rough draft of The Demon of Petty Disturbances
by K. Kylyra Ameringer
Failure or success; the results weren't really important. Dick knew it was the time they spent together that was important. He and Mel swore a solemn promise to always be together, to always be friends.
They made their pact on the night of a full moon. Clasping each other's wrists over a headstone they had repeated a few magic words Melissa had chosen from a book and sworn by the powers of light and dark that no force would ever come between them. Dick had felt differently about Mel after that; in some indefinable way he'd felt they actually were bound together. Mel became less of a tag-along kid to him and more someone whose company he began to deliberately seek out.
In the past year he'd begun to notice changes in Mel. She lost her gangly and awkward look. Her skin cleared up and her bright and winning smile revealed a dimple in her right cheek, giving her an endearingly lopsided grin. Even her hair seemed to change; she grew it out long and her thick glossy tresses curled just so when she tied it back. Dick thought she was becoming a rather pretty woman.
He had decided nearly four months ago that they should marry, but he kept finding excuses to delay asking her. Now that he could afford his own place and Mel's exams were done, there was nothing to hold him back.
His eyes fell from his image in the mirror to rest on a tiny shelf. There was a box there; a jeweler's box, the kind that contained an engagement ring. He'd saved every cent he could and pulled double shifts and overtime at work to buy that ring. It wasn't very big and held only a chip of a diamond, but in Dick's eyes it was a king's ransom.
He imagined how delighted Mel would be when she saw it. He'd spent many nights planning how he would ask for her hand in marriage. He would pull her aside from the party tonight, maybe to some secluded spot in the moonlight, and drop to one knee, professing his love for her. She would begin to cry and confess that she, too, had a burning desire for more than friendship from him. He would then produce the ring and ask the big question. She'd be overcome with joy and fling herself into his waiting arms, throwing both of them back onto the soft, cool lawn. He'd kiss her then, the way he'd wanted to for several months now, and she'd respond in kind. And then ... and then ...
And then things got a little hazy for Dick. He thought perhaps they'd run off and elope that night, or maybe they'd spend the night talking and planning for their future. Oh, sure, her parents would put of a bit of a fuss at first, but in the end they wouldn't stand in the way when they saw how much Dick and Mel were in love. Melissa's father would probably help him get a better job, one with a nice office and a good salary.
Dick could envision himself thirty years from now, a bit grey around the temples. Melissa would still be by his side, some fine lines in her face but achingly beautiful nonetheless. Their children would be grown; tall, strong boys to help their father and beautiful, willowy young girls like their mother. There would even be a few grandchildren by then. The house would be large and in the country, and Mel's parents would be by to visit often. Dick wanted so much to live that dream.
He broke from his reverie and glanced at the clock: half-three. He'd better get a move on or he was going to be late. He took one last look in the mirror, grabbed the jeweler's box, and ran out the door to catch the bus a block down.
The Saunders' house was on the outskirts of town, in a well-established neighborhood with wide lawns and gracious homes. Mel's parents were prepared to celebrate their youngest daughter's success and threw the doors and windows of the large house open to the warm night air. The deep lawn and gardens were scattered with electric lanterns and inside the dining room table groaned under the weight of the buffet.
Melissa was regaled in a pale cotton dress and Dick could see her flitting around the house and gardens like a large graceful butterfly. Dick watched her talk to a small knot of people as he approached and heard her laughter peel out across the lawn. She turned to greet him with a pretty smile on her face.
"Oh, Dick, you made it! These are my cousins - Colleen and Molly," Melissa said, introducing the two girls she was talking to. "They and my aunt and uncle drove all day to see me today," she said with a little giggle. "It was such a wonderful surprise!"
Molly threw her arm around Melissa's waist. "We wouldn't have missed it for the world, little cousin."
"Melissa! Melissa, where are you?" Mrs. Saunders called to her from the back of the house. "Oh, there you are," she said, spotting her daughter in the group of young people. "Your grandmother's on the phone. She wants to say hello."
"Coming!" Melissa called. "You two take care of Dick for me, will you? Show him where the food is and introduce him around. I'll be back in a few minutes." She turned and ran lightly to the house.
Dick stood uneasily in the company of Mel's cousins. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, not sure of what to say. He reminded himself he was now Richard Digger, man of the world, and decided to take control of the situation.
rough draft of The Demon of Petty Disturbances by K. Kylyra Ameringer