Jeremy sat across from Heather in the little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant. It was just his style to take her some place like that to “unexpectedly” pop the question. She waited eagerly to see the ring box appear on the table. He’d been hinting at it for nearly a month now. At least, she was pretty sure of it.
But the lemon chicken came and went. So did the fortune cookies. Heather felt her temper boiling up, but she batted it back down. Surely he would take her somewhere for dessert, or maybe a romantic walk along the lake, and ask her then. He had to ask her tonight, didn’t he?
Their conversation grew stale, as did the leftover taste of fortune cookies. Finally, Jeremy awkwardly pulled an impeccable velvet box from his pocket.
Heather straightened, plastering on her yes smile–she’d been practicing for months.
“What is that?” Heather purred.
“First, I have something to tell you.” He paused dramatically. “I’m moving.”
Heather stared blankly at him, wondering what he meant. He was moving to another apartment? Or wait–maybe he wanted to move in together?
Jeremy continued, “I’m going to Botswana. I didn’t want to tell you until I knew it was for sure, but I applied to the Peace Corp and I finally received my assignment.”
She was stunned. Heather’s perfect smile drooped. She barely managed to squeak, “When?”
“Five weeks.” Jeremy scratched his forehead like he was considering a math problem; all previous nerves had vanished. “Obviously we needed to talk about this right away.”
Heather’s shock briefly faded and she snapped “You bet, buster! I can’t believe you didn’t say anything!”
“Wait! Before you go all crazy on me just open the box.” He slid it over.
Inside on the satin pillow sat a golden ring. But not just any golden ring. There was no diamond. In fact, it looked almost like an earring. Heather looked up to excitement in Jeremy’s eyes.
“In some cultures, when a couple mates she wears a nose ring as a marker that she’s taken.” Jeremy smiled confidently. “You see, Heather, I want you to come with me. Will you be my female?”
This was written for Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge