“I am not joking.”
Two weeks had passed since their initial introduction. It was her most beautiful memory to date. For him, it was magical.
Stella did not show her disbelief when Allen related the whole story, again, how he watched her many times in the past whenever he visited the capital. True, it was his personal secret, unknown to his boss or his friends. What he did not tell her was his doubts of courting her or any other girl for that matter.
“You stalked me?” she pretended to be alarmed although she felt somewhat elated to have been the target of an anonymous admirer.
“Just looked at you at a distance,” Allen laughed. “I did not follow you around.”
Stella would not ask how old was he since she could actually guess that their age difference could be more than ten years. He was the epitome of youth while she, the passing of an age.
But then, she would not question his motives yet nor his romantic eye for her. “Age does not matter” circled in her head, a reminder she hang onto if ever they would find themselves compatible in the long run.
“There are young girls around, you know.” She tried not to discuss it but she needed any word of assurance from him. It would be less painful if she already knew that he was only playing around. At her age, the game of love should come after the marriage.
“They say love is blind,” he argued, trying to convince her his intention was true.
“Do you say that to all the girls you meet?” she asked the same question for the nth time.
“I never had a girlfriend in my life,” he confessed. “You will be the first if you say yes.”
Stella wanted to giggle with delight but she repressed it, smiling conservatively, looking composed though deep inside her there were fireworks in her head and beating drums in her heart.
“Do you realize I am rather old for you? What will people say?”
“Are you more concerned with what they will say or what do I feel for you?”
“Please don’t play with my heart, Allen.”
He moved closer to her, their warmth merging into one.
“If you accept me, I will go home immediately and tell my parents about the good news. I hope by the time I come back, we will plan our wedding.”
Stella could not breathe, her excitement enveloping her whole body. All she had to say was a three-letter word that could set into motion a whirlwind romance resulting to an almost fairy tale conclusion.
She wanted to see his eyes and stared at his sincerity deep to his soul.
But his loving words would suffice for now. His presence mattered more.
“I’ve never dreamed that I would be saying this to a man,” she said shyly. “You are a dream come true.”
“Does that mean you love me, too?” Allen clasped her hands, waiting anxiously for the phrase he longed to hear from a girl.
“Yes, Allen. I do love you.”
(to be continued)