On Worrying Myself Sick

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of a proposal.

Submitted: July 10, 2009

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Submitted: July 10, 2009

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He drove his father’s Rolls up the long and twisted tree covered avenue. Rain poured down in sheets, turning the world grey. I sat in idyllic silence, my head resting on the headrest. I relished the sound of the rain on the windshield as I gazed out the window to the bare trees that swayed with the wind. It was like watching ballet.

Casper’s hands gripped the wheel slightly. Clearly, he wasn’t concerned about hydroplaning. He looked so peaceful, so wonderful, his thick black hair curling down over the tops of his ears, playfully framing his pale, narrow face. His dark eyes weren’t totally focused on the road in front of us; I could see him peering at me from the corners of his eyes.

Casper took his hand off the steering wheel and placed it over mine. The warmth of it broke me out of my reverie and shot the tingles back up my spine. My eyes shifted from the trees outside to his soft face. He looked so happy, so calm. He looked like he loved me. I smiled at him and intertwined my fingers in his. He turned back to the road and I blissfully spent my time watching him pretend to concentrate solely on driving.

“Look,” he commanded suddenly, pointing our hands to a hill where the largest house I had ever seen sat. Lightening flashed behind it as it might in an old Frankenstein movie, but here, in the calm and quiet, it set a much more electric tone.

“Wow,” I breathed, amazed. I tried to imagine the kind of people who lived in it, what they looked like. I pretended that the house was mine, that I was allowed to walk aimlessly around the corridors and unlock the secrets of the rooms. “Who owns it, I wonder?” I didn’t really expect an answer; I didn’t expect Casper to know who owns every house in Maine.

“I do,” he murmured quietly. I nodded mindlessly; it took me a moment to process his reply. Then it sunk in, but he couldn’t possibly own that house.  It wasn’t possible; he would have to be super rich.

“That’s yours?!” I screeched, disbelief coloring my tone. He looked over at me sheepishly. I could tell he wasn’t lying, and I didn’t know what to feel. I was so very confused, first of all, and surprised, and elated, and a few other emotions that I didn’t take the time to recognize. He had never said anything about owning a house, let alone one this big. Casper took in my aghast expression and smiled, slightly embarrassed. He griped my hand tighter.

“The only reason this house is mine is a long standing family feud between my grandfather and my parents. I actually had nothing to do with it.” He tried to play innocent, so I rolled my eyes.

“Hey, I’m not complaining,” I told him, trying to sound nonchalant. “You just caught me off guard.” He surprised me by chuckling gently.

“I seem to have that effect on you.” I glared at him, but his dark eyes were warm, melting away some of my mock irritation.

“Yeah…” I couldn’t manage a witty response just then, so I turned my head back towards the window and watched as Casper’s house grew closer and closer.

It was old, probably 150 years old at least. The architecture was both Gothic and Second Empire Victorian and it was fashioned in red brick. From the front, it looked like the house was laid out in an “E” shape with two wings growing gracefully from the sides and a tall tower standing proudly in the middle. A wide balcony was nestled comfortably on the second floor, acting as a roof for the porch that hugs the mansion. The house was four stories tall, not counting the terraces on the roof.

Lightening flashed again and thunder rumbled overhead. Casper lifted our hands to brush my cheek softly. I leaned my head into his hand.

“I love you,” he whispered. I turned to meet his eyes. I loved the way the tingles tickled the pygmy elephants in my tummy, starting their circus tricks once again. It seemed strange to me that after all the different times he’s told me that, I still felt all gooey inside.

“I know, I love you too.” He kissed the back of my hand, leaving an invisible burn.

I returned my focus to his house as he pulled the car into what seemed to be a brick driveway. An old, waterless, ivy infested fountain stood in the middle of the turnaround, a headless angel reaching desperately for heaven perched on top. Casper turned the car off and looked at me.

“Do you want to take a look around?” His voice suddenly sounded off, as if he was suddenly nervous or uneasy. I figured (slash hoped) that he was just worried about my reaction to his suddenly prominent wealth and that there was no reason to take this as a bad sign.

“Sure.” I feel like I was visiting the Land of Make-Believe as Casper stepped out of the warm car and walked around to my door. He reached for my hand and helped me out into the pouring rain.

“It’s just so…big,” I whispered, referring to the house. I heard him laugh softly as he shrugged out of his tan trench coat and hugged it around me.

He held my hand as I followed him up the old concrete stairs to the huge oak doors. I noticed the devilish doorknockers peering snidely from the wood, daring me to touch them. They were quite creepy. Oddly, though, they didn’t unsettle me. I actually felt like I belonged here, which was very dangerous. If I ever got too comfortable, if I started regarding his belongings as mine, then it would be all that much harder when he came to his senses and realized that I was boring. What’s his is mine is not a good philosophy when the relationship hangs by three conditional words.

Casper opened the doors dramatically, posing awkwardly to make me laugh. He was successful and I nudged his arm playfully as I stepped around him into the large, dark foyer. I could vaguely make out patterns of deep brown squares on the floor that seemed to stretch on forever. On the opposite wall, I saw two sweeping staircases, leading up to a mezzanine. The walls were lined with mahogany panels.

“This way.” Casper broke me out of my amazed trance by grabbing my hand again and pulling me forward. “I’ll give you a tour.”

His tour didn’t last long. He led me from the huge doors to a hallway nestled beneath the two curving staircases. He showed me a large, breathtaking dining room, lit by four diamond chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling. The entire south-facing wall of the room was composed of large, square panes of grimy glass. He showed me a bathroom, the kitchen, the garden, and finally a room. Apparently, it belonged to me.

“I’ll let you wash up, I guess,” he muttered absently as I admired the green Baroque wallpaper of the suite. “Your bags are already here. Berkley already brought them up…”

“Is that a butler or a dog?” I asked playfully.

“Both.” His voice was distant and not as amused as he usually was. The tummy elephants stopped their parading and shifted uneasily on their feet. I felt the blood drain from my face. Surely, he wouldn’t have brought me all the way out here if he was going to tell me that I am dull, unwantable and a waste of his time. He wouldn’t show me his house if he never wanted to see me again, right?

All my worries sent my body into acute lockdown. I felt my cheeks heat, and my vision darkened around the edges. An anxious haze fogged my brain, blocking all thoughts except those preparing me for the words that will massacre my heart. That was what I got for falling in love. I focused on the trunk at the foot of the bed and muttered the first fuzzy words that popped into my head. I had no idea what they were. I kept my face as still as possible, not betraying my screaming emotions. 

I think Casper noticed that something was wrong. He strode over and took my face securely in his hands. “Dinner, Thistle. You’re just getting ready for dinner.” I nodded weakly, still waiting for his harsh words. “I am not going to stop loving you. Believe that, please.” His eyes pled with me, and the certainty of his love returned slowly.

I nodded again as best I could despite his strong hands that locked my face in place. He kissed me softly and I watched as he left my room.

I executed my post-traveling routine as slowly as possible. I was trying to waste time. I showered, dressed, blow dried my hair, and put on make up. I waited as patiently as possible for Casper to come back up. Soon, there was a knock at my door and I skipped over to answer it, needing to see his face again. But when I opened it, it wasn’t Casper standing in the hall; at least, not unless he drank some sort of aging potion (which should not be discounted, considering the style of house).

“You must be Thistle,” the man grumbled softly, his body looming in the darkness. So unless the potion caused memory loss as well, he was definitely not Casper.

“Uh, yeah…” My voice broke nervously. “Um, dinner…time?” The tall man’s black eyes peered down at me from under massive white caterpillar eyebrows.

“Yes.” He was Frankenstein, minus the whole lightening storm equals life thing…and the bolts in the neck...and the being dead part. I couldn’t think correctly, I was freaking out. He motioned for me to follow him.

He led me through the long corridors, back down to the dining room. I tried not to look at him, but he was just so creepy. He was at least six feet five, a frightening mass of skin and muscle. He was balding and his almost nonexistent hair protruded out of his head in tufts. His eyes held no emotion; they were glassy and black. His thin mouth stayed pursed in a thin line as we walked. He said nothing else to me.

He swung open the dining room doors and the first thing I noticed is Casper standing motionless, hands on his hips, staring at the giant table. My heart leapt at the sight of him, and he turned when he heard us walk in. He rolled his eyes, annoyed at something.

“Berkley,” he muttered to the oversized man. I felt a twinge of relief; he wasn’t upset with me. I wasn’t supposed to hear their conversation, though. “I was going to get her.” His eyes flicked to mine apologetically. Lurch grunted and left.

“How about a walk?” Casper asked too quickly. He didn’t wait for an answer; he just grabbed my hands and dragged me towards the garden doors. I couldn’t keep the elated smile off my face.

We walked outside into the cool and damp evening. The storm was over, leaving tiny diamonds on the flowers and trees, glistening in the weak light of the cloud covered sun. I looked around at the large Victorian designs, the giant flowers, the old statues.  I shivered slightly from the chill, but the air filled my lungs and calmed me.

We walked to the center of the garden, where another old and unused fountain sat, elegantly keeping watch over the flowers. I looked over at Casper. He was so perfect. I was so in love with him. I was surer at that moment than I had ever been that I wanted to spend every waking moment of every single day with him.

I pushed these thoughts away, still afraid he didn’t feel the same way. If I allowed myself loose all rationality, if I fell even more hopelessly in love with him, and then he broke it off, I didn’t think I would be able to survive.

He turned to me slowly, his eyes unsure but excited. He held both my hands securely in his own and he breathed my name. Then I watched as his height slowly started to decrease. His head became level with my own, then down further and further. He was down on one knee. My heart lurched in my chest, the pygmy elephants started up their circus tricks yet again, my breathing stopped, and my mind fogged over. All coherent thoughts stopped dead, and an excited buzz replaced it.

“Thistle,” he repeated softly, his eyes boring intensely into my mine. “I am deeply…madly…and undeniably in love with you. I want to spend every single minute of every single day for the rest of my life with you. I want to make you happy. I want to take care of you. You are everything to me…part of me. Will you marry me?” His hands unclasped mine and pulled out a little black velvet box from his jacket. He opened it slowly, revealing an old diamond ring nestled cozily in the black fabric.

I couldn’t think of anything other than the fact that he obviously loved me, that he wanted me as long as was physically possible. He wanted to put up with my insanity, be with me, and listen to my crazy ideas forever. I felt my dazzling smile spread across my lips as I muttered the word that would change our lives forever.

“Yes.”

Casper smiled and slid the ring onto my finger. Then his arms wound around me and everything was right with the world.


© Copyright 2019 ThistleBerkley. All rights reserved.

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