The glow was apparent from some distance away as we approached the house. Mason glanced over, looking grim. He stepped on the accelerator and took the turns hard on the winding road. By the time we had pulled in the driveway, I was dialing 911. The flames had already blown the windows out of the second floor and were licking the roof. His childhood home was sure to be a total loss. If his parents had still been alive, it would have broken their hearts.
Mason jumped from the car and ran for the front door, despite my desperate screams that he stop. He disappeared into the smoke and flames just as part of the roof collapsed. The burning timbers sent a a pillar of flame and a shower of sparks into the night sky. To my horror, the front door was now blocked. I gathered my strength and ran around to the back of the house, where the blaze was less concentrated. Just as I was about to smash a window to the kitchen, Mason came stumbling through the back door, coughing and smudged with soot.
“Damn you, Mason!” I cried, pulling him clear of the inferno. “What was so important that you had to risk your life?”
“My great-grandmother’s ring,” he gasped, sinking to his knees.
He reached for my hand, with the embers from the burning roof raining down around us and said, “This isn’t quite how I’d planned this but… I love you, Claire. Will you marry me?”
As the firetrucks raced into the driveway, sirens screaming, I sank down beside him and held out my hand. “Yes!” I coughed, as he slipped the heirloom diamond on my ring finger.
He kissed me deeply and sighed, “We’re going to need a new house.”