I looked at my reflection and tried to remind myself to breathe. A glance at the clock told me it was only five minutes later than when I’d last looked and I still had twenty minutes before I had to go and pick up Terry. I still couldn’t believe he’d agreed to go to his mother’s so I could pick him up to go on our date. He thought it was romantic, even though we’d been dating two years and living together for six months. I’d filled his other in on my plans and she would make sure he was wearing the right clothes. So, what was I worried about?
My phone interrupted my panic attack. I grabbed it and flicked the unlock.
Terry – why is my mom making me wear a tux? We agreed not too fancy.
Me – it’s a surprise
Terry – aww, come on…I feel ridiculous in this getup.
Me – I bet you look hot. Just wait until I get you home later xxx
Terry – Why can’t I just come home now????
Me – No, now be good and do as your mom tells you.
The doorbell echoed through the house making me jump.
Me - Gotta go our rides here xx
I checked my reflection once more and rushed out the door.
The limo was exactly like the photo I’d seen on the website. Bright white with long blacked out windows the vehicle took up most of our block to itself. I nearly squealed like a teenager when I got in and saw the inside. A long, padded seat ran the length of the limo and wrapped part way around the back end. Opposite the seat was a bar, stocked with all our favorite drinks. This was going to be a perfect night.
Twenty minutes later the limo pulled up to Terry’s mother’s small home and I jumped out to ring the doorbell.
Terry opened the door and his jaw dropped.
“Oh. My. God. You got us a limo? I’ve always wanted to ride in a limo.”
I grinned and relaxed slightly. He liked it. Hopefully, he liked the rest too.
“Don’t just stand there gawping,” came his mother’s voice from somewhere behind him.
“Hi, mom,” I called and watched as a head with grey hair appeared over Terry’s shoulder.
“Billy, darling.” She waved something in her hand and I realized what she held. “I’ve got my camera. Get out there both of you and make an old lady proud.”
Terry tried to protest but between us, we got him in front of the limo and even got the chauffeur to pose with us for a few pictures.
By the time she had all the photos she wanted I was glad I’d built in some extra time to allow for delays.
AS soon we were alone in the back of the limo Terry pulled me into his lap and claimed my lips in a hard kiss.
I huffed a laugh and had to pull back to catch my breath. “It’s not over yet, love.”
“Where are you whisking me off to?” Terry tried to look out the windows, but the view was blurred, and I was fairly sure he wouldn’t work it out. But, just to be sure. I pulled him back around and reclaimed his lips. “You’ll have to wait and see,” I replied before silencing him once more.
We spent the entire forty-five-minute journey making out and helping ourselves to the drinks. By the time the driver's voice came through the intercom with a ten-minute warning we were looking rather disheveled. I pulled a comb from my pocket and we worked quickly to straighten ourselves up.
“I still don’t see why we couldn’t have just gone for a drive then headed home to…” he gave me a leering look and I got the idea.
“Because I wanted to plan something special for us. Now, stop moaning and get over here so I can fix your hair.”
“We have arrived, Sirs,” the driver announced and after a moment’s pause the car door opened.
“Why are we at the harbor?” Terry asked as I pulled him out.
“You’ll see.” I slipped the driver a tip and reminded him of the pick-up time. With a nod, he got back in the car and pulled away.
I checked the time and seeing it was six thirty-five I looked for the signs I needed. I pulled Terry along and soon we were confronted by a beautiful long cruise ship emblazoned with the Hornblower name and logo. A sign at the bottom of the entrance to the ship said, “Hornblower Valentine’s Day Cruise boarding this way.”
“We’re going on that?” Terry asked and I watched his eyes go wide.
“Yep, come on.”
I pulled him up the steps and reached into my back pocket for my booking confirmation email. Once we were allowed on, I looked around at all the people dressed up in their posh clothes.
I leaned down to whisper in Terry’s ear, “Aren’t you glad I got you that tux now?”
I grunted at the punch I received on my arm. “Shut up and let’s find where we’re meant to be.”
At the door to the dining room, we gave our names and were guided to a small table that looked out over the Hudson. A delicate vase in the center of the table held a red rose. I watched Terry looking around to take it all in.
“Do you like it?” I was nervous. I knew as a rule that Terry didn’t like posh events, but I had felt this needed to be a big deal.
Terry smiled, and I felt a bit more tension dissipate. “I love it. Thank you.”
A waiter stopped by our table to fill our glasses with Champagne.
“To us,” I said and raised my glass to tap his.
We sat sharing memories of holidays past until our appetizers arrived. Spinach and Cheese ravioli with roasted garlic and sun-dried tomato cream sauce.
My mouth watered at the amazing smells of the food. I’d been so nervous I’d skipped lunch and I was starving.
We fed each other, giggling like naughty kids and trying not to drop food on each other. Work had been so hectic that we’d hardly see each other recently and it was great to spend time just being a couple with no other worries to spoil the fun. Well, almost no other worries.
Our empty plates were exchanged for a classic Caesar salad and that was quickly followed by our entrée.
“Is this?” Terry didn’t finish his question as he was too busy moaning over the mouthful he’d just taken.
“It’s a Hornblower Surf and Turf. According to the menu I downloaded, its petit filet mignon, with a wild mushroom demi-glace. Grilled salmon with truffled potatoes au gratin. And finally, carrots and green beans.”
“It’s delicious.” Terry had to put a hand in front of his mouth, so he didn’t spray food over the table. I just rolled my eyes and returned t my food. He was right, it was delicious.
As dessert got nearer I felt myself tensing up again. The plates were cleared, and I saw our server heading our way.
“Your desserts, Sirs.” With a flourish, he placed a plate in front of each of us. The chocolate Tuxedo Bombs looked perfect, and Terry’s was exactly as I ‘d asked it to be prepared.
I heard Terry’s sharply indrawn breath and I watched him stiffen as he realized what he was seeing.
On the top of his chocolate bomb was a dollop of fresh cream and nestled in the cream was a rainbow gold ring.
I slipped out of my seat and dropped to one knee beside him. Pulling his hand into mine I drew in a deep breath.
“Terry, I know we haven’t been together long, but you are it for me. I want to wake up you and go to sleep with you every night for the rest of our lives. I want to show the world that you are mine and that I am yours.
“Would you do me the honor of becoming my husband?”
I watched as tears gathered and fell down Terry’s cheeks, I hoped they were happy tears. God, I really hoped they were happy tears.
“Yes,” he whispered.
“We can’t hear over here,” came a shout from behind me, and I realized we had gathered a large audience.
“YES!” Terry yelled and pulled me up into his arms.
The loud sound of cheers and whistles surrounded us as I slipped the ring on Terry’s finger and he kissed the breath out of me.
After we’d finished dessert we took a walk around the deck. We took photos of the Statue of Liberty and even got a willing lady to take a picture of us together.
When the DJ started the music, we were asked to take the first dance—good practice one guest said.
The other guests soon joined us, and all the couples held each other close to the soft music and slowly spun around the beautifully lit dance floor.
“This is the best night of my life,” Terry declared as we fell into bed together later that evening.
“I know, but I’m knackered from all that dancing.” I rubbed at an ache in my back, I wasn’t as young as I once was.
“Not too tired I hope.” Terry trailed a finger down my chest and I found that actually, my back didn’t ache that much…