Vera knew Dan would propose on Valentine’s day. He had done a bad job of hiding it. He had been distant lately and hadn’t even shown up for their routine Friday dinner date. And there had been that one time he had left her apartment hurriedly just as she came home unusually early from work.
She wanted to confront him about it the next time they saw each other but changed her mind when she stumbled on the quaint diamond ring in his drawer. After seven years of dating, Dan was finally going to propose!
Thank goodness she hadn’t made an issue out of his suspicious exit the other day. She could feel the flutter of butterflies in her stomach. She knew she had to get her hair and nails done for that special moment when he dropped down on one knee and said those four words every girl wanted to hear.
“Hope, hurry up with the cleaning! Dan will soon be here.” Vera said. Hope was the distant cousin her mum had cajoled her to take in almost two years ago. Her mum had attempted to explain the complex family tie, but she had rolled her eyes and waved it off.
Hope had been a good girl and was helpful around the house, so she hadn’t had any cause to regret accommodating her or sending her to fashion school.
She tried to douse her anxiety with a glass of Baileys while scrolling through the many pictures of she and Dan. To think she would have thrown all of this away on account of that little indiscretion with Manuel. She was grateful Dan never found out.
When she woke up it was dark outside. Where’s Dan? Oh, there’s his car. He is here! She sprang from the bed and was about to get to the business of making sure her hair was perfect when she heard a stifled scream. It had to be Hope. What’s going on?
The little red box on the side stool caught her eye first. No, it wasn’t a dream. Dan was holding up the ring she had seen in his drawer, and she would have thought he was only practising if not for the look she saw on Hope’s face.
“I’ll ask again. Hope, will you marry me?” Dan said.
It was all she remembered before the world dissolved into oblivion.