James Landis Story Chapter 41
James Landis Story Chapter 41
"What do you mean?"
Grace just grinned and hugged him. She couldn't explain it in this busy shopping center.
They passed the jewelers store where he bought her the earrings. As they gazed inside casually window shopping with no real intent something caught James’s eye again and he pulled Grace inside. The same sales clerk was standing behind the counter as last time. He leaned over and said something to her quietly and she gave him a smile and nod.
What are you up to James? Grace asked him, raising an eyebrow.
It was James's turn to just grin and hug her. She caught on it was payback so she just returned his smirk. When the clerk placed the ring box on the counter the light caught the large round cut diamond in the center of a ring of smaller diamonds and Grace's face went still with shock.
James smile at the clerk. This was exactly the reaction he was hoping for. He looked at the price and choked a little but he still had the envelope of cash on him so it wouldn't be a problem.
He looked at her. "Yes, Grace."
"What are you doing?" Her voice was cracking as her eyes couldn't leave the ring. She was trapped by the brilliance of the stones.
I remember we talked about getting married and you told me flat out that you didn't believe in marriage.
I DON'T- she interrupted.
That doesn't mean you can't wear a pretty ring! All of the others have beautiful rings and I've seen you admiring them. I want you to have one. One as beautiful as you are, please accept this. He lifted the ring from the box and took her shaking hand. He managed to hold her still enough to slide the ring onto her finger. The band was just a little loose but they could have it resized later. It wasn't so loose it would fall off.
Grace made a soft little sigh noise and James knew she was in love with the ring. It looked perfect on her lovely hand. Her eyes finally slipped away from the stones to see the price tag clipped to the box. She squeaked.
Her eyes shot to his. James! You can't seriously spend this much money on me-
Ring it up, James told to the clerk. "I'll be paying cash."
The woman looked at James in surprise and smiled. Very good sir, then I can offer you a 10% cash discount.
James smiled gratefully. "Thank you!"
Grace was speechless and her mouth hung open.
The clerk returned promptly with the total and he counted out thirty-one one hundred dollar bills. The woman accepted the money and took them back to her cash register.
James reached over and lifted Grace's chin to close her mouth. Maybe one day you'll change your mind about getting married or maybe not. It doesn't change the fact that I want to be with you until we are both old and grey. I love you Grace.
More than I knew was possible.
Grace leapt into his arms and kissed him fiercely. Her arms were wrapped around his neck as his arms were around her back holding her tightly against him.
The clerk was standing on the other side of the counter with tears in her eyes and his receipt in her hand.
James began to chuckle against Grace's lips and she snorted. He set her back on her feet and turned to the clerk.
At least this time you got to the kiss before the buzzer, the woman grinned, handing him the receipt and a small silver paper folder. This is the diamond appraisal for the ring. Keep it safe as you need it for insurance claims.
"Thank you!" James said accepting the folder. He tucked the receipt inside. It went into the pocket with his remaining cash.
Good luck you two, the woman said giving them both wide smiles.
James walked Grace out of the shop and guided her all the way back to the restaurant. She couldn't tear her eyes away from the ring and how it looked on her finger. They walked up to the hostess desk and handed in the buzzer. They were directed to the other side of the desk. James couldn't get over how busy the place was. It was a madhouse and he heard the hostess telling someone there were no tables available for the rest of the night.
Are you sure? It's our anniversary and it would mean so much, said a very distinctive voice.
James spun around and a very beautiful dark skinned woman looked over at him. "Mecca" he blurted. Tall and slim, she was wearing her gorgeous long straight ebony hair loose tonight. She was every bit as lovely as the first day he'd seen her. Her expressive brown eyes above high cheekbones and a strong, distinctive nose were currently showing her surprise at seeing him there. Tonight she was wearing a dark red lipstick on her full lips which made her white teeth gleam!
Then he saw Heather standing at her shoulder. "Heather!" Equally tall but much fairer in complexion she had blue eyes and long wavy white blond hair. Her smile showed perfect teeth that were no longer covered by braces. One change she'd claimed she was going to do had obviously not happened. Her beautiful large nose was still in place and considering Mecca's was similar in scope James understood why she'd finally come to accept it.
Grace heard the familiar names and finally lifted her head. She rushed around James's body and grabbed Heather into a hug then hugged Mecca tight as well. Heather was gushing about how incredible Grace looked. They noticed her slimmer outline.
"Your table is ready," the hostess told him.
"Is it for two or could it fit four?" he asked.
"It's a large booth. It seats four," she replied, looking impatient.
James looked at Mecca. "Will you join us?" The woman seemed unsure but she finally nodded. The hostess grabbed two more menus and led them to the booth. James slid in one side and Grace slid in next to him. Mecca sat across from James and Heather got in across from Grace who was all grins.
"Is this your annual Christmas Eve movie day?" Heather asked.
Grace nodded, bursting with the need to show off the ring but holding back until the time was right.
Mecca looked at James curiously so he answered. "Grace and I see a matinee movie on Christmas Eve every year. What's this I hear about an anniversary for you two?" He grinned at her look of embarrassment. Heather was grinning mischievously.
"I must confess. I lied. I was just hoping they would take pity and find us a table." Mecca blushed and Heather held her hand under the table.
The waitress arrived and everyone ordered drinks. James was surprised that Grace stuck with water. He was sure she'd go for the margarita like Heather. Mecca didn't drink and James was driving so he stuck with the lemonade.
OH MY GOD LET ME SEE YOUR HAND, Heather suddenly yelled pulling Grace's left across the table to stare at the lovely ring. Heather lifted her head and gaped at the two across from her. "You're engaged?!?"
No! No, we're just in love and want to spend the rest of our lives together. I've told you how I feel about marriage. It's not for me." Grace said with a happy smile on her face. Heather saw that James was equally happy so she was glad he hadn't been hurt that Grace wasn't the marrying kind. She sighed as she looked at the ring then blushed as Mecca was looking at her strangely.
Mecca took Grace's hand and looked at the ring. She thought it was very pretty and Grace was obviously completely in love with it. She squirmed a little and looked at James. "You have very good taste in jewelry!"
Even James could tell Mecca was uncomfortable about something. "Thank you. I hope you don't mind me asking but should I not have asked you to join us tonight? You seem... unhappy about something."
Grace looked over at James in surprise. He'd picked up on something she'd missed entirely. But then all she'd been looking at was her ring. She studied Mecca's expression and there was nervousness there. I didn't offend you by expressing my feelings about marriage did I?
Mecca shook her head. "No. Everyone should feel comfortable about expressing their beliefs. Every relationship is different. Some are less conventional than others. Sometimes some traditional aspects are still... appreciated." She glanced nervously at Grace's ring then over at Heather whose eyes had returned to the diamonds.
How about you Heather? What are your feelings about marriage? James asked with an open smile, unaware of the tension across the table. Grace winced.
Heather glanced at Mecca and her gaze was trapped by the intense look in the dark beauty's brown eyes.
"I'm... I'm for marriage. Doesn't have to be the whole church thing but... I like... tradition."
Mecca smiled at Heather and Grace saw some tension leaving her body. The electricity flowing between the ladies across the table was almost tangible.
That's how I feel as well. I wasn't sure how you felt about it though. Mecca said softly to Heather.
"Oh, I can see myself getting married one day," Heather replied dreamily.
"Do - do you think this summer would be too soon?" Mecca said and placed a small box on the table between them.
Heather's eyes went wide with surprise. She began to gasp.
"Breathe Heather and open the box." Grace said with a grin.
Heather had tears in her eyes so she wiped them with her napkin and picked up the box with trembling hands. She pushed it open and screamed. OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!
Mecca was openly crying with joy and her smile was ear to ear. "Heather my love, will you marry me?"
YES! YES! A MILLION TIMES YES! Heather cried and pulled Mecca into a tight hug. She kissed her and rocked as they hugged again.
James and Grace were smiling and crying with big grins on their faces. The waitress came by and left the drinks. Grace indicated they needed more time and the woman slipped away.
Mecca lifted the ring from the box. The centre stone was a very large radiant cut diamond with two smaller radiant cuts on either side. Numerous smaller diamonds surrounded the three stones and lined the white gold band. She slipped it on Heather's finger and the woman began to hyperventilate once more.
Oh my god! Mecca! It's so beautiful! I love you so much!" Heather gushed once she got her breathing back under control. She looked into Mecca's eyes unable to believe how blessed she was to have met her. She swung her eyes over to James. "All of this became possible because you were kidnapped!"
James laughed at the sudden odd direction the conversation had just taken. What?
Heather was getting excited again and Mecca just watched her with love in her eyes. "It's true! If you hadn't been kidnapped Grace wouldn't have gone looking for you and she wouldn't have picked me up after work to help find you!"
You were the one who insisted on trying Mecca's house first!" Grace pointed out with a grin.