Today was a beautiful, sunny day. The weather was lovely and warm...it felt like spring had come early!
Robby's been tired and restless lately. I think being cooped up in the house for such a long time has been tough on him. Before, he would tramp around outdoors in all sorts of weather, but with his leg the way it is now, that's not an option for him anymore.
So when Beast'sbelle came home from picking up her oldest daughter from school and mentioned how nice it was outside, I knew just what to do.
I hurried over to where Robby was sitting. "Hey, I was thinking of going out to the front yard. Want to come too?"
I could see his eyes light up, but he hesitated. "We'll have to have help getting out." He looked at his boots. "I can't open the door for you anymore."
I took his hand. "I know," I told him gently. "Beast'sbelle said she'd help."
He sighed. "Why do you put up with me? You could do so much better than having a slow, hobbling fuddy duddy spoiling all your fun."
I tried not to laugh, but cupped his face with my hands and lifted it till he was looking in my eyes. "I think going outside would do you some good. And I happen to like this slow, hobbling fuddy duddy, thank you very much!" I winked at him.
He smiled and shook his head. "I don't know what you see in me." He looked into my eyes again. "I'm glad you haven't given up on me, though."
I stroked his cheek. "Never," I promised.
Within the hour, we were outside, basking in the sunshine and drinking in the fragrance of the violets that covered the lawn. Violets are one of my favorite flowers, so one of the first things I did was to sit down and pick myself a bouquet. Robby looked on, leaning on his walking stick that Beast'sbelle had found for him last week.
We strolled around for a bit until Robby's hip started bothering him. Then we found a comfortable spot next to a giant tree and sat down.
Robby was very quiet as we sat there...unnaturally quiet.
"Is something wrong?" I asked him.
A bitter smile touched his lips. "I was just thinking about the last time we did this. We used to be able to do more than sit in the grass like an elderly couple." He looked around him. "I can't tell you the number of times I've scrambled through that hedge, or climbed this tree. It kills me to see this huge yard, just waiting to be explored and enjoyed, and know that all I can do is walk around a bit and then sit and enjoy the scenery."
I stroked his hand.
He shook his head, as if to shut out his gloomy thoughts. "I'm sorry, Belle. I'm trying to adjust...I really am. Most of the time I'm fine, but..."
"But it's hard to give up what you've always loved," I filled in for him softly.
Robby looked over at me with admiration in his eyes. "Thank you for understanding."
I fingered the petals on my violets. "I just wish I could help."
He put his arm around me. "You do," he said warmly, "more than you know."
I smiled and leaned my head against his shoulder. I loved how safe and protected I felt in Robby's arms.
We sat contentedly like that for some time, just enjoying each other's company. I knew Robby missed his normal outdoor adventures, but I hoped that cuddling with me helped a little bit. ;)
I imagined what it would be like to have the freedom to sit and cuddle whenever we liked when we were married. There were days where I longed for it so much that I could hardly breathe! How I longed to have him take me in his embrace and kiss me!
Suddenly embarrassed by my thoughts, I got up from my spot and walked over to the tree beside us.
"Are you okay?" Robby asked.
I nodded, looking away from him so he wouldn't see me blushing.
As I stood there looking out over the yard, an idea popped into my head. I had a sudden picture of an elegant but simple outdoor wedding. We'd have to plan it carefully, of course, because if it was in the summer, it would be too warm to do it anytime other than the cooler morning hours.
I leaned back against the tree and imagined myself in my bridal gown with a bouquet of flowers in my arms (were violets still around in June?), standing beneath this tree to wed my beloved.
"Penny for your thoughts," Robby said from behind me.
I turned to find him watching me. I blushed and looked down at my toes. It still felt funny to be so openly adored, as if we were the characters in one of Beast'sbelle's many novels on her bookshelf.
I smelled my violets, accidentally dropping some as I did so. "What would you think about an outdoor wedding?" I asked shyly.
"I don't know...I guess it depends on who's getting married," Robby said thoughtfully.
It took me a moment to realize he was joking. I laughed nervously. "I just meant...I mean, you asked..."
"Oh, you mean for our wedding!" he responded, as if he had just caught on to what I was talking about. He glanced at me playfully. "You mean you're still interested in marrying me at some point?"
It was too weird to try to continue in a serious fashion, so I took his bait. "I'm still thinking about it," I said with pretend nonchalance, but my bashful smile betrayed me.
"Well," said Robby, pulling himself to his feet with a grunt, "in that case, I'll have to get back to you." When he had steadied himself, he walked over to where I stood and leaned against the tree like I had. Then he turned and pretended to scrutinize me.
"What are you doing?" I asked him nervously.
He looked like he was deep in thought, but I could still see the teasing gleam in his eyes. "I'm just trying to picture how you'd look out here for our wedding day." He studied my face a bit longer. "Wouldn't you get too warm? I mean, we had talked about summertime."
I lowered my eyes. It was so strange to talk about things in this flippant manner. "If we did it early enough in the morning, we could avoid the hottest part of the day."
He nodded. "That makes sense." He put his chin in his hand. "What about wedding guests? Would you still want everyone to come?"
"Of course!" I said quickly. "I wouldn't want them to miss it!"
"Will there be cake?"
"I would assume so...most weddings have cake."
"Except Rapunzel and Eugene's," he reminded me. "I think we should make that a priority."
I was amused. "If you insist."
Robby suddenly became serious. He took my violet bouquet and set it on the ground, except for one flower. Ever so carefully, he put it in my hair. He took my hand in his. "Do you promise to wear your hair down, all flowy around your shoulders, like it is today?" he said tenderly, gazing into my eyes.
I wanted to melt. I'd never thought I'd feel this way about Robby, but here I was, turning into absolute mush at his loving words.
"I can do that," I whispered, finally finding my voice. Just ask me! Ask me to marry you now!
"I think I could handle an outdoor wedding, then," Robby whispered back.
At that moment, the side door of the house slammed. We heard the voices of Beast'sbelle's daughters as they headed out to the backyard to play.
I let go of Robby's hand and cleared my throat nervously. "We should probably think about heading in. They might come out front and see us."
Robby nodded. "If you insist," he said, giving me a light smile. He took my arm, and we started heading back for the house, hoping that Beast'sbelle would be able to let us in before we were discovered by her 3 girls. And for the hundredth time this month, I wondered how long I would have to wait before Robby decided to propose!