I clapped and hopped up and down. “I love surprises!”
“You’re so cute.” He rummaged in his desk drawer and turned around with his arms behind his back. “Pick a hand,” he said with a mischievous grin.
“The left one.”
He held out a long skinny velvet box, but still held his right hand in a fist. “Go ahead, open it,” he urged.
I looked at him questioningly as I took the box. We had only been seeing each other for a few weeks. What could he mean by giving such a fancy present? I drew in a sharp breath at the sight of the sparkling cross necklace on a delicate chain. “Brad, this is too much.”
“Don’t worry – it’s not diamonds or anything, just some fake bling bling. A little something to help you celebrate. Even though I’m not as into all that faith stuff as you are, I know it’s a big deal that you’re going to be a leader or Cowhand or whatever they call it next year. Here, let me see that.” He reached for the box and took out the necklace. “I’ll help you try it on.”
I turned and lifted my heavy curls out of the way. I heard him put something on the desk before he reached around to place the cross pendant against the base of my throat. He struggled to fasten the tiny clasp. When it was finally on, he moved us to face the mirror, still wrapping his arms around me from behind.
“Beautiful, just like you,” he murmured. He met my eyes in the mirror. “Babe, will you let me call you my girlfriend?”
I drank in our reflection, enjoying the sight of such a handsome man with his arms around me. “Your girlfriend? What are we now?”
“The way I see things, right now we’re just seeing each other. But if we’re boyfriend and girlfriend, then we’ll be seriously dating. What do you say? Can we be exclusive?”
I met his eyes again through the mirror and nodded, breaking into a giggle at the huge smile that spread across his face.
“You made the right choice, babe,” he said, nuzzling my ear.
It felt so good, I didn’t want it to stop, and that scared me. I abruptly turned to face him. “Wait a minute. You said pick a hand. What would have happened if I said right instead of left?”
“Then I would have told you the other part of my surprise.” He turned back to the desk and scooped up a small keychain with a mug of beer on the end.
I stared at the tacky gift uncomprehendingly. “What’s this? You know I’m not much of a drinker.”
“I know, I know. It’s a symbol.”
“A symbol of what?”
“Of our trip to Germany this August!”
I stared at him, speechless for a moment. “Our trip? So you want to come along after all?”
“That’s right. Spending all that time with you will be worth missing a few games.”
“That’s so sweet. But you won’t need to miss them after all. I never did manage to find enough people to go.”
“I figured as much, that’s why I got a few of my frat brothers and my pal Zoey to sign up too. We all put our deposits down today. It’s a done deal.”
I threw my arms around his neck. “Thank you! You’re the best boyfriend a girl could ever have.”