“It’s amazing how a few words on a page can spark so many emotions. Cause so many problems and be the start of a whole new adventure.”
It all began with the note ‘Date! Gino’s 6 PM Get Flowers!’
Tilly made it home from work at five. The note lay on the kitchen counter. She read it three times with growing agitation. “What date? Lucas never told me about going out tonight. He better not be dating someone else!” she thought aloud.
Tilly and Lucas grew together in their university classes. They’d moved in together a year ago and were enjoying life. Now, it seemed Lucas was out to ruin that.
A search of the apartment revealed Lucas was out. Already on his way to the restaurant, no doubt. “Damn you, Lucas. I love you! Things will never be the same if you’re betraying me.” Tilly wiped her eyes. Curling her lip between her teeth, she gazed toward the front door. With a wicked smile, she stalked into the bedroom and pulled on a pretty black dress. A lusty updo and the last necklace Lucas bought her finished the outfit. “Hope you’re ready big boy. You’re getting two dates!”
The roads were quiet this Thursday evening. Tilly was able to drive her Micra the three miles without a hitch. Gino’s was a great little Italian restaurant and Tilly’s favourite dinner venue. It had its own car park. However, that was too obvious. Wanting to hide, Tilly drove past and parked outside the hardware store instead. From there she had a good view of the green-and-white fronted restaurant with its pizza and pasta logo. “Now, to wait until showtime.”
Several couples and families came and went. Tilly felt her heart rate spike when Lucas appeared. At Five-fifty he entered the restaurant dressed in his smartest black suit and carrying a bouquet of roses.
Tilly held her nerve and desire to run in and smack him then and there. “Wait. Let’s see who his new bimbo is first,” she told herself.
With every passing second, she grew ever tense. Another couple entered the restaurant. Then another. A large group of men followed them. No other lone person entered. Soon it was a quarter past the date hour. Tilly couldn’t wait any longer. Climbing from her car, she smoothed her dress and walked to the restaurant.
Through the window, Lucas could be seen sitting alone in one of the romantic booths. With rich cedar tables and velvet green or burnt orange cushioned chairs. The restaurant had a vibrant Italian feel.
A waiter paused to chat to Lucas allowing Tilly to slip in unnoticed. Her favourite piece of operatic music was playing as an atmospheric background. She got right up to him before he realised she was there.
He smiled, “Tilly —”
“Couldn’t resist the temptation of another woman, huh!”
“Don’t hey me!” Tilly flared while folding her arms. “Where is she? Did she stand you up?”
“Almost.” Lucas nervously loosened his tie.
“What you mean, almost?” Tilly looked around expecting to see another woman walking toward her.
Lucus picked up the roses and help them out.
“Unbelievable! You think giving me someone else’s flowers is gonna make me feel better?” Tilly stamped a foot and refused to take the roses.
Lucas took a deep breath. “No, there isn’t another woman. There’s only you,” he said taking her hand.
Tilly shrugged him off.
“Your wine, signore,” said a waiter dressed in a black suit, white shirt and tie coming over. “A bottle of 2018 Gran Passione Veneto Rosso for the lady,” he went on displaying it for Tilly’s benefit.
“Thank you, Alberto.” Tilly round on Lucas, “You were going to buy her my favourite wine, as well? You’re despicable!”
“Why no, signora Tilly. The wine is for you.” The waiter smiled causing his curling moustache to bounce on his lip.
“For me?” Tilly looked between the waiter and Lucas. Her heart pounded in her chest and her lips ran dry. What was going on?
“Yes, for you.” Lucas took a hand again.
This time Tilly let him hold her. “What are you doing, Lucas? I saw the note. You never told me about coming here. So, you must be here for somebody else.”
Lucas shook his head, “Or, I could have left some bait to lead you into my Italian trap.”
Tilly gaped, flushing as she realised – she’d been had.
“I could never fall for the temptation of another woman. There is no other who could make me as happy as you do.” Lucas took up the roses again. “Twenty-two red roses. One for every month since our hearts became entwined.”
“Aww, Lucas —” Tilly blushed. Her anger flowing away, replaced with deeper, stronger emotion. “Even though this is so sweet. I still don’t know if I should kiss or deck you!”
“If violence is your choice, senora. Please take him outside.” The waiter placed his palms together. “Signore, Lucas. Shall I bring your starter?”
Lucas looked to Tilly for the answer. No use dining alone, after all.
“Please and thank you, Alberto,” Lucas kissed her hands. “Thank you for agreeing to dine with me and for not punching my teeth out, sweetheart.”
“There’s still time,” Tilly narrowed her eyes, “I still don’t understand why you didn’t just invite me on the date like a normal person.”
“I couldn’t, I had to go somewhere on the way — alone. I also wanted to surprise you.” Lucas took another deep breath.
“You definitely achieved the latter. I could have killed you!” Tilly remained standing, she still wasn’t sure whether to stay or go. “So, where did you go?”
“To Facets. You see a jewellery store is the only place to buy something that will last forever just like I hope our love will.” Lucas unveiled a little square box. Opening it with a shaking hand, he revealed a simple but stunning ring as he dropped to a knee. “Tilly, life without you is no life at all. Will you forgive my stupid prank and marry me?”
Tilly felt her breath catch in her throat.
The eyes of all the diners were upon her now. Even Alberto had returned with the starters. He stood back holding them. Looking expectant and a little afraid.
“Did you know about this, Alberto?” Tilly asked avoiding the big question.
“Si, Signora. Lucas has been planning to surprise you for a couple of months,” Alberto grinned.
“Maybe, I should slap you instead. All the times I came to eat here and you didn’t tell me.” Tilly shook her head.
“Forgive me, Signore. I didn’t wish to ruin the lovely moment Lucas was creating.” Alberto nodded to Lucas, “What is your answer?”
Tilly locked eyes with her still kneeling boyfriend. She raised a hand and swung it back.
Lucas closed his eyes, contorting his face in preparation for the blow he deserved.
Albert led the diners in a gasp of horror.
Tilly swung her slap forward. Her fingers graced his cheek as her hand came to a gentle stop and she kissed him. “I love you, Lucas. I’d love to marry you!”
Lucas leapt to his feet and spun her in a celebratory circle.
Albert and the diners cheered and applauded. He placed the starters on the table and dashed behind the bar and retrieved a large bottle from the chiller. “Champagne for everyone. My —” the cork leapt from the bottle, slammed into the light fitting above him, and shattered the light bulb. “ —Treat!” He finished covered in glass and smiling wryly as everybody burst out laughing.
Tilly broke from a kiss with Lucas with wide eyes. “It that’s a sign of things to come; maybe we should reconsider?”
Lucas burst out laughing, “I think we can handle a few broken light bulbs!”
Have a great day!