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Ask Me Again

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“Hey! I said no peeking.”

“I’m not!” Hana giggles, feels a hand tug the blindfold over her eyes further down, just in case it’s slipped - not that it can with how well Liam had secured it before they’d set off on their great mystery adventure. His other hand is still firmly holding onto hers as he keeps guiding her forwards, Hana trusting him to not walk her off a cliff or into some bog - which would be even more surprising considering the lack of bogs (at least, to her knowledge) on Meridian.

With her vision temporarily gone, distinguishing time and distance become difficult for Hana. Three steps feels like three hundred, a meter like a mile. So by the time Liam finally tells her we’re here and goes to take off the blindfold it feels like she’s done another lap of the planet, only this time without Cora jogging beside her.

She squints when she finally regains her vision, her eyes adjusting to the sudden brightness. Orange and purple hues streak the sky, and the sun is just starting to sink into the horizon in the distance. Hana smiles as she realises where they are and why they’re here. Liam comes to her side, his hand finding hers again. He squeezes gently.“I promised you a sunset, didn’t I?”

“You did. Though I’m not sure why the blindfold was necessary.”

“To create suspense, mostly. And look.” Liam tugs on her hand, drawing her attention to a little nearby patch of grass. On it lies a large plaid blanket with a basket sat on top, weighing the blanket down. “Thought we could watch the sun set in style.”

He drops her hand and darts over, opening the basket up to display its contents. He’s clearly eager to share this with her, though Hana can’t help but note a tinge of anxiousness behind his excitement. Liam smiles broadly as he shows Hana the contents of his basket. “I packed all your favourites.”

Hana follows him, dropping to her knees and sitting on her feet. She laughs when she looks inside the basket. “This is mostly peaches.” She smiles and adds, “My favourite.”

“I tried making a pie,” Liam explains. “ But I made the pastry too thin and it all sorta...exploded. Looked like lava. Figured it was best just bin it. I may have overcompensated a little too much with the peaches though...” He stares at the basket sat between them, almost full to the brim with fruit, and mumbles to himself. “It didn’t look so bad when I packed it.”

Hana leans across and places a kiss on his cheek. “I love it.” Her hand finds his and she rubs soothing circles on the back of his hand. He takes a moment to look at their joined hands, takes a few calming breaths. When he finds his voice again Liam replies with a quiet, “Cool, cool.”

They sit in comfortable quiet, Hana munching away at a peach as they look out at the horizon. The general thrum of the planet has begun to die down now, making way for the night time chorus. Still, a few birds linger, making time for one last song before they call it a day. A soft breeze rustles through the trees, chilly as it carries the coming night’s cold, but it’s not wholly unpleasant. Hana and Liam shuffle closer to keep warm.

“You know, this could be a nice spot for a house.” Liam’s voice breaking through the quiet catches Hana by surprise. “Imagine seeing this view from the comfort of our own back porch.”

His hand traces lines up and down her arm, across the top of her hand. His mind wanders, shows him images of a possible future together. White picket fences and lazy evenings sat out on a swing seat, curled up against one another. Listening to the night time chorus, just like they are now, and drinking a hot cup of tea to keep them warm. Enjoying a rare moment of quiet together after a noisy day of noisy children, all bright-eyed and eager and vying for their attention. Hana joins him in his wonderful image.

“Hey Liam.” He turns to face her, his expression unreadable. Hana smiles softly. “Ask me again.”

A broad smile spreads across his face as her words register, as do their meaning. Liam reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a small pouch, empties the contents onto his palm. A ring sits there, held out for Hana to accept. She’s not even surprised he has this on him, in fact truth be told she’d be more surprised if he didn’t.

His eyes glisten as he meets hers. “Marry me?”

She barely manages to get her answer out, throat thick from the tears welling up in her eyes. “Yes. Yes, of course I will.” Hana nods and her tears spill over, run down her cheeks. Liam wipes them away with his thumb. He presses his lips to hers before he takes her hand in his and fumbles to put the ring on her finger. Hana takes it from him and slides it on herself. A bubble of laughter bursts from her lips and soon she’s beaming, just like he is. She can’t seem to stop saying yes, but he’s not about to stop her, the words music to his ears right now.

When the shock subsides they return to watching the horizon. The sun is gone now, sky streaked with dark blues and purples, the faintest hints of orange still lingering in the further corners of the sky. Hana grabs another peach from the basket and Liam joins her, grabbing one for himself.  

Liam asks between bites, “So who do you think we have to see about securing this lot?”