I wrote this quite some time ago. Probably 3ish years. I was a delicate, changing creature.
It's a bit different from my bedtime stories but I hope you'll enjoy it in all of it's teenage, crazy, silly, cheesyness.
I heard the door click open.
"Hazel, wake up!" Valery called. "Hazel!"
I stirred lightly from my warm and comfy resting spot on the couch. "Go away," I called. Snuggling back down in my make-shift bed, I sighed, still enjoying the warmth and very much wanting to go back to my dream. It had been something about Ian, hot rocks and I think a cave behind a waterfall. I'm not too great at remembering my dreams.
I had just closed my eyes and gotten comfortable when Val yelled at me again. "Hazel, come on!" She was practically right next to me. The door clicked shut. Odd. That door had to be pushed shut and Val was too close to me to have just shut it.
"Val, who else is here?"
"Aurora, Damian and Brice. We're going to the beach today, remember?"
That woke me up. "What?!" There were four people in my apartment with me asleep on the couch? Crud! "Val! Why didn't you tell me?"
"Well, I tired to," she said, pulling back my blanket. "But you were too insistent on sleeping!"
"When was this plan even decided?"
"It was Damian's idea," Val said.
He popped into my vision. "Sorry. I wanted it to be just us but somehow word got out," he took a moment to glare at his sister, "and once Val decided to come along Brice was right on board and Ash thought volleyball sounded like fun."
"Well, fine. But can you all get out while I get ready?"
Everyone filed out reluctantly except Val.
"What bathing suit are you gunna wear, Hazel? Ooh, are you gunna take a shovel and bucket so you and Damian can build a sand castle? That would be so romantic."
I let Val continue her talking while I dug around in my closet for my swimsuits. There was that cute one-piece. And the electric blue bikini Val had bought me. As I searched, my mind went back to my dream. What had I been wearing in that dream anyway? I thought hard, trying to will my mind to focus on a minute detail that it had come up with. Green. That was it. A deep green bikini that matched Ian's eyes. It had a large leafy pattern on it. Too bad I didn't have that bikini. Ian would have liked that one.
"Hey," I called to Val who was still rambling on about something, maybe Brice. "Help me choose a swimsuit."
"Huh? Oh, sure."
She didn't even seem the slightest bit offended that I'd interrupted her.
"Why don't you wear the one Aurora and I got you?"
"What?" This was news to me. "You and Ash got me a swimsuit?"
"Yeah. She said something about today being special and you'd want to look your best."
Val shrugged but pulled a suit out of her beach bag and handed it to me. It was deep red in color with a tiny, delicate floral pattern stitched in silver thread. The top had a scoop neck gathered in the middle by a silver O but was still a halter and the bottom was plain except for the matching silver O that joined it on the left side. Not nearly as pretty as the one in my dream but still very pretty.
"Do you like it? I helped Aurora pick it out."
"It's beautiful! I love it. Thanks so much."
"Well, go put it on!"
I yanked a white cover-up dress out of the pile I'd made and ran into my bathroom. A few minutes later I walked out, my hair up in a ponytail and my make-up kept to a minimum. I spun around, modeling the suit for Val.
"What do you think?"
"Darling, you look stunning!"
"Thanks! You guys did a great job picking this out!" The top was a bit shorter than I would have liked but it did look fantastic. I quickly threw the white tube top cover-up on over the suit and grabbed my beach bag (that did indeed have some buckets and shovels for making sand castles). "Let's go!"
Twenty minutes later we were all set up t the beach: We had three umbrellas, five towels laid out on the sand and 3 beach bags. Ian and Brice had brought towels but not much else. I sat back on my towel and watched Val, Ash, and Brice make a bee-line for the waves. Val was wearing a white bikini with splashes of all sorts of random colors while Ash was wearing a black one-piece halter with big circles takes out of both sides. There were silver rings at the center in the front and at the bottom of both the side cut-outs. Brice was wearing blue trunks with black stripes down the sides while Ian was wearing brown trunks with white flares with brown leaves on the sides. I turned to him to say something but his muscular back was to me though he was looking over his shoulder and holding a bottle of sunscreen out to me.
"Do you mind?"
"Uhh," I faltered. "Sure."
I shook off my jitters and squeezed some sun block onto my hand and began to rub it into his muscled back. Starting in the middle, I worked my way down his back and found a tiny tattoo on his right hip, just above the waistband of his shorts. It was a small and simple cross.
"How," I stumbled over my own words. "How long have you had this?" I pressed the cross lightly to indicate what I was talking about.
"The cross? I got that on my 18th birthday. Partly because I wanted the tattoo and partly to spite my parents."
"Huh." I smiled. Nice sentiment he had going there.
I finished rubbing the sunscreen into his shoulders before I smacked his back. "Done."
"Thanks." He turned around and smiled. "Want me to do yours?"
"There's not much skin showing. Besides, I need a tan."
I eyed the tattoo on his left pectoral. That one I knew about. The strange oval with 5 beads of color circling inside. Black, red, white, green and gold. I smiled at the meaning of it.
"Hey, wanna build a sand castle?"
I’d had her ring, of course, custom made. The engagement ring was a mass of intricate spires done in fine silver that together looked almost like a hazelnut flower (though flatter) or an artistic, silver sun though it was no larger than dime. The spires tapered down into two separate silver bands at the bottom. A small, round diamond on a simple silver band made up the center of the wedding ring, though the two could be put together and taken apart so that the simple diamond band would be her wedding ring. That is, if she would have me.
The spires were so intricate because I’d requested them that way: I wanted to have the ring made into a key for a music box. The music box maker had been very helpful and willing to try, he’d never tried to make a ring a key. He’d toiled though and finally called me in to show it to me. All I needed now was a song. Smiling, I handed him the sheet music for (Swing Life Away by Rise Against, the song Haze wanted played at her wedding) a lullaby that Ash had written for her. A few days later he called me in and showed me the box, done in silver with many swirls and white and grey gemstone beads of many shades strung on randomly. And, of course, the lock for the ring key. I wound it up, fit the key in, unlocked and listened as tiny plinks sounded out the song. After thanking the man profusely for all his hard work and paying the large sum that could keep Ash in school for well over a semester, I set off to my trip to the beach with Haze, Ash and Val.
With the extra key the box-maker had given me, I unlocked the box and set it down to play on the beach towel while Hazel, with her back turned, applied sun block. Hearing the (familiar) tune, she turned. Mouth open, ready to ask a question, no doubt, Hazel was a girl with an agenda when she saw the box. Stunned into silence, she looked from my laying body to the box and back again. “This is (my favorite song) beautiful,” she finally whispered softly, not wanting to disrupt the tune.
“And the box,” she still whispered. “It’s so beautiful.”
Haze waited and listened as the song continued to plink itself out, eyes fixed on the box the entire time. When the song ended, Haze had another question ready. “Is this for me? The date, the song… Did you do all this for me?”
I knew she was only talking about the situation, too modest to voice her burning curiosity about the box’s intended owner. Still, I had to make her say it. “Yes. Though Ash, Val and Brice tagging along wasn’t part of the original plan. But yes, this whole outing is all for you.”
She apparently had to know, modest or not. “And the music box?”
I sat up and stared into her eyes, causing her to sit back a bit in an attempt to avoid the intensity. “Yours. On one condition.”
Always cautious, Haze had more questions ready instead of agreeing unconditionally as I knew she would. “What?”
“Marry me,” I whispered, adverting my eyes, finally shying back myself.
Hazel’s jaw dropped and, like the intruders they were, Ash and Val ran up and dropped themselves onto two of the five towels, Brice not far behind.
“The waves,” Ash panted “are awesome.”
“Fan-tastic,” Val agreed, the single word sounding more like two.
Brice smilingly observed the scene.
Hazel’s mouth remained open and her eyes stayed fixed on the music box and the ring in my hand.
My head whipped around to catch Ash’s eyes and strongly direct her away. She finally got it and started to suggest that we leave but not before Val could get a word in edgewise.
“Hey, why does Ian have a silver hazelnut flower?”
Everyone was silent. I hadn’t been sure that anyone would be able to tell what my inspiration had been for the ring design. I guess Val did her botany homework.
“It’s a hazelnut flower” Haze half asked, half stated as if she had to get used to the idea and saying it out loud would help.
My attention immediately turned back to Haze, afraid to throw the delicate situation off balance. I was also very afraid of hurting her in any way. “Yes,” I answered, ignoring Val’s question (them both quietly).
“But Hazel always hates it when I buy her hazel-anything.”
Ash, as if reading my mind, punched Val in the arm. I bit back a smile.
“The sentiment of this one is a bit more sever, Val,” Hazel whispered, still in awe.
Full attention on Haze, I opened my mouth to apologize and attempt to make amends for my brash proposal. However, Valery, who obviously had a death wish or something today, opened her mouth again.
“What could be more sentimental than a Christmas-Birthday present?”
“He just proposed,” Ash whispered harshly in Val’s ear.
“Maybe we should leave them alone for a bit,” Brice spoke up. Bless his soul. He was probably the only one who could drag Val away from her best friend receiving a wedding proposal.
They walked away and Haze’s eyes had still yet to leave the box and ring. “Haze,” I put the ring away and put my face in her line of sight. “Haze, please say something. Say you hate me or that you want me to leave the music box and walk away myself. Just say something.”
“Why,” Haze swallowed back her whisper before finishing her sentence. “Why on earth would I say something like that to you?” Her eyes looked deep into mine with an intensity that made me feel completely known to her. “Why on earth would I tell you off when you have just done something so sweet and so thoughtful for me?”
I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to feel.
“I’d say yes even without the music box. Even without this whole event planned for me. It means a lot, yes. But it doesn’t mean more than you.” Hazel said. “It couldn’t mean more than you. The only thing I’m wondering is ‘why me,’ and ‘do you really mean it.’ (But for the one question, I have one answer.)”
I looked at Hazel shocked myself. I wanted to say something but there weren’t words. Instead, I hugged her. Hugged her tight and hugged her close. “You, Hazel Lynn Albred, are beautiful and strong and warm and accepting and so many other things that I can’t name because there aren’t names for them and that is why you. And of course I mean it. I wouldn’t be here asking you if I didn’t. There is no joke crueler and I would hope that I would never be so cruel as to play it on anyone, especially not you. Haze, I want to cheese-ily and cliché-ily spend the rest of my life with you. And there are no other words to express that desire.”
“Then yes,” she answered my question. “Of course I’ll marry you.”
I was sure she had said the second sentence just to say it and hear the words out loud but it didn’t matter. I was engaged to a beautiful girl and it had gone no where near as planned but wonderful all the same. She held out her left hand and I finally took off the ring that I had accidentally run away with what seemed like so long ago and replaced it with the silver spires of Hazel’s engagement ring. I leaned over to hug her once more, deftly shutting the music box while I did so.
“You’re music box,” I presented it to her, pulling away. “My fiancé.”
Smiling, she also covered a blush while taking it from my hands. After fiddling with it for a few moments, she finally asked me, frustrated how on earth she was supposed to open it (the darn thing). I took her hand and knowingly slipped the ring into the key-hole, twisted slightly and it popped open. Haze gasped.
“You,” she accused “went through all the trouble, time, and money to get a music box that this ring would open?”
I guess she wasn’t quite used to the idea of the ring being hers.
“Of course. But it was worth it.” I smirked and watched her. “This, your reaction, is priceless.”
She reached over and hit my shoulder playfully. “You jerk!”
I reacted the only way I could. Rising, I nudged her knee with my foot and raced off towards the others in the splashing waves, Haze not far behind.
… And then Haze gets a terrible sunburn. : P !!!!!