Untitled

nikkimaritch

The beginning of the end started with a toothbrush. It was really a very ordinary toothbrush. The offending object was located in of all places my medicine cabinet. Wait. That is not quite right. The toothbrush in question was currently located in my bathroom sink, where it had come to stop after falling out of my art deco medicine cabinet. It arrived at its present location when I went to get out my contact solution. I was reaching into the cabinet for the bottle and my hand knocked into something. The felonious item skittered off of the shelf and tumbled into the sink where it came to rest. I stared into the sink not quite believing that there was a tool of oral health lying in my bathroom sink. The problem was not with the toothbrush itself. The real issue was how it got there. I did not put the slightly used brand name angled head tooth brush in my medicine cabinet. My boyfriend put it there.

I set down my bottle of contact solution and took a deep breath. I reached into the basin with murderous intent. Then I paused. This is not a big deal. It is just a toothbrush, I told myself, thoughts focused on the toothbrush. I looked down into the sink. It wasn't the toothbrush's fault. I shook my head. Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. My name is Angela Chiapetta and I live without pets or roommates in a 1930's one bedroom apartment. It has everything a girl could want: large southern facing windows, a claw footed bathtub and radiator heat. My apartment was more remarkable than I was. I was average height with average brown hair and blue eyes. I worked an ordinary cubicle job and I have been with my average boyfriend Ryan, since college. This apartment was the first time I lived alone since going away to school. That way if there were dirty dishes in the sink or no toilet paper on the roll, it was my fault. Where I lived gave me a certain thrill of freedom. This is one of the reasons that the toothbrush disturbed me.

Well perhaps disturbed is not the correct word. It out right infuriated me.

It was Labor Day weekend, and my boyfriend of several years was coming to visit for the holiday. A normal girl would be thrilled to the tips of her eyelashes to spend three whole days alone with her boyfriend. Instead my eyes just burned. The though of Ryan and me cooped up in my apartment for three whole days made me panicky. I didn't get to see Ryan often because he lived seven hours away in St. Louis. I only got to see him every other month. I wasn't sure how long I could keep dating long distance. Ryan was sweet; if I wasn't feeling it I should let him know. It wasn't fair to him. I danced the dance of seduction with my cell phone. Countless times I had picked up the phone to encourage him to postpone his trip. But every time that I called, he was so eager to see me, I couldn't go through with it. I was weak; tired of tottering around my apartment alone. Who knew when I would get to see him again? I missed him, so I kept my worries to myself.

All in all it wasn't as bad as I was afraid of. It was much worse. We spent the first half of the weekend in my apartment; mostly watching movies. I felt like a caged animal. I found myself irritated with Ryan for no apparent reason. I hoped that I was successfully hiding my annoyance.

That is until Sunday evening. The weather was warm so we decided to go for a walk along the lake. We walked, along holding hands. There were very few people out. Ryan pulled up short all of a sudden, and bent down."

Are you okay?" I asked.

Still bent down and not looking up at me, he replied. "Oh uh my shoe came untied. I am just fixing it."

While I was waiting for him to finish tying his shoe, I glanced looked out over the lake. It's so pretty at night, especially if the moon is full. I was lost in my own dream world when I felt a hand grab mine. I looked down and saw that Ryan was still on his knee but now he had something in his hand.

This something in his hand almost gave me a panic attack. The object was small, and square. It looked like a ring box.

"Oh dear god," I though, "please don't let that be what I think it is."

Ryan fumbled with the box and finally opened it.
"Angie, would you do me the honor of being my wife?"

All of my worst fears were confirmed. The object in his hand was indeed a ring box. An engagement ring.

Now many women from the time that they were toddlers fantasize about the man of their dreams bending down on one knee to ask for their hand in marriage. I was not one of those women.

This doesn't mean that I didn't want to get married. I did. I just wasn't sure that I wanted to get married now, or even to Ryan. Ryan was a sweet enough boy. He had an easy laugh and could make me smile. He was smart and had a good job as a manager at a marketing firm. But he lived in St. Louis and I lived in Milwaukee.

"Um, Angie? Did you hear me? Would you please marry me?" His sweaty hand clutched at my arm as he looked up at me imploringly.

I have to say something. He is going to get a leg cramp if I leave him kneeling down like that for much longer. A million thoughts were swirling in my head, going faster and faster, nearly making me dizzy. I knew I had to say something and before I could stop myself, I blurted out, "Honey, could you let go of my hand? You're hurting me?"

Ryan dropped my hand as if it had burned him. "Sorry," he mumbled sheepishly. "Do you have an answer for me?"

He was looking at me so expectantly with puppy dog eyes. I am such a people pleaser; I didn't want to disappoint him.

"Yes!"

If Ryan could have sprouted wings at that moment and flown into the sky, he would have. Instead, he jumped up and grabbed me by the waist and swung me around. When he set me down, I realized that a small crowd had gathered near where we were standing. They we are smiling and applauding. I hadn't realized that we had an audience. Ryan left my side and ran to the crowd and began to high five them as if he were high fiving the starting line up for the Chicago Bulls. He deliriously came skipping back to me shouting, "She said yes, she said yes."

When he got back to me he threw me into a great bear hug that nearly cost me my balance.

"Um, Ryan?" I struggled to say from underneath the crush of his arms, "Do you think that I could have my ring now?"

"What, oh yes." He dropped to his knees once more and took my left hand. Slowly he slid the engagement ring onto my finger. The crowd burst into fresh applause.

"Come on," I tugged on his hand, "Lets go home and celebrate. I don't want to be around these strangers." I dragged him down the path back towards the car.

Later that night, I lie awake in bed reviewing the events. I kept coming back to the same question, "Why did I say yes?" Of course I loved Ryan. He made me laugh and cheered me up when I was blue. He could always laugh at himself when he did something clumsy or foolish. Ryan had a kind and thoughtful way about him. I guess that is what drew me to him in the first place.

I met Ryan at the beginning of second semester my first year in college. We were both in the same Intro to film class. The movies for the class were shown in this old restored movie house two nights a week. The movie house was a few blocks away from campus, but the best way to get there was to walk.

One evening we were supposed to watch The Maltese Falcon. It was part of the film noir week. Ryan, myself, and several of our classmates had trouped over to the Orpheum to see it. Ryan was chattering like an excited bird, the movie being one of his favorites. I had actually never seen it, but instead had seen The Big Sleep. When we arrived at the movie house, the doors were locked, and there was a handwritten note taped to the door. The professor had had an emergency and would not be able to show the film that night.

There was a groan from the group, when they realized that they had made this short trip for nothing. However as it was Thursday night, and several of them didn't have class on Fridays, the continued up the street to go get pizza. I declined the offer as I had to finish an assignment for my French class that was tomorrow afternoon. Shortly, our classmates had departed and only Ryan and I were left.

Unfortunately, it chose that moment to start doing a complete downpour. It had been drizzling lightly on the walk over to the Orpheum, so I hadn't brought my umbrella. But now the weather was doing its best imitation of monsoon season.

Ryan looked over at me nervously, "Do you have an umbrella with you?"

I shook my head, "I thought that it was only going to drizzle so I left my umbrella in my room." I looked down at my feet, clad in my bright orange flip flops. "I don't care so much about getting wet. I just wished that I had worn better shoes."

Ryan looked down at my feet and nodded. "We can't have you walking home in those shoes," He gallantly whipped off his ever present Dallas Cowboys baseball hat, and settled it upon my head. He then crouched down in front of me. "Madam, I would be honored if you let me carry you back to campus. We must keep your feet dry." Even though we barely knew each other, Ryan did what he said he was going to do. He carried me back to campus and into the snack bar, piggy back style. For the rest of the semester Ryan and I would walk from campus together to go see the movies for class. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. That friendship had blossomed into a romance by the time the semester ended in May.

Now, five years later he was proposing to me on a moonlit path along the lake. And I was accepting. I was completely miserable. Where did a girl go wrong?

The next morning, as Ryan was still snoring, I slipped out of his death grip that he had held me in all during the night, so I could take care of my morning business in the bathroom. I closed the door to the bathroom to block out the sound of the snoring beast that slumbered in my bed. I stepped to the sink to splash on some cold water on my face. I needed to make sure that I hadn't dreamed the whole awkward proposal by the lake

I opened the medicine cabinet to reach for my deodorant, when my hand brushed something and it clattered into the sink.

It was a toothbrush. It wasn't my toothbrush. I hadn't had any other guests besides Ryan. I lived alone with out any pets, not even a goldfish. Although, what would a goldfish be doing with a toothbrush, I'm sure I don't know.

This white and aqua piece of plastic with splayed bristles had to be Ryan's. But why? I stared down into the sink and a strange feeling of rage came over me. How dare he leave his toothbrush in my medicine cabinet? He didn't even ask me if this was okay. It is not as if he lived here. He had to go back to St. Louis this afternoon.

My knees began to buckle and I had to clutch the sink. This is ridiculous. It was only a toothbrush. But still it was my medicine cabinet and he hadn't asked. I had to let him know that this was not okay with me. I had a quick irrational vision of me dipping his toothbrush in the toilet bowl, and then flinging the water across his face while he was sleeping.

I reached down into the sink and picked up the offensive toothbrush. I turned towards the toilet and reached down and lifted the seat. As I reached my arm towards the water, I caught myself. I was an adult, and flinging toilet water would be childish, and perhaps a bit harsh. After all, it wasn't as if he had left the toilet seat up.

I gently put the lid back down. Truly the best way to handle this was the straight forward. I opened the bathroom door and returned to the bedroom. Ryan was still asleep, snoring loudly and stretched out, arms flung wide across the bed. I silently crossed to the bed. I gently laid the toothbrush on his chest. He didn't even flinch.

Ryan found me about a half an hour later. I was hunched over my laptop checking my email. He came and stood behind me. I could sense him moving to lean over me. I braced myself thinking that I was going be on the other end of a bear hug that I didn't really want. I was still angry about the violation of my medicine cabinet.

As the moments dragged on and his arms didn't wrap around me, I began to wonder what was going on. Then it appeared next to my coffee cup. The toothbrush.

I craned my neck to look into his face. "What's this?"

"I was going to ask you the same thing. I found it on my chest when I woke up this morning. Could you tell me how it got there?"
"Yes, I put it there." I said with what I had hoped was finality.

"Angie, is there a reason you put my toothbrush on my chest?"

"Well, Ryan," I started, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice, "I found it someplace where it didn't belong. I was returning it to you to make sure that it gets back to its proper place."

Ryan had a confused look on his face. "Where did you find it? I thought it I had put it in the medicine cabinet."

"You did."

"So where did you find it?"

"Well, it appeared in my sink after it fell out of the medicine cabinet."

Ryan raised his hands to his face and rubbed. "is there a reason you put my toothbrush on my chest, instead of back in the cabinet?"

I sighed," Because it doesn't belong there."

"A toothbrush doesn't belong in the medicine cabinet? That makes no sense."

I pushed my chair away from the table. I stood and turned to face him. " It makes perfect sense. It's my medicine cabinet and your toothbrush. Your toothbrush doesn't belong in my medicine cabinet."

"But I love you"

"That's not going to work. The point still is that your tooth brush was in my bathroom."

"So it was not okay that I put in your medicine cabinet.

" I think that is the whole point of the conversation"

"Its not okay that my tooth brush in your medicine cabinet, but is okay that I can sleep in your bed?

"That's completely different. You asked"

"So the reason you are made about the toothbrush is because I didn't ask if it was okay that I put it in your medicine cabinet?"

Ah ha! At last the light bulb goes on. "Precisely" Finally he was starting to see things my way.

Ryan just shook his head. "I am going to take a shower." He headed off down the hall. A moment later I heard the shower go on.

Well, it didn't go the way I had hoped. Oh well, as I mustered up a little Scarlet O'Hara, and told myself I would think about it tomorrow. I grabbed my cup and went to pour myself another cup of coffee.

The rest of the day there was a thin layer of ice between Ryan and I. I really didn't see what the big deal was. It was my cabinet and he didn't ask. Really it was like the time that I asked him for apartment keys. He refused and got really cranky with me.

"Why can't I have a set of keys to your apartment?"

"Because I don't want you walking in here whenever you want."

"That's insane. We are sleeping together! Do you think you have something that I haven't seen?"

"No," Ryan stammered, "I just don't want you to have keys to my apartment"

I just wouldn't let it go. I nagged and nagged him until he finally gave in and had a set of keys made for me.

Looking back now, I guess I should have just let the toothbrush thing slide. But then again I am never my brightest first thing in the morning.

The ride to the airport was mostly taken in silence. Ryan and I didn't talk, nor did we have the radio on. Somewhere on the interstate, Ryan put his hand on my knee while I was driving. I felt a little guilty for the whole toothbrush thing, so I didn't push it away. It didn't stop the feeling though that his hand was a feverous trout draped across my leg.

We sat in the airport café until it was time for Ryan to board his flight back to St. Louis. Before he passed through the security checkpoint, I gave him a brief kiss on his cheek, and wished him a safe trip. As I stood there waving good bye, I mused that this weekend had passed not at all in the way that Ryan had planned

As I settled into my airplane seat, I thought to myself, this weekend sure hadn't gone the way that I had planned. Four days ago, when I was making this flight out here, I just kept playing over and over in my head how the proposal was going to go. I had it planned it out so perfectly. It was almost like a fair tale story.

I had never had much luck with girls in my life. I was average looking. I never was much into sports. I was a quite shy boy, whose secret desire was to make girls laugh. I was always on the edge of big groups. I was friends with everyone but I didn't have many close friends. I was never any good with the girls as I went to an all boys school. I was honored with the privilege of attending St. John's University High School because that is where my father matriculated. He felt that by sending me there, it would give me a strong education away from the hormonal distractions of teenage girls. What really happened is that neither of us new how to function around women. While, this just made me shy and nervous around women, my father has multiple ex-wives.

I had my first girlfriend when I was fifteen. There was an all-girls school, the Sacred Heart of Mary, across town that we would hold mixers with. That is where I met Sally Cronin. She was very pretty. I am still not sure how we ended up together.
I met her at the St. Nick's Day dinner dance. I know it sounds lame. But I have to tell you, it was lame. The "dinner" was really just greasy cafeteria pizza, and tater tots. What a combination. The dancing part wasn't too bad. However none of the music was less than twenty years old. Lots of 50s and 60s bubble gum music by girl groups named after fuzzy animals.

People were dancing, all grouped in the center of the church hall. I was strolling around trying to find someone one to talk to. I had come to this thing with my best friend Mike. Mike however was stuffing his face with the nasty pizza and trying to look up girls skirts, at the same time. I finally had to turn away from watching Mike get kicked and stepped on. It was hard to believe he was in high school.

As I turned away from the train wreck that was Mike Baker, I saw her, the previously mentioned, Sally Cronin. Sally was cute. She wasn't drop dead cheerleader gorgeous. Sacred Heart of Mary didn't have cheerleaders. Sally was average build and height. She had just begun to develop and that of course interested me greatly. She was wearing a very flattering dress, that wasn't in anyway slutty. It was dark blue and kind of shimmery. She had long red hair that was braided into pigtails. She bore a striking resemblance to Mary Jane Watson. I was in clover.

The weird thing was that she was standing by herself, off to one side in her corner. Even if she wasn't interested in dancing, maybe I could talk to her. It was much better than watching Mike get kicked.

I strode over to her, praying that she would still be standing there when I arrived. My heart was pounding in my ears as I desperately thought of something witty

AS I glided to a stop in front of her, she looked up at me. "I'd walk a million miles for one of your smiles. Tonight I will start by crossing the room"

Sally just sort of blushed and did that aw shucks thing with her foot.

I held my hand straight out. "Hi, my name is Ryan"

She reached out and took my hand. I was doing everything to not pass out or drool or do some sort of other embarrassing thing. "My name is Sally. Nice to meet you Ryan."

"So uh, um do you come here often?" Mental head slap. That is the oldest and cheesiest line in the world.

"No, this is the first time I have been to these mixers. I just started at Sacred Heart in the fall."

"Oh are you a freshman?" Another faux pas. Never ask a lady her age.

"No I am a sophomore; I transferred in the fall from Roosevelt High."

"Oh. how come?" Wow was I being nosy, especially when I had just met her.

"My family moved to this side of town. They felt that it was too far to go back to Roosevelt."

"I see." Damn, I had to change the subject fast. "Has anyone ever told you that you look just like Mary Jane Waston?"

"Like Spiderman?"

I nodded, not believing my own stupidity.

"My brother has a poster of her in his room. He thinks she's hot" She took a step closer to me.

I took this as a good this as a good sign. However at this exact moment, I came down with a severe case of verbal diarrhea. "He does. That's cool. I think she hot too. I have always had a thing for redheads. I think you're hot" Oh god, someone shoot me.

The sweet smile that had been on her face since my brilliant opening line was now replaced with a deer in the headlights look, It was a look that I knew all to well, unfortunately.

"Uh uh um," I struggled to climb out of the hole that I had just dug. Thankfully Sally and the DJ saved me. Over the sound system came the opening sounds of "Stay" by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs.

"Ryan, do you want to dance?" Sally implored.

"Yes," I replied with a great sense of relief that I had cured myself of my verbal spasm. She grabbed me by the hand and dragged me to the dance floor.

I couldn't believe it I was getting to slow dance with the girl of my fantasies. I was so afraid I was going to do something wrong. Something to give away that this was my first real slow dance. Okay, I usually slowed danced with my grandma at our Christmas party. This would be my first official slow dance with someone who wasn't a family member.

We reached the center of the dance floor, Sally wrapped her arms around my back and then she leaned her head against my chest. We were not champion ballroom dancers. There was no way you could confuse us with the stars of Strictly Ballroom. We did a little swaying and shuffled our feet, and very slowly revolved in a circle.

When "Stay" ended, the DJ played another slow song. I was enjoying myself. I could smell the sweet scent of her shampoo. I was lost in a daydream, when I felt a hard rap on the back of my shoulder. I untangled myself from Sally, ready to fend off even the worst bully if they desired to cut in. Luckily, I didn't come up with my fists at the ready. The person who had rapped on my shoulder most definitely did not want to cut in on this dance.

Standing at a very imposing four feet eleven inches, was Sister Mary Albina, vice principle of the school.

"Ryan, dear, remember to leave room for the Holy Ghost" She waived her ruler in the air for emphasis. She stood there and glared at us, until Sally and I reluctantly placed our hands on each others waists. Not only did we leave enough room for the Holy Ghost, there was enough room for Sister Mary Albina to get in there and perform a strip tease. Not that I in any way would want her to.

"Ow!: Came the cry of pain from across the room. Sally and I stopped dancing. Sister, Sally, and I turned to see Mike, rubbing the side of his face. A giant, red welt in the shape of a hand was starting to appear on the side of his face. It appeared Mike had gotten a little too close for comfort for one of the girls and she had taken it a step beyond the kicking and stepping on stage.

Sister Mary Albina, being the head chaperon at the mixer, glided off to get matters under control and to no doubt call Mike's parents.

The minute we knew that the good Sister had other things to draw her focus, we began to dance again, this time leaving no room for the Holy Ghost or anybody else.

That was how I met my first girlfriend. That was also how I met my first ex-girlfriend.

Sally and I dated for about two months. It was kind of tricky because we didn't go to the same school. But we managed. Her school was right across the street from my school, and about a block away was a strip mall with a Denny's. We would go there after school, and have French fires and cokes. Christmas came and went, and the calendar drew flipped over to the new year. January soon gave way to February Valentine's Day was still a week and a half away. I had saved my Christmas money, because I wanted to buy Sally a present for Valentines Day. I wanted it to be more long lasting than flowers. I got my dad to take me to the jeweler's at the mall. I wanted to get her a promise ring. My dad warned me against that. He told me women got funny ideas if you bought them rings. Perhaps a bracelet would be better.

And that is what I bought for her. A sliver chain bracelet, with a heart shaped charm. I thought it was just perfect.

The moment dad and I got home from the mall, I rushed to the phone to call Sally to make the arrangements for Valentine's Dinner. Unfortunately, my bubble of elation quickly disappeared. Sally wouldn't be able to have dinner with me on Valentine's day. She told me she had relatives coming to her house for a family get together.

To get my mind off of the fact that I couldn't be with my girlfriend on our first Valentine's , my grandmother Ella took me out for a nice dinner at my favorite restaurant. I got dressed up in some of my best dress up clothes, and off Grandma and I went to the Greasy Spoon Diner.

Grandma and I had a very pleasant meal. We chatted about school, and a movie we has just seen. I didn't realize how much soda I had been drinking. I excused myself to head back to the bathroom.

It was on the way back from the bathroom that my whole teenage world came crashing down. Situated, in the darkest corner of the restaurant, as dark as you could get in a 50s style diner, was Sally. And she wasn't alone. Practically sitting in her lap, was this Greek God. Dark hair and extremely chiseled cheek bones. And this Adonis was spoon feeding her ice cream. After he pulled the spoon away, he kissed her.

I gave the bracelet to my Grandma Ella.
I guess I drifted off on the flight back to St. Louis. Before I knew it we were landing at the airport. I hadn't figured out what I did wrong with Angie. It sort of felt like Sally all over again.

Even though it was Tuesday, it sure felt like a Monday. I was still in such a bad mood by the time that I got to work. I had moved into the doubting stage. Did I make too big a deal out of the toothbrush? It completely slipped my mind that Ryan proposed. Somewhere in the back my mind I made a note to myself to try and get my priorities sorted out.

My bad mood hadn't lifted at all by the time I met Clara in the lunchroom. She was already waiting for me, looking like a cat ready to pounce.

She barely waited until I had plopped down in my chair before she started badgering me with questions.

"How was your weekend?" She knew that Ryan was coming down to visit me.

I sighed, "It was okay, he proposed. I can't believe he left his toothbrush in my medicine cabinet. He didn't ask, and he didn't understand why I was so upset." I babbled on.

"Ryan proposed???" Clara squealed, starting to bounce in her seat.

"Yeah, can you believe it? I had this perverted fantasy of dipping it in toilet water and flinging it all over him while he slept. I managed to restrain myself."

Clara had stopped bouncing, "What are you talking about?" She looked extremely confused.

"His toothbrush. Ryan left it,…."

"Honey, you just said he proposed and you are talking about his toothbrush? Are you feeling okay?

"I feel fine"

"Tell me all about it," Clara begged.

"Well yesterday morning I went into the bathroom to get away from his snoring.."

"No, I want to about the proposal. Tell me about the ring," She glanced at my hands, " Where is the ring?"

I reached into the collar of my shirt and pulled out a thin silver chain. Strung from the chain, was my engagement ring.

"Why aren't you wearing it? You did say yes didn't you?

"The ring is really pretty but the setting is way too high. You know how much I use my hands. I am so afraid of whacking my hand on something, crushing the setting and poof the stone would be gone."

"Okay I see your point about damaging it. It is such a gorgeous ring. I wish I could get me a ring like that?" Clara took a sip of her tea. " I am assuming that because you have the ring, and are wearing it that you said yes, right"

I chose my next words very carefully. "I am not sure what my answer was. You could be right, because I have the ring. I don't remember much"

"How could you not remember? Were you drunk?" Clara asked incredulously

"I wasn't drunk! It wasn't like that at all."

"So tell me what it was like."

"Well, it was a nice night, so we went for walk on the bike path by the lake. He pretended to stop and tie his shoes. I stood there watching the people to go by, when he began clutching my hand. In his hand was this emerald velvet ring box. That is when I realized the whole tying his shoe thing had been a ploy."

"Oh how romantic. You are so lucky"

"Well, I unwittingly did everything in my powers to make it unromantic as possible."

"Why did you do that?" Clara scolded.

"Um its not like I did it on purpose. I totally freaked out."
"The best guy in the whole world asked you to be his wife and you totally freaked out? Honey, you need to have you head examined."

"He's not the best guy in the world," I mumbled.

"Then why did you say yes?"

"Because he looked so sweet, and people were starting to stare and I just didn't want to disappoint him."

"That's a great way to start a life together. You didn't want to disappoint him"

"Look, Ryan is a great guy and all but his toothbrush!"

Clara rolled her eyes. "Oh please. That toothbrush hasn't been any where that you haven't!"

"Clara that is so disgusting!"

"Look, there are millions of girls out there who would kill to have a guy propose to her. Any guy, even if he was more Tony Orlando than Orlando Bloom. And all you seem to care about it where this guy keeps his toothbrush. I am leaving this pity party. I have work to do." Clara got up and left the lounge.

This was a bad sign. Clara was mad at me. She never got mad. She was the one who was always on my side. I peered down into my salad. I felt … guilt. I didn't think that I had done something wrong.

I continued to worry about it for the rest of the afternoon. Clara said she didn't want to be at a pity party. Was I been ungrateful and selfish? Was I one of the lucky ones who got a marriage proposal? Were they really that scarce? Was I carelessly throwing this one away, even though I had said yes? I replayed the whole proposal scene in my head. He must have been so nervous, and I just blew it off like he was asking for a ride home. I treated him awfully. I was a truly lucky girl to find someone handsome, funny and as sane as Ryan was. And I treated him like he was a kid brother.

By the end of the day, I had begun to change my stance on the whole engagement thing. I wouldn't say that it was a complete change of tune, but I was beginning to get excited about being engaged. Clara was right. I was a lucky girl. Ryan was nice and sweet. He didn't try to beat me up. He wasn't a womanizer, in fact he barely looked at other women when he was with me. Sure he was into to some geeky things, but he wasn't in a cult nor had I yet to find him trying on my pantyhose and lacy under things. Ryan was a good catch. I had such a spring in my step as I left work, excited to go home and call Ryan, and reconfirm my love and affection, that I even managed a smile for the relentless panhandler outside the shopping center.

Ryan didn't have a bad day at work, just busy. After all it was Tuesday. He had a full day pf meetings, returning emails and voice mails, and cleaning up after a long holiday weekend. He was so busy, that he didn't have a chance to think about the befuddling events that happened over the weekend, until he hit the elliptical at the gym after work.

Ryan climbed on to the machine next to his best friend Jason. And much like Clara with Angie, Jason was waiting for Ryan just like a spider.

"I am surprised to see you here," Jason quipped. "What do you need to keep in shape for? You got the girl. Now you can sit back and enjoy all the beers you want."

"Jason, what are you talking about?" Ryan said as he punched in his work out on the control panel"

"Marriage. You don't have to maintain your waistline now. Lord knows that women don't. They just get puffier and puffier, until you mistake every part of them for a pillow."

"Jason, I have had a long weekend, and a very full day at work. I don't have the energy to play guessing games with you."

"I was just trying to congratulate you on your pending nuptials. Have you and the little woman set a date yet? Angie probably had three dates already picked out when you popped the question." Jason smirked.

"No," Ryan said slowly, "We haven't set a date. Right now, I am not even sure that we are officially engaged."

"How do you not know if you are engaged?

Ryan shrugged, "Things didn't go so well. Not like I planned at all"

"Well do you still have the ring?"

Ryan shook his head.

"Did she actually say the words 'Yes I will marry you' or something to that effect?”

"She said yes"

"Okay she has the ring, and she said yes, and how are you not sure that you are not engaged?" Jason, pried.

"Look, I don't want to talk about it any more” I said with a sense of finality.

To Be Continued . . .

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