Life in the big city — working your way through waves of pedestrians some walking toward you, some away, some speed walking, some meandering. Traffic zipping or crawling in the streets, brakes squealing, exhaust fumes, horns honking. Sirens. Jack hammers. Yet a big city, even somewhere like Manhattan, can actually be little individual villages joined together over time. Each with their own personality. And despite being surrounded by millions of people you can still be lonely. Which is why Sam wanted to keep Rosie with him forever…
Copyright © 2012 by Leah Braemel
Rosie opened the door before the limo had come to a complete stop. Tires squealed and horns blew and traffic snarled around them and snow swirled into the once warm limo.
“Rosie, wait, let me explain.” He clambered to the other side of the car in an effort to stop her climbing out. “Rosie, I want to marry you.”
She batted his hands away. “You don’t want to marry me. You just like screwing me.”
With a curse, he told the driver to meet them a block down and if he hadn’t convinced her to get back into the car by then, to follow until she did. By the time he turned to follow her, she’d marched at least a hundred yards ahead, weaving around the pedestrians, never stopping with her steady stream of curses in Spanish, cursing both him, his friends, his intentions, and the layer of snow that had accumulated during the day that sent the fancy heels she’d decided to wear sliding over the icy pavement.
Despite the gravity of the moment, he had to chuckle while he hurried to catch her. Back home she rarely reverted to Spanish, but after one day around her family, her accent was back with a vengeance.
After she’d launched into a long harangue about his parents’ marriage or possible lack thereof, the invective finally slowed. Deciding she’d worked off her head of steam so she might actually listen to him, he closed the distance between them and touched her shoulder. “Rosie, hang on for a minute and listen to me. Please.”
She stopped so quickly he nearly ran into her, took a breath then turned to face him. Snowflakes settled on her hair, bright white against the dark black, glistening in the street lights like a halo. God, she was so beautiful even when she was pissed at him.
When he opened his mouth to speak, she held up a hand to stop him. “No, it’s fine. I thought we were somewhere we’re not. Don’t worry about me. I’ll take the subway home.”
Fuck that. Home was not on the New York City subway. Not anymore. Her home was in D.C. With him.
When she started to turn away again, he clamped his hands on her shoulders stopping her. “Rosie, listen to me. I want to marry you.”
“Bullshit. You were ready to bolt when I mentioned it.”
“You surprised me, that’s all. I was fixin’ to ask you in the hotel tonight. Honest.” A flake of snow affixed itself to her eyelash and he brushed his thumb lightly over her eyes to remove it.
She caught his hand and held it away from her. “Sam, please. You don’t have to pretend.”
“I’m not pretending, baby.”
“Then explain why you reacted the way you just did. Because I don’t want you to propose to me because you feel obligated.”
“Obligated? Damn it, Rosie. I’ve been trying to propose to you for the past three months. I was fixin’ to propose to you during our trip to Hawaii but that trip got cancelled because of that mess with Chad. Then I figured I’d do it when he got back but then…”
“But then he got shot.” The suspicion that had filled her voice faded. “Then you got called to San Francisco for that contract negotiation.”
“Yeah, and by the time I got back, I figured I’d take you to Paris this week and propose there, but then you said you made arrangements to come to New York for your mom’s birthday and…damn it, Rosie, I didn’t want to wait any longer and have anything else get in the way. But I also didn’t want to propose in front your family.”
What made him think anything about this would go smoothly, considering all the other times his plans had been interrupted? He took a deep breath and dove in, prepared for the worst while trying to stay positive, hoping for the answer he’d thought he’d expected the first time.
Screw it. His plans had just been shot to hell. He wasn’t going to be able to propose in their suite at the Waldorf. There wouldn’t be candlelight and flowers and champagne; he was going to have to do this on the corner of Forty Ninth and Third Avenue. Not the most romantic place for a proposal, but he was going to make damned well sure she believed him. Right here. Right now.
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