Christmas leaped on her faster than she could believe. Snow blanketed the town on Christmas Eve and it stayed cold enough to remain. Family dropped in for hot chocolate. Neighbors dropped off fancy Christmas cookies and promised more for the up-coming party.
On New year’s Eve Day Diane stopped trying to keep it a surprise when Granddad laughed at her efforts.
“Can’t keep a secret in a small town,” he added. “Wondered when that boy would smarten up and come back for you.”
“He didn’t come back for me. His father is having heart problems and he came home for his family.” Diane managed to keep from crying.
“And this is why he’s helping with the party? I know you’re not blind. Take the time to talk to him. Get how you feel off your chest.”
“I’ll think about it.” She gathered up the ironed tablecloths from the closet. Her Grandmother had loved lace and this was the time to show them off.
“Those old things remind me of so many meals with my love. You’ll be using them in your home soon.”
“Grand-Dad, you’re such a romantic.” Diane pressed a kiss to his forehead and headed out to the decorated garage.
A new sign hung over the building. Noah’s Repairs and Restorations it declared in bright metallic letters. She blinked at the display before hurrying inside.
Someone had been busy. Streamers hung from the ceiling, the tables were arranged and chairs lined them. Happy Birthday banners hung from each wall.
She blinked back tears.
“Don’t cry,” Noah murmured in her ear. “Think of all the wonderful years you’ve been together. You taught me a lesson about family by staying with him. It made my decision to come home so simple. Everything I love is right here.”
He turned her around and tilted up her chin with the side of his hand. His lips skimmed over her tears.
“Please,” she asked. “Don’t.”
“Diane. I can’t apologize enough, but i can show you that I do care.”
He slid his arm around her waist and lead her toward the corner of the last bay. A wide canvas covered a lumpy shape.
“Ta Da!” Noah jerked off the cover.
She barely recognized her Grand-Dad’s truck. The new turquoise paint matched the original color, the chrome sparkled under the overhead lights. New leather upholstery gleamed on the bench seat.
“Does it run? Did you get the starter?” Her eyes sparkled as her gaze locked on his. “What a wonderful gift! Oh my goodness, Noah!”
Diane threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. He whirled her in a circle until she was dizzy. All her hurt feelings dissolved in her joyful laughter.
Noah grinned and pointed up. One of her mistletoe balls hung directly overhead.
“About the starter,” he laughed and kissed her until she couldn’t breath. “It’s here. It arrived just before you did. I’ll have time to install it before the party. I do have one more question. Will you marry me?”
When Diane and Noah showed Grand-Dad her engagement ring, he nodded. “i knew all along you’d be together. Can’t keep a secret in a small town.”
Grand-Dad wiped away another tear as he climbed into the seat of his old truck.
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