1. But There's No Music
Stella puckered her lips as she gave her whole look a final touch. Standing back, she gave herself a once-over, twirling around in front of the life-size mirror.
She wore a pink full-sleeved lace dress with pink leaves embroidered all over the gorgeous fabric. She wore nude heels and her brunette waves were tied up in a messy side bun.
She had natural make up on which suited her olive skin perfectly.
I look good. She thought with a faint smile. She cocked her head and grinned wide. Actually, I look gorgeous!
She was going on a date with her boyfriend tonight.
Anthony King. He was every woman’s dream. Handsome, kind, sweet and so very respectful and just amazing.
They had been dating for three months now. She had met him at a fashion show. He was there with his grandmother, Rubina King, the Fashion Critic.
She quickly grabbed her clutch, and made sure she had her phone, wallet and pepper spray (Her best friend would have her head if she forgot any of it.) and walked out to the living room.
Stella’s two best friends were on the couch, one working on her laptop and the other snuggling with her Great Dane as she watched basketball.
“How do I look?” Stella gave them a spin when she had their attention, grinning, her excitement knowing no bounds. That’s how she felt every time Anthony and she went out. She knew it in her heart - He was the one for her.
“Um.. Like a cotton candy?” Joanne, the resident blunt bitch, said, checking her best friend out with her resting smug face. Stella narrowed her eyes at her.
Olivia, the Momma figure among the three, threw a pillow at her. “Stop being mean Jo, she doesn’t look like a cotton candy. She looks like a pink drink.” She said seriously and Joanne nodded like it made more sense.
They turned to their gorgeous best friend and started laughing while she just stood there, eyes narrowed and hands on hips, waiting for them to stop guffawing like buffoons and start commenting and criticizing like they are supposed to.
“I love the hair. Loose buns suit you best. And the makeup is on point. I don’t like your dress. I don’t like pink.” Joanne said finally, turning her attention back to the TV, stuffing a handful of buttered popcorn into her mouth.
“Same but I like the dress. Are you going somewhere fancy?” Olivia said, keeping her laptop down on the coffee table and stretching her hands.
The three exhibited completely different personalities.
Olivia Smith was the workaholic and struggled to keep her social and love life intact due to her hectic schedule. She was the level-headed among the three and took most of the major decisions when it came to something that affected all three of them. She was the person to go to for advice at tough times.
Stella Martin was the one with the balanced lifestyle. She worked right and she partied right. She was living her life with both her work and love life relaxed and completely intact. She was the emotional one among the three so when you had to talk to someone about what you were going through, you went to Stella Martin.
Then there was Joanne Lake. She had neither a work life nor a social life. And she didn’t do love, dates, boyfriends or anything to do with another human being. She became friends with Olivia and Stella only because she had decided to host paying guests in her apartment as a part of her ‘let’s try to interact socially’ phase and she really liked these two so they stayed. At one look, Joanne was a very social person but she was only outgoing initially at a new environment because she tried to familiarize with the place because unknown environment caused her anxiety. You could always go to her for money and food but never for advice. She was the devil. But most of the time, her hunches and observations were right.
“He said it’s a surprise.” Stella said, taking a seat on the black bean bag. “He will be here by eight.”
She looked over at the digital clock on the wall which said 19:47.
“I am so glad that I have friends who don’t make men wait for them.” Joanne said, swatting Wolverine, her three-year-old Great Dane, away when he tried to munch on her popcorn.
Joanne was a crazy person with no restrictions but she was very particular when it came to her and her ‘old man’s’ health. Old Man was her pet name for her darling little boy and she hated it when someone else called him that!
“Yeah, having to wait brings in a teeny tiny bit of negativity into a relationship. Or at least that date. A feeling that you don’t prioritize them. Or put in the same amount of effort the other person does.” Olivia said. Well, she was a Self-care and Relationship advisor at Her Magazine so she knew more about relationships than the other two of them.
“Well, I just don’t like random strangers staring awkwardly at me, my dog and my living room as they wait for you.” Joanne said shrugging, not taking her eyes off the TV.
Stella looked over at Olivia and she rolled her eyes.
“You have your pepper spray, right?” Olivia asked as she laid down on the couch, resting her arm over her forehead. She decided she was going to take a small break from work and get back to it after facetiming her boyfriend. “Text me where you both are going when he tells you. I am not very much into the idea of you going out with him without knowing where he’s taking you but I guess that’s the whole idea of a surprise but yeah, turn on live location sharing just to be safe.”
It was Stella’s turn to roll her eyes. “Livy, we have been dating for three months.”
“Yeah, people can easily pretend to be nice and all for three months.”
“He’s Rubina King’s grandson, not some gangster or molester.”
“Lot of famous people have criminal parents and children.” Olivia pointed out. “What if he is taking you to sell you off at an auction or something, dressed like that?”
Joanne scrunched up her nose and turned to her while Stella looked at her like she was crazy.
“Are you writing a Mafia novel? Or have you been reading too much Wattpad?” The twenty-four-year-old asked, still not taking her eyes off the screen.
“Just saying.” Olivia shrugged, grabbing the remote control from the table and putting some movie on.
Joanne glared at her.
“You are seeing the same match for the seventeenth time woman. I get you liked the match, doesn’t mean you watch it over and over again. Don’t you get bored of it?” Olivia said.
“You like Zach and have been dating and fucking him for who knows how long! Probably before I was even born.” Stella laughed out loud while Olivia glared at her. “Don’t you get bored of it?”
Zach was Olivia’s childhood sweetheart. Theirs's was a pure pure love.
Olivia asked her to shut up and narrowed her eyes at her other very beautiful best friend. “What are you laughing at?”
Stella held up her hands in surrender and shrugged, biting her lips to stop herself from laughing anymore. “Just be careful. And call us if something happens.”
“I bet hundred bucks he’s just taking me to a restaurant or something.” Stella rolled her eyes.
Joanne raised her hand. “I bet thousand bucks he’s gonna propose tonight.”
“SHUT UP!” Both of the other girls yelled.
Wolverine stood up from his seat and looked at all three of his housemates like they were annoying him and hopped off the couch, going to his and Joanne’s room.
“I have a feeling he will. You can pay me when you get back.” She said, smiling dumbly.
“You mean, you can pay me because he is not gonna do any such thing.” Stella said.
“They have been dating for only three months.” Olivia added.
“He’s weird.” Joanne shrugged.
“He’s not.” Stella narrowed her eyes at her eccentric best friend.
“If he proposes tonight, you have to admit he’s weird.”
“Sure. Because he won’t.”
The doorbell rang just then and Stella picked up her clutch and made her way to the door.
As she stepped out, she heard Joanne say to Olivia. “I am gonna be two thousand dollars richer by tomorrow.”
“Why aren’t you saying anything?” Anthony asked his girlfriend, his eyes on the road, his one hand on top of hers.
“I am just excited for your surprise.” She said. She was not going to tell him that she was freaking out because Joanne said what she did. The two only knew each other for a bit and had been dating for three months. Even if she did him what was bothering her, she was afraid he would assume that she was hinting at a marriage. And Stella really didn’t want to freak him out like that. She did know deep in her heart that he was the person she wanted to spend the rest of her life with and that she did want to marry him someday, but this was too soon and Joanne had messed with her head by putting this silly idea into her head.
“Patience is a virtue, my love.” He chuckled and looked at her for a moment and then back on the road. “Did I tell you that you look absolutely stunning today?”
“Only about four times in the fifteen minutes we have been in the car.” Stella laughed.
“Let’s make it five then.” He turned to her. “You look stunning.”
Stella tried to suppress the shy smile and failed, and she knew she was blushing a darker shade under her make up.
She looked out the window and realised they were on the road to the beach. “We are going to the beach?”
He nodded smiling.
“In these clothes? ” She motioned towards her dress and his tux.
“Why not?” He winked at her and she chuckled.
Stella envisioned a midnight picnic kind of thing. She didn’t expect what she was seeing.
A table for two were set on the sand, the wave making its way very close to its feet before it retreated back to the sea, A canopy of white silky cloth, decorated with flowers and fairy lights rested above. A path of rose petals led to the beautiful setting. And it was so so beautiful, more beautiful than Stella could ever imagine it to be.
“Okay, I feel like my outfit is a bit casual for this.” She commented, stunned by the sight and was gifted with his angelic laughter.
She loved this man so much. But she hadn’t even told him that yet. Tonight seemed like the perfect time to tell him.
Anthony took her hand and guided her to her chair, making sure she was seated before he sat down.
“I-” Stella was about to say something when he shushed her, leaning forward and keeping his index finger over her lips.
“Shh... No need to thank me or credit me, Stella. I am just giving you everything you rightfully deserve.”
Stella nodded and smiled.
They talked, ate, talked more.
It was the best night of her life.
It almost brought tears to her eyes.
“May I have this dance?” He asked as he kept his napkin on the now empty plate.
“But there’s no music.” She laughed.
He snapped his fingers and there was music.
Stella blinked and looked up looking for the source of it. There were speakers stuck to the canopy, well hidden.
She chuckled as she nodded.
They walked out of the small structure and danced on the sand.
“Tonight is the best date of my life.” Stella said honestly. “I don’t know how to thank you for this.”
“I told you that you don’t have to thank me for anything, right?” He said. She nodded smiling; a tear of joy leaked down her one eye.
Antony smiled as he brushed it away.
“I mean if you really appreciate this small effort of mine,” Stella raised an eye brow.
“You could thank me by saying yes.”
She scrunched her nose up in confusion.
He pulled out a velvet box and went down on his knee.
Oh My Freaking God!!
“Will you grant me the great honor of being your one and only till death do us apart?”
Stella’s hand flew to her lips. She choked on her tears of joy. She never thought she could be this happy.
“Babe? You okay?” He quickly stood up. “I know it’s sudden and you are overwhelmed and-”
“I love you!” She choked out. All worry on his godly face disappeared and was replaced with joy and pride.
“I love you more.” He got back to his knee. “So, I hope for you to agree to spend the rest of your life with me.”
Stella laughed with joy and finally said, “Only if you pay someone a thousand dollars on my behalf.”