“This is without a doubt the stupidest plan you’ve ever had,” Riley sighs. Maya stares at her expectantly. “Of course I’m in.”
“Alright,” Maya grins. “Hand it over.”
“What if someone figures it out?”
“No one’s going to figure it out.”
“But what if they do?”
Maya grabs Riley’s shoulders and asks seriously, “Do you trust me?” Riley nods. “Do you trust me enough to get us free dessert and champagne?” Riley nods again, because, let’s be real, if there’s one thing that Maya excels at it’s procuring free dessert and alcohol. “Great,” Maya breathes. “Now give me your ring.”
Riley trusts Maya. Of course she does. But she’s really starting to rethink this plan.
Maya must see this reflected on her face, because she reaches out to lace their fingers together. “It’s going to be fine,” she promises. “Hey, maybe this time you’ll even let me get through the whole speech.”
“To be fair, it’s not like you were down on one knee,” Riley argues. “It’s not my fault I didn’t notice.”
“I was going on about how much you mean to me!”
“Yeah, well,” Riley huffs, “you do that normally.”
Grinning, Maya nods, conceding, “I guess.” She squeezes Riley’s hand quickly and says again, “Everything is going to be fine. Now act surprised, our waiter is coming.”
Free dessert. Free champagne. Second proposal.
Riley tries to look appropriately shocked when Maya gets out of her chair and drops onto one knee. She thinks she manages it, because the lady seated at the table next to them gasps and clasps her hands against her chest.
“Riley Matthews,” Maya starts, pulling her ring out of her pocket. That dress has pockets? Riley’s definitely going to steal it. “You’re kind of my favorite person,” she continues, hands shaking just the tiniest bit, “and every day with you is an incredible adventure that I never want to end.”
Aw, shit. Riley’s crying a little, isn’t she? This has a lot more emotional weight than she was expecting from a fake second proposal for free food and booze. Maya’s eyes shine, and Riley thinks it’s from tears which eases her mind a little, and then Maya’s talking again, voice steady.
“I’ve loved you longer than I can remember,” she says evenly, even as it looks as if she’s struggling to swallow. “You’re my best friend and my soulmate. Wanna add wife to the list?”
They’re both crying. They’re both definitely crying. Riley can’t manage to do much else than nod, because they kind of tripped into engagement before? She wasn’t paying attention for half of Maya’s speech and then she was rambling and Maya was laughing and she’s not sure if the impact of what had occurred had ever really hit either of them, but it’s hitting now, in the middle of a packed restaurant during what was supposed to be just Maya’s dumb plan to get free souffles.
The restaurant erupts into applause as they both stand, and Riley tucks Maya under her chin before anything else, just holding onto her for a few moments before letting go to get her ring back to its rightful place. They graciously accept fellow diners’ congratulations, and Maya manages just the right mix of surprise and appreciation when the manager of the place comes out with a bottle of champagne and chocolate souffle with two spoons.
After the excitement dies down, Riley catches Maya swiping a hand under her eyes discreetly, and she slides around the booth to whisper in her ear, “This wasn’t just for free dessert, was it Peaches?”
Maya huffs out a laugh. “You caught me,” she says, lips quirking up into that soft smile she reserves for Riley. “I wanted to make sure you’d remember this.”
Riley wants to tell her that she’d remember any proposal that Maya made. Riley wants to tell her that she remembers basically everything they’ve ever done. Riley thinks she knows.
So, instead she says, smiling slyly, “Next time we do this, I’m proposing to you.”