A Story by GamingGal

Riley stared at the vase on the dining room table, brow furrowed in thought. The tulips and lilies erupted from it in bursts of orange and purple, complimented by a framing of ferns. But were the ferns too much? Were there enough lilies to balance out the tulips? Did the vase look too full or empty? Riley paced around the dining table, taking in the vase from each angle, before huffing and walking into the kitchen. There was such thing as overthinking something and that was what was happening. The flowers were going to be perfect and Robin was going to love them, so might as well leave it alone. Besides, there were plenty of other things to fret over before the night got started, things like the food and the atmosphere and if Robin was even going to get off work on time. In the grand scheme of things, the flowers were pretty low on the totem pole of things that could go wrong.

The kitchen wasn’t much better for the nerves, though. While the dining room held the worries that came with setting up for a nice dinner, the kitchen was where that nice dinner had to be made. And when cooking wasn’t one of your strong suits, that proved to be an issue. Luckily, thanks to an easy recipe found online, dinner hadn’t put up much of a fight. In fact, everything was ready to go. The lasagna bubbled away contentedly in the oven while the freshly made bread waited in the breadbox. The salads had been prepped earlier and were chilling in the refrigerator along with the homemade tea. As for dessert, two single squares of tiramisu were tucked in the far corners of the refrigerator, hidden behind two cartons of milk. They wouldn’t make an appearance till later, the grand finale to this intricate yet simple night.

As Riley double checked the oven timer, the shrill cry of a cell phone broke the silence. It chirruped and vibrated on the kitchen counter, demanding attention, before finally being answered.


“Hey, having a good night?”

Riley couldn’t help but to smile. Simply hearing Robin’s voice soothed any worries that might have cropped up. Of course tonight was going to be perfect. Now to keep everything secret for a little while longer.

Just play it cool. Can’t give away the plans just yet.

“Eh, it’s a night. Just making dinner and tidying the house. You?”

“Dealing with work stuff. Customer complaints and coupons galore. You know, the usual. Doesn’t help that it’s the weekend. All the entitled people seem to come out in droves on the weekends, but that’s okay. Just a little while longer and I’ll be home and we can have a few days to ourselves.”

Worry took root yet again. What if Robin was kept longer? Dinner would be ready soon and serving it cold or reheated was not in the plans. It would spoil the mood and then there went the evening. On that note, why had dinner seemed like the best method anyways? It was the easiest to mess up. A picnic would have been better. Or a nice walk through their favorite park. Or even a cliché present on Christmas!

Because dinner is special. We always have dinner together, regardless of work.

Riley nodded and took a steadying breath. No need to fret over something that might not be an issue. If anything would ruin the night, it would be fretting needlessly.

“What time do you think you’ll be home?”

“Oh, not too much longer. Everyone seems to be clearing out for the evening and I’m free to go after a little more paperwork. Inventory, cash counting, that kind of thing. Maybe an hour?”

And like that, everything was set back on track. An hour would be plenty of time, and at least now there was a timeframe to go by instead of guesswork. The inner voice had been right yet again.

“Sounds good to me. Want me to set the table as usual?”

“Of course. See you soon. Love you.”

“Love you, too.”

The line went silent and Riley put the phone down with a grin. Maybe things would fall in place after all. An hour wasn’t much time to work with, though, and that meant getting things ready right away.



The single hour rushed by in a blur as Riley hurried about setting the scene. The plates for dinner were rearranged time and time again in countless efforts to achieve the right look, and time and time again they were set back in their original place. The lasagna was checked once, twice, three times every five minutes to make sure there wasn’t even the slightest hint of burning. The bread was brought out and fussed over in an effort to decide just how thick to cut the slices, and eventually put back uncut. Detail after detail was fussed and worried over, soon resulting in nothing to do but pace. Riley paced around the dinner table, pausing occasional to fuss over the flowers, making nonstop circles as inner thoughts ran crazy.

What if Robin gets stuck in traffic? Or what if this is a stupid idea? Proposing over dinner? What kind of lame person does that? I’m so stupid to think this was a good idea! I should have gone with something grander or at least gone for dinner in a nice restaurant!

No, those thoughts couldn’t take root. They were wrong. Dinner at home was something the both of them cherished. Sure, eating out was nice and had the added perk of not having to do dishes afterwards, but at home was more intimate. They could laugh and be dorks together or talk about how work had gone without having to worry about being interrupted every few minutes. Everything was going to go fine. Riley sat down on the sofa and took a deep breath, letting it out slowly while counting.

One, everything will be okay. Two, those thoughts are ungrounded worries. Three, Robin is going to love it. Four, everything looks great. Five, dinner smells delicious. Six, I can’t wait�"

The turn of a key in a lock echoed through the empty, quiet home. Riley scrambled off the sofa and hurried to the sound, hand grabbing for the doorknob as Robin opened the door.

“Glad to see you, too,” Robin said with a chuckle while shutting the door.

“Sorry, I just wanted to make sure you didn’t get too far without me.”

“Oh? And why is that?”

“No reason; ready for dinner? How about you go sit down and I’ll bring it over, okay?”

“Sure you don’t want any help?”

“I’ve got it, just go sit down. Please?”

“Alright, fine, if you insist.”

Riley watched from the kitchen entryway, breath held, as Robin entered the dining room.

“Oh, wow, these flowers are gorgeous! What’s the occasion? Did I miss something?”

Riley sighed with relief; the set-up was perfect after all.

“No occasion, I just wanted some more color in the house is all.”

While Robin fawned over the plating and flowers, Riley rushed around the kitchen making sure everything was spiced and seasoned perfectly and ready to serve. Once each item passed the test, it made its way to the dining table. The salads were last to go and as Riley brought them out a double check was made to ensure the desserts were ready. With everything going great so far, nothing could go wrong later.

“Everything looks great babe. You really didn’t have to go to so much trouble you know. I don’t mind take out,” Robin said once Riley had taken a seat.

“It was nothing. Besides, I made this with love. I bet those take out people can’t top that.”

“And you would be correct. Mind doing the honors?”

“Of course.”



The dinner turned out just as Riley had hoped. The bread was soft and warm, the salad chilled and crisp, and the lasagna hot and cheesy. Each course was topped off with a glass of wine, which Riley had picked out special for the occasion. It was a more expensive bottle, but it was also Robin’s favorite.

“You didn’t have to get my wine,” Robin had exclaimed when the first glass was poured.

“Everyone deserves a treat every now and then, and this is yours.”

Before Robin could retort, Riley was already offering the toast.

“To many more nights like this.”

               “Many, many more nights like this,” Robin agreed.

               As the wine flowed, so did conversation. While they lived together, it wasn’t often that they got the chance to simply sit down and talk. Everything revolved around work or what groceries were needed or what bills were coming up. Sure, talking would happen, but rarely conversation. Good conversation was organic, growing from the smallest comments and turning into long discussions or bellowing laughs. Conversation was the glue in all relationships. How could you be with someone if you didn’t sit down and really talk every now and then? It was through listening and talking to Robin that Riley knew this was meant to be. Each day could be the same as the one before, but Riley always wanted to hear the details of Robin’s day, right down to the small things like a funny newspaper headline or kind stranger. It made Riley happy to know Robin cared enough to talk about everything even when everything was really nothing.

               “You know, tonight was really amazing,” Robin said while leaning back from the table. “I mean, you made dinner and bought me flowers and even bought my favorite wine. What more could I ask for?”

               “Well, you could ask for dessert, in which case I have two lovely tiramisu slices queued up and waiting.”

               Robin smiled and laughed. “Of course you have dessert waiting. You wouldn’t be my Riley if you hadn’t gone all out.”

               “True; I’ll be back.”

               Riley went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator, paused for a moment, and then shut it without retrieving the slices of tiramisu. The entire night had gone so perfectly, but the moment had arrived. With shaking hands, Riley opened the breadbox, reached into the farthest corner, and pulled out a small box. Inside it was the ring that months and months of saving had afforded. It had been hard work and lots of small luxuries had been cut, but the ring was worth it. The moment would be worth it even more so. Robin was the one and the ring would prove that Riley was ready to take that step forward. With a deep, steadying breath, Riley went back to the dining room.

               Robin’s back was to the kitchen doorway, which was good. Great, in fact. Before entering, Riley stood and simply admired. Robin looked so content, so regal, leaned back with the wine glass in hand, every now and then taking a sip. The thought came to Robin that this would soon be their forever reality. They would be bound together through sickness and health, richer or poorer, thick or thin. They would raise a family and be the best parents ever. Their future was ahead and the ring would be the beginning of something beautiful.

               “So, I couldn’t find the tiramisu,” Riley said, taking a few steps closer, the ring box in hand.

               “Did you check the top shelf? Behind the milk and juice?” Robin asked, turning around in the chair. With a slight gasp, Robin watched as Riley pulled out the ring box and knelt down.

               “Robin, you mean the world to me. More than the world if that’s even possible. I can’t picture my life without you in it anymore, and I don’t want to. When I’m with you, I feel whole, like you’re this other part of me that I didn’t know I was searching for. You keep me grounded. You’re my rock and my best friend.” Riley’s voice and hands were shaking as the box opened. “And I can’t think of a better person to spend the rest of my life with. Will you marry me?”

               The silence hung in the air, almost palpable. Riley’s eyes watched Robin as realization dawned in those familiar eyes. Soon, tears slid down Robin’s cheeks and the silence was broken.

               “Yes, of course.”

               Riley slid the ring onto Robin’s finger, laughing and crying at the same time. Everything had gone so perfectly, and now everything would be perfect for the rest of their days. Robin slid out of the chair and into Riley’s arms, too overcome with love and joy for words, and time stood still. 

© 2015 GamingGal

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Added on December 10, 2015
Last Updated on December 10, 2015



Atlanta, GA

Weeeeeelllll.... I'm your average girl living in the big city. I haven't wrote much lately, but if I do, I'll let you guys know :) more..

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