Welcome back to my writing! It’s been a while.
Time froze for Shawn as he realized that Bryan was getting down on one knee. He felt his stomach tie itself in knots and his throat got tight. Nooooo, please don’t let him pop the question. I don’t know if I can say yes.
Bryan paused for a moment and reached for the large knife on the table.
“Shawn, as our guest, would you please cut the pies that was made in your honor?”
Compared to what he had been expecting, Bryan’s request seemed ludicrous.
Shawn snapped and stood up and found himself yelling at him, “What do you mean would I cut the pies? What is this a social?” as he’d been expecting a wedding proposal with the one knee stance. There was a collective gasp around the table and before he realized what he’d done, Kaleb was already by his side ready to protect Bryan.
Bryan’s face dropped, “For God’s sake, sit down Shawn. You are making a fool of yourself.”
Shawn slowly sat down, his eyes never leaving Bryan’s. Bryan slowly backed up and sat himself down in his chair.
“Shawn, I wasn’t making light of anything. I didn’t feel it would be right for me to walk up to you and suddenly there was a large knife in my hand. I wanted make sure that you didn’t take offense or feel threatened by the knife.”
Shawn forced a smile that he hoped looked sincere and extended his hand to take the knife. Patty reached over and took the lid off the pies.
Shawn took a deep breath and turned back to the table.
There was a folded card on one of the pies, written in ornate script:
In the past three months:
You have stolen my heart.
The thought of you makes me smile.
They say poetry is art
and work is shoveling the shit pile.
Welcome to my farm.
Will you share this life?
Will you marry me?
Shawn stopped. Calmly putting the knife down, he turned to face all everyone at the table then turned back to Bryan. He felt his face burning and knew that he had just made an absolute fool of himself.
“Uhm … well … hells bells, I just made a fucking ass of myself. I’ve never had any luck with dating much less finding someone as wonderful as Bryan. I thought when he went down on one knee, he was going to propose but then he handed me the knife and well, we know what happened.”
Shawn stared down at the table and after a moment looked up at Bryan with tears in his eyes, “I can’t marry you. Not after what I just did. I’ve not let my fiery temper get the best of me in a long time and …” Shawn trailed off as he began to sob.
An awkward silence filled the dining room…and seemed to grow by the second.
Finally, Patty broke the silence with a small laugh.
“Shawn, if you hadn’t reacted like that and Bryan had just asked you to marry him, what would you have said?”
Shawn paused and his mouth opened and shut a couple of times as he frantically figured out how to answer the question without getting him into more trouble.
“Well, it is something I’d been thinking about and I’m not sure that I’m good enough for someone as wonderful as Bryan. I mean…” Shawn was cut off by Patty and Caleb in unison.
They both said something to the effect that if Bryan had chosen him and after three months was popping the question, he must be one helluva man.
Shawn sat quietly and looked over to Bryan who just smiled and said “Shawn, babe, you don’t have enough confidence in yourself outside of work. You are a wonderful man.”
Shawn felt the tears start to run down his face and dreaded the fact that this night would be something they would all remember for a very long time. He felt like he had ruined it and wasn’t worthy of giving Bryan a ‘yes’.
Bryan sat at the head of the table and tried to read Shawn’s expression and body language to tell what he was thinking. He know that Shawn was the one he wanted to marry but Shawn was so down on himself that tonight’s episode might just be enough to keep him from saying yes.
Patty was thinking the same thing but didn’t know Shawn well enough to know for sure. All she knew was that Shawn needed to say yes to Bryan as it would be the best thing to happen to both of them.
Shawn finally found his composure and cleared his throat. He stood up and walked over to Bryan and kneeled in front of him with his head bowed.
“Bryan, my love, if you can accept me, flaws and all, then yes, I will marry you.” He finished and looked up at Bryan with a big shit eating smile.
A chorus of cheers and whoops went up around the table and Patty went to get the champagne. She quickly returned with a tray of glasses and a large bottle. She filled the glasses and passed one to everyone.
Small toasts were made and drank in honor of Shawn and Bryan. Caleb was stoic in his toast but the tears freely flowing down his face betrayed his sadness at losing his own husband a few months earlier. Patty couldn’t hide the smile on her face and Drew and Nick had drawn closer while they gave their toasts which confused Shawn a bit since he thought they were brothers.
When everyone was finished, Bryan stood up and held up his glass. He tried to speak but the words didn’t come out at first. They finally did, but they were thick with emotion, “To my husband-to-be, a better man than he thinks he is.”
The enormity of what Bryan said and what it meant overwhelmed Shawn and he fainted.
Other Wednesday Briefers posting free flash fiction this week: