I woke up the next morning with a stomach full of butterflies. I’d spent most of last night thinking about the possibility that by the start of 2012, I could be an engaged woman. I even recited my future new name, Mrs Evie Keogh, over and over in my head. It sounded so perfect! Yeah, we were young, but so what? We’d been together for ages; it wasn’t like we’d just decided to do it on a whim after a month of dating. A little sage voice in the back of my mind reminded me that: a) I hadn’t actually seen the contents of the bag so I didn’t know for sure there was an engagement ring and b) it could well be a Thomas Sabo bracelet, but I was far too excited to care. I went downstairs with a definite spring in my step.
“Morning Mum!” I said as I breezed into the kitchen to grab a piece of toast.
“Someone’s in a good mood this morning!” she chuckled. “You sure you’re my daughter?” I sat down at the old pine table with my newly buttered toast.
“Ha ha!” I replied, taking a bite from it. “I’m a ray of sunshine, me! You’ve got some paint in your hair, by the way.” Mum picked the flecks of indigo paint from her dark brown hair and raised her eyebrows at me. She was an art teacher at the local college and worked on her own art in her spare time, so she was always going around with paint smeared across her face or down her front.
“Of course you are, Evie.” she said flippantly, planting a kiss on the top of my head. “What you getting up to today, then?” My heart sank as I remembered I had two classes that day. Spending the day with my head in the clouds, dreaming of wedding plans was not an option.
“Uni then I might nip into town or something.” I replied. “Might go and see Tom actually, feel like I’ve not seen him in ages.” The mention of his name sent my heart soaring. I felt silly for getting so excited but I literally couldn’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him! He was my soulmate and the Beaverbrooks bag proved that he was serious about us having a life together.
“That sounds nice, love. I was talking to his mother yesterday; she said he’s got you a lovely present for Christmas.” Mum said with a smile. My eyes widened with anticipation. It was practically official; I, Evie Rhiannon Davis, would be getting married to Thomas James Keogh! I realised I had to try and act nonchalant so the surprise wouldn’t be spoiled.
“Did she….mention what it was?” I asked, trying to push my smile down.
“No Miss Evie and even if she had, I wouldn’t tell you!” Mum laughed. “You’re no good at waiting for surprises, never have been either!” I took another bite from my toast, every fibre of me wishing it was Christmas Day. That was when he was gonna do it, of course. He would definitely do it on a day where it was traditional to propose. My birthday wasn’t until March and Valentine’s Day was far too cheesy. The prospect was so exciting I had to tip the remains of my toast into the bin!
“Not like you not to eat your breakfast.” Mum commented, eyeing me suspiciously. “You feeling OK?” I turned to her with a great beaming smile across my face.
“I’m fine!” I said brightly. “Absolutely fine!”
I dressed myself in a baggy dusky pink jumper, a pair of leggings and a denim mini skirt. To keep the cold out, I threw a pink and silver sparkly scarf around my neck and pulled on a cream jacket. The prospect of two classes that day didn’t seem quite so bleak when I considered that in just twelve days’ time, I’d be the happiest person on the planet. As I walked to the bus stop, I had to try hard not to slip on the pavement, which was covered by a thick crust of frost. I got to the bus stop and did a clumsy half-slide into the shelter. I checked the time on my phone. It was still ten minutes until the bus was due to come. In my mind, I weighed up the pros and cons of a summer wedding. I imagined the venue being some posh country hotel, like Manor Parc and us having our photos done under a beautiful cherry blossom tree. It would look amazing. I turned my head and looked at the tree standing proudly in our front garden. It looked a bit poor since it was winter, but in five months or so, it would be bursting with blossom again. The sound of a loud bus engine approaching cut across my thoughts. I stepped on, showed the driver my ticket and sat down. I allowed a goofy grin to spread across my face. The smelly-looking old man in the seat opposite me flashed me a toothless smile and I returned it. Why not, I thought. Today is a good day.
I got to uni and headed straight for my first class. It was Criminal Law so it was guaranteed to be more interesting than Contract Law. I saw Rachel, a girl from my course, walking towards the classroom.
“Hiya!” I said warmly as I breezed up to her.
“You’re awfully cheery this morning!” she commented in her posh English accent.
“Ah it’s a lovely day, innit?” I replied blissfully. I saw her looking at me and realised she hadn’t understood a word I’d said! Rachel was a lovely girl from Oxford; we met on the first day of uni. She’d been accepted to study law at Cambridge but had decided to come to Cardiff instead. I asked her why once and she replied “to study with real people as opposed to upper-class twats!” Swear words automatically sounded funnier coming from her. She’d really struggled to understand the Welsh accent at first, bless her. Before coming to Cardiff, she’d never been to Wales in her life!
“It’s a really lovely day, isn’t it?” I repeated, putting on my “telephone voice”, as my mum called it. Rachel smiled and nodded in agreement.
“Looking forward to Christmas?” she asked. She tucked a wave of dark blonde hair behind her ear as the wind kept blowing it in her face.
“Yeah!” I answered, barely able to contain my excitement. She raised an eyebrow at me and gave me a knowing smile.
“What are you so excited about Miss Davis?” she questioned. I pursed my lips together, as though my super-duper, jump-up-and-down fantastic news was bursting to get out!
“….Tom’s gonna propose on Christmas Day!!” I squealed, doing little jumps on the spot and clapping my hands. Rachel looked at me like she wasn’t sure whether to laugh or not.
“Wow!” she said, seemingly after choosing an appropriate reaction. “That’s great! What lovely news!” She opened her arms and I hugged her.
“I know, it’s wicked isn’t it?! God I can’t believe he’s gonna do it; we’ve been together four years next June but it’s still a massive shock. Didn’t even know he was thinking about it, truth be told.” I said, fully aware I was talking at the speed of light. We came to a stop outside the classroom. John, the lecturer, obviously wasn’t there yet. The door would be open if he was.
“How d’you know he’s gonna do it?” Rachel asked. I smiled secretively and motioned to her to come closer.
“I saw him with a Beaverbrooks bag yesterday at St David’s Centre.” I whispered with a giggle. “He tried to hide it from me but I saw it.” Rachel’s dark eyes widened in amazement. I noticed she’d been strangely quiet so far. I knew we weren’t best friends or anything; that title was reserved specifically for Jo, but I’d expected her to at least get excited with me.
“You OK babe?” I asked. She shook her head, like I’d disturbed her thought pattern or something.
“Yeah, absolutely fine.” she said with a warm smile.
Two agonising hours later and uni was over for another day. Rachel and I headed outside, the crisp air hitting us as we walked down the steps to the bus stop.
“Fancy coming into town with me? I’ve got a few last-minute bits and pieces to pick up for Christmas.” I said. She shook her head and her dark blonde curls fell neatly around her shoulders.
“I’ve got loads to do before I head back to Oxford for Christmas. It’s only three days till we break off. Thanks, though.” she replied.
“OK then.” I replied with a grin. I began walking towards the bus stop.
“Evie!” she called. I wheeled round to look at her.
“Congratulations….about Tom going to propose. You two make a lovely couple.” said Rachel. I paused for a second, not sure how to reply. It seemed like an odd moment to congratulate me, in my opinion. Still, it was a nice gesture.
“Thanks very much.” I said with a smile.