Chapter 19 - It's Probable

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Mia was enchanted in the ring's flawlessness, its yellow diamond glimmering under the minimal sunlight that surfaced the room. Tucked comfortably between the velvet padding, the silver band stared back at her, as if it could smile, and it only made her wonder: how something so beautiful could come from a man so obnoxious.

Richard still held it in his hand, ready to snap it shut in a heartbeat. He was also prepared to throw it out the window, if that would satisfy Mia's wishes, but to no avail; she took it from him after a minute of silence, and placed it in front of her on the counter.

She felt her breathing hitch as the tension prolonged. "Wow," she whispered. "He wasn't kidding."

Richard tamed himself to avoid reacting impulsively. A part of him wanted to roll his eyes; another part ready to get down on his own knee for future's sake, but they were silly thoughts. Juvenile, too childish for him to even consider, and yet they still needled him to the bone.

"You don't seem surprised." She realized that her tears had stopped falling, and it allowed her to look at him intently. "You don't seem to feel anything at all, Richard. So how did you know?"

He sighed and looked down at his hands, tapping his fingertips against the marble. "He told me."

"When?"

"When I met him." Richard took in deep breaths that could be heard loudly, clearly, like an overworked piece of machinery. He was very close to swallowing his words down instead of engaging in conversation; it wasn't his favorite topic to discuss.

Mia never touched the ring itself. She never placed a finger on it, never letting her skin feel the edges of the gem encrusted with stones. It was tempting to try it on, there was a pulse deep within her, but she couldn't allow herself to. She knew that it would only cause more pain.

"That's an odd thing to talk about," she said with an uneasy chuckle. "An odd thing to bring up."

Richard shrugged. "I agree, but it's one of the first things he said to me very clearly." He looked at her again with a narrowed gaze. "Very clearly."

"That he was going to propose to me." The sentence came out more as a statement rather than a question. Mia kept imagining a proposal in her head; maybe on a beach, or at their favorite restaurant. Maybe in the middle of Central Park, maybe on the footsteps of her apartment door. She didn't know, she didn't want to know what had been planned, and she knew that she had to stop caring about it or else she'd investigate it herself.

She closed the box and placed it aside, sliding it to the furthest end of the table. She wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her sweater and sniffled, wiping away the remnants of what had been left of her gloom. She stood up.

"I'm gonna head out," she said, patting the pockets of her jeans for her phone. "Alone. I hope you don't mind."

Richard shook his head. "Go ahead. You sure?"

"Yep." Mia grabbed her keys near the door and turned the knob. "Please feel at home, Richard. I'll be back soon."

"Oka–"

Mia quickly left before she heard him respond. She walked forward toward the elevators, but made a sharp left before reaching them, choosing to take the stairs instead. She felt like she was going to vomit if she stood still, and the amount of adrenaline she wanted to feel was best described as a heated desire to grab a glass and sabotage her sober state. But then the imaginary taste of alcohol on her tongue made her gag even more, so she ran down the echoing steps, feeling her knees struggle to keep up with her speed.

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