Their glasses are full and there's already an empty bottle on the counter, and the sound of hard jazz drifts on Balamb air through open windows.
"Come on," Rinoa says, and tries to spin herself beneath Squall's arm, fighting disappointment when her partner suddenly seems to have lost all interest in the moment.
She drops his hand and her smile, and folds herself into a chair, sipping her wine and wonders where the earlier magic has gone.
"Rinoa," She looks up. "Will you marry me?"
He is on one knee, box in hand, and at once, the magic is back.
"Come out here," Squall says, entering the bedroom. She steps out of the closet wearing only one shoe, and he is holding something in his hands. She knows what it is but her breath still catches.
"Rinoa…" He hesitates for a minute and kneels anyway, a nervous smile on his face. The ring in the box is far more beautiful than in the picture she gave him. "I'm not going to ask a question. But I want you to wear this ring, and to say you'll be my wife."
Other shoe forgotten, she says "of course" and starts to cry.
Squall steps out of Laguna's study with three rings in his hand, and is so caught up wondering what to do with them he walks into Rinoa on turning the corner.
The rings go flying, and she looks from him to the floor and back, and raises an eyebrow on a face that is trying so hard not to draw conclusions he would find it comical, if he weren't embarrassed and scrambling for an explanation.
"I, um," he says, and the rings sit loudly for another beat before he picks them up and hands her the one bearing a stone.
"I had lunch with Zell today."
Rinoa looks up from her book, and waits for the rest of his story. "Oh?"
"I know you probably know this already, but he wants me to be his best man."
"That's really sweet! I guess he hasn't told Irvine yet or we'd be hearing about it." They share a knowing look.
"He said he'd be honored to do the same for me. For us. When it's time."
"When it's time." Rinoa gives the same patient smile she's been giving for years, the one that's not rushed.
"Rinoa, I think-I know-it's time."
"Hand me those socks," Rinoa says, and points at the other side of the bed. Squall puts down the shirt he was folding and reaches over, and tosses them at her.
"No problem," he goes back to the shirt, adds it to his stack, and walks them to the closet. Rinoa drops an armful of socks into her drawer, scoops a pile of shirts that need hangars, and joins him.
"Exciting weekend," she teases.
He puts the last shirt on a shelf and turns to face her.
"I want all of my weekends with you. Exciting or not. Forever."
Rinoa's hands are shaking and there's a lump in her throat so huge she doesn't think she'll be able to speak, and she understands a lot more his hesitation about the whole thing and why it's taken this long anyway.
"Is everything okay?" Squall has set down his fork, and looks so genuinely concerned she starts to laugh.
She unclasps her necklace and pulls his ring off and hands it to him across the table.
"Squall Leonhart," she says. "Will you marry me?"
He blinks and looks at her hands.
"You can buy me a ring if you say yes."
"You got flowers, right?"
"I'm so excited!"
Squall gives his friends an annoyed look, and ignores them in the rearview mirror. The box in his pocket is heavy, but they've coached and helped him plan, and he has the Selphie seal-of-approval, so why is he so nervous?
Rinoa grins into the flowers after she's opened the door, and asks him where they're going. He starts to name the restaurant where Irvine got them reservations, when it hits him, he's nervous because the plan isn't right.
"I thought we'd order in." And suddenly the ring is light as air.
It's their last night in Winhill, and they are laying somewhere in the fields, watching the stars.
"There," Rinoa says, pointing at the sky. "Or maybe there."
A breeze hits them and she shivers, and turns to her side. Squall turns to face her, and she points at his chest and says, "There."
He smiles, and says, "Marry me."
Her breath stops, and she stares wide-eyed. "Squall-"
He brings his hands closer to their faces and opens a box she didn't even know he had. "Say you will?" He pulls out the ring, and reaches for her hand.
Written for the "Where I Belong" Challenge. I'm not even entirely sure where this idea came from, but then it kind of took off... Stories in the Where I Belong C2 Collection are 2500+ words and I originally was going to write 25 of these, but due to time constraints (and general brain addled-ness) decided to stop at 8-Why 8? Well, because for anyone reading this, it's a number we're all quite fond of!
Thanks to irishais and Victor for a few of these prompts.
This is probably going to be my last fic submission for the challenge, outside of finishing "Ain't No Sunshine." This challenge has been wonderful to participate in, and there are so many beautiful entries. If you aren't already participating in the challenge-what are you waiting for? There's still a week left, and the more submissions, the more SquallxRinoa love for everyone!