Eric stops in front of the nondescript office building and gets out of his SUV, stepping out into the warm Spring morning. He walks to the passenger's side door, opens it, and grabs the waiting package, which immediately obscures his view. As he turns, a longer stem reaches out and scratches at his neck, almost distracting him to the point of losing his grip. He doubles his grip, then raises his arms in a way that somewhat obscures his face, as he's had planned. With a glance around the thickest part of the bunch, he finds the best way that allows him to see well enough - while still hiding his identity - so he figures he's good to go.
Kneeing the door to his SUV shut, he holds the vase out in front of him and walks to the doorway of Sampson & Delacroix - the law office where Sam works. There's a whisking sound, and he happily sighs, suddenly thankful for the invention of the automatic door. Dodging someone, who by the sound of it is female and in quite a hurry (based on the quick clicking of her shoes), he walks towards where the firm's receptionist sits. He takes a deep breath to steady himself, mentally psyching himself up - just like he used to do before a game - for the task at hand. "I can do this," he says to no one in particular, then takes another deep breath. Nerves steadied, he approaches the front desk, holding the vase out in front of him. "Sam Miller's office, please?"
"Yes," the unseen receptionist hesitantly responds as Eric catches glances of her dodging her head around to get a glance of him. "I'll just ring his assistant-"
"No," Eric quickly responds, mentally chastising himself for sounding so harsh even as he ignores the 'Oohs' and 'Ahhs' that seem to be coming from all corners of the office. "I'm sorry," he continues, voice now softer, calmer. "I was asked to deliver these to Mister Miller personally," he explains.
The receptionist first gives an uneasy, "Umm," and then stands up, so Eric drops his arms slightly, lowering his delivery. "Ohh!" she says, recognizing him, a bright smile instantly covering her face. "You know where his office is, yes? And he should be in."
"Yeah," Eric replies, then gives her a wink before raising his delivery to again obscure his face. "Thanks, Tambra," he adds as he turns towards the hallway where Sam's office is, and starts the longest journey of his life.
Each office he passes earns a little appreciative gasp, or at least a break in conversation. And as he approaches Sam's door, his arms suddenly feel heavy.
Redoing his grip, he holds the flowers with one hand as he knocks on Sam's door with the other, quickly grabbing the base with both hands and bringing it a couple of inches higher.
"Hold o- o- ohh..." comes Sam's voice, startled to a stuttering stop. Eric enters the office, face still obscured as he hears Sam say, "Mister Delmar... Excuse me, Mister Delmar? I'm gonna have to call you back," followed quickly by the sound of the receiver dropping into the cradle. "Oh my god," Sam says, and by the squeaking sound, Eric figures he's out of his chair and approaching fast. He can just barely see his boyfriend, a blush suffusing across Sam's face, which Eric figures makes him all that much more adorable. "Please, please," Sam directs, Eric seeing the sweeping of one arm meant to guide him to the table. "You can set them down."
Lowering his voice slightly, Eric says, "There's a card," and pushes the flowers away from his body, urging Sam to reach into the bouquet and take the cream colored envelope hidden amongst the flowers.
"Oh my god, they're beautiful..." Sam says, momentarily ignoring the 'delivery person' in favor of the bouquet being presented.
"There's a card," Eric just repeats, though this time he doesn't hide his voice.
"How the hell could I find a card among, like four dozen ros-" Sam cuts off mid-word. "Eric?" Sam asks, bobbing his head around the giant floral arrangement until Eric again drops his arms slightly so Sam can see him. "Oh my god... Eric! My god, they're beautiful! By why on earth-"
Eric blows out a frustrated sigh, and takes a step forward, gently easing the vase to its resting place on Sam's mahogany desk. He takes a step back, glances at Sam, and then points to the middle of the arrangement of red roses he was delivering. "There's a card, Sammy," he says, then drops his arms to his side so that - hopefully - Sam can't see him shaking.
But Sam doesn't even acknowledge the flowers. Instead, he locks his gaze onto Eric's, a smile covering his face and his eyes crinkled up at the sides. "Eric," he starts, glancing over Eric's shoulder before reaching out and quickly squeezing Eric's hand, then goes to release it.
But Eric can't let go. Won't. And he can't help but smile back, even with as nervous as he is, and steps closer to Sam. "Sammy," he says, then pulls Sam into a hug with his free hand.
"Eric," Sam says as he gently pulls back. His gaze lifts up and he tries to step back, probably because of the quiet sound of shuffling behind the couple. It's then that Eric realizes they must an audience. Be it a dozen, or just one, though - he doesn't care. He just pulls Sam close once again.
"Read the card, Sammy..." he quietly pleads into Sam's ear, and then lets go. He drops a quick kiss against Sam's cheek, and then steps back, presenting Sam with a bashful smile.
The joy-filled look plays on Sam's face for a second or ten, and with a nod, he finally decides to put Eric out of his misery. "Okay, okay. I'm reading," and then turns his attention to the bouquet of roses - which gives Eric time enough to get into position.
Eric watches as Sam slowly pulls the small envelope from the middle of the arrangement, but there's a sound of a gasp from behind them both, and Sam turns toward the sound - but his gaze is suddenly locked on Eric. His eyes grow big at the sight of Eric down on one knee, and the now forgotten cream colored envelope slips from his fingers, flittering to the carpeted floor. "Oh my god..."
The office is completely still for what feels like an eternity.
"Fine," Eric curtly says, with absolutely no heat to his voice, "so you're gonna make me do this the hard way." He reaches into the pocket of his slacks, then holds out a velvet box. With shaking hands, he opens the box, presenting two simple golden bands. He raises his eyes from the box to Sam's, and just says, "So... Umm, Sam Miller..."
Sam doesn't wait for him to actually say the words. Instead he reaches down, pulling Eric to him and squeezing him into one of the tightest hugs of his life. "Yes," Sam says, pulling back for a moment, where Eric can't help but smile back, damn the moisture at his eyes. "Yes, Eric McNally; I will marry you." And just like that, Sam is leaning in, stealing a chaste kiss which Eric returns, damn whomever's watching.
Eric holds on for dear life as Sam again squeezes him tight, finally letting him go after what feels like a joyful lifetime or two. "Cool," Eric says, his bashful smile coming out again. "Cool."
Suddenly there's applause from behind them, and the couple finally put a foot or two of space between them. Eric knows he has to be holding a blush, but he doesn't care - he finally did it; even if Sam didn't read the words from the card - he still asked.
There's murmuring for a few seconds as Sam and Eric make eyes at each other. But when there's a lull, Eric figures he shouldn't overstay his welcome in Sam's office. Pointing towards the doorway, Eric says, "Okay, well I should-" and bobs his head towards the hall.
"Yeah, okay," Sam replies, looking happy though a bit lost. "I'll uh - see you at home?" he says, smiling at Eric.
Before Eric can respond, there's a the sound of someone clearing their throat from the hallway. "Are you kidding me?" Eleanor asks, her voice playful but incredulous. "You two - out. Out!" and she gets the small crowd to part, directing both Eric and Sam out of Sam's office and towards the exit. "Now shoo. Shoo!" she adds, and Eric and Sam are both laughing as Sam's boss guides them towards the door. "Now go on! Go out and enjoy yourselves. And Sam?" she says, garnering both men's attention. "I don't want to see you back here until tomorrow morning."
Sam steps back and puts an arm around Eleanor, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks, Eleanor," he says, voice barely above a whisper, then goes back to Eric's side.
"Yeah, thanks," Eric says, nodding his head. He smiles at his now fiancÃ©, and then reaches out, touching Sam on the elbow, where he leads him out into the sunshine - and the rest of their lives together.