Thursday, May 31, 2012


“Thomas? Is something wrong?”
            I looked up at the vision of loveliness sitting across from me and shook my head. Nothing was exactly wrong, but I did have a lot on my mind. The merest trace of suspicion had crept into my mind after a conversation the night before with my very suspicious sister.
            Morana frowned, her green eyes fixed on my face. She looked so concerned that I smiled. Any doubts that I had were unjust, completely groundless. The woman across from me was the symbol of faithfulness.
            “No,” I reached out and held her hand, which was resting on the table, “Nothing’s wrong. Sorry, I’m just tired – long day at work. I can’t tell you how glad I am that it’s the weekend,” I gave her hand a squeeze, “How glad I am to be here with you.”
            An attractive touch of color rose in her pale cheeks, and she smiled.
            “How’s your mother doing, by the way?” I asked, feeling I should have inquired sooner.
            “My mother?”
            “Yes, you said she was ill. That’s why we didn’t go out on Wednesday.”
            “Oh, yes. Well, she’s doing fine now.” Morana pulled her hand away and hastily lifted her menu, opening it so that it hid her face.
            “I’m glad she’s doing better,” I said faintly, trying in vain to squash the little bug of distrust that had begun crawling around inside my mind.
            For a moment we sat in silence, and then Morana put down her menu. She wore an apologetic expression.
            “I’ve got to go,” she said, getting to her feet.
            “But—we haven’t eaten yet,” I said stupidly.
            “I know, and I’m sorry, but I’ve really—I’ll see you,” she rushed out of the restaurant, leaving me sitting alone… again.

            Unlocking the door to my apartment, I went in quietly – hoping to be able to sneak past my roommate. I had no such luck. Adam was watching a movie when I entered, but he paused it as I tried to creep past.
            “Back so soon?” he asked, giving me a knowing look.
            “Uh, yeah.”
            “She walked out on you with some lame excuse again, didn’t she?”
            Adam raised a skeptical eyebrow.
            “She didn’t even give an excuse,” I sighed, sinking down into the squashy old armchair that had been in Adam’s family for about nine generations.
            “You know she’s cheating on you,” said Adam, a bit more bluntly than I would have liked, but with a look of sympathy well befitting a best friend.
            “I just can’t believe that,” I said.
            “Dude, she keeps cancelling dates and running out on you with increasingly stupid excuses – there has got to be another guy.”
            “It could be something else!” I insisted. I knew I was being foolish, that all the signs pointed towards another relationship, but I just couldn’t believe it of Morana.
            Adam raised another skeptical eyebrow. “Did you ask her about her mother?” he asked.
            “And she was lying?”
            “She couldn’t figure out why I was asking.” I closed my eyes, as though I could somehow block out the deception. “But… she seemed so sorry when she said she had to go.”
            “Of course she’s sorry,” said Adam, “The reason you cheat on someone is because you like them, and you also like someone else, and you can’t bear to break up with either of them.”
            “Yeah, like you’d know.”
            “You’re right,” he said with a dramatic, self-righteous sigh, “I’m too good – I’m just not capable of cheating on someone.”
            “Oh, I believe you’re capable of cheating,” I said, getting up, “I just don’t believe you’re capable of finding a girl to cheat on.”

            My next date with Morana was scheduled for the next day – we had planned a picnic, since the weather had finally decided to act like spring. Around eleven, just as I was getting ready, Morana called, cancelling the date. Instead, I spent the day being productive and grading papers.
            I hated being caught in Morana’s deceit, it was driving me mad. A part of me wished she would just end it, break off the relationship. However, just thinking about this was miserable. I couldn’t imagine life without Morana. My life had changed when she had come into it, and I couldn’t go back to the way it had been before. I knew I should just break it off with her, knew that it would be better for both of us if I did, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

            Sunday afternoon, Morana dropped by.
            “I’m sorry,” she said as soon as I opened the door.
            “Sorry?” I repeated, unsure what to think.
            “About… about cancelling and running out and… and all that.” Her eyes were fixed intently on my welcome mat, “I—I don’t deserve a guy like you.”
            I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Though I had thought about Morana ending it, even considered that it would be the right thing for her to do, I couldn’t bring myself to accept that this was what she was doing.
            “You… what?”
            “I don’t deserve you – and you shouldn’t be stuck with me. It isn’t fair. I should… I should just go.” Her voice shook as she said it.
            “Morana….” Her name came out as a whisper, “Please, don’t do this.”
            “It’s better this way.” A tear fell down her cheek.
            “All right,” I said, my throat contracting and making it hard to breathe, “Okay. Fine. But at least tell me this much: Who is he?”
            Morana looked up from her inspection of the ground, tears in her eyes but a truly confused look on her face. “He?”
            “The other guy.” I spoke as calmly as I could, but the thought of her with another man was a difficult one to handle.
            “What other guy?”
            I couldn’t understand why she was pretending she didn’t know what I was talking about.
            “The one that caused all this. The one you’re leaving me for. I think I have a right to know who he is.”
            Unbelievably, she laughed. The callousness of this made me angry, and I almost turned and walked away from her right then – but before I had the chance, she said: “There is no one else!”
            “Oh, Thomas, it isn’t that at all.” The laughter died from her face. She took me by the arm, looking earnest, “There is no one else. There couldn’t be anyone else. I--”
            She broke off, but the look she gave me was eloquent enough. I bent closer and kissed her gently.
            Drawing back a little, I stroked her face, “Then why do you want to end it?” I asked softly.
            “I—I have to,” her tears were coming fast now, spilling silently down her cheeks, “Thomas, please--”
            I held her close and kissed her again. She melted in my arms, and I held onto her like a lifeline. But after a moment, she pulled away.
            “I can’t do this,” she said.
            “What is it?” I asked, “What’s wrong?”
            “I love you.”
            Everything froze as she spoke those words. I had never heard them spoken with such passion, though she was crying as she said it.
            “You…?” I felt incapable of speech. At last I managed to ask, “But why is that a problem?” It might not have been the best thing to say – ‘I love you too’ probably would have been more appropriate, but I was too confused to think. I just couldn’t figure out how, even by women’s crazy standards, being in love was grounds for breaking off a relationship.
            All Morana said in response was: “I can’t--”
            I put my arms around her, “I love you,” I told her, “I want to marry you. Please don’t leave me.”
            “You…?” She gasped, looking up at me with tear-filled eyes.
            “I want to marry you.” I repeated, “Will you marry me?”
            She took a deep, shuddering breath, as though building up her courage, and then gave me my answer.


Today's Novel Idea Prompted by: "Death as my bride." which I swear was a line in a song I heard once, but I don't remember what the song was.... 


Kimberly DeWeese said...

teehee!!! I like this one!!!

Kassie said...

*Sigh* I guess I need to stop reading your open-ended short stories; they are driving me nuts! (Which means I like them).

We were given the assignment to rewrite Romeo and Juliet my freshman year of high school (you know, so we could make it happy). Romeo followed Paris in to the tomb were he gave a good-bye kiss to his bride who happened to wake up and mistake him for Romeo (mid-kiss). Romeo goes into a violent, jealous rage and kills them both, then commits suicide... I thought you may have appreciated this ending (your editor made a comment about recommending anything Shakespeare with maybe the exception of R&J). I wish I had held onto that assignment...