Posy is wishing she’d checked the weather forecast, even if they are a bit useless.
Comment, Matt: Πhere’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
Comment, Posy: Well, you would know.
Posy Fairweather wasn’t quite sure why she was at the top of a mountain.
Mountains weren’t exactly her thing - they hadn’t been here in ages - even though it was very beautiful up here, she supposed, the clouds shifting below them, sending patterns onto the fields and sheep. They really hadn’t done anything like this for yonks. Probably because she moaned too much about the weather. She turned to look at Matt in the clear light. He looked slightly effortful, his face pinker than the walk warranted.
Suddenly she had a flash of clairvoyance, and knew exactly what he was about to do. And her stomach lurched.
‘What a view,’ he said, looking nervous. ‘Are we right at the top?’
‘Not yet,’ she said, smiling, feeling her throat constrict as she said it. She would just make sure. ‘Is it really important that we make it all the way to the top?’
‘Uh.’ Matt looked conflicted. Obviously it didn’t, not really, if they were just looking for somewhere to have a picnic. But Posy suspected that, today, the small things like whether they were really at the top might actually matter.
‘Come on, let’s just go,’ she said, and he scrambled up the scree behind her gratefully.
The view, from beside the little pile of rocks, wasn’t much different, although with no more rock above them and nothing left to climb, she felt closer to the clouds than ever. The sky was a freshly washed blue. Posy watched as Matt tried to look innocent, although he was clearly waiting for another pair of walkers, in blue cagoules, to move away from the summit. Her heart pounded.
Finally they did and, jiggling slightly, he turned to face her. The dark bristle on his unshaven face suited him, she thought, made his jawline taut and his cheekbones more evident. He grinned at her, more awkwardly than he had since the first moment they’d met.
‘Posy,’ he said, swallowing.
And Posy found herself thinking, stupidly: I wonder how your face should look when you’re being proposed to. Happy? Obviously. Surprised? Sexily surprised? How would that work? Maybe pretend you’re getting an Oscar. No, hang on, don’t pretend it’s anything, this is one of the most amazing experiences of your life that you’re meant to remember for ever! But then, the last thing you want to think of is whether or not you were making a pig’s face. Or even thinking about your face at all, instead of love, and the future, and the wonderfulness of it all! Why didn’t she put more lipstick on? What if he wasn’t about to propose and she’d got it all wrong? Maybe he was going to chuck her. But on top of a mountain? Who would do that? Maybe he was going to chuck her off the mountain?
‘Uh, Posy, are you all right? You look like you’re about to be sick.’
Posy managed to hold it together. Vomiting was definitely not the look she was after. No. There was a long moment of silence, and in the distance a bird circled the sun. Posy turned to look at it, giving what she felt was a nice polite long stare. And sure enough, when she turned round again, Matt was very awkwardly perched on one knee. Suddenly, she didn’t have to worry about her face, because she could feel her heart leap straight into her mouth, and an uncontrollable grin start to stretch into her cheeks.
‘Matthew Farmer!’ she sai, in a surprised tone.
Matt returned the grin, somewhat lopsidedly.
‘You should know,’ he said. ‘This is profoundly uncomfortable. I have pebbles sticking into me and, I think, some poo.’
‘I shall remember these words until my dying day,’ said Posy. Matt went pink.
‘Sorry,’ he said. ‘Hang on. I meant to be . . . Right. Hang on. I have it.’
Posy nodded expectantly.
Matt held up a blue box and popped it open. The noon-time sun caught the glint of the diamond inside, and it winked across the hilltops like a signal beam.
‘Posy. If it’s not love . . .’ He took a deep breath. ‘If it’s not love then it’s the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb, the bomb that will bring us together.’
Posy caught her breath. Then, just to be equal, she knelt down too, in the sheep poo and small rocks on the ground. He proffered her the box.
‘Do you mean it?’
‘More than anything, Posy. More than anything.’
They stared into each other’s eyes; Matt’s blue and clear, Posy’s so dark they were almost black, with a thick fringe of lash.
From nowhere, she felt a little stab of something that felt suspiciously like panic. Matt and her . . . they were so different. Such an unlikely match, everyone said.
But on the other hand, they were here. Now. After everything that had happened. After every morning she’d woken up feeling she could never be happy again . . . here, finally, was the moment she’d dreamt of for such a long time. Not always with the same man, it had to be said. But still.
She burst out, ‘Oh yes! Ooh yes! I love you!’
Matt’s face split into a grin.
‘But not too much of The Smiths at the wedding, all right?’
They both jumped up and dusted themselves down, so they could embrace more easily.
‘I’m going to invite Morrissey.’
‘You are not. He’ll bring the mood down.’
They kissed again, laughing. Posy felt lightheaded and giddy, as if she were outside her own body, watching herself.
‘Can you get a signal up here? Can we phone everyone?’
‘Put the ring on first.’
‘Ooh, yes.’ Posy extended her finger. ‘Did you get it fitted?’
‘No,’ admitted Matt. ‘I just said that my girlfriend has really gigantic shovel-like man hands.’
‘You didnt?’ said Posy, whose large hands and feet were the bane of her life.
‘I did too,’ said Matt, as the ring slid perfectly on to the fourth finger of her left hand. ‘They thought I was buying it for a chap. The jeweller kept trying to intimate that it was quite all right, gay weddings were legal and everything. It was really embarrassing.’
He looked at her. ‘Do you like it?’
It was a perfect solitaire, with two smaller cut diamonds on either side, on a platinum band.
‘I love it,’ said Posy, truthfully.
‘You didn’t want to shop for it?’
‘Matt. Ssh.’ She looked at him. ‘You chose it. Which means it’s exactly right. Now can we call everyone?’
‘Not your sister. You’ll be on for two hours and I want lunch and champagne and lots of nice things!’
‘Can’t promise,’ said Posy. Then she paused. ‘Did you say . . . champagne?’
Posy is !!!!!!!!!
Matt Farmer likes this.
So Posy had to wait till they’d got down the mountain and celebrated rather loudly in a pub (she’d thought people would have been more excited, but it turned out that loads of couples got engaged on the peak every year, they even kept a special bottle of champagne in the fridge just for the purpose). But this didn’t dent her amazing feeling - that she had caught a cloud from the mountain top and surfed it down.
Later, post- an afternoon sojourn at their bed and breakfast (Posy felt obscurely weird having sex in a B&B, after all it was someone else’s house and someone else’s bed. And in the afternoon, too! Their landlady had been full of congratulatory winks, but oddly that didn’t seem to make things any easier):
‘Ooh, marital relations,’ Matt said. ‘I could get used to this.’
‘Well, you’re going to have to,’ said Posy, then wondered if reminding Matt he was only going to get to sleep with one woman for the rest of his life wasn’t a bit mean.
‘Good,’ said Matt, smiling at her, and she reached up to meet him. ‘I’m very, very happy. I was bricking it a bit though.’
‘Why?’ said Posy, genuinely surprised. ‘Didn’t you think I would say yes?’
Matt shrugged. ‘Well, I don’t know, do I? Women, you’re funny things.’
Posy bit her lip. It wasn’t like he didn’t know she had a past.
‘But you know I love you, don’t you?’
‘Yeah, course I do,’ said Matt.
‘Well then, why were you nervous?’
‘No reason. I just . . . you know, sometimes you’re a bit private . . .’
Posy sat up and put her arms around her legs. ‘You say that like it’s a bad thing.’
‘It’s not a bad thing. But, you know. Sometimes I think there’s a part of you locked away that I can’t get to - I don’t mind so much. A woman should be a bit of a mystery. But it makes you . . . unpredictable.’
‘I’m the least mysterious person ever! You’re the one that spends six hours boiling up their Oyster card to get the magnetic bit out and stick it to a wand so you can magic open the tube barriers. That is mysterious.’
‘You’re right,’ said Matt. ‘Forget I said it. Shall we go out for a super slap-up engagement feast? And tell the waiters and everything? We must be able to get freebies somewhere - what’s the point in having a big life event if people don’t buy you drinks?’