He hesitated briefly, raised his hand to the small scar on his face in front of his ear and traced it unconsciously with the tip of his finger. A remnant of an argument with an errant surf board. It was barely noticeable to anyone but him; still it was a reassurance, a habit now.
He took a pace forward, not a pace, maybe more of a step, pace made it sound like it was purposeful. There was nothing purposeful about his actions right now. He was filled with doubt. With euphoria. He was as afraid as he was excited. A walking oxymoron. He’d never been decisive. Always ‘happy to go with the flow’, when actually, he was just worried he’d say or do the wrong thing. Never confident in his opinions or actions but never showing it. At least if he was going along with the crowd, he couldn’t get things wrong. Although he often seemed to manage to anyway, or so he’d been told.
His pale grey shirt collar chafed at his freshly shaved neck. He looked as good as he possibly could, the sharp, dark grey suit made especially for his excessively muscular physique. As his Mum would say, “you really scrub up well sweetheart.” He heard her little sing song voice in his head. The memory made him smile. He knew that the similarities to his Mum were the things that made him like Lauren in the first place. The same as he knew it was her differences to his Mum that made him love her now.
She was the first, maybe only, person that had been able to see past the dumb, surf bum façade that everyone else saw. The only person to be able to see any level of intelligence in his indigo eyes. The first person who’d been able to show him what love was. He was very aware that his thoughts right now, if they’d been voiced to his friends, would be met with a barrage of abuse. He also knew that he wouldn’t care, and would tell them if they’d been here.
He reached out and ran his finger over the 1 carat, brilliant solitaire set in the tiny platinum band. As much a reassurance to him as the scar it traced just a minute before. He looked up, smoothed his hair, picked up the box with the ring in it and snapped it shut in a single move. He’d decided. He was going to ask her…
It was now or never.