'm a very lucky man. I'm just happy she said yes." He said, squeezing her hand again.

"Yes, you are mate."

"Now, hang on. I'm lucky too. I mean we have been put through the wringer and you can be a bit…impossible at times." Matthew let out a huff of laughter. Jean continued, ignoring Matthew. "But I feel very lucky to be here with you." She squeezed his hand and smiled. Lucien and Jean looked longingly at each other. Matthew saw this as a sign to call it a night.

"Well, if you don't mind, I think it's time to head home."

"Yes, of course. We'll drop you off, Matthew."