Proposal

Proposal
[March 2019, Challenge - Round 4]

The diamond glinted in the sunlight.  Victor smiled brightly.  The silver band made the ring all the more spectacular.

I was transfixed.  

“Well?  What do you think, Casey?” 

I raise my champagne glass to take a sip. I roll the band between my thumb and forefinger and watch it sparkle.

The woman at the next table makes a subtle nod in our direction.  Her male companion is not quite so subtle as he jerks around.  Both watching in anticipation.  Their waiter pauses and joins the spectators.   

I palmed the ring.  The champagne dulls my dismay. On the edge of tears, I declared, “She’ll love it.” I looked up at Victor.  His eyes were still on the ring.  

“I wanted you to be the first to know.”  He announced nervously. “After all, you’re the reason we’re together."

The waiter approaches and fills my glass then silently retreats.

“That would be me, wouldn’t it?” I smiled as a tear spilled from my eye.  I closed my hand around the ring and rolled it over.  

Instinctively, Victor reached out his.  “I hope Petra would love it as much as you seem to.” 

I drop the ring into his outstretched hand.  “I know she’d be as happy to be your wife as much as I would, in her place.”  

"She’s great, right?” He gives the ring one more look in the sunlight, sets it between the black velvet cushions.  My heart seizes with the clap of the clamshell lid.  It’s like a proposal in reverse.  He sets the contemptible box into his coat pocket.  “I mean, I’m doing the right thing, right?” 

I wiped the tear from my cheek.  “Of course, yes.  We’re perfect for each other.” I fumbled. “You’re perfect for each other, I mean."

“Right… I’m on my way to meet with her and her family.  I’m sure she’ll call you, afterward.” He paused, searching my face, “If you don’t mind, I’d like you to be my Best Man? Lady? Best… You know what I mean.” 

I cringed.

“Hey, I know that the last thing you want is to wear is a suit ever again.  I was hoping you’d make an exception?”

“I’d…”

“If she doesn’t ask you to be one of her bridesmaids.  That is.” 

“Perhaps…"

“I should go… Petra is waiting…” Victor stands and buttons his coat.  He slowly pushes his chair in.

“Hey…"

“Yeah?”

“I’m… I'm happy for you.”  

I watch Victor make his way down the rear steps of the restaurant and walk to his car.  I watch his pace slow as he reaches in his coat pocket.  He stared at that small box in his hand.  
 
"You know, I can’t imagine why you would turn away a man like that.” The woman at the next table advised.  

I stared at the lonely figure in the parking lot.  Victor pauses, looks up at the patio where we had been sitting.  Victor slides into his car and pulls the vehicle to the roadway.  “I had to, he chose her...” I breathe out sadly. 

The woman looked upon me skeptically but returned to her attention to her meal.

I picked up my phone and called Sarah, Petra's best friend. "Hey, I'm in..." I say raising the glass once more to my lips.

"Great! I hate doing this to Petra, but she and Victor are so wrong for each other."

"Who else is on board?"

"Everyone except Shiloh, even Petra's sister is with us. With any luck, they won't make it down the aisle."

"Good." I raise my glass and finish my champagne.



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This story is 617 words long.