It wasn't a night any different than usual, Marla and I were cleaning the playroom when her boyfriend, Austin, came in. He usually picks her up at night after all the kids have left. He walked into the playroom and stood next to the door. That was sort of strange, because usually he sits in the lobby, but I waved at him and he smiled back at me. Deb, Tara, Julie and Neil walked in a moment later and sort of hung around the door, not saying anything. Now I was getting curious. Austin stuck a hand in his pocket and jiggled something.
Marla came out of the bathroom. Setting down the sponge she pulled off her rubber gloves. "Hi honey," she said, walking over to Austin and giving him a kiss. I mopped slowly, watching. There was a weird air of anticipation in the room.
"Hi." he said returning her kiss. "Can I ask you something? How long have we been together?"
Marla paused at the question, "Um, two and a half years, now. Why? Did I miss something?"
"Well, I was thinking of asking you a question..." he pulled a small box out of his pocket and dropped smoothly to one knee. "Will you marry me?" he opened up the box and held out it for her.
"Oh!" Marla gasped, looking down at the box. "Oh my God!" She looked at him, then picked the ring out of the box. "Yes!" she cried, "Yes! Yes, I will!" Austin stood up and she wrapped her arms around him. Everyone applauded. I tucked the mop in the crook of my arm and joined in. Deb and Neil walked over to congratulate Austin, while Julie and Tara huddled around Marla, admiring her ring. I stuck the mop in the bucket and pushed it out of the way, then walked over and joined the group around Marla.
Tara looked up as I approached, "Sandy, you're just in time," she said, motioning me closer. "We were wondering what kind of stones these were." She held Marla's hand up to the light.
I look at the thin gold band around her finger. "That's a diamond, of course, and those chips on the side are sapphires." I pointed to them. All those years of rock hunting with Dad have finally paid off.
"Sapphire! My favorite!" Marla turned to Austin and gave him big hug. "You remembered!" she exclaimed.
"Well, I saw you looking at it in the store the other day..." He started to say, but Deb interrupted him.
"We should celebrate. What about Leland's?"