The room was dark, but there was a faint light shining in through the open windows. It was an old-fashioned room, with a brown carpeted floor and dark green wall-paper. It was pretty hideous. But it’s what the hotel liked to call “their vintage flair”.
Sara sat down on a light green sofa, feeling the fabric. It was new, but it had been made to look older and slightly worn. Niall followed her into the room, closing the door behind him. He was wearing a suit, black, with a matching bow tie. He loosened it.
“So?” she asked, drinking a sip of her Champagne and then another one as he turned to face her.
He smiled and dropped his jacket on the bed. “Darling,” he began. There was a short silence.
“I love you.” He said.
She looked at him.
“And I know you love me too. It’s what we’ve been saying all year.”
“Okay.” Sara interrupted him and stood up, drank a sip of Champaign.
“I think, I know where this is going. But I can’t let you go there.”
He took two steps towards her and kissed her. “Why not?”
She finished her glass of Champagne in one go and set it down on the bedside table. “Because I don’t want to ruin this.”
For a moment he stared at her, thoughtfully, then reached out for her hand. “Why would it ruin anything? It would hardly change anything.”
She laughed. “It would though! I would feel – forced – in some way, signing a contract that says I have to love you.”
“But you do love me.”
“By free choice, yes, so don’t try to take that away from me.” She stepped back and turned towards the windows. “Look, we have been over this. I won’t marry you.”
There was a short silence. She sighed, stared at the one tree the hotel management had planted outside. When she turned around, Niall was on one knee.
“What are you doing?”
“Sara, I promise you that nothing will change, I promise you it will stay this way forever.” He began. He seemed nervous, yet eager to make the proposal. “I love you. Will you be my wife?”
Sara rubbed her forehead. “If I say no, you are going to try to convince me.”
“That’s because you are worth convincing!”
“But I don’t want to be convinced.”
“What do you want then?”
“I want you to get up!”
“Why don’t you want to marry me?”
“I’ve told you why!”
“Tell me again, say you don’t want to be my wife and spend the rest of our lives with me so I can take care of you whenever you are sick or lonely, so I can laugh about your laugh and hear about your day and how much you hate your boss. Tell me you don’t want that.”
“Then say yes.”
He stood up, took her hand, took a ring out of his pocket and slipped it on her finger. They kissed. Later that night she got out of bed. He was fast asleep. She finished another bottle of Champagne.