"Admit it," he said. "I don't want you to regret this. Not in this lifetime."
Yet her heart didn't want to. What was she afraid of?
"I have no intention of marrying you."
"It's been four years Katherine. Don't our relationship mean anything to you - before and now?"
"Maybe I don't like you enough to want to spend the rest of my life with you."
She regretted saying that immediately because she loved Jacob to the moon and back, more so than life itself. But Jacob didn't seem to mind because he didn't believe a word she just said. He knew her better than she did. And that was fortunate.
"But I do. Isn't that enough?" He squeezed her hand.
Katherine gave Jacob an empathetic smile. To be more accurate, it was a smile of gratitude. He was so patient and understanding with her. Even now. What more did she want?
"You can't even imagine how happy I am that you proposed to me Jacob. My heart is bursting with tiny bubbles of happiness as we speak," she admitted. "I'm so happy that I'm more afraid. Does that make sense?"
Jacob leaned in and gave her a peck on the forehead. "It does, babe. Whatever you have to say, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. You know that I mean it, don't you?"
Katherine knew how serious Jacob was. He would never lie to her about his feelings. He was the most genuine man she met. She was lucky. So lucky. They met on the train to Zurich. Katherine had secured a job there as a financial adviser. Jacob was a local there. He was heading back from Milan.
"Hey, do you mind if I sit beside you?" Jacob asked. "There has been a mistake made on the seating by the crew. So they said this is the only empty seat left on the train. Is that fine with you, Miss?"
Katherine was in her own state of "why is this happening to me". A dilemma, to be precise. Except, later did she know that Jacob was the best thing that happened in her life. She intentionally booked two seats for herself on the train to avoid sitting with anyone so she wouldn't have to make eye contact, smile, or have any conversation of any kind. That's her version of euphoria. Don't judge. But her worst nightmare is happening. Sure, the journey takes less than 4 hours, but every second counts where there's a chance the other party would try some sort of small talk to engage. They always do - which made her wonder why can't people shut up when there's another person around. It's a twisted mystery she'll never have the answer to.
"Uh... I.... I mean..." she stuttered.
"All passengers please kindly return to your seats," the speakerphone echoed throughout the train. "The train will be departing shortly. I repeat, all passengers please kindly return to your seats. Thank you and we wish you a pleasant ride."
Unbelievable. What timing. One of the train crews, Susanne, with a smiley badge "I'm new" right above her tag, approached them.
"I'm sorry, Miss. Could you kindly move in and let this fine gentleman take a seat?"
Katherine gave up. And here comes the small talk she dreads.
There was no small talk.
There was only an hour left before they arrive at their destination. Katherine was itching to say something. But that would contradict her. She was astounded at how Jacob said nothing to her at all. The whole journey was her taking a peep whenever she could. She found him attractive. This has never happen before and she's about to do something opposite of what she would never do. They were literally about to get off the train now.
"Are you gay?" she blurted, then gasped. "Oh. My. God. I'm sorry, I -"
Jacob chuckled. "So you do want to talk."
"What?" Katherine said, taken aback. How did he know? He'd figured her out like a puzzle. "Wait - what?"
"I'm not gay. In fact, I find you very attractive - what's your name?"
"Katherine," she said, looking at him with suspicious eyes, intrigued and well, relieved.
"Jacob." He shook her hand.
"So why didn't you say a word to me before?"
Jacob noticed Katherine at the railway station for departures. She avoided people, stood by herself listening to a Podcast. And really, avoided eye contact with anyone who passed her by.
"I assumed you didn't want to talk based on the long pause of whether I could take a seat beside you," he teased. "I was holding back."
She smiled unconsciously at him. And Jacob was charmed.
"Now I'm glad I talked to you, first."
That was probably the most daring thing she ever said to a stranger she just met. A sentence filled with honest feelings that changed her life remarkably.
Jacob spent five months on the ring; plenty of thought, time, and commitment was invested to create the "perfect" ring for Katherine. It was a beautiful crafted, awe-inspiring purple diamond gemstone. It was the one. She was the only one for Jacob.
"I don't deserve you Jacob," she submerged the tears within.
It was a joyous day yet the negativity and fear harbouring inside her ruined the moment. She could be literally the luckiest woman on earth right now.
"There's no way I'm letting you go in this lifetime. We're getting married Katherine. Together. To build a new life of what lies ahead of us. I love you, babe. Forever can exist if it's you and me."
Because it is people like Katherine who think that they aren't enough, who fear that one day their love for the other may cease to exist, who believe in eternity love and have a fantasy that people you love don't change to make you think otherwise in actions or words or leave you unexpectedly without proper closure who really, really want nothing more than never to stop loving those they care about in this life, that truly deserve nothing but true happiness with someone who will never let them down.
Katherine kissed Jacob when she realised that yes, there may be a day where Jacob may disappoint her, hurt her, or even un-love her, but it's also possible that she could have true happiness with the man she took a chance upon in the train. At the very least, she wanted to believe in herself for the first time. In love. Because she'd be the biggest fool in the universe not to.
"I will marry you Jacob. I love you."