Roses. Snow-white roses. Smooth, delicate petals. Purest of all the flowers. It is a true flower of allurement, and they’ve always been her favorite. Their beauty is as ineffable as she is. That is why I have placed a prodigious mass of them encircling the park. Along with a candlelight dinner, romantic music, and hanging lights in the trees spelling the words “Marry Me?” it will be the perfect proposal. I’ve loved her for so long, and I wish her an unforgettable moment of awe, making her happy beyond words. I—
“Jace! Quit standing there and finish setting up! Lieve is gonna be here any minute now.”
I also wish I were the one proposing to her. I turn around to face my longtime friend. Gerrick is dressed in a crisp black tuxedo, his dark hair smartly slicked back, and eyebrows furrowed so furiously over each eye I wondered if he could see me at all.
“We’re pretty much done here. I just have to finish touching up the roses.” I say. Gerrick had been stressing so much about this proposal that he decided to dump the entire set up on me. Which is kind of ironic since I probably know more about his girlfriend and what means the most to her than he does anyways.
I’ve been in love with Lieve since the moment I met her. We went to college together and became good friends, but I never found the courage to tell her how I truly felt. After I introduced her to my best friend, Gerrick, I later discovered that I would never get the chance. They had become a couple and my role of being the “friend” was cast. All I want is to just have one more chance to tell her how I feel.
“Hmm?” I’m dragged away from my thoughts and notice that Gerrick is now right in front of me.
“I said, why are these flowers white?!”
“What’s wrong with them?” I ask, bemused.
“I wanted red roses. Or at least some kind of color!” His face is growing redder at each word.
“You told me to pick any type of flower,” I explain, “These ones are her fav—”
“I don’t care!” Gerrick exclaims, kicking a bucket full of water and white roses. He grabs a fistful of the flowers and rips the petals off, throwing them to the ground. “Just make sure nothing else goes wrong tonight.” And with that, he walks away leaving me staring at the water and crestfallen petals.
The table is set, music playing, and the lights are ready to be lit. Lieve is sitting at the table with her soon-to-be fiancé, looking more beautiful than ever. When the moment arrives, Gerrick will retrieve the champagne filled glasses, and I will plug in the chord of the hanging lights bearing the significant question. My mind travels back to the thought of how much I want Lieve to be happy, but wish it were me she wanted to be happy with. If I just had one more chance to tell her… I shake my head. I’ll never get another chance. I just have to acquiesce that he’s the one she has chosen, and that’s the way it will always be.
“It’s time.” Gerrick calls quietly. I reluctantly pull my gaze away from my love and look to my friend. As he walks towards me I can practically see the nervousness oozing from his pores. “Everything’s ready? You’ve got the lights?”
“Yup,” I force a smile on my face, “got the plug-in for the lights here, and when you walk back to her, all I have to do is plug it into this extension chord.” Gerrick’s smile begins to fade.
“You can’t leave these chords like this. They’re too close to the walkway!” Indignantly, he picks up the chords and tosses them to the side. “I don’t want to be tripping on it!”
“And also,” he interrupts, “why are these stupid white rose petals all over the floor. Why didn’t you clean this up?!”
“Never mind. I don’t have time. Just be ready to turn on the lights when I start walking back. Don’t screw this up!” He briskly runs off, again leaving me perplexed by his sudden choleric manner.
I don’t know why I left the petals he blighted. I just felt like I should let them be. Or maybe I was just trying to prove to myself that although I’m a complaisant person, I’m not completely obsequious. Abjectly, I traipse back to where I’m to wait for my cue on the lights.
I catch the rhythm of his steady footsteps treading along the stone walkway. I turn to see Gerrick make his way past me, a champagne glass in each hand, and nod his head. My cue. I plug in the chord. The brilliant lights radiate from the trees, illuminating their message. As I look back to see Garrick’s grinning face, it’s as if someone switched the world’s remote to slow motion.
Pieces of sodden roses lay on the ground while Gerrick mercilessly crushes them beneath his burnished dress shoes. As if to conspire against him for his insensitive acts, the pernicious petals cause him to slip. His whole body falls back. The glasses in each hand soar behind him, dousing the electrical wires, as his head strikes the unforgiving stone walkway. Sparks. Crepitation. The luminous lights diffuse simultaneously. Leaving only looming darkness for solace.
“Jace?” The plea of my name guides me back to the world of its normal pace. I peer up to see Lieve walking up the unlit path. “What’s going on? Why is Gerrick laying on the ground? Is he all right?”
I trudge over to Gerrick. He’s out cold, surrounded by the unsuspected retaliating rose petals. I bend down and pick up a lone white petal settled on his chest. A smirk forms on my face. Well, he did have it coming.
“Is he all right?” Lieve repeats.
“Oh yeah,” I assure her, “just a bump on the head. He’ll be just fine.” I stride back to Lieve and place the petal in her hand. “Your favorite, right?” I ask her. She smiles and nods, stroking it against her cheek.
“Come on, let’s go for a walk.” I announce. “There’s something I want to tell you.”
“Okay.” She responds. We head back the way she came and amble deeper through the park, a beaming grin on my face. I finally got my chance. Now I just need the courage to follow through.