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"I just don't see how we're going to salvage the project," Alan was saying. "If you ask me, Flynn should just scrap it altogether. The software is already-"

Lora nodded absently, almost nervously, and Alan could tell that she was only half-listening. It didn't overly concern him. No doubt she had other things on her mind—maybe a particularly puzzling equation, a simulation error, or even a stubborn coworker. Alan was patient. If it was important, she would open up to him. She always did, in her own time.

The moment the elevator closed, she dropped to one knee. Alan shut his mouth mid-sentence and stared.

"What are you doing."

"I'm proposing to you, Alan E. Bradley," she said seriously.

Alan's mind was a blank slate as Lora pulled a small box of black velvet from her lab coat. He adjusted his glasses and shuffled closer to scrutinize it. Inside was a solid gold band, engraved with a simple 'A'. Overcome with sudden emotion, Alan angled his body away from the box and its precious contents.

"Oh my god."

"Will or won't you marry me?" The question was both warm and teasing, with the slightest suggestion of urgency.

"Well, b- wh- of COURSE I'll marry you, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me. But-"

"But what?" she asked a tad too quickly. For just a half-second, Alan saw her face drop.

"But did you HAVE to do this in the elevator?" he bemoaned.

"Aaaw, Alan..." Lora's eyes glittered mirthfully. "I had no idea you were the romantic type."

Before Alan could offer a proper reply, the elevator lurched and the doors opened to a different floor. Flynn stood in front of them, framed by the entrance. His eyes floundered between them both and his lips pursed into a half-pout, half-smile. The ring in Lora's palm only served to elevate his amusement.

"Are you two getting married without me?"

Without skipping a beat, Alan said, "Flynn, take the stairs."

"Technically this is MY elevator-"


Yelping, Flynn scampered out of sight. The doors 'ding'ed closed behind him. After a couple of breaths, Alan and Lora met each other's gaze again.

"So... you'll do it?" she asked.

"Just put it on me already."

Lora was all-too-eager to comply. The velvet box dropped to the floor, already forgotten as Lora took out its priceless cargo. The ring seemed so much more real in the empty air. She bounced to her feet, cradled his left hand, and slipped it amiably onto his fourth finger. Alan twisted his hand this way and that, gauging the new addition from all angles. It was heavy, but nothing he couldn't get used to.

"Fits perfectly," he remarked.

"Hmm. I hope you know that I won't be changing my last name. I have a doctorate, after all," Lora said, eyes twinkling as they were prone to do.

She really had the most beautiful eyes.

"I wouldn't expect or want anything less," he assured her.

She leaned in, then, voice a sultry purr. Alan felt the tiniest nip graze his ear. "But if you want, you can introduce me as Lora Baines-Bradley."

"Lora, not in the elevator," Alan chided, swallowing down a chuckle.

"The server room, then?" she joked wickedly.

Alan rolled his eyes and ran a hand over his face, smiling at the feel of cool metal on his skin.