Dreamy Dylan

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#70 All the rings are total crap

The second Andre goes to work in the morning, I jump in my car and call Thomas to let him know I won’t be over to work on a website today.

“Everything okay?” he asks, sounding worried.

“Yeah, no, sort of.” I take a deep breath, finally saying the words out loud. “I’m going to propose to Andre.”

“Holy shit!” Thomas cheers. “Oh yes, that’s amazing! Do I need to come over to help you pick out a ring? I bet gold would look great on him. A simple gold band.”

“I know, I think gold would be best too.” I can’t stop smiling, feeling less nervous now that I know I’ve at least got Thomas in my corner. “I’m heading over to Ivan’s place right now to see if he’s up to help me pick out a ring. I texted him last night and he said he’s got the day off, so I’m hoping he can help me out.”

“Oh right, of course, get the best friend on board. That’s always a good plan. Is there anything I can do?”

I consider that for a moment. “Actually… Yeah, maybe there is. I’ll be gone all day, so I won’t have time to create a romantic atmosphere. I was thinking fairy lights, and maybe get Liv to secretly make some cupcakes that Andre can eat despite his intolerances…”

“Say no more. I’ve got your key and I will make your whole damn house into a love nest. Text me his favorite drinks and snacks, so I can get everything. I will call Shaughna, because I know she’s got a bunch of decorations for stuff like this. She plans weddings and parties for all her friends, after all.” He lets out a deep, happy sigh. “Dylan, seriously, this is amazing.”

“You don’t think it’s too early?”

He laughs softly. “Dude, you know my history with Tracy. From day one, your relationship with Andre has been way more stable than ours ever was before we got married. When you know, you know.”

“I know.”

“Of course you do.” He doesn’t doubt me for even a second. “Okay, good luck today. Text me the details, and I will take care of everything at your place.”

“Thanks, Thom.”

“Don’t even mention it.”

I’m all smiles and nerves when I arrive at Ivan’s place. He opens the door when I’ve barely parked my car, and a red-haired toddler comes sprinting out, her arms wide.

“Dylan!” she shouts. “Dylan!”

I guess his daughter still remembers me from my birthday party, and the few times I’ve tagged along with Andre when he came over here to hang out with his friend. I pick her up and give her a sloppy kiss that makes her giggle. Anja is an easy kid, letting me carry her back to the house without any trouble. Ivan is waiting for us on the threshold, his baby boy Arne is in his arms, making soft cooing sounds in his sleep.

“I didn’t realize you had the kids,” I tell him, feeling stupid. “Which of course I should have known. Why would the kids not be here on your day off?”

Ivan motions for me to follow him inside. “The kids are the whole reason I only work four days a week instead of five. Daddy bonding time, right Anja?”

“Daddy!” she shouts from my arms. “Dylan, that’s my daddy!”

I put her down on the floor, where she attaches herself to my leg. Of course, I pretend to be unable to move with such a heavy burden wrapped around me. She laughs and eventually decides to let go of me so I can join her dad on the couch.

“Sorry for disturbing you.” My idea feels stupid now. “I shouldn’t have come.”

“Nonsense, it must be important for you to seek me out.” He looks over at me curiously. “So… what’s up, Dylan?”

Here we go. “I was hoping you could join me to go ring shopping today.”

“Ring shopping?” His eyes go wide, and he shifts Arne to his other arm so he can make space for Anja on his lap. With both kids snuggled up to him, a slow grin spreads across his face. “You’re proposing. Oh, Andre is going to be so happy.”

“He is?” My heart is beating faster and faster now. I was a little scared I misread all the signs, so for Andre’s best friend to react like this means everything.

“He told me about how you asked him to move in.” Ivan gives me a knowing look. “A black box? Seriously? Jayne would have killed me if I’d pulled a move like that without asking her to marry me.”

“I didn’t even stop to think about that before I saw his face. I didn’t realize he thought we were at that point in our relationship yet.”

He laughs softly. “Oh trust me, neither did he. He came by a few days later, totally confused. He hadn’t thought about marriage as something that might happen so soon, but when you held out that box… He wanted it to be a ring. He really did.”

So I was right. Thank God for that. Knowing he will say yes makes today a whole lot easier. “He won’t mind that I’m proposing, right? Or is that something he wants to do himself?”

Ivan shrugs. “He just wants you. I don’t think he cares how it happens. As for ring shopping… I’d love to come, but I’d have to take these two little sweet peas with me.”

Ring shopping with a baby and a toddler sounds like the perfect morning, so of course I agree. I help him get Anja and Arne ready to hit the road, and we head to a small jewelry store I found online. It has several vintage gold wedding bands that I think Andre will love more than a new, plain one. As I explain to the salesman what I’m looking for, Ivan tries to pry Anja away from pressing her face against the glass of a showcase.

“Do you like these necklaces?” I kneel next to her. “The little snowflake could totally be Elsa’s from Frozen.

“Frozen!” she repeats, a huge grin on her face. “I love Elsa!”

I look up at Ivan, who is trying to stop Arne from getting fussy, silently asking him if I can buy his kid something too.

“You really don’t need to. She’ll just lose it.”

“But I can, right?”

He laughs. “Yeah, sure. You can.”

“Anja, would you like an Elsa necklace?” That one simple question earns me a squeal and a hug.

The salesman gets back to us with a couple of rings that might work for Andre, and while Ivan and I look at them, he helps Anja pick out the perfect silver snowflake. He gets some child jewelry from the back, looking a hell of a lot cheaper than the fancy rings I’m holding right now. Anja loves all of them, chatting happily to the man about how she likes pink glitters, but she also thinks the blue one is amazing.

She’ll find a necklace she loves, I’m sure of it. The real big question here is if I will find a ring Andre loves. The ones I’m holding right now sure as hell aren’t right. I put them back in the case and look over at Ivan, who is holding up a gold band.

“It’s crap,” he tells me before putting it down. “These are all pretty shitty, to be honest.” He glances over at the salesman. “No offense. They just don’t feel like Andre.”

“True,” I groan. “It should be vintage and gold, but these are just nothing like him.”

“If you weren’t in a hurry to do this, you could ask his parents,” Ivan suggests. “His dad has his grandfather’s gold wedding band somewhere, but he never wears it. I think it’s gold. I bet Andre would love something sentimental like that.”

“I’m actually going to see Emmy and Arthur after this, to erm…” I laugh at myself. “To ask for Andre’s hand, I guess?”

“Really?” Ivan looks touched. “Andre told me about his mom not liking you. They’ve been less close than they used to be because of it, and I know he hates it. I bet this would go a long way to getting the Emmy seal of approval.”

“I’m hoping it will help, but also… I mean, if I were to marry a girl, I’d ask her dad for her hand, you know? I know it’s old-fashioned and ridiculous, and I’m not like that normally, but I just… I don’t know. It seems like the right thing to do. Just because he’s a man doesn’t mean I can’t still go with tradition, right?”

“Definitely,” he agrees right away. “Honestly, after everything Andre has been through, you can’t really blame Emmy for being overprotective. I feel the same way about Andre. Never liked any of his boyfriends after Eric. I was right about all of them too. Stupid cunts. Cheating on him. What kind of asshole does that?”

“You’re overprotective?” I really don’t see Ivan that way. Yeah, he’s a giant, but he’s a big friendly one. “You seem to like me just fine.”

“I had a feeling about you.” He shrugs. “Turns out I was right.”

I don’t think Ivan gets how much that comment means to me. I was still with Kian when Andre and I met, and I developed feelings for him. If there was ever a reason to think a guy would be wrong for Andre, it would definitely be the fact that the guy in question isn’t single. I’d have understood if he’d told Andre not to get involved with me. Instead, he never once made me feel like he thought Andre was wrong for choosing me. Quite the opposite.

Anja has picked out a necklace by now, so I pay for it and get her a matching bracelet as well. She skips outside, singing Let it go. When Ivan thanks me for buying her a gift, I wave his words away immediately.

“I should be thanking you, man.”

He claps me on the shoulder, cradling Arne to his chest with his other arm. “No need. Andre is a lucky guy.”

“I think I’m the lucky one.”

“Which is exactly why I never disliked you.” He smiles down at Anja, who is trying to get his attention, showing off her new jewelry. “You look amazing, honey. Did you thank Dylan yet?”

“Thank you!” She hugs me tightly.

I help him get the kids back in the car, and then it’s time for me to start my most nerve-wracking part of the day. Time to drive over to the Peterson house in Andre’s hometown. Time to see if maybe, just maybe, Emmy will be okay with me marrying her son.

Here goes nothing…

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