Joe sent the word round quite
rapidly, but just to be sure the Watchers found that they were
following some very well behaved Immortals for the next few days.
It was only the next Friday that the first of the bunch decided
she wanted a little privacy and Madi gave her shadow the slip
quite easily. She did, however, have a very good reason: Adam
had asked her to dinner, and it would not do for anyone to see
a Watcher having a meal with an Immortal. If the relationship
turned into anything but a quiet friendship the complications
would pile up, but that had never stopped Methos before.
The attention was dying down:
the extra personnel had been reassigned from the twins and the
uneasy vagueness of the truce was reinstating itself. Normality
was slowly seeping back into the area, if anywhere that had Immortals
in numbers could ever be said to be normal.
Karina's father took the news
of her relationship with Chris quite well considering, and although
it caused a partial rift in the family, he did not try and forbid
it. He was a man who knew his daughter very well, and he also
knew love when he heard it. There would be no more family chats
about Watcher business while Kari was at home, but she was her
own person and she had never given her allegiance to the organisation.
Her mother had cried on the phone, but they'd sorted things out.
Everything else carried on just
as it had been: the dojo, the relationships, only one person seemed
to be acting a little strange. Beren was beginning to think she
was paranoid, by the end of the week, but Richie appeared to be
keeping secrets from her. They told each other just about everything
and when it looked as if he was sneaking around behind her back
she became a little worried. Every time she even tried to bring
up the subject over the days after the Quickening he changed the
subject and steered their conversation in another direction. When
a taxi turned up to take her home on the Friday instead of her
lover she made up her mind to pin him down and find out exactly
what was going on as soon as she saw him.
The door slammed loudly behind
her when she finally charged inside and she was so worked up that
it took her a few moments to realise that there were four things
waiting for her on the coffee table. The piece of furniture had
been moved into the centre of the room and all the anger drained
out of her as she saw what was there. The first object was a single
rose in a small glass vase: it's petals were a deep, blood red,
almost black in the centre and she could smell it's perfume from
where she stood. The second article was a large, plain white box,
sealed with a blue ribbon, and the on top was an envelope with
her name on it in Richie's careful handwriting. The last gift
was a small box, also gift wrapped, but her eyes fell on the other
paper container first.
She walked forward slowly and
picked up the card gently. It wasn't sealed, only folded inwards
and she pulled the lip open carefully, taking out the contents
with skilful fingers. It was a single piece of stationary, rimmed
in gold with hand crafted gothic lettering to form the message.
As she read a little smile played across her mouth and she bit
back the urge to cry.
"It would give Mr Richard
Ryan the greatest pleasure if Miss Berengaria Danworth would accept
these tokens of his love and affection, and meet him for dinner
this evening. A carriage will call at seven o'clock if the Lady
would do him the honour of consenting to this invitation."
It took her several seconds to
wrestle with the expertly tied bow on the box, but after a brief
struggle she carefully pulled off the lid. Her breath caught in
her throat as she pulled the tissue paper off what was inside,
and revealed the most sumptuous black velvet. Nothing would have
stopped her pulling the dress out of the box, and her eyes glowed
as she took in the long elegant gown, the cost of which she didn't
even want to contemplate. Reluctantly she lowered the garment
back into it's container and reached for the other package. The
paper came off in one swift movement and revealed a small black
box which she opened with a shaking hand. The earrings were drop
sapphires, and the small card in the lid was inscribed: To match
your eyes. Beren just sat down and stared at them for a few minutes.
Then she looked at her watch: it was five thirty and even though
she had plenty of time, panic set in.
The carriage turned out to be
a limo and after that the young English woman gave up trying to
calculate what this evening must be costing. The velvet dress
clung to her figure with heart stopping closeness and as the chauffeur
helped her out of the car at the restaurant she looked absolutely
stunning. She'd found yet another two gifts waiting for her in
the bedroom when she'd gone in to change, and the black shoes
and wrap finished off the outfit in style. More than one head
turned as the uniformed doorman held the portal for her and the
Maitre-d' walked up to her. She'd piled her long curls into a
sophisticated swirl on the top of her head, and her makeup was
"Miss Danworth," the
member of staff greeted as if she'd been going to the restaurant
for years, "welcome to Chez Louis. Please, let me take your
It was a figure of speech, because
the moment the words left the man's mouth another member of staff
was helping her to remove the outdoor garment.
"Your table is this way,"
he lead her into the dinning room, and from there she needed no
As she walked through the door,
Richie stood up from where he had been waiting, and Beren's heart
almost stopped. The young Immortal looked timeless as he sported
the current style for Edwardian jackets and modern accessories.
He'd chosen a black frock coat with a high collared shirt and
white cravat, the severity of which was overcome by the red and
gold waistcoat, almost renaissance in style. Her eyes took in
everything from the stylish black, buttoned boots, over the sharply
pressed grey trousers and upwards. There was something about him,
a poise, maybe the way he stood, and it spoke to her. To say that
she was impressed was the understatement to end all, and after
a moments shock she literally beamed at him. The concierge didn't
even bother to try and keep up, as somehow the young woman covered
the distance between herself and her beau in less than five seconds
whilst remaining undeniably graceful. Any British reserve had
been put away for the evening and without another thought Beren
threw her arms around her lover and kissed him with all the passion
she could muster.
"You liked the dress then,"
he said sweetly when she finally let him breath.
The lip sealer had been a good
idea, otherwise the small smudge of gloss on Richie's mouth would
have been spread all over his face.
"Liked," was the reply
he received from his partner, "you wonderful man, I love
everything, I love you, I think you're the most fantastic person
on the face of the planet."
The maitre d' stood back inconspicuously,
but when they'd been standing there, staring into each other's
eyes for a good five minutes he did manage a gentle clearing of
the throat. Richie spun into action with a broad grin and pushed
the chair in as his love sat down.
"Why?" Beren asked
finally, once they were both seated with menus in their hands.
"Aren't I allowed to spoil
you once in a while?" was the charming and evasive reply.
There was curiosity bright in
her eyes, and his innocent look didn't fool her at all. There
were idea's running through the young Immortal's mind and his
lover could read them all too well. Just for a moment he looked
as if he was going to continue to avoid her question, but eventually
he smiled. He put down his menu, reached over to her with his
left hand and took hold of her slim fingers, rubbing them gently,
almost shyly. He was working up to something, and the emotion
in his eyes was very nearly afraid: he seemed very unsure. It
was so unlike Richie that it caused Beren momentary concern and
she cast the wine list aside. She barely noticed that his other
hand had dived into one of his pockets, and she was surprised
when he produced another box. Her breath caught in her throat
as she saw the small container and she had no idea what to think
as he pushed his chair back and stood up. He came round the side
of the table, and with a little flourish went down on one knee,
deep love in his eyes.
"Will you marry me?"
he asked very quietly and flicked open the ring box with unconscious
No sound would leave Beren's
lips, she opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She stared into
his eyes, the same small smile playing across her features as
had done when she'd opened the gifts. Somewhere inside she had
known, a deep down place that had guessed, and the love she held
in her heart blossomed to fill her entire being.
"Yes," she said in
no more than a whisper, "yes, my love."
She really didn't remember how
the diamond and sapphire ring found it's way onto her finger,
or how they both stood, all she remembered afterwards was the
embrace, and the kiss. They had gained the attention of all the
other diners in the room, and when they finally parted they received
a resounding round of applause. Richie smiled at Beren and she
clung to him, almost shaking.
"I love you," the Immortal
said, his voice thick with emotion.
"Forever," his lover