The Night Is Alive Page 53

Their time was drawing to a close late one night or early one morning when he woke to find that she wasn\ at his side. Rising, he slipped into a robe and walked out to the hall. ’’Abby?’’

She didn\ answer, so he went down the stairs. And then he saw her. She was seated by the fire and she was deep in conversation. That was why she hadn\ heard him.

Zachary was there, looking extremely pleased. Malachi hadn\ seen him since he\d come to the house with Abby. Knowing Zachary, he\d been making his own judgments before presenting himself.

Abby glanced up and saw him. She smiled. ’’Zachary and I have met. We\ve been talking.’’

Zachary stood. ’’She\s delightful!’’ he said, gesturing at Abby.

Malachi walked over to Abby, who rose. He slid an arm around her. ’’Delightful? Well, she\s a crack shot, no-nonsense, a brilliant agent and she can play a great wench. I think I\ll keep her.’’

’’You will, of course, be a perfect gentleman,’’ Zachary said in a stern voice.

’’I can try, of course. And will,’’ Malachi added hastily. ’’But she\s stubborn, and she has her own mind.’’

’’I like that in a woman. My dear Genevieve was always ready to share her opinion. We lived in difficult times and she was ready to rise to any occasion. In fact...’’

’’In fact?’’

’’If you can make this work, I could perhaps move on,’’ Zachary said. ’’And join my dear Genevieve.’’

’’Abby, he wants me to ask if you\ll marry me.’’ Smiling, Malachi looked at her.

Abby laughed. ’’We have, indeed, discussed that possibility, Zachary. We think marriage might be right for us in the near future. I\m not a big fan of diamonds, but we have talked about a lovely ring with an emerald one that belonged to Malachi\s mother. It happens to be my birthstone. So, for the moment, we\ll move forward, learning about our future, using what talents we have to help others. And when the time is right, there will be a lovely wedding. We\ll have it in Savannah. I think Blue needs to give me away. It\ll be interesting to see that with a crowd observing, but I\ll know he\s by my side and that\s the important thing. So, Zachary, you\ll have to come to Savannah.’’

’’Savannah! A beautiful city. I Yes, I will manage to do that, and then, perhaps...’’ His voice trailed off. ’’I believe I\ve waited these many years, trusting that someone like Malachi would come along, and now...knowing that what we\ve had as a family will go on.’’

Malachi wasn\ sure how Abby did it;she stood on tiptoe at just the right height and moved just the right amount of distance. It appeared she placed a perfect kiss on Zachary\s cheek.

’’The children are going to be beautiful!’’ Zachary said happily.

’’But no rushing us now!’’ Abby insisted.

’’I promise,’’ Zachary assured her. He turned to Malachi. ’’I must go tell Genevieve!’’ he said, and headed toward the family cemetery in back.

Abby looked at Malachi with amusement. ’’I think he approved of me. It took him long enough to decide.’’

’’Zachary? Ah, yes, he can be difficult to impress, but he does seem bewitched,’’ Malachi said. ’’With you.’’

’’Well, I\m grateful he does approve.’’

He lifted her chin and kissed her lips. ’’What matters more is that you approve of me,’’ he told her.

She clasped his hand. ’’I\m wide-awake. If you want to follow me upstairs, I can tell you all about my approval. Or, rather, I can show you.’’ She grew serious. ’’These moments, this time...all precious, I think.’’

’’Very precious. We have to value such precious moments,’’ he said. ’’They define our lives.’’ He kissed her again and they started up the stairs.

’’Think they\ e going to like each other?’’ Abby asked.

’’Zachary and Blue?’’


’’I\m sure they will. They\ll be like two wonderful old grandpas, shedding a few tears as we say our vows,’’ Malachi said. They\d reached the door to his room. ’’For now, however, back to showing me that approval...’’

She released his hand and walked into the room. He paused and watched her for a moment.

’’What?’’ she asked, turning back.

’’Nothing. I\m just grateful that you\ e here, that you walked into my room.’’

She laughed softly, a sound that seemed to make the world right. ’’And I\m just grateful that you walked into my life.’’

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