We ate dinner that night at a oceanside restaurant called Latitude 22 in Surfside Beach. I was ecstatic. It was our second night of vacation, and our first date night. I put on a dress; he a nice shirt and jeans. He looked good.
We had a gorgeous, outdoor view of the Atlantic Ocean from our small table in the corner of the patio. We had plans to walk along the beach afterward, but as we ate, a storm began to blow through. The only day of our seven-day vacation that it rained.
Lets walk on the beach, anyway, he prodded. I briefly considered the fact that I looked pretty, and the rain? It was totally going to ruin that. But gave in anyway, because why the Hell not? We were on vacation. And if we wanted to parade the beach in our fancy clothes in the rain, we were going to do it.
We (he) paid our bill, we left our dinner plates, slipped off our shoes and scrambled to the shore. It was certainly raining, but we quickly found shelter under a nearby pier. It was just getting dark, and we found a small, makeshift bench just along the shore. He sat on the bench for a bit while I splashed in the water.
A crab actually snuck out of the sand at one point, which thrilled me to no end. We poked and prodded it momentarily until thoroughly pissing him off. As quick as he came, he burrowed the Hell back into the wet sand. Assholes, he was probably thinking. It was fun, playing under the pier that night. We laughed like kids.
Before long we both took a seat at the bench, holding hands. Looking back on it, man, we were feeling romantic. Splashing in the shore, holding hands on a bench. It's OK, it makes a pretty story.
He had a habit of playing with the rings on my fingers. I wore one on each hand, religiously. Never took them off. Each ring finger had a permanent fixture, but nothing particularly special. Just fashionable. I was all about fashion.
He slipped the ring off my left hand, and fumbled with it in his own. I, however, was in La La Land because, LOOK, ocean! And was unaware that he was slipping off the bench onto his knees in front of me. And my left hand? Was without ring.
"You know I love you, right?" he asked, still maneuvering onto the sand.
"Yes," I responded, slowly. Duh. Besides, look! Ocean!
"And I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
I knew that, too, and I replied, again, with a yes. Boy, I was confident. Meanwhile, he slipped my ring back onto my finger. I was busy kissing his cheeks and watching the waves. In the ocean! What is all this talk of love?, I wondered.
But completely interrupting my train of thought (ocean! look!) he said, "Well?"
Well, what? And I looked down, as he squeezed my hand. And my ring was not on my finger. Not at all. My $12.99 ring from American Eagle was, well, I don't know where it was, but in its place was A Ring. A beautiful ring that was so not there before. And it had a diamond. A big one. And, holy shit, did he just put that there? And did this just happen? And, wait a minute.
"You didn't ask if I'd marry you!" I reminded him, tears sliding down my face, hugging him, simultaneously staring at what was now on my left hand.
"Will you marry me?"