Monthly Archives: November 2015

By Design – Chapter 44

Best. Party. Ever. Am I a bit biased? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I can’t tell a good time when it’s all around me.

Eli couldn’t help but smile as he read the words Gracie had written about the previous night’s events. He had to say, he agreed with every single one of them. It had been perfect. The party had gone better than even he had planned. But it was what had come after her initial shock that had made his night one that he would never forget.

He leaned back in his chair as he thought about it. When it came down to it, this last year hadn’t gone at all as he had planned for it to. Gracie had not been expecting his proposal, that much had been evident in her reaction. Though, what exactly he had hope for this year, he didn’t know. When he thought about it now, he couldn’t imagine it being any other way. And he definitely couldn’t imagine himself being with anyone but Gracie.

There was a knock on his door, causing him to come back to the present. Gracie’s head poked into the office. She smiled at him.

“Are you ready?” she asked.

“Of course,” Eli said. He closed out of the article he had been reading and turned off his computer before following her out of the office. Ken was driving them to the airport and would be there again to pick them up at the end of the week. But for the next few days, it was no work, no worries, just he and Gracie beginning the rest of their life together living happily ever after.

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By Design – Chapter 43

Gracie stepped out of the car in front of the event building. There was music coming through the open door, soft, elegant. The lights inside shined out into the night street. This party screams Eli, she thought. It was exactly his kind of flair. Everything about it felt high style.

She walked in, Colleen by her side. Eli must have been waiting for them to arrive, because he was there to greet them in no time. He took Gracie’s hands in his and kissed her fingers.

“You look wonderful,” he said.

Gracie tried to hide the fact that his compliment made her blush. “Thanks to you,” she said feeling like a little girl because of her embarrassment. “It’s all your doing though. You didn’t have to send the gown. Really.”

“I know,” Eli said. “But I wanted to. I thought you would enjoy it.” He turned to Colleen. “Glad to see you could make it as well,” he said.

“Thanks for the invite,” Colleen said with a smile. “I wouldn’t have wanted to miss it for anything.”

Gracie still couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something going on here, and that Colleen was in on it. The look passing between Eli and Colleen only seemed to confirm her fears.

“I have to ask a favor of you,” Eli said. “I hope you won’t mind.”

“What can I do for you?” Gracie asked.

“Would it be too much to ask you to do a bit of work today?”

Gracie knitted her brow, suspicious. “What do you mean?”

“I was wondering if you might be willing to write a review for us tonight,” Eli informed her. “Take in all the details, let the world know how we do.”

Gracie was surprised by his request. Was this the secret thing she had been suspecting? “Seriously?”

“If it’s too much to ask…”

“No, not at all,” Gracie said with a laugh. And here she had been worrying over nothing.

“Oh, and if you don’t mind, I would really like it to be a good review. At least this once.”

Gracie couldn’t help but laugh again at that. “I’ll do my best,” she assured him.

“Great,” Eli said. He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, and then he was off again, mingling with the crowd around them.

“He seems in a good mood tonight,” Gracie commented to Colleen.

“He should,” Colleen said. “But I think his mood might be getting better pretty soon.”

“What do you mean?” Gracie asked. But she found out before Colleen had time to respond.

Eli had made his way to the center of the room and he was calling for everyone’s attention. “Excuse me everyone. If I could just have your attention for a moment. I want to thank you for being here tonight. I wanted to take a moment to personally thank all of you for your support over the last year. We have really appreciated it and you have been a big help to us and our company.”

Eli paused as the crowd expressed its gratitude with a round of applause. He waited for the noise to die down before he continued speaking.

“However, this is not the only reason I wanted to gather you here today,” Eli informed them. “I have another announcement that I want to make as well and I wanted everyone to be here for it. Most of you are probably unaware of this, but at the beginning of this year I met someone who changed my life entirely, putting me on my toes for the first time in years, and teaching me not to think too highly of myself without reason. Gracie, would you mind coming forward for a moment?”

Gracie felt her face turning red as she hesitantly stepped forward, the crowd clapping all around her. She didn’t know what Eli was up to, but she had a feeling she was going to find out soon enough.

“Gracie, you have been an amazing person to get to know over the last year. And I hope to get to continue getting to know you for many years to come.” Eli took her hand in his and then went down onto one knee.

Suddenly, everything clicked in Gracie’s mind, and she felt her jaw fall open. Was he seriously doing this right now in front of all these people?

“Gracie Parker, will you marry me?”

 

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By Design – Chapter 42

Colleen arrived at Gracie’s apartment early in the afternoon to help her get dressed for the party Eli was hosting that night. Colleen had also been invited to attend, as a friend of Gracie’s. Gracie couldn’t help but wonder what Colleen had said to Eli to get him to let her come. Russ Walker had stopped by earlier that day with gowns for both girls, courtesy of his brother. Gracie had been shocked to open the door and see him standing there. The formal wear wad come as a surprise.

“Eli didn’t have to do this,” Gracie told him.

“I know,” Russ said. “He just wants to make sure everything is perfect.” The smile on the boy’s face was unsettling to Gracie, as if he knew some secret that he wasn’t willing to share. Gracie had tried to brush off the idea though. She knew she was letting her imagination run away with her. There was nothing for her to worry about.

The dress Eli sent her was a deep blue, with sparkles here and there that shimmered when they caught the light. It was beautiful, but even she was amazed by just how wonderful it looked on her. It wasn’t that Gracie had never worn a gown before; she had just never worn one that seemed so specifically made for her.

“Only you would find a man who could dress you so well,” Colleen jested as she squeezed in beside Gracie to look herself over in the full-length mirror. Colleen’s gown was a pale green, and complimented her complexion. Eli had been very careful indeed in choosing their attire for the evening.

But as beautiful as she knew she looked, Gracie found herself nervous about tonight. She was attending this event as a guest, not as a reporter. The idea was still new to her.  The last time this had happened, things had gone a bit haywire. She didn’t want the same mess to occur tonight. Perhaps it was just the memory of the Chen fundraiser that was making her nervous. Though, Gracie couldn’t help but think it was something more. She thought again of the look on Russ Walker’s face when he had dropped off the dresses. The boy was definitely hiding something. There was something going on. Gracie was sure of it. She didn’t like not knowing.

“What’s up with that look?” Colleen asked.

Gracie hadn’t realized she was making a look. She did her best to try to return her expression to normal.

“You’re kind of looking like you don’t want to go out tonight,” Colleen noted.

“It would be horrible of me, right?”

“After all the trouble this man has gone through to make sure you look gorgeous tonight, I think you at least owe it to him to show up,” Colleen told her.

She was right, Gracie knew. “I just can’t shake the feeling something weird is going on,” she admitted to her friend.

Colleen gave her a knowing smile. “Now, whatever would give you that idea?” she asked, as she linked her arm around Gracie’s and ushered her out the door.

It did little to set Gracie’s mind at ease.

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