By Lady Athena

Disclaimer: Nadia belongs to Toho/Ichimura Collection/Sogo Vision and ADV Films. The only thing I own is the plot. Thank you.

A/N: This story happens before Wedding Night. This is the story of how Jean and Nadia became engaged. Pretty much, this is how I envision it. Also, this occurs in 1895, which is two years before they actually got married. If people like this, I will write the story about their actual wedding. So enjoy!

Jean was nervous. Nay, he was beyond nervous. Frightened or terrified are words that could describe how he was feeling right then. The sweaty palms of his hands covered the little black, velveteen box he was holding between them. He opened it up for just one second, then shut it. Just looking at its contents made his stomach contain more butterflies than he had before.

His beautiful girlfriend, Nadia, was living with him in Le Havre. They slept in separate rooms, of course, but just the thought of having her that close, scared Jean immensely.

He waited outside her door, while she got dressed. They were going out to dinner that night. Jean let Nadia pick the restaurant, and to no surprise, she picked one that was for vegetarians. It didn't bother Jean, though. He was used to her way of eating, so he could sacrifice his own habits for one night.

He was dressed in a black suit, but instead of wearing a bow tie or even a normal tie, he wore none. He left the first two buttons of his collar open and instead of wearing suspenders, he wore a belt. The jacket, however, was not buttoned up at all.

He placed his hands into his jacket pockets and sighed. He was wondering if she would ever come out of that room. So, as if on a perfect cue with his thoughts, Nadia walked out.

His voice was caught in his throat, for what Nadia was wearing was something she would usually never wear.

Her hair and jewelry didn't surprise him. Her hair was up, and she was wearing a pair of diamond studs in her ears, and simple gold chain with a cross at the end of it. He had given these pieces to her one Christmas ago.

Her dress, however, shocked him beyond all repair. She was wearing black and the way the dress was cut was enough to make poor Jean drool.

Nadia's dress was strapless. It was exactly low cut, but the skirt hugged at her hips and legs. One side of the skirt had a slit. It wasn't very high, but Jean sure noticed it. Around her neck was a white scarf and on her feet were black, sandal like heels.

Nadia blinked at him. He soon regained his composure and smiled at her. "You look very beautiful this evening, Nadia."

She didn't know why, but she blushed every time Jean complimented her. "Thank you, Jean."

Jean was waiting for a compliment from Nadia, but as he predicted, it never happened. He sighed inwardly, but put on a smile. "Shall we go, Nadia?"

Nadia took his arm as they went outside. She looked at the horse drawn carriage that was waiting for them and then back at Jean.

"This must have cost you a lot, Jean," she said in awe.

Jean put an arm around her waist and gently kissed her neck, making her shiver. "Anything for you, Nadia."

Jean moved out of the way and let Nadia in first. He followed her right after. The driver knew where to go, so once they were both in, they took off.

Nadia turned to Jean, frantically. "Jean, you forgot to give him directions!"

Jean grinned at her. "No, I didn't. I told him the directions earlier today. I made the arrangements as soon as you told me where you wanted to go."

Nadia beamed at him. "You're so wonderful!"

Jean smiled sheepishly and blushed, too. It was rare to be complimented by her, so he enjoyed it whenever she did.

She smiled back at him and placed her hand on his. Soon, they were at the front of the restaurant. The driver opened the door for the two.

Nadia stepped out first and Jean followed. Nadia looked at the restaurant in shock. She never suspected it to be so big or so elegant.

Nadia, out of impulse, hid behind Jean. Jean looked back at her curiously.

"Something wrong?"

"I don't know why, but…I'm afraid to go in there. I'm afraid that people won't accept me," Nadia told him, burying her face in the back of his jacket.

Jean chuckled. Nadia frowned at his behavior. "Why are you laughing at me? It's not funny!"

"It's funny because you're usually not afraid of anything. Are you going to let what people think bother you?"

Nadia fell silent. She knew he was right. The old Nadia wouldn't have cared if the people there made comments about her. She would just blow it off at once.

However, the Nadia she became was a bit insecure. She wanted to fit into the society that Jean was a part of. She just didn't want to be shunned away from it.

"If anyone says anything about you, we will leave. I don't want you to get hurt, Nadia," Jean told her, suddenly worried. Nadia nodded in return and grabbed his hand. They then both walked into the restaurant.

As soon as they were inside, Nadia was actually right. A bunch of people turned and looked at them with wide-eyed expressions. Some of them were actually whispering, but Nadia couldn't make out what they were saying.

The waiter that had walked up to them looked at Nadia with a bit of shock. However, he could not send her away because of the color of her skin. He just bit back his personal thoughts and led Jean and Nadia to their table.

Once they were seated, Nadia sighed deeply. Jean took note and placed one of his hands on one of hers.

"Ignore them, Nadia. They aren't worth the trouble," he said, trying to make her feel better.

It worked just a bit. Nadia gave him a small smile, but her eyes were still full of uncertainty. Jean knew that Nadia was nervous, but he was nervous, as well. He didn't know how he was going to propose with her in the condition that she was in.

Soon, the waiter returned to their table and requested their orders. Jean looked at Nadia, indicating to select whatever she wanted from the menu.

She looked through it quickly and then said, "One salad with virgin oil."

The waiter wrote it down quickly, then asked, "Would you like anything to drink with that?"

"A glass of water would be fine."

"Very well," he said, finishing up her order. He then turned to Jean. "And for you, Sir?"

"I would like the same as her, but on the salad place some oregano on mine, as well," Jean told him.

"And for your beverage?"

"Same as her," Jean replied.

"Very well," the waiter said as took up the menus. "Your meals should be ready shortly."

He walked off and Jean turned his attention to Nadia. "You all right?"

She nodded, but Jean still sensed some insecurity within her. Jean smiled at her, holding onto her hand, tightly. Jean's eyes lowered themselves for one second, but as soon as they did, they were looking at a place that Nadia would have killed him for.

Jean just couldn't tear his eyes away from her bosom. Nadia instinctively knew what Jean was looking at, but instead of covering up and calling him a pervert as she usually would do, she blushed deeply in response, happy with the attention he was giving her and the fact that he found her that attractive to stare at.

Nadia then caught Jean's eyes with her own and raised her eyebrows. Jean blushed brightly and averted his eyes from their current position. Nadia grinned at him, finally regaining some confidence. Jean let out a sigh of relief. It was good to see her happy again.

Just then, the waiter arrived with their meals. He placed them down in front of each of them and then handed Jean the bill. Jean took it, looked at it quickly, nodded, and pocketed it.

"How much?" Nadia asked, before lifting a fork into her salad.


"How much for the food?"

Jean frowned. "You shouldn't ask such questions, Nadia. Consider this like a present. You wouldn't tell me how much the present you bought for me was if I asked, would you?"

Again, Jean was right. She shook her head and continued eating. Jean lifted his own fork and began to eat, as well.

Suddenly, Nadia realized something. "Jean? Did they give you the bill right after they gave us our food?"

Jean blinked. "Yes, Nadia. You saw him give it to me."

"Don't they usually give the bill after dinner is over? What about dessert?"

"Ah! Well, we're not having dessert here," Jean said, a mischievous gleam shining in his eye.

"Really? Where then?"

"That is a secret, Nadia dearest. You will know when we get there," Jean said, biting back a smirk.

Then, shocking Jean, she pouted. "Oh, Jean! That's not fair!"

He stared. He couldn't take his eyes off of her lips. The moment she pouted, her lips became more irresistible to him than they already were. His own lips became dry, so he licked them. This made him and Nadia blush simultaneously.

She knew that he was thinking of naughty things, but she regained her composure and continued to eat. Jean snapped out of his trance and ate, as well.

Once they had finished, Jean left the payment on a small, silver plate, along with a tip. He then took Nadia's arm, as they walked out of the restaurant.

The carriage was there, waiting for them. They stepped into it and then took off. Jean then took out a piece of cloth from his pocket and covered Nadia's eyes.

Nadia was bewildered. "Jean! What are you doing!"

Jean said nothing, but smiled at the unsuspecting Nadia. They drove on towards the place that only Jean and the driver knew about.

Once they arrived, Jean stepped out of the carriage first, then led the blindfolded Nadia carefully out, after. Jean walked towards the driver door, telling the driver when to come by to bring them home. The driver then took off, leaving Jean and Nadia to themselves.

"Jean, where are we?" Nadia asked, a tad frightened.

"Give me a few more minutes and then you'll know," he replied as he sat her down on a bench.

"I'll be right back. Don't move," he instructed as he took off.

Nadia fidgeted with the hem of her dress. Jean was acting stranger than usual. She wasn't prepared for what was going to happen that night, so she was beyond anxious.

Soon, she heard footsteps approaching her. Nadia knew better than to answer to them right away. She waited until the person spoke.

"Nadia, everything's ready."

She let out a sigh of relief when she heard the voice. It was Jean's, so she took his hand and he led her to the place that he had prepared for them.

Once they arrived, he let her sit down and he soon sat down himself. Jean looked at Nadia and smiled. "You can take the blindfold off, now."

Nadia did so and when she opened her eyes, they grew immensely large. They were sitting at a table with candlelight, champagne, and two small bowls of ice cream were in front of each of them.

She was astounded at how much effort he had put into arranging this, without her knowing about it.

"Jean, this is just incredible! I don't know how to thank you," Nadia said in all happiness.

Jean blushed, but smiled, too. "As I said, anything for you, Nadia."

She smiled shyly at him. Her face then turned serious. "Jean, I need to tell you something."

Jean heard a hint of urgency in her voice. "Is something the matter?"

"Well," she began, playing with her handkerchief, "I've been meaning to tell you this, but the right time never showed up. I think that now would be a good time."

Jean was frightened. Was she going to leave him? "Go ahead, Nadia. Tell me," he urged, his voice quivering a bit.

"I…I…" she started, her face turning red.

"Go on," he said, encouraging her.

"I…I love…"

His own face was turning red. Was she going to say what he thought she was going to say?

Nadia's heart was pounding in her chest. Was she ready to tell him? She was scared, but she also knew that there might not be another perfect opportunity.

"You promise not to laugh, no matter what?"

Jean nodded. "Of course, I won't laugh."

Nadia averted her eyes from Jean's, then she moved her face away from his completely. She took a deep breath and whispered, "I love you."

Jean strained to hear her. "I couldn't hear you, Nadia. Could you repeat it, please?"

Still, with her face turned, she said a bit louder, "I'm in love with you."

He still couldn't hear her very well. He caught a couple of words, but that was all. "Could you say it one more time?"

She was a little frustrated and embarrassed. "I'm in love with you, idiot!"

Jean blinked one, two, three times. He wasn't even sure if he heard her right, but he knew that he did. Emotion overtook him as he went over to Nadia and scooped her up in his arms.

Nadia blinked in surprise. However, she wrapped her arms around his neck and looked at him with adoring eyes.

"You mean it, right? You do mean it?"

Nadia smiled, her eyes shining with tears of happiness. "Oh, yes, Jean. I mean it. I'll always mean it."

He embraced her tightly. "I love you, too. But you already knew that, didn't you?"

Nadia nodded. "You told me that you did when we were on Blue Noah. I'll never forget what you said to me that day."

Jean remembered that romantic, yet painful day. His mind flashed to when Nadia tried to suicide and winced.

"You ok?" Nadia asked, worried. Jean nodded and held her to himself even tighter, if it was humanly possible.

Nadia closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensation of being so close to him. She finally had what she wanted in life. A love to call her own.

Jean's eyes were closed, too. He didn't even bother to open them when he started to talk, again. "Nadia, I need to ask you something."

She snuggled her face deeply into his shirt. "Anything, my love," she mumbled.

Jean blushed at the terminology, but continued, "I think it would be better if we weren't so near to each other, while I do this."

Nadia frowned and reluctantly broke away from Jean. She didn't know that Jean was feeling the exact same way that she was.

Jean felt nervous, again. He was unsure how to ask her. He placed his right hand in his jacket pocket and fingered the velveteen box. He swallowed…hard.

Nadia furrowed her brow. "Jean, please say something. You've been standing there like a mute for the past five minutes!"

He knew the traditional way to propose, but he didn't want to give what he wanted to say to her right away. He wanted to be subtle about it, but he didn't know how to be subtle in the first place.

Nadia just rolled her eyes and sat back down. She grabbed a spoon and dipped it into her almost melted ice cream.

Jean sighed. He couldn't do it. He didn't have the guts to do it. He lowered his eyes and sat back down. He couldn't even eat his dessert. He knew that Nadia was mad with him, so it made him very uneasy.

The carriage arrived at the scheduled time. The two stepped into it, silently. The hardly spoke two words to each other on the way home.

Once they arrived back at the house, Nadia and Jean stepped out of the carriage and then Jean paid the driver. The two then went inside.

Jean just walked to his room and Nadia to hers. He didn't even bother with saying goodnight. He didn't want to get yelled at by her.

Once he was dressed in his nightclothes, he dropped onto the bed. He, however, couldn't fall asleep. His mind was Nadia and his own stupidity.

"I guess I really am an idiot. Just like Nadia says," he muttered to himself. He turned on his side, in a feeble attempt to fall asleep.

Soon, he heard a knock at his door. He furrowed his brow, then became nervous. Maybe she was there to yell at him.

"That's more than likely," he muttered once more, before opening the door.

And there was Nadia standing before him in a very sheer nightgown. His face turned a brilliant shade of red. However, Nadia didn't care. She walked into his room and sat down on his bed.

"Jean," she began, "I need to ask you something."

'How utterly ironic,' he thought as he sat down in his chair.

"What did you need to ask me?"

"I wanted to know if you would ever consider marrying me," she blurted out.

He stared. He lost all sense of speech. She had sort of asked him what he wanted to ask her. He was beyond confounded at that point.

"Jean, you still with me?" she joked, weakly.

Jean finally came to his senses. "Nadia, why are you asking me this?"

"Because, sometimes, I feel as if I'm losing you. I would never want that," she said, blushing.

Jean chuckled. "Are you proposing?"

He expected it to be just a rhetorical question, but when he saw Nadia nod, his face went pale.

"What?" he said, weakly.

Nadia stood up and looked into his eyes. "Marry me, Jean. I'm serious."

Not knowing what to say, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her deeply. Astounded, Nadia kissed him back with all the love she could muster.

The kiss was quick, but it was enough to leave them breathless. Nadia smiled coyly at him. "Is that a yes?"

"That would be an infinite number of yes'. I was actually going to propose to you tonight, but I didn't have the guts to do so," he said with a sheepish smile.

She smiled tenderly at him. She placed her head on his chest and sighed deeply with contentment. "Thank you for making me happy."

Jean suddenly remembered the ring. He pulled back from Nadia and took it out of his dresser. He opened it and slipped it on her ring finger on her left hand. She rose her left hand up to her face, her eyes sparkling.

"It's gorgeous, Jean!" she exclaimed as she threw herself at him. The ring was in yellow gold and its stone was medium sized. What surprised Nadia the most was that diamond was blue and shaped just like the Blue Water was.

She kissed Jean again. "I love you, my idiot," she whispered, sentimentally.

"I love you, too, my princess," he whispered, looking into her eyes and soul.

Jean gave his love one more quick hug. "You'd better get some sleep, Nadia. Grandis is coming over tomorrow. You don't want to be sleepy when you give her the good news," he said, grinning.

She smacked him playfully. "Men have such big egos."

"Is that such a bad thing?" he asked.

She shook her head. "Not when you have a big ego for a good thing, it isn't."

"Now get going before I have to drag you myself," he warned, playfully.

Nadia raised her hands up in defeat. "All right, all right. I'll go, but you'll miss when I'm gone."

"I miss you even when you're near," he said, looking away.

Nadia blushed and smiled. "I'm glad to see that the sentiment is the same for both of us."

Nadia then made a bold move. She walked up to Jean and hugged him from behind. She shocked Jean a whole lot by her action. Her body was fully pressed to his back and Jean's whole body was turning red.

She wrapped her slender arms around the front of his neck and smiled mischievously at him. "Hey, Jean?"

"Yes, Nadia?" his voice squeaked.

She bit back a laugh. "Mind if I sleep here tonight?"

His eyes became as wide as saucers. "What?!"

Nadia laughed outright. "Oh come on, Jean. I didn't mean it like that!"

"You meant to actually sleep, then?" he asked in order to assure himself.

Nadia rolled her eyes, but grinned nonetheless. "Yes, idiot. Sleep only."

Jean let out a sigh of relief. "Oh, umm…good."

She raised an eyebrow at him. "Good?" She removed herself from him and then faced him. She had her arms crossed as she looked at him expectantly for an answer.

Jean was sweating bullets. "What I meant was that I don't want you to feel uncomfortable, Nadia." He prayed that he was right in saying that.

It seemed that he was. He saw Nadia smiling at him and then she hugged him. She then led him to the bed. She slipped in first and pulled the covers over herself. Jean followed suit and then turned off his lamp.

He wrapped his arms around her waist as Nadia moved closer to him. He closed his eyes and smiled, smelling the sweet scent of her shampoo.

"Goodnight, Jean."

"Goodnight, Nadia," Jean replied. The two slept together in utter silence and contentment.

The End

Copyright© Max 2002. All rights reserved ®

The copyright of this fan fiction is owned by Lady Athena