#72 Lamest proposal ever
Of course, I should have known ‘nothing can possibly go wrong’ are famous last words. The house looks amazing. All my friends helped out in the end, magically appearing with strings of heart-shaped fairy lights and big red balloons. But… guess what? It’s way after dinner time, and Andre isn’t even home yet. Liv had to take Aurora to the emergency room, and two employees called in sick. Instead of coming home to find me waiting for him with a ring, Andre is still working.
Around 8 pm, I’m so fed up with waiting that I decide to head over there. Normally, I’d have done that the second he called, but I was still hoping he’d get home soon. I’m in a gold glitter suit with the ring tucked into the inside pocket, for crying out loud. I did my nails, my makeup, my hair… Everything about me shouts marry me, Andre. You can’t work looking the way I do. Yet it seems that’s exactly what I’m about to do.
Cursing the whole time, I drive to the coffeeshop, where I find Andre and Sandra sitting on the floor of the bakery, their clothes wet, their expressions sour.
“What the hell are you doing?” I ask, trying not to sound as annoyed as I feel. They can’t help that I planned this whole romantic night, after all. They’re just trying to make the best of a crappy day.
“The coffee machine broke, as did one of our ovens, and the AC is leaking,” Sandra explains as she gets up. “Wow, you look fancy.”
Andre looks up from the machine he was trying to fix, his eyes going wide. “Did I forget we had dinner plans or something?”
“No, no, I was just… trying out a new look.” I fake a smile. “What can I do to help?”
“At this point… nothing,” Sandra sighs. “We’ve made some calls, but no one is able to come in until tomorrow afternoon.”
“Which means we can’t open tomorrow morning,” Andre groans, allowing me to pull him to his feet. “I can’t believe this is happening right now. Thank God Aurora is alright, but once Liv comes home to find out her bakery is a mess…”
“Don’t we know anyone who can fix stuff like this?” I muse, already scrolling through my contacts on my phone. “Dshawn and Shaughna own their own business. I’m sure they’ve encountered stuff like this. Let me see if they know anyone. And I think James is handy, right?”
“He’s good at stuff like construction and lifting heavy stuff, but he can’t fix a broken oven.” Sandra grabs a towel to wipe her hands. “I already asked everyone I could think of. But I don’t know Dshawn and Shaughna, so please, go ahead. I’m desperate at this point.”
“We both are,” Andre agrees.
Just like I hoped, Shaughna sends Dshawn and one of their waiters our way, since they apparently know how to deal with stuff like this. They probably can’t fix the AC, but the coffee machine should be doable.
The whole place is a mess, so I help Andre and Sandra clean while Dshawn and his guy work on the more technical things. I can tell from the looks Dshawn shoots me every now and then that Shaughna told him about my plans to propose. Luckily he doesn’t say anything.
They do indeed fix the coffee machine, showing Andre how to do it himself next time. I can tell he’s embarrassed he didn’t know how to do it already, but he shouldn’t be so hard on himself. He’s a business owner and a barista, not someone who fixes machinery for a living. Plus, Dshawn has been a business owner longer than Andre has, and I’m pretty sure Shaughna yelling at him all the time is a great motivator to learn how to do pretty much anything around the club and restaurant.
“The oven has a faulty igniter,” Dshawn says when he comes out of the kitchen while I’m wiping tables. “I can replace that for you first thing tomorrow morning. No problem. You really need an AC guy to come over, though. That’s not my area of expertise.”
“I think I love you,” Sandra tells him, sounding like she means it.
“Don’t let my girlfriend hear you say that, or she’ll whoop your ass.” He waves off all the thank yous from her and Andre. “Just give me some cupcakes for my girl, and I’m a happy camper. We business owners need to support each other.”
“Can we go home now?” I beg Andre. “You’re done here, right?”
It’s fucking 9.30 pm. We should be engaged by now. Lying on the rug, blessed out from the best sex of our lives. Instead, my makeup is probably smeared all over my face and I’m sweating. I take off my suit jacket, flinging it over my arm. This is not how I wanted tonight to go.
We all hear a soft thud, and all our eyes lock onto the little black box on the floor at the same time.
I put the ring in the inside pocket of my jacket earlier, and I never took it out. It must have fallen out when I so callously threw it over my arm like I wasn’t carrying around a valuable vintage wedding ring from Andre’s grandfather.
It’s Dshawn who bends over to pick it up while I’m still trying to figure out how the hell to explain this. “Hey man, you dropped your…” He pauses when he straightens up with the box. “Your erm… box.”
I glance over at Andre, who has frozen completely. He’s staring at the box like he just saw a ghost.
“Oh my God,” Sandra breathes. “Is that… is that…?”
Every single cell in my body is screaming at me. I completely fucked up this whole damn night. I should have stayed home and waited. Or at the very least I should have taken the damn ring out of my pocket, put on some normal clothes, and made sure I wouldn’t mess up like this. This is not how I was supposed to propose. Andre deserves the whole damn cheesy setup I’ve got ready for him at the house. Not for me to drop the damn ring on the floor when he’s tired, sweaty, and dirty from a day of horrors at work.
“Dylan?” Andre asks hoarsely. “What’s in that box? Is it another key?”
“No, it’s not a key.” I might as well just do it now, right? It’s not perfect whatsoever, surrounded by people who aren’t exactly our best friends, even though I truly appreciate all of them for their help tonight. “Just so you know, this is not how I was planning on doing this.”
“Doing what?” Andre asks, still staring at me in disbelief. “Are you…?”
“Yeah, I am.” I take the box from Dshawn, lower myself so I’m on one knee, and open the box. “I know this is the lamest proposal ever, and not at all what you deserve, but you already saw the damn box, so…” I take a deep breath, wishing it won’t matter how or when I ask. “Andre, will you marry me?”
He doesn’t reply right away, his mouth dropping open as he struggles to grasp what is going on. I get that. This is the furthest thing from what he thought would happen tonight. All he wanted was to go home and have a hot shower before going to bed. Instead, his boyfriend is on one knee, popping a question he didn’t see coming, surrounded by people who are good acquaintances at the most.
“I know it’s soon, but I love you,” I go on, trying to give him some kind of heartfelt speech even though I’m still kicking myself for how monumentally I screwed up tonight. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. And I want to take your name, babe. I want to be a Peterson, so our baby can be a Peterson too. We’ll be the Peterson family. Please say yes. Please say you want to marry me too.”
When I started talking, I swear I saw something spark in his eyes. Love, hope, amazement. Something like that. I don’t know where I went wrong, but a few moments into my speech, his entire expression changes. It’s like his walls go up again, and I already know his answer before he opens his mouth.
They were wrong. My friends, his friends, his family. They were all wrong.
“No,” Andre chokes out. “Sorry, but… no.”
And just like that, what was supposed to be the best day ever turns into my worst nightmare.