Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter 49: Marriage Proposal Squared

Satisfied that Gerrie was on the job, I returned to the crowd around the Urn and grabbed myself a mug of Rooibos tea. As I was adding sugar, Daise grabbed my arm and asked to speak to me. I nodded, told her to follow me and walked a short distance away from the crowd. When Alina spotted us, she hurried out to join us, and I noticed that Daise waited for her to catch up before she began speaking. "Rupert, we've been thinking," Daise began. I shuddered, hoping that this wasn't the beginning of a speech about 'it was nice to know you but...'

"No, I think you've got the wrong idea," Alina blurted when she saw the expression on my face. "Please just listen to what Daise has to say. She speaks for both of us on this."

"OK," I responded, "I'm listening." I schooled my face to try to prevent my feelings from reflecting quite so obviously, and turned slightly to face Daise, but ensuring I could keep an eye on Alina's expression at the same time.

"Well..." Daise began hesitantly, "You remember you and I spoke about marriage..."

"Yes?" I prompted gently, feeling my facial muscles freeze, and steeling myself for the worst.

"Well... Alina and I were talking this morning while you were out and we want to suggest something."

"Daise, please just tell me... The suspense is killing me. Do me the favour of putting me out of my misery quickly."

"Oh Rupert, it's just that Alina and I realised as we spoke that not only do we really love each other, but we both love you, and we wouldn't like to split up, but we wanted to know what you felt and we'll do whatever you want, but we would like to stay together and ..."

Daise trailed off, a little out of breath from her little speech, which she had made without seeming to pause for breath.

Now she lifted her eyes, which she had dropped down while she was talking, to look at my face. I could see that was more than slightly disconcerted to see the broad smile which was plastered there. I also noticed the hope blooming in Alina's expression, as I started grinning like a maniac.

"What are you smiling at Rupert?" Daise asked finally, unable to suppress a reciprocal smile of her own.

"The two of you have no idea how happy you have just made me," I managed to get out past the frog that had taken up residence in my throat. "I've been agonising over the very same thing.

I took Daise's hands in mine, looked deep into her eyes, and told her "You know I love you Daise." She sparkled with happiness as I bent my head down to kiss her deeply.

When I pulled back, Daise's eyes were closed and she had a blissful expression on her face.

I dropped Daise's hands, turned to Alina, and took up her hands in mine.

"I love you too Alina," I told her and proceeded to give her pretty much the same sort of kiss Daise had gotten. While we were kissing, I felt Daise's arms encircle both of us, and I thought I heard a faint sob of relief, but I couldn't be sure.

When we finally parted, and surfaced for air, it was to be greeted by applause and slightly ironic cheers. I laughed happily, and responded "That'll be enough from the peanut gallery please." All I got for my effort was more good-natured laughter.

I bent down and pulled the two women's heads close together, so I could talk quietly for their ears alone. "I love you both equally, and I wouldn't want any of us to be seperated from the others. When all this is over, maybe we can speak to the Sgt-Major's Induna about a Zulu wedding, where more than one wife is perfectly acceptable.

Daise and Alina looked stunned at this thought. I smiled and left them to follow me as I returned to join the crowd.

It took a few minutes, and not a few ribald comments, before everyone was settled again, and I could introduce Johnny. He proceeded to lay out the tentative block program for training over the next few days, as well as some suggestions for the teams of four that we had decided were the best combinations for operational purposes.

These 'bricks' of four would from then on train together and eventually deploy as a team, so we wanted to get the combinations right from the start.

Once Johnny was finished, we moved out for the first exercise, which was to get everyone through refresher training in various weapons, with an emphasis on safety-precautions and range orders.

It came as no surprise to me, of course, that my team consisted of the three women and me.

No comments: