David: Have I told you lately that I love u?
Mary: Not in the last five minutes.
David: I love you.
Mary: I love you, too.
David: You have made me the happiest man in the world. If u were closer, I’d give you a X.
David: Ah, sweet Mary. My lips are tingling now.
Mary: Mine, too J.
David: Sigh. Wish I were there.
Mary: Me, too. Have you checked your calendar for a date?
David: It has to be before I leave for Peru on 8/31. I can’t travel halfway across the world without you at my side. And we have to have time for a proper honeymoon.
Mary: Me, blushing J.
David: How does 8/15 sound?
Mary: Perfect. When can you come out here?
David: Not sure. Maybe 3 days before the 15th.
Mary: I was hoping for some more time w/you before the wedding.
David: Me, too. Sigh. But right now, I’m not sure I can squeeze in everything to make it by late August.
Mary: Let me know how I can help. Maybe we can find some more time somehow.
David: Planning the wedding is a huge help.
Mary: I’m not sure how big a wedding we can have with only six weeks to plan.
David: As long as you’re there, that’s all that matters to me.
Mary: What about your family?
David: There’s only me and my sister, Sylvia.
Mary: What about your parents?
David: They died a few years go.
David: Yes. Drunk driver.
Mary: How awful.
David: It was a long time ago. What about your folks?
Mary hesitated before hitting the send button. Telling David that her “parents” were really distant cousins would take too much explaining. Better to wait until she saw him in person and he could read the letter for himself.
Mary: They live oversees.
David: Really? Where?
Mary: This is going to sound strange, but in Peru.
David: Now I know we’re meant to be together. That can’t be a coincidence.
Mary: Weird, huh? And u won’t believe this.
Mary: They’re missionaries to some Amazonian tribe. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? Louisa and Ed Divers.
David: The names don’t ring a bell. I’ll ask Brenda at the office if she knows them. Anyway, perhaps we can visit them after we’re settled!
David: Have you told them about us?
Mary: No, I haven’t spoken to them in years.
David: No Internet access where they are?
Mary: I’m lucky to get a Christmas card by Valentine’s Day, the mail’s so slow. I think my mom wrote it had to go out by boat down the river.
David: Then we’ll have to surprise them.
Mary: We can talk about that later. Will Sylvia come with you to the wedding?
David: Yes. Now all we need is a preacher, some witnesses and you in a gorgeous white dress and veil.
Mary: Veil, huh?
David: I know girls dream about the perfect wedding, but as a guy, I’ve always had a fantasy about my bride walking down the aisle with a long flowing veil. When she joins me at the altar, we hold hands, exchange vows, and then I slowly lift the veil and kiss my wife.
Mary: Wow. You sound like a hero in a romance novel.
David: Ah, my lady sees me as heroic. All is going according to plan. Cue slightly sinister laughter…
Mary: You’re in a romantic mood tonight.
David: It’s all this talk about marriage and weddings.
Mary: I think I’ve blushed enough tonight. Maybe we should change the subject.
David: Since I can’t be there to see you blushing—I’m sure you look adorable—I’ll acquiesce. I’ll follow your lead, milady.
Mary: How’s the fund raising going?
David: It’s okay. It’s not going as well as I had hoped b/c I’ll need double the initial amount. I can’t possibly leave you behind!
Mary drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. Time to share about the painting. If he knew he wouldn’t have to worry about money, then they could have more time together before the wedding. She typed in the words that would tell David of her decision.
Mary: I’ve decided to sell a painting my aunt left me.
David: I wasn’t hinting that you should help out like that. I’m not a freeloader.
Mary: I know. But it’s my future, too. I want to help and I realize that I stink at fund raising.
David: That makes two of us. I’m very clumsy about asking people for money, so if you really want to help….
Mary: I do.
David: Then what can I do but accept graciously? What kind of painting?
Mary: An old family portrait.
David: How old?
David: Who painted it?
Mary: Thomas Eakins.
David: Never heard of him. How are you going to sell it?
Mary: At an auction house.
David: How much do you think it will bring?
Mary: Are you sitting down?
Mary: Probably a million dollars.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Phantom Love is copyrighted and cannot be used in any form without permission from Sarah Hamaker.0