"Adrian! What on earth are you doing here at this time of the morning? I thought you had work today."
Patrick watched with curiosity as Adrian approached, his heart fluttering.
"It's a beautiful spot, don't you think?" Adrian looked up to the sky, a twinkle in his eyes and a smile curling at his lips. Then, to Patrick's great horror, Adrian leant down on one knee.
"I love you Patrick. I love you with all my giddy heart, and I wish to spend the rest of my life with you. I am asking you to marry me."
Admittedly, Patrick was torn. Here was the love of his life, proposing to him. How would everyone react? He had only recently left a province where he had been shockingly discriminated against, and Patrick felt fearful of renewed abuse. The villagers of Glen Fallow had been wonderfully welcoming so far, but he didn't trust anyone not to turn against him should something like this be announced. Was it even lawful?
"I sense your hesitation, Pat. Do you not love me?" Adrian was quaking in his imbalanced position, and looked ready to stand up and run away.
"Of course I love you. But you must of course understand my reluctance - you know what happened in the last place I lived."
Adrian stood up and took his partner in his arms. "The people aren't like that here. I promise. We don't have to make a big deal out of it, it can just be a document. I'm entirely sure everyone already knows we're together anyway."
Minutes passed, and the two sat side by side on a bench in silence. Eventually, in little more than a whisper, Adrian heard one word.
* * *
True to his word, only very few close friends were invited by Adrian. Margaret and Murdoch were the first to find out, and Patrick was encouraged by his sister and her husband's enthusiasm. They seemed, in truth, to be disappointed that it would not be a large affair.
"I know many people will be expecting an invitation," she smiled, but Adrian was quick to assure her it would be a low-key event, and they would be leaving for their honeymoon rather promptly after the service.
"A great shame," Murdoch contemplated, "but of course it's your choice."
The couple were pacified when informed they were to be the maid-of-honour and best man respectively. Little Halley was excited, even if she didn't fully understand, when she was told she could be a bridesmaid.
Upon approaching Reverend Springer about the marriage, he was, to Patrick's great relief, very positive about their proposition. He congratulated the couple and gave them a blessing, setting the date for the 31st of December.
"I haven't attended a wedding in a dreadfully long time," he told them. "I'm immensely touched that you asked me to marry you."
Owen Bearbury and Scarlett Renard were equally delighted when asked to be a pageboy and bridesmaid - though Scarlett was a tad reluctant at the prospect of wearing a fancy dress. In her forthright way, she told them.
"Can I just wear normal clothes?"
"Not really Scarlett. I know we said it was a small occasion, but we are all going to be dressed up. We'd like everyone to look smart in the photos." Adrian gave her an imploring look that verged on begging. Scarlett sighed.
"Okay... But one one condition: I get to wear my boots."
Patrick chuckled. "Deal."
"So where are you going on your honeymoon?" Owen asked the pair.
"We're going to Glencoe,"they told him, "we're going on the tandem but hopefully we can get some climbing done too."
Scarlet's eyes widened. "Can I come?"
* * *
The day dawned bright and sunny: perfect for a wedding! The happy couple were dressed in finery straight from Sybil's Sewing Shop, and all the guests were looking glorious too. All eyes were drawn to Adrian and Patrick, who gazed into each others eyes throughout the entire ceremony. When they kissed after being pronounced legally married, the cheers from the few witnesses were said to be heard from the other side of the valley.