Julie's deadline was looming and her editor kept circling her desk tapping his pen against his teeth. She wanted to take the pen and stab him in the neck, but she figured she should just write the news and not make it.
"Five minutes, Hugh. Seriously, back off!"
"I don't want to sack you, Julie, really I don't, but I need that story now."
Julie laughed, "Threatening to fire me isn't the best way to motivate me, I just might let you."
She actually loved her editor and knew that he adored her as well, but she was filing a huge story on a House of Commons scandal she had discovered and if it didn't get down to production in the next few minutes it would miss the morning addition and leave them without a top of the fold story. Julie had been working at the London Times for almost four years, though this was her first year having her own byline, and she was doing everything she could to prove her worth.
"Done. Sent. Happy?"
"Quite, now get the hell out of here or you're going to be late."
Julie looked at her watch and knew she had just enough time go get home, change and get to the restaurant. She couldn't be late, not today.
"Bollocks," it had been impossible not to adopt the local slang after living in London for six years, "you're right. I'll have to hurry."
"Here," he said stuffing some notes in her hand, "take a taxi on me. You deserve it, this story is fantastic."
"You're a doll, Hugh." She said giving him a quick kiss on the cheek.
Getting settled in the back of the black taxi she took out her phone and typed in a text.
On my way!
The taxi pulled up to Julie's little house in Chelsea. The price tag had been ridiculous, but she loved it. Running through the house she hurriedly stripped down to her knickers and flew to her closet. The vintage Dior dress she had bought for a steal a few weeks ago was pressed and hanging on the back of her door. Prudie had promised she would pick it up for her and she knew her best friend wouldn't let her down. She looked at the clock next to the bed and saw that she had ten minutes to get to the restaurant. They were throwing a surprise party for Finn's 30th and after all the things she had either been late for or missed completely the last few years she knew she had to make it. Grabbing a clip she expertly wrapped her long hair in a chignon and grabbed the pearl and diamond earrings her parents had given her for her college graduation. She grabbed the strand of pearls that were her grandmother's and closed the clasp around her neck. A light spray of her favorite perfume, a quick swipe of powder, blush and gloss and she was ready to go. She quickly stepped into her black Louboutin sling backs that had been her splurge buy of the year and worth every single pence.
"As good as it's going to get." She said to her reflection in the mirror.
She threw her phone, wallet and keys into a small clutch and bolted for the door. She had managed to park her car right in front of her place a few days ago and had kept it there because she knew she'd need it for tonight. The restaurant was only five minutes away and they had valet so she knew she'd make it on time. She managed to catch all the lights and grabbed the ticket from the valet and thanked the maitre'd who was holding the door open for her. Running into the restaurant she stopped in her tracks. The place was empty except for one table which was beautifully set.
"Miss Taylor. Please." The maitre'd gestured walking toward the table and pulling out one of the two chairs.
"I, um, I think there's been a mistake. I'm supposed to be at a surprise party for my friend and I'm totally going to be late. Wait? How did you know my name?"
The man smiled at her and nodded toward the chair. Julie sat but she was very confused. A waiter came and brought a bottle of champaign in a standing bucket and set two glasses on the table. He gave her a slight nod and left. Quiet music began playing. Julie reached in her bag and began to call Prudie to find out what was going on.
"You won't need that." A deep voice she would know anywhere said from behind her.
Turning she saw him. He was wearing a dark suit and had his hair slicked back. Julie narrowed her eyes and smiled.
"Did you do this?"
"You have another live-in boyfriend I don't know about who might have?"
"Nope, just you currently." She laughed.
He smiled at her. The smile that always managed to melt her heart and made her heart quicken. "I guess it was me then."
"I don't understand. What's going on?"
"Always the investigator. That's why I had to do this. It takes a lot to get something past you, Miss Taylor, so..." he said gesturing to the restaurant they had to themselves "how'd I do?"
"You got me. I had no idea, um, I still don't to be honest."
He walked over to the champaign and began unwrapping the wire basket over the cork. He expertly twisted the cork until they heard a soft pop.
"Very nice." She said with a grin, giving him small golf claps.
Pouring the bubbling liquid into two glasses he handed one to her and kept one of himself.
"What are we toasting?" Julie asked holding the glass up.
"Because I love you." He said tapping her glass.
She smiled and took a sip. "I know you do."
"Good," he said as he slowly knelt on one knee in front of her.
Slow realization began to take hold of her and she let out a small gasp. "Oh..."
"Julie, you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, inside and out. I promise no man could ever love you more than I do and I'd like to spend the rest of my life proving that to you."
Reaching inside his pocket he drew out a small velvet box and opened it to reveal a beautiful antique ring. One that looked surprisingly familiar, one that she and Prudie had seen at a shop in Notting Hill. She'd have to remember to grill her friend on how he knew about it.
"Julie Marie Taylor, will you marry me?"
She felt a tear run down her cheek. "Yes! Yes, of course I will!" She said throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him with all of her might. He returned her kiss and stood up, lifting her up from her chair and picking her up off the ground. He spun her around as they kissed and laughed. He sat her feet back down on the ground and took her hand. He took the ring out of the box and placed it on her left ring finger.
"I love it." She said staring down and the sparkling ring. "I love you! I...I just can't believe this."
"Believe it." He said kissing her softly.
All of a sudden the room filled with people and they were cheering and clapping. She looked around and saw all of her friends and then her parents. They came over to the couple and hugged them.
"Oh, Julie," her mom cried, "I'm so happy for you. Let me see the ring!"
Laughing Julie held out her hand and let her mother inspect the delicate ring. "Can you believe it, Mom? I'm going to be Mrs. Julie Riggins."
AN: OK, that's it for this one. I know you might be wanting some back story, but I'm going to make you wait. I might write another fic on how it gets to here. I hope you liked it, I loved writing it and thank each of you who bothered to review: Ansleyrocks, A9L9O8N7E, aquinna, carlap4455, cenababy, chantelleeenator, coffeelover328, gizmossidekick, HoneyX5-452, IsisIzabel, jessib911, Lunatic Lorenzio, mairamout, marlyp, missgwen33, Punkinboo, Red-Satin, Second Best, Shimgirl, Shorty808, Smilyface2020, Sunshine-M, Suzy87, triggins33, and last but certainly not least Kareene and WhoJ – you two have really been awesome in cheering me on. Cheers, Scarlett