The Cullen romance is much better when you leave it to late game.
Like, if you don’t initiate until after his personal quest? The scene on the ramparts makes so much more sense. Everything falls into place.
Cullen sees the conversation coming because the Inquisitor’s been using the caring, understanding, puppy-dog-eyes options all throughout that debacle. But he also can’t believe the conversation is happening because this amazing woman just saw him in ugly withdrawal mode.
He’s eager to follow through on what’s been a long-standing attraction for him, but isn’t sure how. He’s not a people person, and he didn’t have anything serious in Kirkwall, so what to do to prove he might be a good long-term prospect in spite of his issues?
Sudden ramparts kissing!! Wait, no, that’s not any good, that’s how you pick up a woman in a tavern.
So he moves on to a hasty Plan B: a heavily scripted lake date where he hands over a treasured item. Not jewelry, though because let’s not get ahead of ourselves, jewelry might be too much, he doesn’t want this to get weird oh Maker is he making this weird?? Good thing he has his speech all written out.
Unfortunately his script just about ends there because there’s so much else to do. He’s tired and he’s worried and he’s very sexually frustrated and sort of flails his way into asking if they’re going to commit.
Cullen, you glorious relationship disaster.