Edie sat on the edge of the bridge, her bare toes pointed, stretched toward the turquoise water below. Grit from the ancient stones ground into her thighs and palms as she arched her back, daring to reach for the glass-like surface. She didn’t really want to fall in; she just wanted Stephen to save her.
She felt suffocated since their engagement. Relatives, friends, and co-workers pressed her for a wedding date, asked her if she was already pregnant. How rude. If left to their own devices, she and Stephen would have lived for several years in a state of pre-wedded bliss. Their post-college days would have remained uninterrupted. The sapphire on the fourth finger of her left hand ruined that dream.
It’s not that she didn’t love Stephen; she adored him. Edie wanted to spend every single moment of their life together seeking new adventures. What she didn’t want was to have it orchestrated by the desires of everyone else. She seriously considered jumping in.
“You’re too good a swimmer to drown,” Stephen said, kneeling beside her on the bridge.
“How about if I just chuck my sandals?” Edie replied.
“Would that make you feel better?”
“Throw the ring in.”
Edie’s mouth froze in unspoken response. Her brown eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Go ahead,” Stephen encouraged. “Free us both.”
The reflection of peridot-colored leaves rippled as the engagement ring fell into the water. Concentric circles of blessing drifted outward from the point of entry as Edie and Stephen watched. After a few moments, the surface of the lake stilled.
At first, their bodies shook with silent amusement. When Stephen snorted, Edie couldn’t contain her mirth.
“Your mother is going to kill me,” she said through laughter and tears.
“Will you still marry me someday?” he asked.
“Only if you propose with that ring.”
Stephen stood, then helped Edie to her feet.
“At least I’ll know right where to find it.”