Edward had been working on this idea for a year. He had always planned to be a successful person, but success alone wasn’t going to be good enough for his next endeavor. He planned to have Evelyn be his bride. In order for that to happen, he needed a ring, and for a ring he needed money – a lot more money than what he had been making. It was an easy fix. Make an invention so simple, so obvious, and so cost efficient that people would lose their shit over it. Everything seemed to just fall into place before his eyes. Evelyn had been running late for dinner. Her boss needed something as she always did once Evelyn had one foot towards door, finding a cab was a nightmare, and now there was traffic getting across town. There was always traffic getting across town, especially when you left the office ten minutes after unofficial commencement of rush hour. But Evelyn, like Edward, had wanted to succeed. Success had meant something different to both of them. Edward wanted to do good in the world, work hard to be able to take care of himself and the family he wanted to start, he wanted to prove himself day in and day out – for him all of these things contributed to success. For Evelyn, it was getting married before 35, moving from intern to paralegal to clerk to attorney to senior attorney to partner before 40, it was opening her own firm in the city before 45, it was making six figures by 35 and then doubling and tripling them by 45 and 50. Success to her was late nights, early mornings, backstabbing with a pushpin to get ahead. It had nothing to do with good, just dollar amounts and deadlines. But Edward could appreciate it. He liked that they both wanted to succeed, and that marriage and a dog laid in their own success plans. He liked it so much, that him waiting on her for their weekly date made him appreciate her drive even more. He didn’t mind, and at the very least she was coming this time. Even if she was coming late.

It was while she was running late that Edward was reflecting on his girlfriend, and the future plans he would make, when an attractive and put together man signaled for the waiter. It was obnoxious and grandiose, Edward knew then what was coming. The waiter comes over with a fancy bottle of champagne and two glasses already filled. Frilled napkins covered the silver tray where the bottle balanced. The man began a speech as the woman cheers and tossed back her drink. Thankfully, she began coughing and spewing the bubbly liquid. The woman awkwardly hunching forward, her chest heaving and collapsing, opened her mouth. A cascade of bubbles spilled out, among them a large, shiny rock perched delicately on a silvery band. As the bubbles faded away an idea took form in Edward’s head. An idea that would pay for the ring and the established status he needed to ensure Evelyn could only say “yes!”

And so a year later, Edward had at last achieved the level of establishment he needed. His simple, obvious, and relatively cost effective idea to have a small loop formed into champagne glasses – perfect for looping a delicate string to one end with an engagement ring on the other – had paid off. Big time. The model came in both plastic and glassware – all glasses had secured strings for securing to the rings. Through the website anyone could order customized glasses with names, dates, or initials. They even did custom strings, whether it was the color, the type of string, whatever. It was the gift that kept on giving. It gave Edward movement in social circles he never wanted nor could have dreamed about, when everyone expects their engagement to be the best they are going to want the best. Crystal glasses? Of course. It also gave Edward the wallet he needed to purchase Evelyn’s three carat diamond ring, in cash. He had planned everything meticulously. The only thing missing was the “yes,” but Edward was sure he was going to get that, and so much more later this evening.        

Edward knew that Evelyn wanted something flashy and public, and that she had been expecting this for sometime now. After all, her 35 birthday was going to be in a few months. While he usually catered to those more high maintenance whims of hers, Edward was certain that the best way to illicit a true and honest answer from Evelyn was in private. He made all of the necessary arrangements, and setup the perfect night in for them. Not that staying in was too shabby when Evelyn had jumped the gun herself and was already making six figures and had the address and the apartment to flaunt it. Edward had told Evelyn that he would be over between seven and eight that evening. He had been true to his word. He brought with him a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket and sushi from the the Japanese restaurant three buildings down the block in his backpack. Evelyn swore she could taste the difference between champagne that was sold cold, let to get to room temperature, and then refrigerated again before being served. It was a pain in the ass, but it worked. It also helped to keep the cold food items chilled, while Edward carried the hot items separately. After he checked in with the doorman Edward made his way up to Evelyn’s apartment. They ate their romantic dinner, and before Evelyn could pretend to protest Edward cleared the table and the mess from the take out. After, he set up two glasses of champagne. Taking his time he carefully tied the large piece of ice and the string to the glass. He had specifically wanted to use this pair of glasses. They had been one of the original prototypes, before the strings were pre-fastened to the glasses. This was a special night. It was fitting for them to loop back to a beginning of sorts. It wasn’t a memory from their first date or anything, but it was something so big it had changed the trajectory of their lives, even if Evelyn didn’t know it yet. Edward took a deep breath and admired his work. He poured in the bubbly in each glass and made his way out to the living room where Evelyn had set herself up on the couch. Changed from her work clothes she sat buried in blankets, hair perfectly disheveled, tight name brand sweatshirt pushing her small breasts as close to together and up as it could, no name name-brand velvet shorts that were all the rage on social media, and her makeup freshly touched up. Evelyn looked like something from a television show. She looked up at Edward as he walked in carrying the two glasses.

“Evie,” he began…

“Yes,” she squeaked out before he could say anything further!

Evelyn reached for a glass, Edward gave her the one with her future floating in it.

In one or two gulps, it happened so quickly Edward himself hadn’t been able to count, Evelyn had finished her champagne and was choking. Evelyn looked from the glass to Edward and finally down at the long thin string trailing from her mouth to the glass. Holding the glass she began to pull at the string, bunching up what she could back toward the glass. Her coughing stopped and fear took over. She dropped the flute, and reached for Edward. Edward still standing there completely motionless, just stared as the panic ran across Evelyn’s perfectly made up face. She tried to free herself from the couch, but found that she was tangled up amongst her two red fuzzy blankets and her grey weighted one. After a minute or two Evelyn stopped struggling and sat back onto the couch. Edward returned to the kitchen and finished the last few items of clean up. He returned to the living room, opened Evelyn’s phone and scheduled a text to her boss (a nice picture of her perfectly tanned and cared for legs woven in and out of her red and grey blankets with the caption, “can’t find those briefs you wanted to go over…”), a text to her mother (“Forgot to text you earlier. Edward came over for dinner. Super romantic, still no ring. You’re sure you don’t know anything??? You’re probably in bed already. Call me tomorrow and we’ll catch up ♡♡♡”), and once more to her boss (this one a picture of the tanned stomach and equally tanned breasts Evelyn never showed to Edward via text, but had definitely documented to Joanna with the caption that read, “I’m sorry I rushed out on you tonight. Tomorrow AM before the staff mtg. We can make up? Or I can make it up to you?”). Edward put Evelyn’s phone down next to her body, and slowly opened up her mouth. It had been 35 minutes since she had drunk her champagne. He was usually gone by 8:30, the very latest on weeknights. With extreme care Edward pulled the string out of Evelyn’s throat. At the end a much smaller, melted ice version of the ring he had purchased for her months ago dangled. Before he could drip any water on to the floor, Edward grabbed the flute and put the shaped and glorified ice cube back into the glass and walked to the bathroom. Dumping the ring and the string down the toilet, he flushed his sins away. Washing his glass, and pouring Evelyn another Edward left the kitchen. He returned to the living room, helped Evelyn to hold her near full glass of champagne, before setting it down on animal printed coasters Evelyn had scattered everywhere on the table, and then grabbed his stuff. Edward turned on the television for his fated fiancé and left the apartment locking the door behind him.

Edward waved to the doorman, who looked down at his watch and tapped it gently, “always on schedule you are, Mr. Edward,” the doorman chuckled.

“I believe there’s a show about women married to rich men who go to love each other over lunch and then throw drinks at each other over dinner that starts in another half hour. And you more than anyone know how important time management is to Evie,” Edward said with a wink. “Keep an eye out for her. I’ll be back Saturday, Boss. We’re going to see a Winterland Winery, or something,” he added with a chuckle.

“You got it, Mr. Edward.”

With a final nod Edward exited the apartment building and began walking down the block. It was certainly getting to be winter in the city. Winter, Edward thought, my favorite time of the year.

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