Lost, Dazed & Confused – Chapter 7

I hope one day I am stronger than I feel
And I hope that it feels different than today

Following the disappointing news, Devon had to admit that it was tough to get into the Christmas spirit.

 

It was tough watching all the other parent search through the toy isles for those special gifts without being able to have a child of her own. It was tough to shop for her cousins with that burden on her shoulders.

 

She wondered how long the pain would last on her shoulders, or whether it’d be something that’d continue forever.

 

It also was tough to get into the spirit of giving and everything with a level of pain on her shoulders that wanted to make her crawl up in a hole.

 

Was that something that’d last forever? Or would she be able to find the happiness that she knew before?

 

Letting out a sigh as she sat around the tree with Ryan’s family, she felt that pity grow more in watching his little cousins crowd around the tree, ripping into presents and take in the joys of the season.

 

A glance from Ryan and she simply offered a small smile, not wanting to worry everybody else with her feelings. That was something that she wanted to keep private just between her and Ryan. How could she ruin everybody else’s Christmas?

 

“Devon….Devon….” She hears a small voice as one of the younger cousins runs towards her with a package. “This was under the tree for you. It say from Ryan.” Devon simply accepts the package, glancing over at Ryan whom simply smiles in return.

 

“I wonder what Ryan got me…” She thinks out loud as she looks towards the box on her lap. She then tears into the wrapping paper carefully, revealing a box beneath the paper.

 

“This is something special that I’d gotten for you awhile back,” he offers with a kiss. “And I threw in a surprise, as well.” She then smiles back in return, pushing every bit of feelings surrounding the news over the past couple of days that had formed.

 

“What is it?” His cousin questions as she opens the box. She couldn’t hide the smile that was forming on her face as she noticed the gold chain inside of the box with a peridot stone at the end of it. “Is it green?”

 

“Yes, it is. That’s my birthstone.” The little girl then looks at her confused.

 

“Birthstone?” Devon then looks up from the package.

 

“Each month of the year is represented by a stone. I was born in August so I have the peridot.” The little girl looks at her slightly confused and then over at her mother.

 

“I born in March…” She then looks back at Devon. “What am I?” Devon thinks it over, trying to remember all of the birthstones.

 

“Aquamarine,” Karla cuts in with the answer. “It’s a beautiful light blue color, just like the ocean. Perhaps we can get you a necklace with your stone, okay?”

 

“Yay!” The little girl then goes back over to the tree to search for more gifts as Devon stares back at her necklace in awe. She then noticed the earrings that were in the box with it, also containing her birthstone.

 

“This is beautiful Ryan,” she tells him as she looks over at him. “Thank you very much.” She then leans in and kisses his lips. “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome,” he offers. “I love you. I hope you enjoy them both.”

 

“I’ll wear the necklace everyday.” She then pulls the necklace out of the box, opening it and placing it around her neck. Ryan then reaches over to help clasp it close.

 

“It looks beautiful on you.” She then looks back into the box, noticing that the movement of the foam had caused it to come up and reveal some papers underneath. She reaches for the papers when Ryan places a hand on top of hers. “Let’s save this for later when we’re alone. It’s something special for you and me.” She then looks at him curiously, but simply accepts. Knowing Ryan, there was a good reason for it.

 

***********************************

 

After having desert and playing some games, the pair retreated back to Ryan’s room later that night. The only thing that was on both their minds – the box from Christmas. Devon couldn’t help but wonder what was written on the papers that Ryan had wanted to save later.

 

“Can I open this now?” She questions and Ryan shakes his head yes. She then pulls the paper out of the bottom of the box, unfolding it to read the details on the white sheets.

 

“There was a reason why I wanted to save this for now,” he offers as she stares at the pages in detail. She flips through them, taking in a couple of words on each paper, as a form of disbelief forms on her face. She slowly lowers the papers down from her face as she looks over at Ryan.

 

“But the specialist said….” He then curls up closer to her as he takes the papers from her hand, setting them aside.

 

“They always say that sometimes you need a second, or third opinion. I saw how heartbroken you were that day in the office. I decided to do something about it. I talked to some friends that had some issues with getting pregnant and such, one of those being Samantha Busch. She got me in contact with her specialist, whom agreed to look over the test results from the other specialists and consult those that she needed to.” Devon’s eyes then returned back to the papers as she picked them up, bringing forth the second piece of paper.

 

“I was told there was too much tissue damage. I was told that I couldn’t. But….” A small smile forms on Ryan’s face as he wraps his arms around her.

 

“A second and third glance over everything proved otherwise as in these specialist’s minds, you do have a chance to make your dreams happen. It’s just going to take being careful and doing everything right.” She then looks into his eyes as tears form in her own. Out of everything that she could’ve gotten for Christmas, this was beyond something of her belief.

 

“You were against the idea. You told me that you didn’t want to take any chances. But yet you did this, for me…”

 

“I did this for us. I understand how heartbroken you are. I understand that there are dangers involved. However, sometimes life is about taking chances and doing what you normally wouldn’t do. I’m willing to take a chance here to make your dreams come true. I want you to be happy.” He then leans in and kisses her lips. “I love you and I would do anything for you.”

 

“You’re truly amazing, Ryan. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” She then leans in and kisses his lips once more, pulling him down on the bed against her.

 

Maybe they could indeed move forward from everything that had happened. Maybe she didn’t need to remain in a world that she didn’t know what to do.

 

 

THE END

Be on the lookout for the next story in the series titled Rekindling.

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Lost, Dazed and Confused – Chapter 5

Everything seems perfect
Everything’s OK
It will all get better now
At least that’s what they say
But I don’t see it coming

 

 

Devon lets out a sigh as she glances at the computer screen once again, reading what seemed like the 100th tale of the day online.

 

“Why couldn’t this be easier?” She questions to herself as she rolls her eyes. She then closes the laptop before spreading out on the couch, trying to find anything to get her mind off of it.

 

“Is everything okay, sweetie?” She hears from the doorway, glancing over her left shoulder to see Karla standing there. Devon had to hand it to Karla. She was perhaps the sweetest mom that a person could meet. She would do anything that she needed to do for Ryan and her family.

 

“Yeah, everything is fine,” Devon immediately answers without a hint of hesitation. While she had thought about asking Karla her perspective from a mother, she couldn’t bring herself to ask the simple question.

 

“Sweetheart, I’m a mother. You know that I can sense when things aren’t right.” Devon lets out a sigh as she sits up. Maybe this was the door that she needed.

 

“If I tell you something, do you promise not to tell a word to Ryan that I told you?” She didn’t want Ryan knowing that she had told her mother the details of what happened. Karla knew that Devon had been attacked, and the rough outline of what had happened as there was an eventual police report. However, beyond that, there wasn’t much said. This was something that had stayed between Ryan and Devon.

 

“Of course, sweetheart.” Karla slowly walks into the room, sitting down beside Devon. “So, what is it?”

 

“With the attack that happened, I was told that I couldn’t have a baby of my own due to scar tissue. I never thought of being a mother, but it left me feeling empty, just not natural, I supp-”

 

“They say a female is here to bring life into the world, carry life and welcome it into the world. They say a male is here to offer support and love. It’s a natural, respectable feeling, dear.” Given what Karla knew of the attack, she didn’t need to question as to the reasoning. It made sense with what Winston had done to her, something that still made Karla sick to her stomach at the thought.

 

“I’ve done some research, though. There are woman out there who have had babies, whether via surrogate or naturally themselves, even with the scar tissue. It makes me want to be open to the idea, test the odds. I just can’t seem to come to grips with what happened.” Karla shook her head understanding, simply wrapping an arm around Devon’s shoulder. For the most part, she believed things were perfect between her son and Devon. However, she knew that couldn’t be the case, and was finding out now. That didn’t mean that it didn’t have to stay that way, though, as things could find themselves back to a perfect world.

 

“Devon, it’s perfectly understandable that it’s taking you time. You went through a very traumatic event, dear. It’s gonna take time to heal and move forward, especially up in the mind. It’s understandable that you’re wanting to look this up, figure out a way, change what you’ve been told. Have you talked to Ryan about this?” Devon lets out a sigh as she remembered the conversation that they had a couple nights ago.

 

“He told me that I should let the idea go, and it’s okay to feel this way but we shouldn’t do this. He said he didn’t want to take the chance of losing me, again.” Karla could only feel conflicted in hearing those words. Ryan was the type of person to push the boundaries and take chances. Why wasn’t he doing this with Devon? Furthermore, he hated to see any disagreements in their relationship, especially of this serious nature, as they made a great couple.

 

“Perhaps if he thinks about it for a couple of days, he’ll see things from your perspective and at least give it a chance. I mean, what’s the harm in going to see a specialist or councilor to talk about this?” Devon wanted to believe that’d be the case with Ryan. However, she had seen no signs in him changing his demeanor since then, as he avoided the topic at all costs.

 

“I can only wish, right? I mean, I get a Christmas wish but I just don’t see it happening.” Karla wanted to stick with Devon’s words in not saying a thing to Ryan, however she hated to let this go with how they were right now. Perhaps she could do some motherly convincing. “Please don’t say anyth-”

 

“You have my word, dear. I promise.”

 

*******************

 

“So I thought about what you said the other day,” Ryan muses as they lay in bed together later that night. “I know I was pretty quick to turn you down. However, perhaps we could at least think about it some more. Maybe we could talk to some people and see what they have to say.” Devon’s eyes immediately cut to Ryan in hearing the revelation. She was glad to hear that he was at least willing to give it a chance, but now worried that Karla had broken the word of trust.

 

“Let me guess – your mother forced you?” She questions, without a second thought.

 

“No, my mother hasn’t said a single word to me about it. I actually called Elliott the other day and talked it over with him.” Devon felt her cheeks go red immediately, wishing that she could take back the comment immediately. What if Ryan didn’t want his mother to know?

 

“I talked to your mom earlier today because I needed to let someone hear me out, from a motherly perspective. I hope you don’t mind.” While it felt awkward to think about, Ryan couldn’t complain. He knew that Devon was in an odd spot in not having a relationship with her mother, and certainly it was beneficial at times to have a parent to bounce ideas off of.

 

“It’s okay, Devon. I have no issue with you and my mom having that type of friendship together. As long as it helps you and makes you feel better, then I won’t complain. I just want to see you happy.” He then leans in and kisses her lips, lightly. He didn’t want to push the envelope and have her close up due to her fears.

 

“I’m happy whenever you’re with me.” She then curls up with him as they return back to watching A Christmas Story.

Lost, Dazed and Confused – Chapter 1:

So far away from knowing where I am going
I am trying hard to find out who I am

 

Devon leans against the railing of the porch, glancing out into the backyard. There was something that she always loved about this time of year. She wasn’t one for cool weather – hating the feeling of being cold as it brought reminders of the loneliness of a child.

 

However, she loved the changing colors of the leaves, and the beauty it formed. There were times as a child that she’d spend her days coloring or painting photos of a yellow and red leaves, using it as an escape from what was happening. It was always better to dream, right?

 

There was also the sense of holidays, and people wanting to spend time together. Through the abuse from her father, she never felt the love that a family could offer. She always looked around, envying what everybody else had. It seemed during this time a year, the season of giving, people were willing to open their hearts more than other times and give you a lending hand. She recalled the times that she spent with others like herself, enjoying a welcome warm meal.

 

With a glance back towards the house in seeing Ryan with his parents, she knew that she was blessed to have Ryan in her life now. She just needed to glance at her hand and the beautiful ruby red stone that she’d carry with her moving forward to remind her.

 

Though letting out a sigh, she found herself glancing forward once again, lost in thought. While everybody seemed perfect, and certainly had her blessed, it wasn’t without any pain at all. There were still the lingering demons that remained from what happened over the course of the summer, and it wasn’t something that she’d ever get rid of.

 

While the cuts and bruises had healed long ago, the internal damage wasn’t something that’d ever heal. There was no way to escape the emotional scaring that it’d left on her in being pushed to those limits, and violated in that way. There was also a piece of news that she’d carry with her in every minute moving forward, no matter what she did. It was a piece of news that had changed her in every way possible.

 

“The main thing is you’re going to be okay,” Ryan assures her. “It’ll get better with time.” He then runs his hand slowly up and down her legs. At first at the touch, she tensed up – a flashback of how her father started by stroking her legs first – but relaxed in reminding herself that it was Ryan and he would never do that to her. “Does this feel good?”

 

“Yeah, it does…” She told him as she began to relax more and more. She wanted to explain the initial tensing, and perhaps the apprehension for some touches. However, she couldn’t bring herself to spill the details of what had happened. How could she ever talk about that?

 

“Sssh, it’s okay. You can relax. I’m not going anywhere.” She wanted to believe that and the majority of her heart did. However, the one small detail from the doctor still played tricks on her mind.

 

“Even if I can’t have your baby?”

 

“That doesn’t change a thing, Devon. Nothing will change how I feel about you. I still love you now as much as I love you before. I’m not going anywhere. It just means that we’ll have to look at other options.” Devon shook her head, knowing that he was right.

 

In the days that followed, she had spent nights crying into his arms from the emotions and pain of what happened, but also the news that had been laid down before her. She had tried to find a way to come to grips with it, wondering why it had been laid down upon her shoulders.

 

Sure, motherhood wasn’t something that was ever on her mind before – but why had that opportunity been ripped away from her like that? It just didn’t seem fair in her mind as she believed that she should’ve been given the opportunity to make the choice herself.

 

Letting out a sigh, she glances back towards the trees, once again looking for that way to put it into perspective.

 

“I thought there was someone out here,” she hears, breaking her out of her thoughts as she glances back towards the sliding door. She smiles as she watches Karla walk over to where she is standing. “Everything okay, sweetheart?” Devon shakes her head yes, not wanting to bring up the topic of discussion with Karla. She loved Ryan’s parents, and appreciated the love that they showed her in return. However, she had yet to build that trust with them to tell every feeling that she had, especially feelings of this matter. This was something that she kept between just her and Ryan.

 

“There’s nothing to worry about,” she assures Karla, receiving a smile in return.

 

“I’m glad to hear that. I should expect that you’d be super happy and still in that engagement phase where you just want to smile and stare at the ring.” Devon smiles, simply shaking her head in response. She wished it was that simple, but yet here she stood with something entirely else on her mind.

 

“I still can’t believe Ryan went to those lengths to plan out the proposal.” Karla couldn’t help but smile in the plan that Ryan had cooked up for his proposal to Devon. She knew in that moment that she’d certainly raised a real sweet boy.

 

“I still can’t believe that you spoiled the plan by telling him yes when you did.” Devon laughs, remembering the surprised look on Ryan’s face when she spoiled his initial plans for the proposal.

 

“I couldn’t keep it in any longer. Once I put the pieces together, I was just so excited that everything was coming together that I couldn’t hold it in. I’m just glad that he took it well.”

 

With another glance at the ring on her finger, she couldn’t help but smile as she recalled what happened a couple nights prior.

 

She then heads down the stairs, set to meet up with Ryan. She couldn’t believe the gifts thus far, or how sweet all the notes had been, or the words discussed with his parents about how they all felt. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she found herself adding up the pieces and came to a conclusion. She could already tell that the night would be special.

 

“Devo-” Ryan starts as he looks at her, completely stunned by how beautiful she looked.

 

“My answer is yes!” She lets out as his smile immediately fades, traded in for his jaw dropping down the ground.

 

“Excuse me?” She then walks up to him, wrapping her arms around his waist.

 

“My answer is yes.” She then kisses his lips. “Ryan, it’s obvious what you have in mind for tonight. The carriage ride that you have planned, followed by the outfit and getting ready and the necklace. I’m taking a bet that we’re going to go on the ride and you’re going to offer a proposal. Am I right?”

 

“Too cliché, huh?” She laughs and shakes her head yes. “Damn it!”

 

“Hey, the idea was a little cliché and gave itself away. However, the thought behind it and the care that you took with it means the world to me. It still had so much meaning and sweetness that I can’t even be disappointed if I wanted to be. Ryan, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” He then reaches his pocket and slips her a small little grey box.

 

“Then I guess I should give you this?” She then smiles as she shakes her head no. “What?” She then holds her hand out, closing her eyes.

 

“Surprise me, Ryan.” He then flips the box open, carefully removing the ring before slipping it on her finger. He let out a cautious sigh as he watched it slip on with ease, knowing that he’d gotten the right size.

 

“Open your eyes.” She opens her eyes, glancing down at the ring as an immediate smile forms on her face.

 

“Wow…Oh my gosh….Wow….Holy…” She felt tears falling once again, in which Ryan immediately reached over to wipe away.

 

“Is it okay? I hope it isn’t too much. I know that you’re not super fancy, but I wanted something that stood out for us and I figured it was right. I jus-”

 

“It’s perfect, Ryan.” She then leans in, kissing his lips as she pulls him even closer to her. “Now, how about that carriage ride?”

 

“You still want to go on the ride even though we’ve spoiled the surprise ending?” She shakes her head yes as she laces his fingers with his.

 

“I want to spend a nice quiet evening on the town with my fiancé now.”

 

Always By Your Side – Chapter 15: The Proposal

The pair then head to the bathroom, as Ryan’s mom gets out the curling iron and a brush. She begins to do Devon’s hair when Devon notices another envelope. She picks it up, slowly opening it as she slips out another piece of paper.

 

I am guessing that you look amazing right now. Remember that first night that we spent together? Remember the days that we spent in the kitchen? You always moved around the kitchen so smoothly and beautifully, with a certain amount of sweetness. But yet, I also discovered that you had a certain special ‘purr’ to you if I did the right thing. 

 

As my mom helps you get ready with your hair, I have a special clip to help you keep it up all together – Ryan

 

“Ryan mentions something about a clip….” She lets out as his mom smiles, holding up a clip in the mirror. The blue clip that matched her dress perfectly had a small white kitten in the corner.

 

“Ryan gave it to me earlier and told me to use it for your hair,” his mom reveals. “Does it have a special meaning?” Devon smiles and shakes her head yes as her eyes return back to the note.

 

“I’m his little kitten, I suppose.” Ryan’s mom couldn’t help but smile as she placed the clip in Devon’s hair.

 

“Well you’re an adorable kitten. Now, I want you to go out of the bathroom and go to the stairs. There’s someone waiting for you.” Devon shakes her head yes as she turns around to face Ryan’s mom.

 

“I just want to say thank you for everything that you’ve done for Ryan and I.”

 

“Ryan is my baby, and I’d do anything for him. Go on dear…”

 

Devon then hurries out of the bathroom, expecting to see Ryan at the top of the stairs, wanting to wrap her arms around him and kiss him for everything thus far.

 

However, as she reaches the stairs, she was surprised to see Mark Reed standing there.

 

“Mark?” She questions as he holds out his hand. She simply takes it as he leads her closer to him.

 

“I wanted to speak to you before you head off with my son tonight,” he starts as she looks at him surprised. “I just wanted to tell you how much you mean to me and Karla. We’re very thankful that you came into our son’s life and have helped make him really happy. We also both want you to know how much you mean to us as a family, and know that you can always come to us if you need anything.” Devon couldn’t help but smile in response to Mark’s words.

 

“Thank you Mark; I appreciate that.” Mark simply smiles in return as he reaches in his pocket, handing her an envelope.

 

“This came fro-”

 

“Mark, I know the game already….” She then opens the envelope, prepared to read another note.

 

My parents mean the world to me, and I can’t tell you how grateful I am that they love you as much as I love you. I know that you’ve always dreamed of having a family, and I’m glad that I am able to help fulfill that wish – among many others.

 

You’re beautiful and stunning, and you should never lose the beauty. I know that you look like a princess, but no princess is complete without her special piece of jewelry.

 

-Ryan

 

“Is everything oka-” Mark asks, seeing a couple tears in Devon’s eyes. She shakes her head yes as she watches Mark pull a small box out of his pocket.

 

“It’s better than okay, Mark,” she answers, accepting the box from him. She slowly opens it, immediately smiling as she sees the necklace. When Ryan purchased the ring, he also bought the necklace – gold chain with a sunflower as the center piece. “Wow…”

 

“Would you like some help putting it on?” Devon slowly shakes her head yes as Mark take the necklace out of the box, putting it around her neck. “You look amazing, Devon.”

 

“Thank you, Mark. I appreciate that.” Mark smiles as he watches her eyes return back to his.

 

“I know that you want to see Ryan more than anything. He’s down the stairs if you want to go see him.”

 

“Thank you…”

 

She then heads down the stairs, set to meet up with Ryan. She couldn’t believe the gifts thus far, or how sweet all the notes had been, or the words discussed with his parents about how they all felt. As she reached the bottom of the stairs, she found herself adding up the pieces and came to a conclusion. She could already tell that the night would be special.

 

“Devo-” Ryan starts as he looks at her, completely stunned by how beautiful she looked.

 

“My answer is yes!” She lets out as his smile immediately fades, traded in for his jaw dropping down the ground.

 

“Excuse me?” She then walks up to him, wrapping her arms around his waist.

 

“My answer is yes.” She then kisses his lips. “Ryan, it’s obvious what you have in mind for tonight. The carriage ride that you have planned, followed by the outfit and getting ready and the necklace. I’m taking a bet that we’re going to go on the ride and you’re going to offer a proposal. Am I right?” Ryan couldn’t believe that she had spoiled his surprise.

 

“Too cliché, huh?” She laughs and shakes her head yes. “Damn it!”

 

“Hey, the idea was a little cliché and gave itself away. However, the thought behind it and the care that you took with it means the world to me. It still had so much meaning and sweetness that I can’t even be disappointed if I wanted to be. Ryan, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” He then reaches his pocket and slips her a small little grey box.

 

“Then I guess I should give you this?” She then smiles as she shakes her head no. “What?” She then holds her hand out, closing her eyes.

 

“Surprise me, Ryan.” He then flips the box open, carefully removing the ring before slipping it on her finger. He let out a cautious sigh as he watched it slip on with ease, knowing that he’d gotten the right size.

 

“Open your eyes.” She opens her eyes, glancing down at the ring as an immediate smile forms on her face.

 

“Wow…Oh my gosh….Wow….Holy…” She felt tears falling once again, in which Ryan immediately reached over to wipe away.

 

“Is it okay? I hope it isn’t too much. I know that you’re not super fancy, but I wanted something that stood out for us and I figured it was right. I jus-”

 

“It’s perfect, Ryan.” She then leans in, kissing his lips as she pulls him even closer to her. “Now, how about that carriage ride?”

 

“You still want to go on the ride even though we’ve spoiled the surprise ending?” She shakes her head yes as she laces his fingers with his.

 

“I want to spend a nice quiet evening on the town with my fiancé now.”

 

THE END

 

Sequel or no sequel? That is the question so let me know what you think.

 

Always By Your Side – Chapter 14: Ryan’s Plan

Despite the stresses of having to deal with everything that would occur with the trial and the continuing questions of why, Devon was able to get through the process of having to be on the stand and tell her story. There were tears, and even moments where she felt like she was going to puke. However, she got the whole story out, showcasing the type of man her father was.

 

It seemed to pay off in the long-run for her, as her father was found guilty in each of the charges laid his way. Given the length of his sentence, he’d be stuck in jail for the rest of his life – with no chance at parole. It seemed small considering what he had done to her and how it’d affect things moving forward in the future, but it was something. At least he couldn’t hurt her or anybody ever again.

 

With everything that was going on, it was understandable by Chad Norris, Jack Roush and the team with how Ryan had finished up the season with no top-10s in the final 10 races. Still, there were some strong runs with a couple of top-15s that gave Chad and the team hope going into 2016.

 

Despite not being as strong as they would’ve hoped to end off the year, Ryan still managed to finish 10th in points, which allowed the couple to go to the banquet together and celebrate the season. It was a memorable night filled with laughs with the team, along with laughs with the teammates. Devon knew there was no way that she could ever forget the memories formed with Ryan’s teammates, and knew that they’d continue to be friends moving forward, even if Elliott was off to JR Motorsports next season.

 

“You better keep in touch with us,” she had told him at the end of the night.

 

“You don’t have to bet against that,” he assured her with a hug. “I’m proud of you and Ryan for how you both handled everything. I know there are still going to be some tough days moving forward, but remember that you’re strong and can get through this. Also, feel free to phone me whenever.”

 

“Thank you…thank you…thank you so much.”

 

Following the banquet, the pair made the decision that they had to get away for awhile and returned back to Ryan’s childhood home with his parents in Bakersfield, California for Thanksgiving and some quality time.

 

After not having a family to spend the holidays with for the past several years, Devon found herself caught in the emotions of being able to have a special time with Ryan and his family. She got caught in telling stories, sharing laughs, and enjoying the quality time. Sure, things may be messed up with her family, but she knew that she had found a family with Ryan and that’s all that mattered. It was nice to finally feel accepted for who she was, and purely that alone.

 

Following Thanksgiving, Ryan told his parents that he wanted to do something special for Devon and sought their advice on how to go about doing it.

 

“I’m ready to propose, and I think I have a plan in mind, but am not totally certain whether it’ll work,” he had explained to his parents following dinner.

 

“Do you at least have the ring?” His mother questioned and he shook his head yes, pulling the small box out of his pocket to show his parent the ring. They immediately smiled in approval as they looked it over – it was simple, ruby red in color – perfect for the pair.

 

“So what is your idea, son?” His father asked as Ryan took a deep breath, thinking it over.

 

“I was thinking of taking her to the park…..” He started, detailing the thoughts that had filled his mind. As he explained his idea, his parents both looked on with a smile, as a couple tears filled his mother’s eyes.

 

“I can’t believe I’m saying this but my baby is growing up,” his mother stated when he was done, simply approving of the idea without a single issue.

 

A couple days later, Ryan was set to put the plan in motion. He got Devon to start the day as normal, going through their normal morning routine without a change. They played a couple of games, had their normal meals, watched some movies and discussed things over. To anybody else that had an eye on them, they’d think that it was just another day in paradise.

 

Following dinner, Ryan retreated to the kitchen to help his parents with the dishes as Devon relaxed on the couch. Even though it was months since everything had taken place, she would still get sore at times with her body still healing. As she got comfortable on the couch, she heard a knock at the door.

 

“Can you get that?” Ryan questions as he peaks out of the kitchen. Devon simply shakes her head yes as she stands up. She walks to the door, slowly opening it, as she stares at the man surprised. The man stood there dressed in black from head to toe in a suit.

 

“I’m looking for Ms. Aspray,” the man stated as Devon looked on even more confused.

 

“That’d be me…” She slowly lets out as the man smiles, opening up an envelope.

 

“Aww, you are as beautiful as described by your boyfriend.” He then hands the envelope over to her, continuing to smile. “Mr. Reed has arranged for you and him to go on horse carriage ride through the main park this evening under the stars. If you could please dress appropriately – something warm, but a little fancy – we will be on our way.” She smiles, shaking her head in response, disbelief falling over her.

 

“Okay. Can I have 5-10 minut-”

 

“Take your time, dear.” She smiles before heading to the kitchen, glancing over at Ryan’s parents.

 

“Where’s Ryan?” They pointed to the stairs, both smiling in return as they knew the plan that their son had in mind.

 

“Go on and get ready,” Ryan’s father instructs as Devon turns around and heads up the stairs. She goes into the bedsroom, set to find something to wear when she notices a box on the bed.

 

“That’s strange….”

 

She then walks over slowly, noticing a red envelope sitting on top, one that matched the envelope that she held in her hand from earlier. She slowly slips the envelope off of the box, opening it as she takes out the small slip of paper.

 

I knew from the moment that I saw you that you were amazing, and meant to be my Cinderella. You may have your scars and some may say that they ruin your beauty, but you’ll always be a princess in my eyes. – Ryan

 

She smiles, wiping a couple of stray tears from her eyes before setting the note down on the bed. She then slowly opens the box, immediately smiling as she notices the blue length of the dress. She carefully removes it from the box, noticing the blue glimmer matches that of Cinderella, but was shorter in length as it’d only go the knees.

 

“Would you like some help with the dress?” She hears and immediately spins around surprised as she sees Ryan’s mom standing there. She slowly shakes her head yes, still in a state of disbelief by the trail of events thus far.

 

She then slips into the dress, followed by Ryan’s mom doing up the zipper in the back.

 

“You look like a princess sweetheart,” his mom states as Devon turns around to face her.

 

“You knew about this, didn’t you?” She questions and his mom simply shrugs her shoulders.

 

“Who do you think helped Ryan make sure to get the right size and style for you?” Devon laughs as she twirls around, glancing in the mirror. She feels a couple stray tears roll down her cheeks as she notices a reflection of eyes in the mirror. “Sweetie, what’s wrong?”

 

“I just never thought through everything that I could ever be this happy, or this pretty. I just…” She then looks down, taking a deep breath in an effort to calm herself.

 

“Devon, you’ve always been pretty. You just needed to find someone that appreciated you. Now, let’s go get this hair done up a little nicer.” Devon shakes her head yes.