M L Gammella’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: Over Tea
Jorge had been wracking his brain for months on how to go through with it. The platinum diamond solitaire was burning a hole in his pocket. He needed a plan but had no clue what to do. He knew it had to be unique and special, just as unique and special Nahlia was.
Every day he thought about what would be the perfect way to ask her to be his legally bound, religiously sanctified, better half. Just getting down on one knee wasn't enough. Announcing it during a sporting event was too cheesy and neither one of them liked that kind of attention. Friends had done it over dinner or in a book, but none of those things represented Nahlia.
When he walked by a gift shop early one morning and saw the pair of mugs, he knew that was it. Excited, he clutched his new purchase close to his chest as he practically ran back to their apartment.
Nahlia loved fancy gourmet tea, the kind that you buy loose put in teabags or a mesh tea ball to steep yourself. She didn’t go a single morning without at least one cup of tea, no matter if it was 95 degrees out or below zero, she always had a cup.
Now Jorge? He loved coffee. Tea just wasn’t it for him. He was as fanatical about his coffee as she was about her tea. Some mornings he couldn’t decide if he wanted French press or Turkish. Such decisions.
Nahlia was still sleeping when Jorge returned. He couldn’t believe his luck. Normally she wasn’t such a late sleeper but she had been up late the past several nights finishing a project. He knew she’d love to wake up to a cup of tea waiting for her.
As quietly as he could, he started a kettle of water on the stove. When it whistled, he knew that it would wake her up, but he didn’t want her to wake up before he was ready. Delicately, he scooped out the appropriate amount of tea leaves from her most favorite type and put them in a tea ball, careful not to crush any of the leaves. As the water heated, he put his coffee in the French press and washed the new cups in preparation.
A few minutes later, the kettle whistled shrilly. Jorge grabbed the kettle and turned off the heat from the stove. As he poured the boiling water into her mug and the press, he heard Nahlia stirring in their bedroom.
“Jorge?” she asked, her voice scratchy with sleep.
“In the kitchen, dear.”
His beautiful Nahlia came shuffling into the kitchen. Her hair was a mess, her face creased from the sheets, but she was still the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen.
“Did you sleep well?” He asked as he finished preparing their drinks.
Nahlia nodded but didn’t say anything further. She was not a morning person. Jorge was taking a chance on doing this now when she wasn’t fully awake, but she was far too observant when she was awake for him to try this any other time.
She sat down on the island and watched him while he worked. He was careful to keep the images on the mugs away from Nahlia as her eyes started to brighten as she woke up. Jorge pushed the plunger down on the press and poured his coffee. The smell alone was enough to wake him. With a smile that was fighting to be a huge grin, Jorge turned to stir her tea one more time, the water starting to darken.
With a quick prayer, Jorge slipped something on the tea ball and heard it clink against the side of the mug. Satisfied, he turned and presented Nahlia with her tea, sliding the cup across the island to her.
“For you, my dear,” he said softly.
“Thank you, Jorge,” Nahlia said, holding the mug close to her face to smell the tea. “Oh, you made my favorite.”
Jorge nodded and waited.
“Are these new mugs, Jorge?” she asked and took a sip.
He shrugged, waiting for her to notice what was on her mug.
Nahlia put her mug down and stirred the tea ball, diffusing more of the tea into the water. Satisfied with the color, she pulled the tea ball out and nearly dropped it in the next instant. It was also at that moment that she saw what was on her mug.
“Mrs?” she asked, her voice full of wonder.
Jorge quickly walked over to her and pulled the ring from the tea ball, holding it out to her with his heart in his hand.
“I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect way to ask you, and finding these were it. I want to be your Mr. Will you be my Mrs.?”
M L Gammella lives in Ohio with her husband and their three pets. She is currently working on her first novel, a paranormal suspense based in Maine. Please follow her at @MLGammella and visit her website at Onward to the Written Word.