“I just wish Benji would talk to me about it already,” Emily said as she slouched over the coffee shop’s table. “We’ve been dating for six years and he still hasn’t brought up the conversation of marriage once. I’ve tried to bring it up, but he’s too dense…”
Mary-Lou set down her cappuccino and stared at Emily dead in the eyes. “Honey, here’s what you gotta do. Stop all this cutesy code-talk. Stop dancing around the topic. Flat out ask Benji: do you think you would ever want to get married? It doesn’t have to be a proposal—just a conversation.”
Beside her, stirring his boba tea, Jeremy nodded. “She’s right, Emily. You gotta know if you are heading in the same direction. Or else…” He made a little walking man with his fingers.
Holding her head in her hands, Emily said, “I know. I know. I just don’t want him to freak out. What if it’s too soon?”
Jeremy's eyes narrowed. “It’s been six years.”
“Besides, it’s just a conversation,” Mary-Lou added. “It’s not like you’re gonna get married on the spot.” Her eyebrows lowered. “Unless you want to get married on the spot?”
“And are you sure it should be Benji?” Jeremy said. “He’s a lot different from you. He’s…”
“Eccentric?” Mary-Lou finished.
“Well, ah,” Emily said, “I can be fun and eccentric too.”
Mary-Lou rolled her eyes. “Yeah, it was so fun to file our taxes early while drinking ginger ale last weekend.”
“What’s wrong with ginger ale?”
“Honey, doing taxes is a tequila plus affair for alcohol. And there’s none in ginger ale.”
“Emily, the only reason we’re saying this to you is because we’re not sure you’re sure you want to do this. So are you?” Jeremy asked.
Emily flushed. “I—I don’t know yet.” She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and glanced away. “I guess that’ll just be part of the conversation.”
Later that night, Emily tucked herself into a tight ball on the couch. She squinted at her screen as Jeremy and Mary-Lou texted her in group chat.
Emily: He shop bee getting tone any minute.
Emily: He *should *be getting *home any minute.
Emily: Soury, I’m so nervous.
Mary-Lou: Take a few deep breaths.
Emily’s phone flew out of her hands as she jumped when her apartment’s lock clicked open. “I’m home~!” Benji sang and stepped inside.
“Hey, babe,” Emily gave him a kiss on the cheek and slid her phone into her back pocket. It buzzed non-stop as Mary-Lou demanded answers. “So I was just thinking…”
Emily bit her lip. “About my day! It was great. And yours?”
“Good?” Benji’s eyes lit up. “Oh, but have you heard the saying: why buy a cow when you’re already getting the milk for free?”
Oh great, Emily thought, does this mean he never wants to get married? If this is the reason, Mother is never going to let me hear the end of it.
She plopped down on the couch with a frown. “Yeah, I’ve heard of it.”
“Then you realize how ridiculous it is, right?”
Emily perked up. “Really?”
“Yeah, because do you know what a great investment for our future this could be?”
Smiling, Emily nodded. The tax side of it would be a sure benefit.
“Never having to worry about spoiled milk again. Just think about it!”
Benji sat down on the couch. “I’ve been thinking about this for a while.”
“For years now, definitely. But there was always this doubt in the back of my mind, you know? The sale of cows ain’t cheap. I never knew if I could afford it.”
Emily sat beside him and took her hand in it. Squeezing it tightly, she said, “We can afford it. We’re in this together.” Then, she paused. “Wait, wait, wait… how are we going to take care of… the cow? I mean we don’t own a… farm. We have a cramped one bedroom apartment.”
Yeah, they were definitely going to have move out of this tiny place. Emily was sick of it.
Benji snapped his fingers. “I got a friend who could set us up.”
“And how are we going to manage this together?”
He kissed the top of Emily’s head and said, “Babe, I have no idea. I’ve never bought a cow before. But I swear, we’ll figure it out. Together.”
She smiled. “Alright. Let’s do it.”
With that, Benji jumped to his feet. “You’re the best girlfriend ever!” He said then ran out the door.
Smiling to herself, Emily pulled out her phone.
Emily: Hey, we just had the conversation. It went well. I think I really want to marry him. I can just see us spending our lives together. I’ve been waking up next to him for the last six years and I never want to wake up without him. Thanks for helping me talk to him. Ly.
After hitting send, Emily tossed her phone on the couch and hit the shower.
The next day, after coming home late from work, a strange smell looked near Emily’s apartment door. She paused in the hallway, taking it in. Her nose scrunched up. It was less than pleasant. “Ugh, what is that smell?” She said, clicking her key into the lock. Swinging the door open, she said, “It smells like…” Emily dropped her eyes and stared at the literal cow in her apartment. “A barn.”
Benji popped up from the other side of the cow. “Oh, hi, Emily. This is Betsy.”
He grinned while a thick sweat covered Emily’s forehead. She felt like screaming and fainting all at the same time. “What the hell is this?” She demanded.
“She’s—not this—is Betsy. Like I said.”
“Why is there a cow in the apartment?”
His eyebrows knitted together in confusion. “We agreed on buying a cow? Remember? Yesterday?”
“But I meant—this is a—how did you even get a cow this fast?”
“I know a guy. He’s the same guy who can get us a farm. Jimmy’s a good friend to have. He really saved me last week with those chickens.”
“Of course he is.” Emily bit down on he fist. “I just—I don’t even know what to say about this. I was talking about marriage, not starting a—a farm!”
“But you said—“
“It was a phrase, Benji. A phrase. ‘Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free’ means ‘why marry someone who’s already having sex with you’.” Tears swelled in her eyes. “I thought you were asking me to marry you.. but…” She choked on her own words.
Benji’s face fell. “Are you sure you don’t want a cow? Betsy is a super cool cow. Just look at this weird birthmark on her other side.”
“Benji, I don’t want to see it…”
“Just trust me.”
Slowly, he led Betsy in a circle. Emily’s mouth dropped when she saw her ‘birthmark’—the words ‘will you marry me’ written in washable marker on Betsy.
Emily covered her mouth with her hands. “Are you—are you being serious right now?”
Benji nodded. “I wanted to surprise you. How dense do you really think I am?” He rolled gleefully on his heels. “I also wanted to actually get a cow—because let’s face it, Betsy is going to save us a fortune on milk. Do you know how much I drink a day? We might even have to get two cows.”
Emily pulled Benji into a tight hug. “God no to the second cow. Yes to the words written on the first cow.”
With that, she pulled him into a deep kiss. Then, he pulled away. “But I will be needing prenup.”
“What? For what?”
“Betsy. I’m taking her in the divorce.”
“Or…” Emily gazed up at him. “We could just never get divorced.”
“Yeah, I like that a lot better.”