THE PROPOSAL

Sweat dripped down John’s back, tickling like a stream of little spiders. He hated being hot, but the corporate sauna was the only place where he could work undisturbed. Stripping down to a towel had made it somewhat bearable. He squeezed the black satin pouch that hung from his neck and took a deep breath to calm his nerves. The proposal deadline was in a few hours. Holiday house guests, endless phone calls, and questioning coworkers had kept interrupting him, even in the bathroom. This hot, pit of cedar hell was his only refuge. His fingers tapped furiously on the keys of his iPad. He was almost done. Nothing could stop him now.

A fire alarm screeched. John groaned in frustration. “This isn’t fair.”

He stumbled to the door and yanked it open, dizzy from the prolonged heat. Cold air hit him like an arctic blast. Everything looked hazy, smoky. Panic pressed in on him. He raced to the exit, bare feet slapping on the tile floor. Relief filled John as he burst out of the building and hurried to his boss, Morgan and her administrative assistant, Tyron.

“Sorry…Morgan,” he said, clutching the iPad with its precious proposal and gasping for air. “Proposal’s…not quite…done….Need another…five minutes.”

Morgan’s mouth opened and closed a couple of times, then she cleared her throat. Her eyes kept lowering, then darting away, finally settling on something behind his left shoulder. “Um…it’s okay, John. The fire and all….”

“Really,” said Tyron with an enormous grin. “When you said you had an early holiday gift for me I wasn’t expecting this, but I love it.”

Confused, John stared at his coworkers, then at the crowd around them. Fingers and phones pointed in his direction. It wasn’t until his heart stopped pounding in his ears that he heard the sniggering and the rapid clicking of cameras. A cold December breeze chased away the last of the sauna’s heat induced haze. Somewhere during his dash to safety, his towel had vanished. Warmth flooded John’s face. He lowered the iPad, then shrugged and handed it to Morgan. Sinking to one knee, he opened the pouch around his neck and pulled out a diamond ring.

“Tyron, will you marry me?”

Tears glistened in Taylor’s eyes. “Of course I will, you crazy fool.”

Camera’s continued to snap amidst cheers and applause as Tyron wrapped his jacket around John and pulled him into passionate kiss. This was one proposal that would make history.

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About A. L. Kaplan

I am a writer, artist, and parent.
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