Once upon a time in a world deep underground there was a tiny gnome village called Gnoborough where a small population of hard-working gnomes resided. This village was surrounded by woodland and the great Crystalwell River. The village was well-developed and well-run by virtue of the members of the Gnoborough Village Board; more specifically, Gus, the board's leader and his brother, Timothy.
100 years earlier when the village was less populated and the economy was suffering, Gus and Timothy came up with a plan to establish a common place where meetings could take place and goods could be sold. This later became known as the Gnoborough Village Square. The village square was utilized daily by the gnomes. The gnomes worked hard and having a place to sell their goods helped keep them on their feet. Woody Jr. had his produce shop where he sold his award-winning vegetables; Lady Isabella had a fruit and berry stand, and Al and Anita lived on the square in the space above their furniture shop. Adam had an all-natural gnome and animal medicine shop and Arnold and Sarah were young newlyweds. Arnold worked as an apprentice for Al and Anita while Sarah stayed home and awaited the birth of their first child.
Every gnome enjoyed their own little responsibilities within the village and their lives were joyful and full of fun. But that's a story for another time. This is the story of how the relationship between Isabella and Timothy grew.
One day, it was raining heavily while Isabella was at home washing fruit to take to the village square. She heard an alarming crackling noise followed by a surge of gushing water. Isabella rushed out to see what had happened and found that her garden was nearly washed away. Isabella ran to the edge of the riverbank and looked toward the dam and recognized pieces of the dam flowing by, along with her fruit.
The dam had broken. Isabella was so astonished and heart-broken that she could not figure out what to do first. Should she try to salvage what was left of her garden or hurry to the village square to find Gus and report the broken dam? Her garden was her livelihood and her passion; to replant it on her own would take a long time. As she was fretting over her decision, Timothy ran up to her. He was taking a walk through the woods when the rain started and had heard the dam break.
"Isabella, are you alright? I heard the dam break and rushed over to make sure you were safe!" Timothy exclaimed.
"I am alright, but my garden has been washed away, I don't know what to do," Isabella said wistfully.
In response, Timothy took charge. "I will go and find my brother and we will rally the village together to help you and rebuild the damn." And so off he ran to find his brother and rally the others.
By the time Timothy and the others arrived, the rain had stopped. Timothy stayed true to his word; he and Gus had gathered Anita, Al, Woody Jr., Adam, Arnold and Sarah as well as many other villagers to help with whatever they could. Not only had they brought helping hands, many had seedlings and seeds with them to help Isabella get a head start on replanting her garden. They broke up into teams; Gus headed half the villagers to rebuild the dam and Woody Jr. took charge of the replanting project and instructed the others on the best location and way to replant Isabella's garden.
Isabella and Timothy worked together on planting the berry bushels. Conversation came easily with Timothy, it always had since they were kids in school. She chortled along as she gushed over how grateful she was for his help and the help from the others.
"I just never imagined so many people cared so much about me and my little garden. I am completely overjoyed and thankful for everyone's help," she said. And then she made eye contact with Timothy and that little flutter she got when she talked to him thumped from within. Her cheeks turned rosy and she turned her head. She was in love with him, that was a given but she had no plans of sharing that with him for fear of rejection. She was shy. So shy, that the idea that so many others cared so much completely baffled her.
What Isabella didn't realize was that Timothy knew about her feelings. In fact, he had the same feelings for her as she did for him and he was tired of hiding them and going over "what ifs" in his head. So in response he gently grasped her chin when she turned away and spoke, "don't turn your head away, I know you have feelings for me. I have the same feelings for you. I know I never said anything but I just didn't want to ruin our relationship. But I am done being careful. I want to see what we could be. Together."
Isabella didn't know what to say. She dropped her garden hoe mid-dig and just stared, nearly speechless and stuttered, "I don't know what to say. I guess I just never would have pictured you sharing my feelings. You are always so quiet and soft-spoken that I didn't think being together as a couple would be an option."
To that Timothy simply smiled and said "Isabella, I have known you for most of my life. I saw you fall apart when your parents suddenly passed. But I also saw you build your life back together. You built a business and got yourself back up on your feet independently. You truly grew, and with that my admiration only continued to grow for you. I have loved you for a very long time and what happened with the dam today could have hurt you, or even worse. I don't want to miss a chance to be with you because of my apprehension. Please be my wife?"
Isabella's heart lurched and everyone around them disappeared. He had actually asked her to be his wife! She could not believe it. All her life, or at least as far back as she could remember he was the only one she ever thought of. Now Timothy wanted to be her husband. It was truly a dream. "Yes, yes I will be your wife. Oh Timothy I never imagined the words ever coming from you, this is truly a dream come true!"
Together they worked in amicable silence until the garden was replanted and the dam finished. Everyone gathered together near the garden and Timothy took Isabella's hand and announced their news, red-cheeked. "After today's event Lady Isabella and I had a chance to talk and finally disclosed our feelings for one another. We decided to get married!" Timothy shared.
"About time!" The villagers exclaimed in unison, for they had seen it all along and were anxiously waiting for this realization to come. In reaction to their statement, Isabella and Timothy blushed and glanced into each other's eyes and simply chuckled. Isabella then remembered she had yet to thank everyone. "Also, I cannot thank everyone enough for coming to my rescue and helping me replant my garden. It was not easy thinking about doing the work by myself, but all of your help has truly touched me and it means the world to me that you all came to my aid when I needed it the most." Isabella said cheerfully. With that, the other gnomes cheered and bubbled over with acknowledgment of her gratitude.
With that, all of the villagers, Isabella and Timothy included, retreated to the village square to celebrate a job well done as well as the new engagement. Isabella knew that life would never be the same for her in the little village and she couldn't wait to plan her wedding and see what the future brought for her and Timothy.