Darkest Before the Dawn

FLASHBACK 6


London
Three years later...

"Just relax. I'm pretty good at this. Don't worry."

Lorenzo glanced at his friend. Tommy's teasing smile didn't ease Lorenzo's nervousness one bit. His heart raced and his palms were wet with perspiration. Even though Elizabeth was nowhere in sight, he could feel her all around him. He had a very important job to do and he had to do it right the first time. The engagement ring he chose would have to dazzle her the first moment she laid eyes on it. No ordinary diamond would do. The ring that would promise them to each other would have to be extraordinary.

"Hey!" Tommy waved his hand in front of Lorenzo's face. "Earth to Spencer, come in Spencer."

"I'm here, I'm here," Lorenzo mumbled. He stepped inside the jewelry store and silently willed his heart to slow its beating. "Just relax," he whispered to himself.

"My name is Montgomery Morgan. How may I help you?" A portly older man asked, looking from the smiling face of one of the young men to the tense expression of the other. He settled his eyes on the tense one. He gave Lorenzo a winning smile. "Ah, right this way," he said, indicating with his hand, "I believe I have exactly what you're looking for."

"How do you know what I'm looking for?" Lorenzo asked from behind a dark, suspicious gaze.

"Because it's written all over your face," Tommy said, giving his friend a hearty slap on his back.

"What is?" Lorenzo asked, giving Tommy a look that only made him chuckle.

"That you are looking for a ring for your lady," Mr. Morgan said with a glance over his shoulder. He moved behind the glass counter and pulled out a tray of sparkling diamond rings. "Come," he said, giving Lorenzo an encouraging smile. "Tell me about your young lady and I guarantee you that I'll have just the ring for her."

"You think so, huh?" Lorenzo asked, unimpressed. He moved towards the counter and sat in the proffered cushioned seats.

"He guarantees it," Tommy murmured as he sat beside his friend.

An hour and a half later, the two young men discovered that Montgomery Morgan's guarantee was as good as word. Lorenzo left the jewelry store with a relieved smile on his face and Elizabeth's ring in his breast pocket. He had the ring and now all he had to do was ask the question.

~*~

"I know that I'm being silly and I apologize," Elizabeth said as soon as the salesperson left her alone with her sister. In a SoHo dress boutique, she felt out of place. She was more familiar in a Paris art supply store than anywhere else on the planet. She bestowed Sarah with a grateful smile as the older woman linked their arms and gave her an affectionate pat on the shoulder.

"There's no reason for you to apologize to me," Sarah said. "You're a little nervous and you have a right to be. It's not every day that a woman is proposed to-"

"Sarah, come on," Elizabeth said, disengaging herself from Sarah's arm. "We don't know if that's what Lorenzo has in mind." Shrugging, she turned her back on her sister. "For all we know, he's just planning a romantic dinner."

"Um, Lizzie," Sarah said with a shake of her head, "a man doesn't just fly you halfway around the world for dinner unless he has something special planned."

Elizabeth shrugged again. "Nikolas does it for Dawn all the time. No special reason, just because."

Sarah's jaw tightened, but she quickly plastered a smile on her face to mask the sudden tension. "Nikolas is an exceptional man and Dawn is fortunate to have him. Anyway, we're talking about Lucky—um, Lorenzo. He's not the type to do that. You know it and I know it. He's up to something. He's planning something and my gut tells me that you won't have to wait for your heart's desire for very long."

"You really think so?" Elizabeth asked, her brown eyes shining with longing and her love for Lorenzo. "Do you think that the wait is over, and I'll finally be his wife?"

Sarah smiled and placed her arm around her younger sister's shoulders. "It's what you've always wanted, isn't it? I do believe that if we live long enough we will get what we want."

Elizabeth released a rush of air and laughed at its sound. She hugged her sister to her and said, "Oh, Sarah, I do hope you're right. You've got to be right!"

"Oh, I am," Sarah reassured her, returning the hug. "In time, we always get what we want. Sometimes, we have to be patient and sometimes, we don't. For you, patience won out."

"And, what about your heart's desire?" Elizabeth asked after the two sisters ended their embrace. "Will patience win for you, too? What is your heart's desire, Sarah?"

The earnest expression on Elizabeth's face stunned Sarah to silence for a moment. She swallowed hard and smiled brilliantly at her sister. "My heart's desire is not important, sweet Lizzie. But if I have to say it... Well, I've be patient...and patience only lasts for so long."

Elizabeth gave her a quizzical glance. "What does that mean?"

"Nothing!" Sarah said, shrugging. "Nothing except that today is your day. We're finding you the perfect dress to go with your perfect evening. Nothing else matters tonight except for you. Okay?"

"Okay!" Elizabeth said, enthusiastically. The questions she had in her mind about Sarah's statement soon vanished as the salesperson returned with half a dozen dresses for her to try on.

~*~

A dense fog enveloped the young couple as they strolled along the cobblestone streets. Lorenzo released Elizabeth's hand and pulled her closer beside him. Her body fit against his so perfectly that he couldn't prevent a sigh of contentment from escaping his lips.

"What was that for?" she asked, looking at him through the fringes of her dark lashes. "Is everything okay? You didn't like the Shepherd's pie, did you?"

Rubbing his stomach, he groaned. "Don't remind me. Never again."

"Aw, come on," she said, laughing softly. "Didn't you find it tastier than the barbecue in Port Charles?"

"Nothing beats that," he said, shaking his head as he joined her in soft laughter. "Nothing in England could ever come close."

"So, why did you bring me here?"

Elizabeth's quietly asked question stopped Lorenzo as he closed his hand around the iron gate which lead to his home. Taking a deep breath, he gave the gate a tug. The gate creaked open and he extended his hand, indicating that she should proceed him inside. She nodded as she quickly brushed past him. He followed her, closing the gate with a hard, final slam.

After a few fumbles with the lock and key, Lorenzo opened the front door and the two moved inside. He took his time taking her coat and removing his own. He left the wraps on the staircase railing and took her hand. When she opened her mouth to speak, he put a finger to his lips. She obeyed his silent command and tightened her hold on his hand. He quickly led her to his den, which served more as a music room than anything else. With a nod of his head, he offered her a seat on the piano stool while he slowly knelt at her feet.

"Lucky!" she gasped, accidentally reverting to his former nickname.

"Elizabeth," he murmured softly, "please..."

"Okay," she said. She gently cupped his face in the palm of her hand. "Okay."

"Thanks," he breathed with an audible sigh of relief. He reached for the hand that lay in her lap. Closing both hands over hers, he noticed how delicate her hand was in his. Slowly, he raised her hand to lips, kissing her softly. "Oh, my sweet, Elizabeth," he murmured. Still holding on to her hand, he turned his sapphire blue eyes to stare intently into her brown orbs. "I've thought of countless ways to ask you this. I know of at least half a million reasons why you'd tell me no, but..." He paused to take a breath. He closed his eyes for a brief moment and when he had regained his composure, he opened his eyes and began to speak again. "But even knowing that, I know that I can't help asking you this all the same."

"Oh, Lorenzo," Elizabeth whispered. Her hand squeezed his hands and tears shimmered in her eyes. She blinked them back and held her breath, waiting for him to speak again.

"Oh, Elizabeth," he continued as if she hadn't spoken, "I'm not the boy who wants to be your hero. Years ago, I didn't understand when you told me that I wanted to be your savior. Since that time, I've grown up and I realize that you were right. I didn't want to hear it. I thought by saving you, I could save myself...but that wasn't fair. Not to either of us. I can't promise you that I won't make mistakes. That I won't be a smartass from time to time, but I can promise you that I will love you. That while I won't try to be your savior or your hero, I will be your friend...your lover...your husband. Elizabeth, I'm asking you to marry me. Will you?"

"Yes!" she cried with tears streaming down her face. She wrapped her arms around his neck as the tears wetted both her cheeks and his neck.

To be continued...in Flashback 7

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