Stoner came over on Friday night. Bearing gifts.
He brought an eighth, a bottle of Jack Daniels and a phone number.
I don't smoke weed, unless I'm in Amsterdam (three times a year). Stoner smokes all the time, and on Friday he strongly believed I should get stoned and drunk. I politely refused the green and graciously accepted the Jack Daniels.
Solicitor, Stoner and I filled our glasses and ordered pizza. It was nice of them to do that. Stoner's not the type to display too much sympathy, he helps by being normal. We set up ludo and ended up playing for hours.
At around 11 Stoner picked up his phone and made a call. He spoke briefly before handing me the phone.
It was Gay Boss! I couldn't believe it. He'd disappeared off the planet and I hadn't spoken to him in months. Just hearing his voice made me laugh. He's the most sarcastic, cynical person on the face of the earth.
"What have you gone and done, Elise? I leave the country for a few months and you go and fuck up like that."
If any other person said what he said I would have cried. Instead I smiled and asked him where he was. He's in Miami. Not exactly his normal travelling destination.
"It's a different world out hear. I've never seen so many plastic people in my life. It's like walking into the Barbie mansion."
"You'd know wouldn't you? I thought you were in China."
"I was. I got bored."
"Yeah, the girl I was travelling with got yellow fever."
"Her words. She said she's got a bad case of yellow fever. Can't stop getting off on chinks."
Only Gay Boss can deliver a line like that with utmost seriousness.
"Decided to pack up and leave so she could move Wong in. Felt like a change anyway. Got bored of eating noodles and cat."
"You should have come home."
"Why? I like it here. I've already made five people cry."
"Wow. You're lagging behind."
"Five people, today."
"It's too easy. These people really take things personally. This one woman asked me if I was a football hooligan. I asked her if she was trying to look like a plastic slag. I think I might have upset her."
"She should have asked you if you like being a prick."
"I didn't mean to hurt her. I was genuinely interested. She didn't even bother to answer the question."
Gay Boss is seriously dry and deadpan. Most people cry around him.
We spoke for about half an hour. He spoke about himself. And I appreciated that. The last thing I wanted was to talk about it.
Stoner didn't stay long afterwards. He called a cab and left at around midnight. I sat on the sofa with Solicitor leaning on his shoulder. I felt pretty tipsy.
"I need to air out the house." I groaned. "It smells like weed."
"You need to start talking." Solicitor said back.
I slipped down and rested my head on his lap. He absently stroked my hair behind my ears. I love people playing with my hair, I find it so relaxing. I closed my eyes, wanting to sleep.
"Don't sleep. Talk."
"Lets wait until tomorrow."
"That's what you said yesterday."
"Can we forget about it?"
"I want to have a baby."
To be honest I didn't even think about having another one up until I said it. I opened my eyes, partly in surprise and partly because I wanted to see Solicitor's reaction.
He looked uncertain.
"We can't replace what we lost." He said finally. "Heal first."
"You don't want another one." I couldn't help feeling hurt about it. He was so happy when I told him I was pregnant. Maybe he didn't think he could trust me to look after another one. That I wasn't worthy.
"I want children with you. But not like this. Wait a little. We have other things to do."
"Like what? What else is there to do?"
My eyes filled with tears. I wasn't pregnant for too long, but already my world had changed. I couldn't imagine not having a baby on the way.
"Elise, I want us to get married first."
It wasn't the first time we spoke about marriage. We always assumed we'd always be together. But there was something different this time.
"I'm asking you to marry me."
Okay, not exactly the most romantic response, but I really needed to know. Was he asking so that we could try for another baby. Was he asking to 'heal' the pain?
"I'm asking because I love you, and I want you to be my wife. I've been planning on it for a long time."
He gently slid away from me and stood up. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a tattered little box. Inside was a beautiful engagement ring. Aside from the large diamond in the middle, it has tiny encrusted ones all the way around the band.
Solicitor's grandfather proposed to his grandmother with that very ring. It was passed to Solicitor's father, the eldest son. And I guess to was passed to Solicitor. Solicitor slid it on my finger and told me that now it belongs to me.
"You didn't give it to Aimee?"
"No. I didn't want her to have it."
I did cry then. Buckets of tears. Tears of happiness.
I imagined being proposed to in so many situations.
I thought that when Billy proposed to Mo with alphabet spaghetti, it was really sweet. Marry Me written in the middle of a plate, after they had their fish fingers. Solicitor thought I was joking when I told him that I cried when I saw it. He teased me and asked me if I secretly wish I was a working class east-ender.
The proposition in Serendipity was nice too. A large boxed gift with lots of smaller boxes. The last one containing the ring. Solicitor agreed with me. It was pretty cute.
I never wanted to be proposed to with an audience. Some people love the idea of an entire restaurant witnessing, clapping and cheering. I knew I'd hate something like that. It had to be in private.
Solicitor has always been pretty intense and passionate (I guess the Mediterranean background accounts for that). I knew that whenever he asked, if he asked, it would be amazing and I wasn't wrong.