Now Or Never

It’s Make Or Break Time For Gerald Davies. Can He Persuade Daisy To Marry Him In A Hurry?

Summer, Year 4
Hollie blinked in surprise as Daisy handed her a neat box, wrapped up with a bow on top. The sisters hadn’t been on the best terms lately, since Daisy had started seeing Gerald. While Hollie wasn’t certain her sister was seeing him, it was a reasonable assumption. Daisy hadn’t provided much of an excuse as to why she’d stayed out all night several days ago but Hollie hadn’t pressed the subject; in part because she didn’t really want to know but also because she was aware that she had a serious conversation to have with Ethan soon and it wasn’t going to go away overnight. Additionally, it really wasn’t any of her business.
“It’s a beanie hat. I knitted it for Jenna, or the new baby,” Daisy said cheerfully. Hollie felt a little apprehensive; Daisy usually sold her best creations on Plopsy and was going quite well out of it. If she was giving one to Hollie, was it likely to be of a decent quality, or not?
“Oh, thanks Daisy!” Hollie gave her sister a warm smile. Perhaps it had been a little mean-spirited of her to assume the worst.

Daisy gave Hollie a meaningful look as Ethan came into the office. Nodding, Hollie watched her sister bid a hasty retreat and she turned to face her husband. Taking a deep breath, she began.
“Ethan, I need to tell you something.” Well, it was a start.
“Mmhmm?” Ethan barely glanced up from his laptop. “Sorry, I’m trying to get this application in for next year. I want to make sure my place is secure.”
“Ethan, can that hang on for just a second?” Hollie asked, impatiently. “This is important.”
Frustrated, Ethan looked up properly. “Okay. What is it?” He asked, sighing.
Hollie decided there was no better way to say it than to come straight to the point. “Ethan, I’m pregnant.”
Ethan stared in disbelief for a few moments. “You’re not,” he deadpanned.
Nodding, Hollie felt tears spring to her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I didn’t plan this, Ethan, whatever you might think. I know the timing’s terrible but Daisy’s still here and maybe we can make it work.”
“Don’t apologise.” Ethan closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Look, these things happen. We’ll be okay.” He managed a small smile. “It is lovely news, Hollie. Like you said, the timing’s not great but never mind. We’ll cope. We always do.”
Relief flooded through Hollie and she flung herself into his outstretched arms.

“I need to talk to you,” Daisy said. It was lunch time and the sister were finally sitting down together. Jenna had eaten and Ethan was eating at the laptop so they had some time together at last.
“Is this about Gerald?” Hollie asked. She didn’t look at her sister as she carried on eating.
“It is, yes. Look, I know what you said about him, Hollie. I’m sorry but I don’t care. I know he cheated on your friend but I don’t think he’s going to do that now. He is lovely, Hollie. I like him a lot.”
Hollie couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She’d told her sister all about Gerald; how turbulent his relationship with Rebecca had been at University; how they’d split properly after graduating and he’d starting dating Ellie; how their relationship fizzled out, then exploded when Ellie discovered he’d still been seeing Rebecca; how he’d inadvertently ruined Rebecca’s relationship with Jack Goldsmith. How could that list not deter Daisy?
“So I don’t want to hear any more about his relationship with Ellie.” Daisy stood up and walked out of the kitchen.

“Is that where you were the other night?” Hollie asked, following Daisy through to the lounge. Jenna was playing with Cherie, Daisy’s dog and looked up as her mother stormed through the door. “You were with Gerald?”
“Yes.” Daisy sat down defiantly. “Yes, I was. He invited me over and I stayed the night. We spent a lovely morning on the beach before I came back here.”
Hollie sat down wearily beside her sister. “Oh Daisy.”
“I don’t want to hear it.” Daisy shook her head. “I don’t care, Hollie. I really don’t.” She sighed. “Gerald’s lovely. He’s sweet, he’s attentive and he’s got a great sense of humour.”
Hollie stared. This description sounded like the polar opposite of the Gerald Hollie knew but she didn’t say anything. There didn’t seem to be a point.

“So I take it Hollie asked you come round and talk some sense into me?” Daisy asked. She frowned as Ellie crossed the room and sat down next to her, later that afternoon.
“Not quite. Hollie did tell me you were seeing Gerald though.” Ellie began but she never got the chance to finish.
“Butt out, okay? If you’re still in love with Gerald, that’s your hard luck,” Daisy retorted.
“I’m not in love with Gerald,” Ellie protested.
“Well whatever. He’s mine and I don’t care whether you’re happy about it or not. Anyway, it’s not like your relationship with him was anything special. He said you were at work more often than you weren’t; and if you weren’t protesting in the streets, you were chained to your stupid charity shop.”
Ellie looked stunned. “He said that?”
Daisy stared defiantly at Ellie. “Yes, he did. So mind your own business and get back to that stupid charity of yours.”
Ellie stood up and left without another word. Daisy felt a twinge of guilt; Gerald hadn’t ever really mentioned Ellie to her. Her name had cropped up once or twice but Gerald had never lingered on the subject and Daisy hadn’t brought it up. At least it had got Ellie off her back at last.

Hollie heard the raised voices and the slam of the front door. She sighed heavily and felt her eyes filling up again. She was terrified Daisy was making a big mistake with Gerald. The only consolation was that she’d only stayed over the once and they’d only started really seeing each other that week. There were plenty of opportunities for Daisy to see the real Gerald, before she did anything silly.

Daisy was out walking Cherie before it got dark. She’d had a stupid text from some woman she’d never met that day and while she assumed it was meant for someone else, it still stung. Such harsh words!

She wondered what Hollie was thinking. She knew Hollie was only looking out for her but she really wished people would leave her alone and let her get to know Gerald before making any decisions. She’d always hated being told what to do and with both Hollie and Ellie on her back, she was feeling more and more stubborn.
Then she got a text that really brightened her day.

“That was a lovely dinner, Gerald,” Daisy gushed. Being invited over for a home-cooked meal at Gerald’s had really cheered her up and Daisy felt the stresses of the day melting away.
“Any time. I love cooking,” Gerald replied. “Actually, Daisy, come and see this.”
Gerald led Daisy to the centre of the kitchen and turned to face her.

“Daisy, will you marry me?”
Daisy gasped.

Daisy slipped inside the house, hoping not to be noticed. It was past midnight when she got back and she assumed her sister and brother-in-law would be asleep. So she nearly shrieked when the light suddenly went on and Hollie appeared.
“Daisy,” Hollie said. She crossed the room and wrapped her sister in a hug. “I’m sorry Ellie and I have been ratty with you. We’re only worried, Daisy.”
“I know,” Daisy said as she hugged Hollie back. “I do understand.”

The sisters sat down on the sofa. “Daisy, I just want you to be safe. I couldn’t have lived with myself if I’d said nothing about Gerald,” Hollie began. She stopped suddenly and squinted at Daisy’s hand. “What’s that?”
Daisy glanced down at her hand. “Oh, it’s a, uh, it’s a ring.”
“What’s it doing there?” Hollie asked, her eyes wide with surprise.
Daisy shrugged. “Just having a little twinkle.”
Hollie shook her head. “Oh no. Gerald’s proposed?”
Biting her lip, Daisy nodded. “Yes. And I’m going to marry him.” Before Hollie could reply, her sister flounced out of the room and into the kitchen.
Hollie buried her head in her hands and wept.

Daisy slipped out early the following morning and caught the early flight from San Myshuno to Sulani. She and Gerald were eloping to the islands to get married secretly, before anybody could stop them. She’d taken Cherie over to Gerald’s flat that morning and the two of them had set off for the islands.
The wedding was simple and perfect, which is all Daisy and Gerald really wanted. By midday, they were man and wife and took enough pictures on the beach to create an entire album.

Gerald smiled as he read his text messages after the ceremony. He’d told his neighbour, Justina, about the wedding since she was looking after Cherie until they got back. She’d obviously let her close friend, Cristina, know. He was pleased nobody was questioning his decision; nor did Ellie’s name appear anywhere in the messages.
“Are you coming?” Daisy’s voice called. Gerald looked up and grinned. Daisy was naked in the water, ducking and diving through the surf. “Come on in, it’s lovely!”
Tearing his suit off, Gerald waded in to join her.
“I love you,” Daisy said as she wrapped her arms around her new husband.
“I love you too,” he replied before kissing her passionately.

The newlyweds arrived at Granite Falls as the sun was going down. They were back in their wedding finery and Gerald insisted on carrying his bride over the threshold of the cabin they’d rented for the weekend.
Shortly before arriving, Gerald had received a very pleasant message. Satisfied that he’d met the conditions of the will, he was going to get the inheritance money. To his satisfaction, he saw a deposit had been made to his account to the tune of §5,813. Coupled with the §50,000 loan he’d taken out, it would cover the costs of setting up and running his own restaurant in Sulani. Maybe even buying a small beach hut for him, Daisy and Cherie to live in.

Their first evening was blissfully peaceful. The sounds of the forest were soothing and the water gently lapping against the shores of the lake was calm and tranquil. Daisy felt peace filling her lungs with every breath as she joined Gerald at the lakefront. The full moon rose high in the sky and they laughed, kissed, serenaded and danced deep into the night.

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