A Valentine's Proposal
By Kadeeja Ruwaidah
It was only an hour or so until the clock would strike midnight. And for all the lovers, it would be the dawn of a special day. Valentine's Day. And for a group of friends, something big was under the works.
"Where are we going? Come on, why can't you guys tell me?" Natalie whined.
She'd been asking the same question over and over again for the last half an hour of the journey, and it was kinda funny, but Vanessa didn't find it funny. She was starting to get a bit annoyed by then.
Liana looked at the rearview mirror, from the driver's seat, to see Natalie fussing. Whenever Natalie was worried and tense, her eyebrows always drew taut. Just like how it was now.
"Nat, we told you, it's a surprise. If we tell it to you, it won't be a surprise anymore, will it?" Ella pointed out, tilting her head to the side. She was seated shotgun, beside Liana.
"But it's almost midnight and tomorrow is Valentine's day. I have chocolates to make and cupcakes to bake, '' Nat huffed, crossing her arms over her chest.
"Oh come on, Suck it in, and just wait will ya? We're almost there", Vans interjected, rolling her eyes.
Out of all the friends in the car, Natalie was the only one in the dark about where they were going. Liana, Vanessa, Ella, Tori, and Jenifer seemed to know what was going on.
"All of us have plans for tomorrow," Jen pointed out, a small yawn slipping in between her words. Jen was the type who was always tired. Hence her nickname, Sleeping Beauty.
"Is that the radio station?" Tori suddenly interrupted, half jumping out of her seat. All the friends in the car were, after all, looking forward to what was about to transpire.
"Radio station? Why?" Nat, who'd been completely in the dark, perked up when she heard that small tidbit, as she couldn't see anything. It was completely dark outside and all she saw around them were meadows.
"You'll see," Van asserted in response to Nat's confusion.
"We're here indeed," Liana exclaimed, a full smile blooming on her face. It was showtime!
It was dark, and there were no other cars or any sort of building sighted anywhere near, except for the silhouette of a building that looked like it had satellite dishes on the roof. The Radio station.
"Guys, what's going on?" Nat asked, as Liana turned the engine off and the car sat idle.
"Shh, wait", Tori whispered, holding up her finger to her lips, before she pointed at Liana, who was messing with the radio dials.
"Let me", Vanessa sighed, swatting Liana's hand away, and started to mess with the dials instead.
They started hearing static and distinct voices, as Vanessa messed with the dials.
"There's just one minute to midnight", Tori hissed looking at her watch.
Finally, Van grinned as she broke through to the radio wave frequency they wanted. The level of excitement inside the car was starting to burst through the roof, and Natalie just sat there, confused as to why everyone was jumping in their seats.
'Welcome to Warm Hearts Radio. As you all know, in just one minute, a new day is going to dawn upon us. And it's not just any normal day. That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's a day for lovers. Valentine's day. And as part of it, we bring you the customary program of Confessions.'
" What is this?" Nat questioned in a whisper, as all of them listened with bated breath.
'So we have our first love-struck boy. Let's welcome him and hear what he has to confess.'
'Uh, yeah, uh. Hi everyone, who is listening in. Before introducing myself, I've got some things to say. You see, there's this girl I love, and honestly, she's like the Jane to my Tarzan, the Pocahontas to my John Smith, the Rapunzel to my Flynn Ryder, the Meg to my Hercules, okay I'll stop now. The thing is, I'd rather die tomorrow than live a hundred years without having known her. When I look at her, I can feel it. When I look at her, I see my home. She was my new dream, the escape from my past, my salvation, my first love.
My dream wouldn't have been complete without her in it. For it is as plain as anyone can see, we were just meant to be. She was my greatest adventure.
And they say people tend to do crazy things when they're in love, and I guess I can confirm that's true.'
Everyone could hear the guy as his voice filtered out of the radio. A familiar voice, which was fraught with tension and nervousness.
The friends side-eyed Natalie, to see if she managed to recognize the voice. They just saw her sitting there, frozen, clutching her seat.
Jenifer held her hand, as they heard the guy pause.
'So, I'd like to dedicate a song to her" and with those words, they heard the song, 'Breathless' by Shayne Ward, play.
At the end of the song, the woman spoke again. 'That was truly a romantic and swoon-worthy confession. So would you like to put a call forward to this lucky lady of yours?'
And not long after, Natalie heard her phone ring. Her mouth was dry, and she was clutching at Jen's hand like a lifeline.
'Answer it,' Vanessa mouthed at Nat.
With shaking fingers, Nat retrieved her phone from her purse and swiped to answer.
"Hello?" They all heard Nat's voice drift out of the radio and echo beside them, nervous and unsure.
'I, Daren Lahey, have something important to ask today, to my love, Natalie Carpenter. Natalie, I want to say that I've known you for some time now. I've known that you're the only one I want to share the rest of my life with. When I look into my heart, I see only you. If you look into your heart and only see me, then we should spend the rest of our lives together. The story of our love is only the beginning. Let's write our happy ending, babe. What do you say? Will you marry me?'
All of the attention was turned to Natalie. She saw each of her friends' faces turn to her expectantly. She could feel tears pricking her eyes. It felt surreal to Nat. That Daren was at a radio station, publicly proposing to her on the stroke of twelve.
'Miss Carpenter?' They heard the radio station host calling out. The woman's voice woke Nat from her stupor.
She shook her head, to clear her thoughts. It was Daren. Of course, it was. He always went over and above to make her happy. Her heart was swelling with happiness and joy, that she couldn't contain herself.
"Yes, yes, of course, yes. Yes, I'll marry you, you big dumb oaf," she practically shouted and sobbed, into the phone.
Nat was bombarded with hugs from all her friends. All of them offered her their congratulations. But she neither heard nor felt it. Her head was in the clouds. All she could hear was Daren's words echoing in her ears. He proposed! She was his fiancee from now on.
'There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, another deal sealed. We wish these couples the very best of happy endings. May your love prosper and bring you happiness till death and beyond.
And that was the end of one of the sweetest confessions we heard until now.
We'll be taking a short break. Stay tuned for more.'
The woman's words didn't interrupt the group's celebratory atmosphere though.
Soon after, Daren walked out of the radio station, wearing a big grin. The love of his life just agreed to marry him!
But Daren wasn't alone. With him came other familiar faces too. As soon as the girls saw them approaching, they immediately got off of the car and took to a sprint.
Some launched themselves at the approaching figures, while some just crush them with a bear hug, or in one case, went straight for the lips. That was Van. Always the avid kisser of the group.
But Nat, Nat just got down and stood there looking at Daren, fidgeting with her fingers. And Daren wasn't any better either. He took his sweet time walking across the meadow, making his way to where they were currently parked. Both of them were wearing shy yet happy smiles.
Nat moved slowly, taking each step closer to Daren, as he did the same. Both of their eyes were just on each other and no one else.
Liana and Jen watched the others, who were in their own bubble by now. Jen's husband was working abroad and hence why she was accompanying the single Liana as they watched the other couples. But the spotlight was on Natalie and Daren.
"I can't believe Nat just got engaged", Jen heard Liana whisper in awe.
"They aren't literally engaged. He got no ring on her finger yet," Jen pointed out.
"Shh, don't be such a killjoy", Liana shushed her, teasingly.
Both of them leaned on the hood, Jen holding onto the front bumper with her palms, while Liana stood there with her arms crossed over her chest.
They couldn't even spot Tori and Jackson. Both of them having disappeared somewhere, no doubt to make out and who knows what more.
And, they could hear Vans and Theo arguing, as well as snogging. It was a specialty only they could pull off, and god knows how.
Alicia and Scott were in a bear hug. She was just happy to lay her head on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
And then, there was Ella and Stiles. Both of them locked in a typical conversation of what Jen and Liana assumed was something mathematical or scientific. Only they pulled off the mathematical flirting, and it was a huge wonder.
Meanwhile, while everyone was distracted, Daren brought out a small box and held it out to Natalie.
"I baked a cake for you. Hope you like it", he exclaimed, with a soft sheepish smile.
"But I thought you didn't know how to bake, '' that was Nat, her voice suspicious, and analyzing.
"Well, I learned it for you. I wanted to bake a cake with my own hand. But it's small."
"I don't mind. You should know by now that what matters is the million small things you do for me, rather than being materialistic."
Jen and Liana quietly watched as Natalie opened the box Daren gifted her. It was a cake. It wasn't perfect but they could see Daren did his best with it. Nat was surely to be happy.
She cut a small piece but brought it to Daren's mouth, but he shook his head and directed her hand back to her mouth.
Nat ate the piece of cake, without any fuss, but she stopped. mid-bite. She blinked several times, as she opened her mouth slightly, pulling out a very small wrapped circle.
Suddenly, everyone was gathered around the couple. They all could see Nat's eyes growing wide.
Daren took the small packet from her, unwrapping it to reveal a beautiful silver ring, embedded with a small uncut diamond, or at least that's what it looked like.
Nat sucked in a sharp breath, her eyes going from the ring to Daren's face and then back to the ring again.
He smiled softly at her, before taking her hand in his lifting it, and slid the ring on her finger, all the while just staring deeply at her eyes.
"Well, /now/ they are engaged," Jen jabbed, poking Liana's side with her elbow.
"They sure are", she said as she hopped up on the hood of the car, pulling Jen alongside her too.
The sky was dark, but the full moon threw an angelic hue around the group. It was a magical night indeed.
By Kadeeja Ruwaidah