She was sitting out a dance when Caleb took her hand, pulled her into the shadowy alcove off the ballroom, and presented her with a worn velvet box. This belonged to my mother, he said quietly. Holding her breath, Lily lifted the lid. Inside was a delicate silver filigree necklace accented with a snowfall of diamonds. Oh, Caleb. Caleb took the splendid creation from its box and moved behind Lily to put it around her neck and fix the clasp. He bent and kissed the place where the two ends of the chain met. Someday our son will give this to his wife. Lily turned to look up into Caleb’s eyes. If she had ever doubted his love for her, those feelings were behind her for all time. No man would have given such a cherished heirloom to a woman if he didn’t care about her deeply. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, meeting you, she said. She smiled, remembering that day in the hotel dining room in Tylerville when the soldiers had been teasing her and she’d dropped her tray. Though I must admit I didn’t think so at the time. Caleb put his hand under her chin and gently lifted her face for a light, brief kiss. I knew the instant I saw you, he confessed when his lips had left hers, that I wanted to be with you forever. I just didn’t have sense enough to see that you were made to be a wife, not a mistress. Lily was full of quiet joy. All that was needed to make her happiness complete was some word of her sisters. While you’re dancing with all these admirers of yours, Caleb went on, with a wicked light glittering in his eyes as he nodded toward the contingent of handsome young men gathered in the ballroom, I want you to remember whose bed you sleep in. Lily
― Linda Lael Miller,
Lily and the Major
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