It didn’t bode well at the start. Justin and Francesca arrived too late for an evening meal. “It doesn’t look like the photo at all,” said Francesca.
“I agree,” said Justin. “Looks more like we’ve come to Norman Bates’s Motel,” he said, regarding the gloomy facade.
“I had been so looking forward to this,” said Francesca.
“Me too,” mumbled Justin to himself. He had wanted this to be special.
The concierge took their bags with a look of contempt on his face.
“I’ll see you to your room,” he said, disdain visibly dripping from him.
In spite of not having a meal available, there was some sort of entertainment going on at the back of the building on the terrace. They could hear the rhythm of the beat pulsating through the floor.
“Perhaps we can explore later, when we’ve unpacked,” said Francesca, determined not to let their un-welcome destroy their break.
“Let’s have a shower and change,” said Justin. “We might feel better. I’m sure there’d be some snacks we could pick up downstairs.”
“Good idea. Not letting a miserable old jumped-up janitor spoil our fun!” said Francesca.
Feeling refreshed, they made their way down to the bar. There was a band outside on the terrace where there was a definite carnival atmosphere. Justin decided this would be the perfect setting for his intended announcement. A Latino beat had persuaded even the wallflowers to get on the dance floor. Justin felt round the back of his collar. He was sweating furiously. He thought he had just better get on with it.
They both gyrated wildly to the salsas and sambas, high on life but still a bit hungry. They had a short break, taking another slurp of their mojitos. Justin fidgeted around in his pocket and with some relief withdrew a small box. He sank to one knee, much to Francesca’s embarrassment.
“Would you do me the honour...,” he started, opening the box to display the most exquisite ring: an enormous sapphire surrounded by several small diamonds. Francesca blushed and grinned. They now had everyone’s attention. Even the band took the cue and started up with ‘Congratulations!’
At that precise moment, several police arrived. One went over and pulled the plug on the amplifiers. The partygoers let out a chorus of groans.
“We’ve had several complaints about the noise,” said one of them, ponderously opening a little notebook.
“And we don’t want to upset the neighbours, do we?” said another.
“That would never do,” said a third.
The band, clearly in on this, launched into; ‘You can leave your hat on’ while the three policemen aligned themselves with each other and started to remove their helmets... and more. The groans from the audience turned to raucous laughter as the bride-to-be at the hen do on the other side of the terrace to Justin and Francesca fell in that this was a set up.
“I’ll certainly never forget the night you proposed!” said Francesca later, winking at Justin.