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ArbitrationMage t1_jaqm540 wrote

The silver band glittered with malevolence.

I wanted to throw my arms around her. I needed to throw my arms around her. But that ring stood between us, bright and sharp and cruel.

Ten seconds since she proposed.

I couldn't take the ring. The flicker of a jogger in my peripheral vision reminded me— revealing my fuzzy nature here would leave me dead at the hands of the elders.

Twelve seconds.

But rejecting it would break her. And that would break me.

Fifteen seconds.

Damned if I do and damned if I don't but maybe there's a middle way. Cornered, I fell back on the thing that had gotten me into this situation in the first place: Smarm.

Smarm on its own is useless, but with genuine, honest passion and goodwill it becomes charm and chutzpah. And if I was lucky, it might just get me out of this situation intact.

I knelt, took her hands in mine— careful to avoid the ring— and looked deep into her eyes.

"I'll marry you, my love. But not yet."

I continued over the her noises.

"There's nothing I want more than to wake up with you every day. I want us to be the first thing we see every day. To be with you forever. To grow old together." I squeezed her hands, reassuring with pressure and warmth.

"You are the sun in my sky. And I'm going to marry you. And, I—" I hesitated, but barreled through. Awkward and cute worked. "I need to tell you some things first." A kiss, soft and passionate against her lips, to stifle her thoughts and fears.

"Nothing bad. I promise. We just need to have a sit-down talk before we're engaged. Once we get home, we can do it. Among," my voice went husky, "other things." We shared another kiss, a little more lustful but no less loving.

"Until then..." I closed her fingers around the ring. The lack of visible silver was like a lack of splinters in my hand.

"Until then, my love, hold on to my ring for me."

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