Lucy is sitting
comfortably on the sofa, typing away on her laptop finishing a speech before
work, when Lee strolls in brandishing a little black box in his hand.
‘What’s this?’ he asks.
Pausing in her task, Lucy takes her eyes away from the screen to look up at her husband to see what he is going on about.
‘Have you been snooping through my drawers again?’
‘That is beside the point.’
‘For God sake, Lee.’ She places her laptop to the side and goes to stand to walk over to him. ‘How many times do I have to tell you? Marriage doesn’t give you the right to go through my stuff.’
‘For the last time, I was drunk and didn’t want to lose the chance of gaining £50.’
‘I don’t know what was worse. Me coming home to find you prancing around the flat wearing my bra, or discovering Tim was the one who came up with the bet?’
‘I bet the last will make you forget the first.’
‘Trust me. Nothing will eradicate the image of you in your boxers and my bra with two pairs of socks stuffed inside them.’
‘I won the bet though.’
‘Yes. I’m still unnerved how easily you managed to undo the bra with one hand, but what scares me more, is why my brother would even suggest it.’
‘I’d rather not know what goes through your brother’s mind.’
‘I know what is currently going through it,’ Lucy states as she walks over to him and plucks the box from Lee’s fingers.
‘What do you mean?’
‘This is our Grandmother’s engagement ring. She gave it to Tim.’
‘Your grandmother proposed to her own grandson?’
‘That’s disgusting. We’re not…northern.’
‘So why do you have the ring?’
‘Tim gave it to me for safekeeping. He doesn’t want Daisy to find it. Not yet anyway.’ Lucy takes the small object and goes to sit back down on the sofa. With a frown marring his forehead, Lee joins her.
‘Is Tim thinking of marrying Daisy?’
‘Don’t sound so surprised. They have been together for six years, nearly seven. It’s about time he pops the question. I hope he plucks up the courage and asks her soon.’
‘He doesn’t need to worry about her answer.’
‘Sure. Tim will have another seven years to prepare for it. Knowing Daisy, it’ll take her that long to decide whether to say yes or no.’
‘Daisy’s not that bad. She’ll follow her heart and say yes.’
‘Well it’s better than following her brain.’
‘At least Daisy will get an engagement ring.’
‘I was improvising. You’re lucky the pub didn’t run out of Hula Hoops. You were this close to having a pig on your finger.’
‘I’ve been living with one for the past eight years, I wouldn’t have known the difference.’
Lee rolls his eyes and looks at the object. ‘It looks rather expensive.’
‘It is. It’s priceless.’
‘Was it stolen?’
‘No.’ Lucy stares at him with a frown. ‘Why would you think that?’
‘Where I come from, priceless is another word for theft.’
Tim and Lee are
casually sitting at their usual place at the bar with a freshly pulled pint in
‘I hear you are going to make an honest woman out of Daisy,’ Lee says.
‘How do you know?’ Tim swivels on his stool to glare at his mate.
‘I found the ring.’
‘You’d better not have done anything to it, Lee. It’s precious to me.’
‘All right Gollum, there’s no need to panic. Lucy’s got it.’ Tim sighs. ‘Why didn’t you tell me you were going to propose?’
‘I’m sorry, when did you become Daisy’s father?’
‘Oh yeah, I forgot I had sex with her mother when I was ten.’
‘Wow. Ten? That’s late for you.’
‘Sex education isn’t like it used to be.’
‘Yeah, they don’t use cucumbers anymore.’
‘I meant you’re not allowed to make water bombs and chuck them at the headmaster.’
‘Did you manage to achieve anything at school?’
‘We helped him get over his fear of water.’
‘Was he grateful?’
‘Not really. He soon discovered a fear of balloons.’
‘We blew the condoms up and hid them in his filing cabinet. When he opened the drawer he got a face full of rubber Johnny’s.’
‘You really were very immature in your youth.’
‘We did the same to my mate last week.’
‘Hid a load of blown up condoms in his drawer?’
‘No. Got a stripper to blow Johnny and he ended up with a face full of rubber.’ Tim frowns in disgust and turns his attention to his pint. ‘So, when are you going to propose?’
‘That’s the problem. Every time I go and do it, I get cold feet and end up saying something completely different. Last week I got half way through asking the question, but got stuck on the “M” and instead of asking her to marry me, I said, “will you marinade me?”’
‘What did she do?’
‘Got up and started to sing.’
‘Daisy always gets confused with marinade and serenade. While watching X-Factor once, I said I wanted to be serenaded to. She disappeared into the kitchen and when she came back, she started to smear salad cream over my face.’
‘If she wanted to get you into bed, she should have been undressing you, not dressing.’
Tim suddenly turns to face Lee. ‘I need your help.’
‘I’m not undressing you!’
‘No, I need you get the ring for me. Then I want you to come over to mine.’
‘I want to practice what I’m going to say.’
‘What’s wrong with my place?’
‘I want to propose over dinner. I want to run through what I’m going to do step by step.’
‘You’re very meticulous.’
‘I’m not meticulous.’
‘Tim, you have underwear with days of the week on.’
‘So? Loads of people have that.’
‘Yes, but they don’t colour code them with their socks and choose what they are going to wear the day before.’
‘It’s better than choosing your outfit by sniffing the clothes in your wardrobe.’
‘I’m doing my bit for the environment.’
‘By smelling like it?’
‘I thought you wanted my help on your speech, not fashion tips.’
‘Come on then, but first we need to go somewhere else.’
‘Where are we going?’
‘To Daisy’s parents’ house.’
‘Why are you going to theirs?’
‘I want to do this properly. I’m going to ask Daisy’s father for his permission.’
‘This is 2015, Tim, not 1815.’
‘You should have asked my Dad you know. He would have respected you.’
‘If I had asked Geoffrey for his permission to marry Lucy, he would have strung me up by my bollocks and tied me to the nearest lamppost before I could say, “I do.”’
‘You wouldn’t of had any to tie up. He would have cut them off and made you wear them for earrings.’
Tim enters his
girlfriend’s parents’ house, followed closely by an uncomfortable Lee. An elderly man, still retaining a full head
of dark hair with peppered silver highlights, shows them into the living room.
‘Robert, this is Lee, my best friend,’ Tim introduces.
‘Some would say only friend,’ Lee adds.
‘Lee, this is Robert, Daisy’s father,’ Tim carries on.
‘You can call me Bert,’ Robert says as he holds his hand out to shake Lee’s. ‘Or Bob or Rob.’
‘What do you prefer?’ Lee asks.
‘I don’t mind. You can call me either.’
‘It’s nice to meet you Either.’
‘Where’s Fanny?’ Tim asks the man in front of them.
Lee snaps his head towards his mate. ‘It’s a female body part positioned at the…’
‘Fanny is Rob’s wife, Daisy’s mother,’ Tim interrupts quickly.
‘Lucky your name isn’t Richard, otherwise it would be Dick and Fanny.’
Tim and Robert simply stare at Lee before turning their gazes towards one another.
‘So what can I do for you Tim?’
‘I’ve come to ask for your blessing to marry your daughter.’
‘He’s already deflowered her,’ Lee interjects. ‘It’s only right he marries her before it’s pistols at dawn.’
‘Are you married Lee?’ Robert asks.
‘I’m sorry to hear that.’
‘I’m flattered Robert, but unfortunately I don’t swing that way.’
‘I’m sorry for your wife.’
‘It’s the brother-in-law I feel sorry for,’ Tim adds.
‘Why?’ asks Robert.
‘Because it’s me.’
‘That’s nothing!’ says Lee. ‘He wants to marry Daisy.’ He gulps and takes a step back as he realises who he is talking to. ‘I mean…’
‘And what is wrong with my daughter?’
‘Nothing. Absolutely nothing. She’s a wonderful woman. Simple.’
‘You calling her stupid?’
‘No, she’s got a colourful imagination.’
‘Now you’re suggesting she’s crazy?’
‘No, I didn’t mean…’
‘Carry on digging, Lee,’ Tim says. ‘You’ll have that grave done in no time.’
‘All I meant was…’
‘I’d advice you to think before you say anything else,’ Robert interrupts.
‘That’s good advice Lee,’ Tim comments.
‘A little thought can go a long way.’
‘There’s another one, Lee.’
They are interrupted by the sound of the front door opening and then shutting and a woman’s voice calls out a greeting.
‘Ah, here comes Fanny,’ Robert smiles.
‘Is that what you say to your wife when you’re…?’ The dark pair of eyes glaring at him causes Lee to stop mid-sentence. ‘Okay, I’ll shut up.’
Just then the woman herself strolls into the living room, dark hair swept up in a neat bun, a purple long sleeved blouse tucked inside a cream coloured, knee length pencil skirt.
‘Oh hello,’ she says with a smile as she spots the visitors. ‘Nice to see you Tim.’
‘Tim has come around to ask our permission to marry Daisy,’ her husband explains.
‘Oh, that’s lovely.’ Fanny clasps her hands with glee. ‘You’ve finally plucked up the courage to do the deed.’
‘Well that clears up what she says to you,’ Lee says, raising his eyebrows at Robert.
done,’ Lee states as he and Tim are driving back to the flat.
‘No thanks to you.’
‘What? I was trying to lighten the atmosphere.’
‘Asking Fanny if she hoped it would be a period wedding, was not funny.’
‘Robert thought so. He was crying with laughter.’
‘He was choking on a crisp.’
‘I gave him a drink.’
‘That only made him worse. You gave him vodka.’
‘I thought it was water. It had Rain on the label.’
‘So if a bottle was called orange, you’d think it orange juice?’
‘Not orange juice, no.’
‘I don’t think she was too impressed with the elephant gag either.’
‘She said she likes elephants. I thought it was appropriate.’
‘Asking her to tug on the trunk was far from being appropriate.’
‘Oh stop your moaning, they gave you their blessing, didn’t they?’
‘After meeting you, I’m surprised they didn’t turn and run in the other direction. Even now I bet they are reconsidering their answer.’
‘Don’t worry. If they’re anything like Daisy, they’ll soon change it back again.’
Lee climbs the
stairs to his apartment as, once again, the lifts were out of order. With each step, he ponders on what it would
be like to have Daisy for a wife. With
Tim’s fastidious lifestyle and her absentmindedness, he could see their life to
be far from boring.
Lee reaches inside his pocket for the house keys and is about to unlock the door, when he almost falls into Lucy as the object is abruptly opened for him.
‘I need you,’ she states, her voice slightly squeaky, a clear indication of her agitation.
‘Could you say that again, but this time, lower your voice and look at me as if you want to tear my clothes off.’
‘I need your help,’ and Lucy practically drags him inside.
‘At least give me a chance to build myself up.’ Lee’s eyes flicker downward and then towards his wife’s frowning face.
‘I don’t mean that. I mean this,’ and she shoves her finger in front of his eyes. Her Grandmother’s engagement ring is wrapped tightly around her finger. Even now there’s a blue tinge to her skin. ‘I can’t get it off.’
‘Don’t be so hard on yourself Lucy, that’s my job.’
‘Can you stop it with the pathetic sexual innuendos? This is serious. Tim is going to kill me.’
‘At least you wouldn’t have to marry him then.’
‘You’re not helping,’ Lucy grinds through her teeth as she tries tugging on the ring.
‘How did you manage to get it stuck in the first place?’ Lee questions as he holds her finger to inspect the damage.
‘I wanted to try it on, but when I tried to get it over my knuckle it wouldn’t go, so I forced it.’
‘I thought it getting stuck at your knuckle was a pretty good indication it wouldn’t fit.’
‘Haven’t you ever tried to fit something big inside something that is smaller?’
‘On second thought, don’t answer that.’
‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about. All you need is a bit of butter.’
‘I’ve tried that already.’
‘Maybe you’re not doing it right.’
‘And how am I supposed to do it? Mix it in with a bit of flour, some eggs and pop it in the oven for half an hour?’
‘That would be the wedding cake sorted.’
‘Just help me will you before Tim comes to collect it.’
‘Oh, about that.’ Lee looks at his wife cautiously.
‘Tim’s waiting downstairs in his car. I’ve come to collect the ring.’
‘Oh great. You’ll just have to bring me at this rate.’
‘I’ve heard that if you put it in warm water, it will soften the skin and you’ll be able to slide it off.’
‘Are you sure about that? I thought it was cold water.’
‘No, it’s definitely warm.’
10 MINUTES LATER
‘This is great. Thanks Lee.’ Lucy holds up her finger with the ring on. ‘Not only hasn’t it worked, my finger is now twice the size it was. Who told you to put it in warm water anyway?’ When Lee doesn’t reply, she looks over to him and by the expression on his face she guesses. ‘It was your Nan, wasn’t it?’
‘She was a very wise woman.’
‘She thought the toilet was a sink.’
‘Okay, so she started to lose it by then.’
‘And if I don’t do something soon, I will end up losing my finger.’
‘Why don’t we cut it off?’
She snatches her hand away and hides it behind her back. ‘You are not cutting my finger off!’
‘I meant the ring.’
‘You can’t do that, it’s a family heirloom.’
‘Then it’s your finger.’
‘If you go anywhere near my finger, it’s not the only thing that will be cut off.’
Before Lee is able to retaliate, Tim comes bursting through the door.
‘What’s taking you so long, Lee?’
‘Nothing,’ Lucy and Lee say simultaneously as they turn to face him.
Gazing between the two, Tim asks, ‘What’s wrong?’
‘What makes you think something is wrong?’ his sister asks.
‘The last time you looked like that, you tried to hide the fact that you broke my Scalextric set.’
‘I said I was sorry.’
‘You also said you’d buy a new one, but you didn’t.’
‘It’s only been a week, Tim, I haven’t had chance.’
‘You had a Scalextric?’ Lee questions.
‘A digital one.’
‘And you never told me? That’s not fair.’
‘Will you two stop behaving like big kids and help me get this ring off?’ And Lucy pulls it from its hiding place and holds it in front of the guys.
‘What is that?’ Tim scrunches up his nose in disgust.
‘It’s a finger,’ Lucy replies. ‘You may have seen one before. They reside at the ends of your hands.’
‘Is it meant to be that colour?’
‘Okay, okay. Have you tried butter?’
‘Yes. I’ve tried butter, cooking oil, various forms of lubricants.’
‘What about…?’ Lee begins but is unable to get any further as his wife interrupts.
‘Don’t even go there.’
‘Have you tried leaving it in cold water?’
HALF AN HOUR LATER
‘Well that was useful.’ Lucy glares at her brother. ‘Not only has it not worked, but my finger is now so numb, if it wasn’t for the fact that I can see it, I would be surprised to find it still attached.’
‘At least now you can pretend someone else is stroking you,’ Lee suggests.
‘I’m not a dog, Lee.’
‘You were certainly howling my name last night.’
‘Thanks for painting a rather graphic image of my sister, mate.’
‘It will make your time with Daisy last longer.’
‘Now that you two have sorted out your bedroom habits, can we please get back to the matter of getting circulation back into my finger.’
‘It doesn’t look like it will come off any time soon,’ Tim says.
‘Great. Now what are we supposed to do?’
‘I was planning on proposing to Daisy tonight.’
‘Well that’s definitely not going to happen.’
harmonious, instrumental piano music drifts through the room. The candlelight
casts a halo around the two dining companions as they rest their cutlery on the
empty plates in front of them.
‘That was lovely Tim. What was it?’ Daisy asks.
‘And what was that creamy white sauce?’
‘Creamy white wine sauce.’
‘And the green sticks with sprouts coming out of the top?’
‘It was a lovely meal, darling, but what is the occasion?’
‘Do I need an occasion to treat my girlfriend?’ Tim smiles at her from across the table.
‘Do I get a trick?’ Daisy asks, eyes wide with excitement.
‘What?’ A frown develops along Tim’s brow.
‘I thought this was some sort of trick or treat moment. You know, like at Halloween.’
‘So the candles are not for dramatic effect?’
‘And the music isn’t to create tension?’
‘And Lee and Lucy are not standing in the corner pretending to be ghosts?’ She then turns to the couple that are indeed standing rather uncomfortably in a corner of the room attempting to keep out of the way, but obviously failing miserably.
Tim turns around in his seat to glare at them. ‘I thought I told you two to stay in the kitchen.’
‘We didn’t want to miss our cue,’ Lee explains.
‘Oh, are we doing a bit of role play?’ Daisy claps her hands in glee. ‘Tim and I like cowboy and Indian.’
‘The Milky bars are on him then,’ says Lee.
‘Daisy,’ Lucy interjects before the ridiculousness can continue. ‘Tim has an important question to ask you. Go on Tim.’
‘Right, yes,’ and he goes to stand and walk over to his beloved. With a bit of shuffling on his feet, he crouches down on one knee and reaches for her hand. ‘Daisy, will you…’
‘Yes, I will,’ she says.
‘Hold on, you don’t know what he has to say yet,’ Lee says.
‘Oh come on, it’s obvious.’ Daisy replies. ‘The signs are there. To be honest, I’ve been waiting for you to ask me for a long time.’ She smiles down at her boyfriend.
‘Really?’ He smiles back.
‘Are you saying yes?’
‘Yes Tim, I am. I will be your cowgirl this time.’
‘I was going to ask you to be my wife,’ Tim gazes up at her, eyebrows slightly raised. However, instead of a verbal response, Daisy simply collapses off her chair and onto the floor with a heavy thump.
‘What a day,’ says
Lucy as the her and Lee flop down onto the sofa; she then swings her legs up
and rests them across her husband’s lap.
He then starts absently rubbing the underside of her foot.
‘First the ring, Tim’s awkward proposal and then came the collapse.’
‘I meant Tim.’
‘I can’t believe Daisy accidentally punched him in the face when she got the ring off.’
‘At least she managed to get it off. I’m still trying to get over the fact that Daisy was the one to come up with the idea.’
‘Who’d have thought a bit of string would do the trick.’
‘My Dad did the same thing when I had a wobbly tooth.’ Lee reaches forward for the two glasses of wine and passes one to Lucy. ‘He tied it to a bit of string then attached it to the door.’
‘Did that work?’
‘Yes, but the wobbly tooth was still there.’
‘How did it work then?’
‘He pulled out the wrong bloody tooth.’
‘Well here’s to many more mishaps in the future.’ Lucy raises her glass.
‘With Daisy now a permanent fixture, I’m sure that’s a guarantee. Which reminds me.’ Lee leans forward and picks up his mobile. He quickly selects a number and presses it to his ear.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Phoning Tim. I’m making sure he’s got life insurance.’
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