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45 degrees outside. Raining. Not the slightest chance of seeing the sun. In any other city, this would be considered a disaster. But in Paris, it only adds to the romanticism that draws you to the city.
Of course, this also meant that there wasn’t only a delay with their Uber, but surge pricing as well. Todd knew he had no choice but to accept it.
“I’ll be ready in, like, five minutes,” she shouted from their hotel bathroom as she put lipstick on. There were only so many days left in their trip which meant only so many opportunities to dress to the nines in hopes of what could be.
Todd tilted his head to make sure she couldn’t see what he was doing on the other side of the room. He lifted his carry-on bag onto the bed and unzipped the front pocket, taking something out. He quickly dropped it in the pocket of his Barbour coat – not the most responsible place for it, but probably about as responsible as keeping it in the front pocket of his carry-on in the first place.
Placing the bag back on the ground, he sat on the edge of the bed and looked out the window. Raindrops trickling down the glass, the city appearing to be moving at a slower pace than normal.
“Does this skirt make my hips look wide?” she asked from behind, breaking the silence.
Todd looked her up and down and didn’t entertain any answers except, “No, you look beautiful.”
“You sure?” she confirmed.
“Yes,” he said. “I’m sure.”
Her haphazard attempts to exchange French pleasantries with their driver, Paul, fell on flat ears. It was unclear to both of them whether he either didn’t speak English at all or was just one of the silent Uber types. Either was fine.
With his hand in his pocket, Todd couldn’t help but fiddle with it. Clutching it with the tips of his fingers, making it do flips, and sliding it on and off his own index finger. It was a nervous tick he’d always had – the fidgeting – and something he wasn’t going to be able to avoid on this December day.
“Aren’t you glad we’re here?” she asked with her eyes fixated on the streetlights and lit up cafés. Todd looked over and smiled at her before nodding approvingly. He reached over with his other hand and clutched hers, both of them looking out opposite windows with their minds on other things.
“I think here’s fine,” Todd said to Paul, forgetting that he may or may not speak any English. Paul looked back and gestured toward the curb to Todd before shrugging his shoulders. Todd didn’t know what to say, so he made a “stop” gesture and pointed with one hand while doing a thumbs up with the other.
Both exiting the car on the curbside, they emerged from the vehicle and looked longingly at Galeries Lafayette, a destination they’d already been to. What they were seeing again were the extravagant Christmas lights strewn about the outside, well-knowing that the large Christmas tree on the inside would be their main attraction.
“Mmmmmmm,” she remarked, “Can we get some macarons?”
Todd, again, nodded approvingly without saying much. He wasn’t sure if it was nervousness, tiredness from the trip, or a combination of both. He knew the macarons were simply for her Instagram story, which obviously made it low priority on his list.
“Why don’t we go to the roof first and get the macarons on the way out?” he asked. “I don’t want to be carrying around a box of them this entire time.”
She rolled her eyes only to beg him, “But pleeeeeeeease, mama’s hungry.”
Frustrated, he grabbed her hand and and guided her inside without making a decision either way.
Todd had put himself in a precarious situation. He didn’t exactly know the lay of the land other than what he had Googled on his work computer ahead of the trip. He knew the roof had a view of The Eiffel Tower, but at the same time, he didn’t know how impressive that view would actually be – not that it mattered anymore. It wasn’t like he had an out or alternate plan for the night. After asking a worker where they should go to see the view, they finally made their way outside only to be met by several other onlookers.
She immediately took the railing in hopes Todd would know to take a photo from behind her. Todd, who didn’t even think to take his phone out of his pocket, instead walked up behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.
She looked back and asked, “Glass of champs?”
“I think there’s a bar right over there, do you want me to get us some?”
“Uhhhh, duh,” she responded jokingly.
As she held her phone in the air attempting to capture the city in all its glory, Todd ordered two glasses of champagne from a bartender in all white clothes, gloves included. Not even wanting to know what it would cost, he handed over his credit card and squinted when the check was put in front of him. Taking a long sip from his glass, he gathered himself and took a deep breath before heading back toward her.
“Do you think there’s enough light out here for Portrait Mode to work?” she asked him. “We should get one of these girls over here to take a photo of us up here.”
He looked over and saw two American-looking girls taking photos of one another. They were wearing all black and she confirmed, “They look like they have dope Insta aesthetics so they can probably get a good one of us.”
“Excuse me,” she said while approaching them. The girls knew exactly what she was doing. “But can I trouble you to take a photo of us?”
They turned to each other with a “you or me?” look on their faces, neither of them wanting to actually have to take the photo. “Goddammit,” Todd thought.
After attempting Portrait Mode photos in the dark (and failing despite trying it with flash), they ended up having to settle for a photo where you could barely even see The Eiffel Tower in the background. “Thanks anyway,” she said while dismissing their makeshift photographer while attempting to properly edit the photo in VSCO.
Todd again stuck his hand in his pocket. Cracking his neck, he felt the personal pressure to do something. Do anything.
“Baby,” he began, “Can you put your phone away and enjoy the scenery up here for a few minutes?”
She looked up from her phone and responded, “Just take one selfie with me where we’re sipping champagne.” Again, it was the last thing Todd wanted to do.
With very little champagne actually left in his flute, he put his arm around her and half-smiled while her extended arm snapped five to seven photos of themselves.
“Okay, now can you put your phone away for a bit?” he asked. “Let’s go over to the corner of the rooftop.”
“But I’m hungryyyyyyyyy,” she belabored.
“I know, I know,” he told her, exasperated. “We can get dinner afterward. I wasn’t going to tell you but I made a reservation for us at Le Grand Véfour.”
Her eyes lit up. “Ohhhhhhh la la,” she smiled, “Le Grand Véfour, what a special occasion.”
And it was at that point that she knew. There didn’t seem to be any uncertainty about the situation at hand, nor did there seem to be any question of how her night was going to end. The jabbing, the standing appointment at her nail salon, the prodding of his friends. It had, in her mind, paid off.
“Todd,” she said longingly, “I love you. I don’t tell you that enough.”
It was almost as if she was trying to prompt him. Coaxing him into creating a moment they’d remember together forever.
And Todd could feel it too.
They stood at the corner of the rooftop looking out over the city they’d been planning their lives around for the past month. She turned away from him and gazed into the distance with intent. Intent to make sure Todd had the privacy and time he needed to make the moment the most special it could possibly be.
As a bit of rain began to trickle again just as it had earlier in the night, she put her hand above her head and turned around to see Todd’s hand emerging from his pocket.
In a motion that seemed to take forever, he crouched to one knee and the last two-and-a-half years flashed in front of her eyes. Dizzy to the point where she could nearly pass out; elated beyond her wildest dreams.
His voice jumped with nervousness. “Just say it,” she excitedly urged him while looking around to make sure others were watching.
Todd laughed and then wiped his face before finally choking out the words she’d been waiting to hear since their first Valentine’s Day date after meeting on Hinge.
“Will you marry me?” .