3:14 p.m.

Michael pressed his lips together as he tried to hold his happy tears back. He opened the box revealing the Budelli ring, and slipped it onto her left ring finger.


Just as he imagined, the gold bezel embracing the kunzite stone in the middle shined beautifully against Athena’s rich dark skin.


“She said yes!” Michael shouted in excitement as he jumped up. He pulled Athena in for a kiss as Straw and Andy clapped for Michael and Athena. They knew she’d say yes; it was just a matter of her actually saying it. “That was the longest minute of my life,” Michael exhaled as he smiled at his new fiancée. “You mean the world to me, Athena Joy. The whole world.”


The first time Michael proposed to the love of his life, he was rejected.


The second time was over the phone.


The third time was for business.


Now, at fifty years old, the fourth and final time, he had finally done right. And for all the right reasons.


All his life after failed relationships and marriages, this was something that he had only dreamed of. This was that something normal that he had always wanted to experience.


Athena smiled as she wiped a tear that had rolled down her cheek. She held her left hand up to admire the new ring Michael had slipped onto her finger. Any more tears that had threatened to come out halted as her eyes almost bulged out of their sockets. “Michael, this is huge! Where did you get this?!”


Michael smiled that infamous beautiful smile of his. “Where we first met.”

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