This pattern continued for some time, with Rosie living her life until Alexander came to visit her home. Sometimes they went walking and just talked, other times they stayed at the cottage and Alexander helped out with her chores. As a result, he was learning things he never thought that he would have to learn. He learned how to set a broken arm, to prepare treatments for everything from a stomach bug to a head cold, and all about the normal stages of pregnancy, and what could be expected.
More importantly though, Alexander learned about how the other part of society lived – the common folk. At first it had been awkward for him in his fancy suits and beautiful, well-tailored coats to interact with the people of the village, but after Rosie had presented him with some common laborer’s clothing, it had made everyone’s life easier. Although he had enough money that he didn’t need to worry about ruining a shirt or a pair of trousers, Alexander was not frivolous and not inclined to throw away his nice clothing for this work.
It had started off as an effort to get close to Rosie, who had distanced herself from him slightly and had never opened up quite as much as she did on the first day. Alexander’s presence in her life allowed him to see that although his first impression of her had been of an emotional, angry human being, Rosie lived her life almost as if she was playing a great joke on the rest of the world. It was being around her and her family that allowed him to first notice it. He couldn’t tell what it was about her that gave him that impression, but he rather thought that she knew what idea she projected with her easy smiles as people passed by her, either on the streets or even to the gentlemen who came to call on her sister.
Those easy smiles, he guessed, had been harder than Rosie wanted people to know. As he walked towards the cottage where Rosie and her family lived, he shoved a hand into his pocket and felt the small object therein. Today was the day. It had taken him all this time to work up to this, and he didn’t know long he would have yet. He planned on taking her back to the old ruins, even though the skies were overcast, and asking her his question there.
When he got to the cottage, the nerves began to set in. He and Rosie never really discussed what they were going to do. What if she had a patient that day and couldn’t escape from her house with him? What if he had to propose to her in the middle of her kitchen? He wasn’t too keen on the idea, since her thought her mother would prove a stumbling block. Rosie’s mother never seemed to approve of Alexander like she did of Charles. She did, however, approve of Alexander’s efforts during his time spent with Rosie. He believed that those hours spent lending her his time and his hands could not have been spent better, so in that they were in agreement.
When he had started working with Rosie, he had done it because he could not tear her away from her work for too long, but he could help her with it in an effort to make it easier for her. In reality, he had probably extended how much work she had to do by a very long shot by “helping” her, but by now it was too late to care. As the work had continued, though, he had found that he truly enjoyed it. He recalled his brother’s tale of Rosie’s healing of his foot, and seeing the scar that had been left over from Rosie’s rescue of Charles’s foot from possible infection, and probable death-by-hunter.
Alexander spent enough time at the cottage that Rosie and Snow White’s mother had told him he no longer needed to knock on the door. However, he had been raised well and felt the need to do what was the polite and proper thing, especially around Rosie’s mother, so as he reached the door of the cottage, he straightened his clothing and knocked on the door. It was opened by Rosie’s mother, Alexander’s nightmare. It was obvious that she didn’t like Alexander all that much. Although he was polite and never did anything to cause her insult, she possibly held some lingering resentment over his attitude towards her previously.
“Might I borrow your elder daughter for a little while on this fine afternoon, madam?” Alexander’s voice was polite, but in a rather detached way. Rosie’s mother nodded, and exchanged pleasantries with Alexander while she summoned her daughter. Rosie looked inordinately pleased to see him there, and grabbed her things for the outside. As the weather got colder, it became necessary to wear gloves, a hat, and a scarf as well as a cloak.
“When will you be back, Rosie?” Rosie replied that she didn’t know, and the two of them escaped out the kitchen door.
The walk to the ruins was quiet, and Rosie didn’t bother breaking the silence that fell between them. She didn’t complain when he took her hand, lacing his gloved fingers with hers. When they got to the ruins, Alexander looked at her and took her hands in his, standing by the fallen pillar where he had kissed her.
“Rosie… During this time of working with you… I approached you with the intention of helping you start smiling again, which it seemed like you’d stopped doing. I found though, that as time went on, I wanted to keep you smiling. Forever.” Rosie felt the world begin to fall away around her, as she watched Alexander’s face. “I don’t know why I love you, but I do. And I want to see you smile every day of our lives, and I want to be there to see you smile. I never thought I’d be here, asking someone to marry me, but I have to ask properly.” He pulled the ring that had been worn by many fingers of women throughout his family through history out of his pocket and knelt in front of her on one knee, saying, “Rosie, will you marry me?”A small time later, the two of them walked back to the cottage, hand in hand, to inform Rosie’s mother of their relationship, and to set in motion the plans for a new life.