“Daddy,” Madge placed her hand gently on her father’s shoulder. “There’s someone who’s been wanting to meet you.” The mayor turned slowly, cutting off his conversation to face his daughter. Next to her was the boy he had heard so much about. Taller than him, built like a rock, Gale Hawthorne.
“Mr. Mayor, sir,” Gale extended his hand nervously and the elder shook it gently.
“Daddy, this is Gale,” Madge said timidly. “Gale, Daddy.” The mayor’s grip was fierce as he studied the eyes of the boy, no, man in front of him. “I’ll just be,” Madge pointed toward a group of people, biting her lip. “Over there.” And then she scurried off.
“I’ve heard plenty about you, boy,” Mr. Undersee said, his hand reaching up to pound on the younger’s shoulder. “It’s about time I’ve met you.”
“It’s an honor,” Gale replied, willing his voice not to shake. Honestly, he had never been more nervous in his life.
“So you’ve been seeing Madge, yes?”
“Stop calling me sir,” the mayor chuckled. “You make me feel old.” There’s a pause as he looks back toward the boy. “How long have you been with her?”
“Feels like forever,” Gale said quietly, a blush creeping to his face. “Two years and ten months, about.”
“Very specific,” he nods. The two glance over as Madge hops on her tip toes to view over the crowd, and then they chuckle.
“I’ve wanted to meet you sooner but things have just been…” he trailed off. “Complicated.”
“Complicated,” the mayor nods, stroking his chin. “On the phone you said you had something to ask me?” Gale, again, feels a heat creep up his cheeks as he bobs his head slowly. “Go on, then.”
“Madge is…” Gale starts, but then stops. “She’s…” Oh yes, he’s very nervous. “Madge is the best thing that has ever happened to me.” He looks away embarrassed for a moment, but when he realizes her father is waiting for him to continue. “I know my background isn’t the best,” he finally does, “and that I’m busy a lot because of my new job in 2, but I love her.” The mayor raises an eyebrow and his hand rests over his mouth so Gale can’t see him smile. “I love her with all I’ve got and I promise to do anything and everything I can to make sure she’s happy.”
“Boy, are you asking me what I think you’re asking me?”
“I’d like to marry her, sir,” Gale says. “Mayor,” he adds quickly. “Mr. Undersee.”
The elder lets out a laugh and places his hand on Gale’s shoulder. “You’re serious about this? You’re asking me for my daughters hand in marriage?”
Gale’s eyes dart back to where Madge is standing pretending like she’s talking to someone when she actually keeps glancing at the two men. “Yes. She’s all I’ve ever wanted and so much more. I’m in love with her, I just want to…”
“Yes,” he cuts Gale off. “Yes.”
Gale swallows slowly, “Yes?”
The mayor nods, “Yes.”
A grin breaks across Gale’s face as he reaches forward and shakes her father’s hand strongly. “Thank you, thank you so much, I don’t even…”
“Just treat her right like I know you will,” he smirks. “Son.”