Chapter 6: The Engagement
Lola had left work early that day, her mind was racing with plans for her romantic Christmas dinner with Darcy. This Christmas was going to be different, she could feel it. Lola felt overwhelmed with the thought of being with Darcy on Christmas, right through to the New Year no work commitments to keep them apart.
As she was walked pass Harvey Nics, she stopped and gazed at the beautiful festive window display, she smiled and imagined how perfect and magical the future looked and celebrating every Christmas with Darcy and any children they may have.
Arriving home, Lola was met with the scent of fresh pine which filled the apartment. The tree had been delivered over the weekend. So fresh, so uplifting she loved the nostalgia it aroused. It reminded her of the delightful candle she received from her God-mother - Windsor Christmas Tree, the very scent of Christmas; warming winter spices and the fresh scent of pine and lavender beautifully captured in a jar. She loved Christmas.
The run up to Christmas was always busy, Lola was working up to the eleventh hour. Along with work commitments, shopping and Christmas drink – she also met her mum for their annual festive tea at Claridges, those were moments she treasured.
It was the night before Christmas eve and Darcy was on the plane back from New York. This gave Lola the opportunity to wrap his gift and put the finishing touches to their apartment. Biting her lower lip, she suddenly felt a little nervous, maybe she should have just booked a private room at their favourite restaurant for Christmas dinner. She just wanted everything to be perfect. Ah, Prosecco and clementine she thought to herself as she placed the scented candle on the glass console table – a welcoming fragrance for when Darcy arrives.
The following morning when she arrived at work, ready for the last meeting of the year, the last thing she expected, before she had even had time to settle down, was to see him, yes Him – right there in her office. Was there something wrong? Moments later all fears were dismissed when she saw his smile and a beautiful bunch of flowers which he had hid behind him. What was going on?
She held her breath, and braced herself for disappointment – she knew she should have accepted her mother’s offer to spend Christmas with the family in Norfolk. Of course Darcy was going to be called away for work.
“Come on, gather your things” said he, cool and calm as he always was.
“What, what are you talking about – what is going on?” She replied.
He pulled her by the hand, her boss shooed her away and the next thing she knew they were in his car heading out of town.
With her head still spinning and trying to make sense of this crazy impromptu situation, he just looked to her and said “Trust me.”
With an exhale she finally let go and relaxed.
He had everything covered, her work, his work commitments – her weekend bag no detail was left out. They were obviously going away for Christmas. As much as the city suits him, Darcy is a country man at heart, this trip makes sense. He wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis and have a quiet Christmas away.
With all this excitement, Lola felt a slight tinge of disappointment that she wouldn’t get a chance to show off her festive culinary skills, she quickly shrugged it off – how can she complain, sitting there next to Darcy.
Finally arriving at their destination, they drove up a long stone gravel drive-way which led to the most stunning country house, surrounded by acres of ancient woodlands.
The house was classic in style, everything a luxury country hotel should be – grand, characterful, with imposing chandeliers and walls filled with paintings of horses and dogs. Lola and Darcy’s room was just exquisite – deep pile carpets, fabric covered ceilings, a roll-top bath, utter extreme indulgence, perfect for their Christmas stay. A chilled bottle of Moët and the most divine looking platter of festive treats had been placed in the room for the couple. Lola picked up a star sharped biscuit and held it to her nose “Mmm…...” Instantly Lola was reminded of her beloved Shropshire Gingerbread candle that gave her immense comfort and warming thoughts of Christmas.
“Right, my love you have an appointment to get to.” Darcy said, bringing Lola back to reality. “I’ve booked a massage for you at the hotel spa.”
“Wonderful. Won’t you be joining me?” Sounding hopeful with her reply.
“I just need to send a few emails, tie up some loose ends for work before everyone becomes incognito over Christmas. I will join you later.” Darcy replied.
Later that afternoon, Lola sat on the spa lounger sipping her hibiscus tea. She had just had the most amazing relaxing treatment and was completely at ease in her cosy bathrobe. Darcy had not yet joined her. She wondered if it would be like this over Christmas too.
Later that evening Darcy was seated on the edge of the bed, as he looked up – Lola was there, she was dressed in a fitting black velvet dress complimented with the most beautiful pair of emerald green earrings which just set off her eyes. Darcy reached out for her hand and held her at a distance and took the sight of her in, she was a vision. Lola never failed to disappoint Darcy, the same passion and attraction that first drew him to her was as strong as ever. “I think we may have to skip dinner.” He whispered gently into her ear. “Oh no Darcy, I gave up my lemon and pine stuffing for this, we are eating dinner tonight.” Lola giggled as Darcy kissed her neck and took in her scent. She always smelt amazing. He suddenly remembered himself and pulled away from her and headed towards the wardrobe. He pulled out a small black gift bag. “Oh, are we gifting on Christmas eve now?” Lola asked as she pulled out a candle from the beautifully wrapped box – ‘London Mistletoe.’ - The name was so fitting, so perfect, like having a piece of home with them. She could make out hints of ……. She wanted to light the candle there and then, but they were already late for dinner. “I will save this for later!” uttered Lola as they headed to the door.
They had both thoroughly enjoyed their evening meal, five courses of pure delight, accompanied by wine of course. After coffee, Darcy led Lola outside. Lanterns with flickering candle light lined the stairs that led to a flower-filled terrace. in lanterns. The air was cold, crisp but refreshing. Darcy draped Lola’s camel-coloured coat over her shoulders. He held her from behind, and as they embraced they admired the glistering silver lake which crowned the rear grounds of the property.
Lola, lost in the moment heard Darcy call out her name – as she turned around to look at him, he was down on one knee holding a box, with a ring. And then he uttered those words….
Lola was speechless, in total surprise and disbelief. Was this really happening? Lola’s heart was racing and her mind was overwhelmed with the moment. As she looked Darcy in his eyes – she gave him the answer he was waiting for, she had no reservations, no fears – all the doubts she felt over the summer quickly diminished. She knew this was their destiny and everything about that moment just felt right. It was the most perfect, romantic and unforgettable moment of her life. Nothing was going to take away from this.