Rylan slicked his hair into place; his floppy brown locks had remained unruly. Failing in his pursuit to make it look respectable, he hoped his new style would impress. Emilie had messaged him regarding his dinner plans, a subtle hint that she had been thinking of him all day. His parent’s favourite restaurant seemed the most appropriate choice, straightening his tie and checking his jacket pocket, Rylan psyched himself and practised what he wanted to say.
Emilie looked elegant; she wore the same white halter neck dress, her favourite, as she loved the simplicity. Rylan fidgeted in his chair, hot under his collar, feeling the clothes restricted his movements. Jumping up to greet her, the chair fell back, startling a waiter and other patrons, Rylan offered Emilie a hand, bringing her toward him as he dropped to one knee at the same time as rustling in his jacket for a small box. Words fell from his mouth in a quick garbled mess, the preparation lost. The few Emilie understood mentioned marriage and love. She needed little else from him, the single diamond nestled on the gold ring was enough for her to accept. Polite applause came from the neighbouring tables; Rylan gulped his wine to steady his nerves along with his relief.
They tucked into their food, talking excitedly about the future, the quiet, perhaps homely wedding they could have, a few friends and good food. Rylan pondered ideas to renovate his family home; both his mother and sisters’ bedrooms sat empty, unused, dusty and in need of a coat of paint and the lounge seemed dated. Her face fell, the prospect of living with Rylan was her dream, the house in which he currently resided was small, boxy and had been host to his parents, their lives filled the spaces and lacklustre energy. Taking her hand in realisation of her disappointment Rylan suggested an alternative, a large spacious house on the same street. It had a fenced area for children to play, a pool and there may even be room for a dog. Children, how many did he want? Two, Three, Five? Emilie pictured children running, giggling, while she cooked up a delicious Sunday dinner, or Rylan barbecuing, her stretched on a sun lounger, big floppy hat, oversized sunglasses and the children playing in the pool.
All the arrangements, the financial commitment was Rylan’s burden to carry as Emilie continued to enjoy her voluntary work. His heart weighed heavy, Rylan gave this home one final look, memories flooded in, his parents cuddling on the sofa, listening to he and Ziva bicker over whose turn it was to choose a film. The kitchen had played host to Jose, his cooking, all those meals he loved growing up. School projects, arguments and slamming doors, this place had embraced every minute. Aria’s weight machine had sat gathering dust he meant to sell it after she died since exercise was something he and Ziva hated. Emilie had been buying furnishings; she giving the delivery guys multiple orders, ensuring everything was perfect and in position. Their house was large, flooded with light and with a luxurious touch, Rylan stepped into his new life with anticipation.