Hello! This is the first one-shot I have written in a very long time by myself. I have it written for the "Popping the Question" contest over at the Ridiculously Happy Awards.

Some of it is very cheesy. I hope I followed the guidelines well, if not...well, I had a good time writing it anyway.

I apologize for any grammatical errors, or typos. Rated T for some sexual references that delve into the dirty mind of Steve.

Enjoy!


How to Propose to The Woman You Love


1. Know You Love The Right Girl

Chris Smith groaned as he woke up from his deep slumber. Recently, his girlfriend, Courtney, was sick, which forced him to sleep on the couch. Well…it didn't force him, but he offered. He knew his body heat would only disturb Courtney, and he tried to make her slumber as painless as possible.

He rubbed his eyes, as he got up to use the restroom. He had to tip-toe through their shared bedroom quietly. As quiet as he was being, he still managed to wake up his girlfriend.

"Chris, baby?"

Chris turned around upon hearing her scratchy voice. He walked toward her side of the bed. She had a box of tissues cradled toward her chest. There were heavy bags under her eyes, and her nose looked quite red.

"I'm sorry I woke you," he whispered. "How are you feeling? Has your fever broken?"

He held a hand up to her forehead. Still hot, he thought.

Courtney slowly shook her hand. "No. Can you come back to bed? I promise I won't sneeze on you."

He stroked her hair gently as her eyelids began to drop. "I don't want to disturb your rest."

"You won't. Please?"

He let out a small sigh. "All right. Let me just go to the bathroom quickly."

Chris stumbled on his way to the bathroom. He turned on the light.

2. Realize That You Want to Propose to The Girl

Chris finished using the restroom, and turned toward the mirror. It almost went unnoticed, but he saw it in the glimpse of a moment. He walked towards the small mirror and looked more closely.

A grey hair.

He plucked it out from his hair. It stung a bit, but he needed to inspect what he thought was a crisis. He held the strand of short hair up to the light.

"Shit."

It was definitely grey.

Chris dropped the strand of hair in the sink and quickly turned on the faucet to wash it away. He tried to understand how this was possible. He was only 28 for goodness sakes! He leaned his hands on the cold counter as he stared into the mirror.

He didn't want to believe the fact that he was indeed getting old. He started looking for more grey hairs. He couldn't find any, but he was still worried that they were there. If Courtney weren't sick, he probably would have asked her to check for him, but he didn't want to bother her.

Chris started worrying about where his life was going. He still felt incredibly young. He ran through the park almost every other day. He was still able to lift weights. He could eat a hamburger without getting a heart attack. He didn't have an erectile dysfunction.

Memories started flipping through his head. He wondered if he was going to die soon. He wondered if this was a sign that his life was coming to a close, and he should start going to church more often to atone for his sins. He started wondering what he needed to do before he died.

He could only think of one thing.

Courtney.

Chris turned on the faucet again. He splashed his face quickly. He knew right there in that moment, that he was going to propose to Courtney.

3. Tell Someone Close To You

Chris smiled into the mirror as he started drying his face. "I'm going to propose to Courtney."

* Ahem *3. Tell Someone Besides Yourself

Chris left the bathroom and turned the light off behind him. All of his thoughts on the grey strand of hair were gone as he headed toward his phone. He almost tripped over a pair of shoes on the ground, but he managed to get to his cell phone.

To Steve:

Lunch. Tomorrow. I need to talk to you. We're off tomorrow anyway.

It was almost one o'clock in the morning, so Chris thought Steve would be asleep, and wouldn't respond to the text until the morning. To his surprise, Steve responded almost immediately.

Is Courtney okay?

He turned his head back to the bed, where Courtney was moving around restlessly.

She's fine. Just meet me at our regular place at 1:00 tomorrow.

He shut his phone closed before crawling into bed.

"Do you have a ring?"

"No."

"Do you know where you're going to get the ring?"

"No."

"How much money are you planning on spending on the ring?"

"I don't know."

"Someone told me you had to spend at least three paychecks."

"Does it matter how much I pay for it as long as it looks nice?"

"According to chicks, it does."

"Oh."

A slightly awkward silence covered the table. Chris picked at his pancakes, while Steve continued eating his with great ardor. Eventually, Steve finished his pancakes and looked down at Chris's still half-full plate.

"Are you going to finish those?"

Chris shook his head, and pushed the plate toward his friend. "I think I've lost my appetite," he mumbled.

Steve anxiously started eating his second meal. "Don't worry, bro. After this, get your wallet out. We're going to go ring shopping.

4. Find The Ring

Chris and Steve seemed to stumble into the ring shop. The salesclerk greeted them kindly. Steve replied enthusiastically, while Chris mumbled a "hello" and started looking for rings. He didn't want to be rude; he just had his mind set on something specific.

"Are you looking for a special ring?" asked one of the saleswomen.

Chris looked up from his meticulous attention placed on the various rings. "I'm looking for an engagement ring."

The saleswoman leaned in slightly over the clear counter. "Is it for that young man over there?" she whispered, pointing to Steve.

Steve looked at her in horror. Not because Steve was a man, but because Steve was…well, Steve.

"No, actually. I'm planning on proposing to my girlfriend."

The saleswoman stood up straight. "Sorry for the mix-up. But congratulations! I'm Shannon, and I will help you find the perfect ring."

Chris smiled. "Thanks."

Chris looked around at the rings like an idiot for a few minutes before Shannon suggested something to him. "Why don't I pick out a few rings, and see if you like them?"

He laughed nervously. "I think that might be a little more productive."

Shannon unlocked a few of the cabinets and started her search for an engagement ring. "Is she more into simple jewelry, or something more eccentric?" she asked.

"She doesn't really wear that much jewelry often. Only when we go out on a special occasion, or something. So, I guess I'd say simple."

Shannon smiled. "Okay."

Within a few minutes, Shannon was able to find ten rings that she thought Chris would find appealing. After eight years of helping people find engagement rings, she was able to match rings to people almost perfectly.

Just as Chris started looking at the chosen rings, Steve started looking over his shoulder. "Find any you like?"

Chris nearly jumped at his booming voice. "I think I really like this one," he pointed to a ring that caught his eye.

Shannon quickly put the ring into another little box. "Why don't we keep looking around, just to make sure?" she suggested.

Two hours and twelve minutes later, Chris found the perfect ring. It had a lovely pearl hidden in between tiny diamonds. Chris already knew Courtney's ring size, which made everything much easier.

5. Pay For The Ring

Four paychecks later, and Chris walked out of the jewelry store with a tiny, velvety box in his pocket.

Chris and Steve started walking down the street again, back to Chris's apartment. From the lack of texts he was receiving, he could tell that Courtney was asleep. He wondered if he should have picked up soup, but then remembered that there was still more left in the fridge.

Steve cut Chris off, mid-thought. "What made you realize that you wanted to propose to Courtney?"

"I saw a grey hair," Chris explained.

Steve raised an eyebrow, something he practiced for a long time before perfecting it. "That's what made you realize you wanted to propose to your girlfriend?"

Chris nodded his head. "Yeah. I mean…I began thinking about how I still had my whole life to li-"

"This is starting to sound corny," Steve cut him off. "Is there something wrong with your sex life? Is that why you decided to take things to the next level?"

"What? No!" Chris exclaimed.

"Alright. So tell me…did you two have sex last night?"

Chris gave Steve an incredulous look. "Courtney's sick, Steve."

"Whatever. I think you two need to spice up your sex life. This lack of adventurous sex is aging you."

Steve thought of a few pointers before he started cracking up. Chris shot him a look that was a mix of a glare, and confusion.

"What's so funny?"

"I can't believe I'm telling you, the most innocent guy I know, about how to spice up your sex life. You probably don't even know what a safe word is."

The next look Chris gave to Steve was a pure glare. "I know what a safe word is."

Steve raised his eyebrow yet again. "Really? Okay, what is it then?"

Chris couldn't help but blush before he answered. "It's, uh, a word you use when things uh…go too far. God, it doesn't matter. We're not into that."

"How the hell do you know what a safe word is?" asked Steve.

"Desperate Housewives," Chris blurted out before he realized what he said.

Steve started laughing vociferously. "What? That girly soap opera? What the hell are you doing watching that kind of stuff?"

"It's not a soap opera! And Courtney started watching it this year. I'm just usually in the room when she's watching it," he explained.

"And how exactly did it teach you about safe words?"

Chris started moving his hands around, as if that would help explain himself. "Bree was talking to her husband…well now ex-husband, I guess. I don't know, he died. Anyway, he was explaining everything to her. And I just…picked up on it."

Steve couldn't stop letting out small chuckles. "Wait, you remember their names? This is classic."

Chris groaned in frustration. How had their conversation turned to this?

"Can we please focus? I don't know how I'm going to propose to Courtney. I mean, do I take her out to dinner? Do I put the ring in her champagne glass? Do I take her to a ball game?"

Steve shook his head. "You have to think outside of the box."

"Okay…that really doesn't help me at all."

Steve stopped and put a hand on Chris's shoulder. "It's called the internet."

"Isn't that kind of unoriginal?" Chris asked. He didn't know how comfortable he was getting his proposal idea from some random website online.

"You just get starter ideas from the website. Unless, of course, you'd rather watch old Desperate Housewives episodes for more…romantic ideas?" Steve asked in a teasing tone.

They continued walking until they reached Chris's apartment. They said their "goodbyes," as Chris started walking up the stairs to his apartment.

6. Figure Out How You Are Going To Propose

"Court? Do you want me to go out and get you something more to eat or drink? There's still a ton of soup left in the fridge. Do you want me to heat it up?"

Chris walked into the bedroom, only to find Courtney curled up on a tiny ball in the middle of their bed. She seemed to be sniffling slightly. This was the only sign that she wasn't sleeping. Chris slowly made his way closer to the bed, taking off his shoes in the process.

When he finally made his way over to the bed, he sat down and started rubbing Courtney's back gently. She groaned in response.

"My entire body hurts," she moaned.

Chris started stroking Courtney's hair softly. "Are you hungry?" he asked. Courtney just shook her head in response.

He let out a tiny sigh. "I'm going to get you something to drink."

He was about to get up when Courtney stopped him. "I have water," she pointed to the large bottle of water on the bedside table.

"Oh. Is there anything else I can get you?"

"No. I'm just going to try and get more sleep."

"Okay," he responded. "I'm just going to do some work on the computer. Just call for me if you need anything."

He kissed the top of her hot forehead before grabbing the laptop, and heading into the other room. He closed the door behind him, so not to wake Courtney.

He quickly set the laptop down on the table and started typing away.

Marriage proposal ideas.

Chris scrolled down until he found a site worthy of his attention. A few of the ideas suggested were ones he had heard before (romantic candle light dinner, a night in, going out to a nice restaurant, picnic in the park, a dog delivering the ring, etc). Then there was one that he hadn't heard before.

Hire a magician to entertain just the two of you. Have the magician make the box with the loose diamond mysteriously appear as the surprise ending of the last trick.

Chris thought for a moment. Perhaps Steve would be willing to be the magician? He used to be really into magic…but then again it was Steve, which was bound to end badly.

He continued looking through the website.

Take her to her favorite amusement park. Once you reach the top of a roller coaster, take out the ring. As you are falling down, as her to marry you.

Chris had to give his laptop a strange look upon reading the last proposal. Wouldn't you lose the ring? he thought.

He sighed, as he continued looking.

Put the ring in several layers of boxes so that each box fits inside another to create an illusion of a giant present. Have her unwrap it until she finally gets to the ring, and ask her to marry you.

Make a rose petal trail from the front door to the bedroom. Create a heart shape with rose petals on the bed, and put the ring in the middle. Tell her to go see what is in your heart.

Write an advertisement slide, and ask the movie theater to show it as a preview before the movie. Get to the theater early, and let her watch the previews. When it gets to her slide, get down on one knee and propose.

Chris shook his head at all of these ideas. They were too cheesy, too expensive, or just too stupid. He looked through a few more before he slammed his computer shut, and just gave up.

Upon looking up at the clock hanging up on the wall, Chris realized he had stayed up later than he thought. He groaned in frustration. He had planned on finding the perfect proposal idea, because he wanted to propose on Friday night, and it was already Wednesday.

Chris decided he would figure out something the next day. He had to go into work tomorrow, but he would still have time to think of ideas. It was getting close to midnight, and he didn't want to look too tired on the job.

After Chris finished turning off all the lights, and getting ready for bed, he checked Courtney's temperature one more time (it was difficult getting the thermometer in her mouth without waking her, but he managed). He set his alarm to wake up every few hours. It was so he could make sure Courtney's fever didn't get too high.

Once he finished preparing, he collapsed in bed and wrapped his arms around Courtney.

"I love you," he whispered into Courtney's hair. I just don't know how to propose to you, he thought.

As he was closing his eyes, hoping that sleep would reach him, he realized he didn't want a big proposal. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that Courtney wouldn't want a big proposal either. With that in mind, Chris fell asleep peacefully.

7. Prepare The Proposal

Chris sat in the upscale restaurant, waiting for his girlfriend (and hopefully future fiancé) to arrive. He had the ring in the velvet box in his pocket. He talked to his waiter about his plans, which caused her to smile. They discussed that he would ask her to marry him right after they were done with desert. The more he thought about it, the more Chris liked the idea of a simple proposal.

The only problem was that it was an hour after Chris asked Courtney to meet him, and she still had not arrived. Chris tapped his foot nervously before he took another sip of his wine. He looked around the restaurant, trying to find Courtney.

Finally he gave up and took out his cell phone.

To Courtney:

Hey, is everything okay?

He pressed send, still holding the phone nervously in his hands. He wasn't upset that Courtney was late, but it gave him more time to think about what he was about to do. Thinking made Chris nervous.

His phone buzzed quietly in his hands, and he flipped it open quickly.

I completely forgot! I am so sorry. I wasn't feeling well, so I left work early. I'm sorry, baby.

Chris let out a low sigh, as he shut his phone. He knew that Courtney only went to work because she didn't like missing more than one day in a row. He advised her against it, but she refused to listen to him. He didn't want to force her out to dinner when she wasn't feeling well.

He called the waiter over and asked him for some pasta and tiramisu to go. He paid the check, and left with the bag of food in his hand.

The restaurant was only a few blocks away from his house, so he walked the rest of the way home. Unsure of what to do, he called his best friend yet again.

"Chris! My man! Did she say yes?"

Chris pressed a finger to his temple. "She was too sick to come to the restaurant. Steve, what am I going to do? I waited for two hours at the restaurant. I was so ready to propose," he whined.

"Are you upset that she stood you up?" Steve asked.

Chris shook his head even though he knew Steve would not be able to see him. "No. She didn't really stand me up. She was just sick. I just don't know what to do. What was I thinking? I don't know the first thing about proposing to a girl."

"Hey! Don't talk like that," Steve yelled. Chris was taken back by the serious tone in his voice. Steve almost never was serious. "This isn't just any girl you're talking about. This is Courtney, and you love her. Now, if you want to take your frustration out, go stab something, or beat something up."

Chris rolled his eyes. "That's too violent, Steve."

He looked through his paper bag at the pasta and Tiramisu he got to go. He let out a low, fake chuckle. "Besides, I don't have anything to stab something with. All I have is a few plastic spoons the waiter gave me," Chris joked.

"You know what? If life hands you a spoon, exchange it for a fork and stab something," Steve said.

"What?"

"I'm saying, don't let this get you down. Courtney still loves you, and you love her. Don't let something like this disturb your proposal. She's not going to say no. No matter if you propose to her behind a dumpster. You're going to figure something out. I have complete faith in you," explained Steve. "Now, if you'll excuse me. It's Friday night, and I have some serious partying to do."

Chris laughed a little. "You go do that. Thanks, man. I'll…uh figure something out."

He heard the clicking on the other end, signifying that Steve had closed his phone.

Chris walked back to his house feeling a little better than he had before.

8. If All Else Fails, Go With Your Gut

Chris locked the door behind him. He slid off his shoes and put them next to the door. He was about to check up on Courtney in the bedroom, assuming she was trying to get some rest. Instead, he heard the television playing in the living room.

He found Courtney sitting on the couch with a blanket draped around her tiny form. A box of tissues was cuddled close to her chest.

Chris walked closer to the couch. He set the bag of food on the coffee table, causing Courtney to look up at him.

"Chris! I'm so sorry. I just…I was feeling dizzy at work, so I came home and went straight to bed. I woke up when you texted me, and I realized that I had completely forgotten about our date. I feel horrible. I know you were really looking forward to dinner tonight. I can't believe I messed this up. I'm so sorry. I can-" she was cut off by her sneeze.

Chris sat down next to his girlfriend, and held out a tissue for her. She took it from him, and gracefully blew her nose.

"Don't apologize. You're sick."

He held up the bag of food. "I brought you pasta and tiramisu. I'll just go get changed into my pajamas and we'll eat it out here. Unless you want me to heat up some more soup?"

Courtney shook her head and smiled up at Chris.

Within ten minutes, Chris was able to change his clothing and prepare dinner. Although his mind told him against him, he placed the velvet box in his pajama pockets. He didn't know why, but it gave him a sort of comfort.

"So, what movie are we watching?"

Courtney blushed, as she picked up her plate of pasta. Her nose was still red from sniffling, but she was always in the mood for a good plate of pasta. "The Wizard of Oz."

Chris laughed and wrapped his arm around Courtney, while balancing his plate of pasta in his other hand. She leaned into him, but hit his stomach lightly. "Hey! Don't laugh. It's a good movie to watch when you're sick," she explained.

Chris held his left hand up in surrender. "I'm sorry."

They continued eating their food and watching their movie in peace. Occasionally Courtney would sneeze or cough, in which case Chris would rub her back and kiss the top of her head.

It was only when they finished with their dinner that Chris felt the weight of the ring in his pocket. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat on the couch. Upon looking down at Courtney's left hand, he realized he expected to see a ring resting there peacefully. He looked at Courtney's face. It was slightly red and puffy because of her cold, but Chris still felt at home whenever he looked at her. Courtney's head was resting on his shoulder while watching the last few scenes of the movie.

Chris realized that he didn't want to wait anymore.

"Hey, Court?"

She sniffed before sitting up on the couch. "Yeah, Chris?"

"I love you."

Courtney couldn't help but smile. She leaned in carefully and placed a kiss on Chris's cheek. She would have kissed his lips, but she didn't want to get him sick. "I love you too."

"I think we should do this more often," he suggested.

"What? Movie and dinner while I'm carrying a horrible cold? I'll go for the movie and dinner, but not so much the cold," she joked.

Chris smiled. "Even in, oh, I don't know, fifty years?"

"Sure, but I think we'll be able to find more movies than just The Wizard of Oz by then."

"Will you really do this with me and fifty years?"

Courtney seemed to realize the seriousness in Chris's voice, because her smile faltered just a bit. "Yes," she whispered. She hoped this was going where she thought it was.

"You're my best friend aside from Steve, but Steve doesn't really count at this moment. I want to watch old movies with you when we're old and wrinkly. I want to take care of you when you're sick, and buy you dinner when you're too sick to remember our dinner dates," she blushed at the last comment. "And I actually planned this a little differently."

9. Take Out The Ring, And Get Down On One Knee

"I planned on doing this at the restaurant," he continued. "At first I wanted to do something different to surprise you, but then I realized that it didn't really matter as long as the outcome was the same. And that outcome would be spending my night in fifty years watching movies and eating dinner with you. So it really doesn't matter if I do this at a nice restaurant, or our tiny apartment, right?"

Courtney only looked at him with wide eyes in response. She let out a tiny gasp when Chris took the box out of his pocket and got down on one knee. He opened the box to reveal the sparkling ring inside. "Be my wife, Courtney? I promise I'll take care of you, and love you, and um…love you some more, and be the best husband there is."

Courtney wrapped her arms around Chris and kissed him passionately on the lips, forgetting about her cold for a few minutes. She pulled away and kissed Chris's forehead. She noticed how nervous he seemed to be before, and how relieved he seemed to be now.

She leaned her forehead against his and whispered, "yes."

Chris held her close to him, as he slid the ring on her finger.

He was looking forward to their movie and dinner date fifty years from now.

10. Marry Her


THE END


Okay....so the last one wasn't really a step to proposing, but I thought it was a nice ending to the story. I apologize that this isn't exactly correct.

Thank you so much for reading! Check out the guidelines on the Ridiculously Happy Awards website if you want to know more or submit at story.

Thanks! Let me know what you thought!

- Morine