“Aunt Winnie, why are you acting so nervous?”
“Am I?” She absently pulled on the end of her sleeve.
“Winnie,” Nathan said more firmly.
When she finally looked up at him, her face made him concerned.
“Is everything all right?” he asked, suddenly worried about what might have happened.
“Yes, everything’s fine. I just have…news, and I’m not sure how you’ll take it.”
“Just tell me. Is someone hurt? Sick?”
“No, nothing like that. No, Nate, it’s good news. I just don’t know…”
“Just tell me,” he repeated.
“Brian has asked me to marry him. I’ve accepted.”
“What?” Nathan broke into a wide grin. It was completely the opposite of what he’d expected with how she was acting. “Why would you be worried about how I would take that news? That’s wonderful!”
Oh,” she said, smiling with relief. “I’m really glad you think so.”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Well, it’s just that I know you and Brian have gotten close—”
“He and I are close? You’re my aunt.”
“Of course, I know, but I worried it might be strange for you.”
Nathan put his hand on her shoulder and tried not to chuckle at her ridiculous concern. “You saved my life, at the risk of your own. You have to know I want nothing but happiness for you. Even if it had been strange for me, I would never have stood in your way or made you feel bad for this.
She pulled her nephew into a hug, and he thought back over the time he’d known his aunt. He pulled back so she could see his sincerity when he spoke again.
“When I was in Maebor, my favorite days were those that you or Brian would visit. The only thing that topped those days were the ones when you and he came to visit together. It felt like…” He paused for a breath when he felt the emotion rising to the surface. He forced past a sob and continued, “It felt like I had real parents, for the first time in my life. Now you tell me that my surrogate mother and my surrogate father are going to be married? I don’t think anything has made me happier, except of course meeting Penny and making her my wife.”