“Please tell me this isn’t what it looks like,” Bill said in a grim voice.
Ron whipped his head around, panic on his face. “I dropped it,” he cried, his voice cracking. “I was just standing here, thinking about what I was going to say, and it slipped...”
“Merlin, Ron.” Bill knelt down and began sifting through the pebbles.
The presence of his elder brother helped him focus, and he dropped to his knees to help. “What if it’s in the water?”
“Then you may have to let it go.”
“No! That’s the ring! It took me weeks to settle on it, and I’ve been saving since my first day of work!”
Bill wasn’t listening. “You were standing right here?”
“Yeah, it can’t be far.” But he didn’t exactly sound confident. “Where’s Hermione?”
“I held her up when I saw you on your hands and knees, but she wasn’t too happy. Something about the sunset…”
“We were going to watch it together. That’s when I wanted to ask her, but now… it’ll be too late soon. Bloody hell,” he said in frustration.
“Wait,” Bill said suddenly, carefully moving a few rocks aside. “I saw something.”
They sifted through several inches of rock until they found it: a circle of gold with a sparkle lying on wet sand. It had fallen through the rocks. Bill picked it up and cleaned it with his wand. “Nice.”
Ron heaved a sigh of relief and held out his hand.
“I don’t know,” Bill said with a grin. “Are you sure you can handle this? Perhaps I
should ask her if she’ll marry you.”
“Very funny.” He took the ring and slid it down to the knuckle on his little finger.
“Some blokes use a box,” Bill called, laughing as he returned to the house.
“I like holding it,” he mumbled, mostly to himself. It was the truth: an engagement ring in a box was only a possibility. But when he held it, somehow he knew she wouldn’t say no.
He looked out at the sea and saw the sun doubling itself over the water.
There was still time.
Soon he heard small feet crunching through the rock, coming toward him. When he saw her, he had to stifle a laugh at her aggravated expression.
“Ron Weasley, what in world were you two doing out here? They did everything but tie me up, and now we’ve nearly missed the sunset.”
Ron grinned. She was angry and her hair was flying around in the wind. Best of all, her arms were crossed tightly the way they always were when she lectured him. She was clearly begging
to be kissed, but sadly, that would have to wait.
“I hope you have a good explanation,” she finished.
He laughed softly. “Oh, I do.” He held his hand out to her, causing her to soften a little. “But first I want to show you something. C’mon.”
She gave him a curious look, reluctantly unraveled herself and took his hand.