She crossed the cluttered office to her desk and pulled a small black box from the drawer. “What about this one?” she asked. “Think you’ll need it soon?”
Emmett smiled. He sat the larger box back down and crossed to her, taking the small box from her and opening the lid to inspect its contents. He’d seen the ring a hundred times. He had bought it three years ago and had left it with Hestaea for safe-keeping. Since then, it had just been a matter of waiting. He wanted to feel old enough. Grown up enough. At twenty-one years old, Emmett had done a lot of maturing. His friends were entering their senior year of college, with him trailing at their heels one grade behind. The group was almost all grown up now. It was the right time.
When he’d went to pick it out, initially, he had thought about asking Holland to go. Emmett asked Holland for help with everything. The advantage of Holland’s Holland-ness was that they were a suitable option for all contexts. He could’ve asked them to help him pick out a ring the same way he knew he would ask them to stand on his side in the ceremony. But he didn’t ask them. He hadn’t asked Marissa, either, which he had also considered, since she probably knew Rose better than anyone. He didn’t do either of those, though, because he decided he wanted to do this alone. All him.
But then he thought of something better than just him, and instead, he took Dakota.
Emmett had a base of an idea for what he wanted. He was sure something traditional wouldn’t quite fit, but as to specific types of gems and stuff, that went beyond him. Dakota was a great help, and in the end, the ring they’d picked out was just right. The gem didn’t stick out like large-stoned rings tended to; Emmett didn’t think Rose would appreciate getting caught on stuff. Like her, this ring was sturdy. The rose gold ring held a rough-cut black diamond of a vaguely octagonal shape. It was intimidating, but kind. Sharp, but soft. It was a great find.
He took it out of the case and turned it over between his fingers. “Yeah,” he said at last. The twenty-one year old mentally flipped through his knowledge of his housemates’ schedules. He’d get home from here soon, and then Rose would be next. Perfect. “I think tonight.”
On the table nearest the main entryway, there sat a vase that evening. As often seen in the Dubois-Keene-Farnon-Kendrick-Lawrence household, the large bouquet within it consisted of a dozen and a half orchids and, in the front, a single red rose. There had been bouquets like this before, one rose to clearly illustrate exactly to whom in the house the flowers belonged. But this time was different. In front of the flowers sat the ring, and around the corner sat Emmett.