Peter had had it all planned out. He knew what he was going to say, he knew when he wanted to say it. So the time had passed, and the circumstances were slightly different, but it was the day he wanted to say it, ever since Christmas. Today was the day, definitely.
But having everyone staring at him wasn't part of Peter's plan. And he'd planned to do things and say them in a different order, but it was too late to change the past now.
So, here Peter was, so nervous that he was shaking. Perhaps it was the cold. And there Autumn was, sitting next to him, patiently waiting for him to explain the mystery to her.
Peter took her hands in his. To his relief and horror, he found that Autumn was trembling even more than he was. Peter hoped it was nervousness, or anticipation, or cold—but anything other than fear.
The words were not coming. Peter sat there, his mouth opening and closing without sound, much like a fish. Every time he tried to start what he was going to say, Peter forgot, or got too nervous. There were too many people looking at him for him to say it out loud.
So the other occupants of the boat didn't hear what he said. It didn't matter if they did—it was only for Autumn. He leaned close to her, and whispered his question in her ear.
"Will you marry me?"
Everyone saw Autumn's reaction. She began to cry. Not just a few, happy tears, but sobbing very loud, and with buckets of tears, to put it gently.
"What kind of answer is that?" he asked quietly.
Autumn couldn't answer. All she could do was to embrace Peter and hold him tight. She didn't know or care that everyone else was staring at them. Finally, after several minutes, when she was calm, Autumn gave her answer. "Yes," she whispered. "I'll marry you." She loosened her arms around Peter's neck. He wiped away her tears as she laughed, mainly at herself. As if to seal the deal, Peter kissed her.
The other six people in the boat were still in the dark as to what had just happened.
"What just happened?" asked Davy. (What did I tell you?)
Autumn and Peter didn't say anything. Autumn just held up her left hand so everyone in the boat could see the ring that Peter had slipped on her finger without asking her, while they were celebrating the discovery of the oars.
Coralia just looked confused (again). Everyone else in the boat just stared in silence.
"Say something," Autumn demanded. No one obeyed. "Say something—say it about this, about the ocean, about pirates, about work but do it now!"
"Now about those pirates—" Micky began, but Rachel cut him off.
"Congratulations," Rachel said.
"That's better," said Autumn.
The congratulations started with Rachel's softly spoken word and escalated in volume until the shouts and joyous yells of all eight people in the boat rose to the starry night sky and left a shipful of pirates completely mystified.
back to Goin' Down Part Eight