Tears burned the eyes of William Clover so badly that he could not adequately see two feet in front of him. Deciding not to put other people in danger, he pulled his pickup onto a side road where he stopped. Getting out of the truck, he locked it up before beginning to walk in the direction of home.
‘Home’: Was it still that despite the fact Chloe no longer lived there? He wasn’t sure he could answer that question. Still, he had no place else to go. It was that or going back to his truck to sleep in it overnight. After a few moments of thought, he found himself turning around to do just that.
Climbing back into the cab of his vehicle, William rested his head on the steering wheel, deep in thought. He truly didn’t know what to do with himself. Chloe was gone. He’d lost her and he didn’t even know why.
William remembered the day he first laid eyes on her in the bar just down the street from where he lived. He was there having dinner as he often did when in walked this beautiful little sprite. She had pale blonde hair and bright blue eyes.
What William liked most about Chloe, even then, was her laugh. It tinkled like the most expensive chimes; making everything within hearing enthralled with the sound. He fell in love with her because of her laughter.
Of course the outer package of Chloe Sullivan was nothing to laugh at either. While William didn’t usually like short hair on women, Chloe’s pixie cut was perfect for her small, elfish face. It accented her eyes and her amazing cheek bones.
William almost let her slip away without talking to her. However, Chloe wasn’t about to do the same. Just as she walked by to leave, she turned and looked at him. Taking a piece of paper out of her pocket, she handed it to him.
“I’d love to have dinner with you sometime,” she laughed. “Since you wouldn’t make the first move, I figured I’d better.”
William smiled and nodded. He called her the very next day. From that moment on they were all but inseparable.
It was just last night that William got up enough courage to ask Chloe to marry him. It was supposed to be his Valentine gift to her. He’d even picked out a heart-shaped pink diamond for her engagement ring.
When he got down on one knee, Chloe seemed to know what was coming. She pushed him away and scrambled to get up. Without a word, she grabbed her handbag and walked out. He hadn’t heard from her since.
William wasn’t certain why the girl of his dreams didn’t want to marry him. They’d been happy together for over three years. The timing seemed right. Chloe never gave him any indication of being unhappy. Just the opposite was true. She left love notes all over the house, in his vehicle and at his office expounding upon her affection for him. None of what happened made any sense.
William’s cell phone rang. He looked at it expecting that it would be his sister wishing him happy Valentine’s Day. It was not. It was Chloe.
“Hello, Chloe, where are you honey? I’m sorry for whatever I did wrong,” he stammered. “Please come home. I can’t live without you.”
Silence fell on the other end of the phone for a few moments. Finally, Chloe’s voice spoke. William could tell she’d been crying.
“William, I need you to listen to me,” she began. “I shouldn’t have walked out like that. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. It isn’t what you think.”
William could hear her physically take in a huge gulp of air. Her voice shook as she continued.
“I was too ashamed to tell you this in person. That’s why I ran. Will you let me explain?”
“Of course, darling. I’ll do whatever you want just don’t leave me,” William whimpered.
“I don’t want to leave you,” Chloe responded truthfully. “I love you, William. You are my heart.” Chloe’s voice shook once more. “However, I have to tell you something that might change your mind about me.”
“Nothing could do that, Chloe,” William assured. “Absolutely nothing.”
“Please listen,” Chloe begged, her voice rising. “William, I thought you were about to propose. I wanted with all of my heart to accept but I cannot.”
It was William’s turn to be silent. He found he could not think.
“I love you, William, more than anything. That’s why I can’t marry you.”
“Chloe, that makes no sense,” William mumbled. “I don’t understand.”
“I can’t have children, William. I’m physically unable to do so. I broke my pelvis when I was 13. It can’t bear the stress of a pregnancy.”
“So? I still don’t understand, honey.” William’s mind raced to figure out how to get through to her.
“I can’t give you a son, William. You would make the most amazing father in the world but I can’t fulfill that dream for you. You deserve to find someone who can.” Finally Chloe gave into the tears that were threatening her.
“Is that all?” William’s voice heightened with hope. “Chloe, we can adopt. You’ve always talked about wanting to take in orphans from China, Africa or India. I think that is a perfect idea.”
“You mean you wouldn’t be upset if our child wasn’t yours biologically?” Chloe’s rose continued to rise with hope.
“No. You should know that about me, Chloe. Yes, I want to be a father. I know you want to be a mother. It just makes sense for us to take in children that need us. Who cares where they come from? The moment we get them, they will be ours.”
“Really?” Chloe’s voice took on that tinkling sound that William loved.
“Meet me at our place, Chloe. You have a question to answer.” With that, William hung up the cell, turned on his pickup and began driving. Within five minutes he was inside their favorite bar. Chloe was already there, looking sheepish and slightly frightened.
In front of everyone William dropped to one knee. In a loud, strong voice, he asked the question he’d been dying to ask for nearly a month. “Chloe Sullivan, will you make me the happiest man on earth and be my bride?”
Chloe’s blue eyes sparkled with tears as she shook her head. She watched as he placed the ring on her finger. Dropping to her knees, she took his face in her hands and drew him in for a long, passionate kiss.
“William Clover, you are the most remarkable man in the world. I’d be honored to be your bride.”
William rose and yelped with joy. He impulsively invited the whole bar to the wedding. A few of them actually came when it took place a few months later.
William’s and Chloe’s life might have seemed unremarkable to most people. They worked, played and went to church every Sunday. However, to their three children, their lives were nothing less than amazing. They’d given a loving home to an African boy, a Chinese girl and another boy from India.
Each child was given all the love they could possibly need or want. Each went to college. One became a doctor. Another took up the law. The last became an engineer. When each of them married, they married for love just as their parents had done. They and their spouses adopted orphans as well.
When it came time for Chloe and William to leave the world, they went together, hand in hand. They passed surrounded by a rainbow of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, all of whom they loved unconditionally.
The legacy of Chloe and William Clover was a good one. It was one of perfect love.