It took a week to plan. The idea had been brewing in Hope’s mind since the day in the conference room. Daniel had convinced her of how he felt about her, and she had no doubt as to the intensity of his feelings.
And she was not going to allow him to have any doubts about hers.
“Hey God!” Agnes exclaimed from beside her. “This is what they call risking it all. Are you sure we should go through with it?”
“We?” Hope asked, amused.
“I’m invested o.” Agnes said. “Right now, I’m so tense. I feel as if I’m risking it all along with you.”
“Don’t worry, you’re not.” Hope was tense too, with excitement and many other emotions she couldn’t quite name.
In a few moments, Daniel would emerge from the elevator. She’d told him to meet her in the lobby. As far as he knew, they were going out to dinner.
As far as he knew.
One of the elevators slid open and some people came out. No Daniel. Hope breathed.
“My heart…” Agnes said in a tense whisper.
There were a few people in the lobby, closing from work, going home…if they wondered why Hope and Agnes were standing right in the middle of the marble space, they didn’t say.
Another pair of elevator doors slid open and Daniel emerged.
He was such a god! Hope thought, her breath leaving her as she temporarily forgot why she was standing there. He was wearing one of his exquisitely tailored business suits, and he looked impeccable. It was hard to believe that he was all hers, but he was, every last inch of him.
Her heart thudded. He looked up and saw her, smiled, then started to saunter towards her. He took about four steps before the music started.
That was the first part. She’d arranged that part with the building management and the security at the main reception.
Daniel stopped walking as Alicia Key’s voice slid across the room like velvet.
His eyes met Hope’s, a puzzled frown knitting his brow. She smiled at him and lifted the first card Agnes handed to her.
“I love you,” it said.
She’d written all the cards earlier in the day, she lifted the next one.
And the next, and the next.
“You’re strong, kind, and inspiring. You’re the man of my dreams. You’re smart, you’re hot, and you make me happier than I’ve ever been before.”
She was walking toward him, and Agnes, playing the loyal assistant, walked beside her, handing her the cards.
“I want to grow old with you. I want to share everything with you. My joys, my pains. My life. My body.”
That was the last card. Agnes handed Hope the last thing, a small box, then walked away to join the others. Hope’s brother and sister, Daniel’s friends, Chuks, Dee, Ceecee, Temi, Briggs, his little brother. It had been a hassle to get them all here, and to keep it all a secret, but it was worth it. She needed to let him know, in front of the people that meant the most to them, how much he meant to her.
She was standing in front of him now, and he had a heartbreakingly tender expression on his face. She opened the box. The ring was platinum, with a filigree pattern chiselled along the surface. She met his gaze and grinned nervously.
“I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you,” he said.
She took a deep breath and pulled the ring out of its velvet bed, then she held his gaze and started to go down on one knee.
He caught her by the arms, “Don’t-” he started, but they both lost their balance and ended up both on their knees.
He was smiling, but Hope was too nervous to smile. “Daniel,” she started.
“Yes,” he said, and kissed her on her forehead, then on her lips.
“I haven’t even asked,” she said.
“Okay,” he grinned. “Ask.”
“Will you share the rest of your life with me?” she said softly.
“Absolutely,” he replied softly. “Forever and ever.”
There was a buzz of conversation, clapping…but Hope couldn’t hear a word. It was just her, and Daniel. He got up, pulling her up to her feet. Then he kissed her again, this time it was long and lingering.
“I love you,” he said when they stopped for air. His forehead was resting on hers. Then he took the ring and slid it onto his finger. He turned to their gathered friends and wiggled his fingers in the air.
There was an eruption of clapping and teasing. Daniel wrapped his arm around Hope’s waist and pulled me to his side.
“Fiancée,” he said.
She laughed. “I liked it, so I had to put a ring on it.”
He looked around. “When did you arrange all this?”
“It wasn’t easy,” She admitted. “It took some planning. There’s still the dinner at the restaurant later. Now that you’ve said yes, we’re all going to stuff ourselves.”
“Now that I’ve said yes,” he laughed. “Was there any other possibility? You’ve made me a very happy man.” He took her fingers in his. “Don’t think this means I’m not going to do something very elaborate and public when I put a ring on your finger.”
“Really?” Hope laughed. “A counter proposal?”
“I won’t be outdone,” he said, placing another kiss on her lips.
“Well then.” Hope returned the kiss. “I’m looking forward to it.