I’ve recently been getting into writing short stories. I love it so much! This one is my favorite, and by far my best. Side note; the bet inside the story is true. I made the exact same bet with my sister. I hope you enjoy my short story!
White Grave Wedding Dress
As I sneaked into my girlfriend’s apartment that evening, I was a little more than a little nervous. I had been thinking about this night for more than a month, planning out every single detail. Everything HAD to be perfect. A few days before, I could hardly eat. Wild thoughts raced through my head when I was trying to sleep at night. What if she says no? What if she doesn’t feel the same as I do? Will she break up with me? Will my heart ever heal again if she does?
For I was planning on proposing to her that night.
Asena and I met when we were in 6th grade. I had always noticed her, how could I not? Even in 6th grade, I knew she was beautiful. Her long auburn hair hung to her waist when she left it down. Her eyes were hard and calculating when she was on edge, but when she was comfortable they were warm and light. She hardly spoke to anyone, only to her best friend, Via. Even in class, she didn’t like to speak. Everyone knew she was smart, but she just didn’t let on much. Everyone in our class noticed her, but I doubt anyone noticed her as much as I did.
Despite my attraction to Asena, we didn’t really start talking until high school started. Over that summer, she had changed, grown into herself. She was more beautiful than ever. I was still too afraid to talk to her, for fear she would shut me down. But it was my love for music that enabled me an excuse to talk to her.
I loved music, it fascinated me. Classical music by Beethoven and Bach, but also modern music. When I was at home, I’d just listen to music for hours, hearing the blend of voices, the background beat, and piano, guitar, or whatever instrument I could hear.
I took the choir class, trying it for the first time. My elementary music teacher told me I had a good voice. I couldn’t be sure, as I had never really sang in front of her. In elementary, you don’t really care that much about music, you never really sing, either, you just kind of mumble and hope that your teacher won’t yell at you after the concert. Anyways, I was eager to start.
Asena and I started talking when I noticed how wonderful her voice was. I asked her about her preferences in music, and we just started hanging out. We’d go over to my house and listen to some new music I’d found. When she concentrated on the music, it looked like she was trying to set fire to the carpet with her eyes.
We didn’t start dating until the summer before sophomore year, when we’d started to spend the most time together. We went to the park together, just as friends, to just listen to the sounds and feel the breeze. But the best time that summer was when I took her to her first concert. When I saw the ads, I started saving up. Asena’s favorite band, Careless Rain, was playing. I knew that she had never been to a concert, and I knew that she would have the time of her life.
When I finally presented her with the tickets, she just looked at them for a long moment. My heart was beating so loud, I worried that she would just cast them away. Before I knew what was happening, she leapt at me and hugged me, for the first time, so tight it was hard to breathe. But I didn’t care, I didn’t care.
At the concert, she just closed her eyes during the first song. I don’t think she even noticed how hard she was grinning. She was completely lost in the music. To this day, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. After the first song, she opened her eyes and looked at me with bright eyes and an even brighter smile.
“Thank you,” she said to me, and hugged me, more gently than that first time. I hugged her back hesitantly.
She let go of me, and lost herself in the music again. When the concert was over, I drove her home. I walked her up to the front door, but she didn’t open it and go inside, like usual. She stood in front of me, just looking into my eyes. I couldn’t move. She moved closer to me, and kissed me.
We became a couple soon after that night. Asena had been hiding so much of her personal life from me. After we started dating, she told me more about her family than I would have ever guessed. Her father left her mother when Asena was only three years old. Her mother had a drinking problem for most of Asena’s childhood, although she was getting better.
Asena also told me that she had been enslaved by her thoughts for a while in junior high. She couldn’t control her thoughts, she had been depressed. She told me that sometimes she would get home and cry for hours. Soon after she told me this, I had been so angry at her stubbornness. Why didn’t she get help? But I knew, she was too prideful to admit she couldn’t do it alone.
During high school, I started saving up for my future, I got a job working as a farmhand on weekends during school and every other day during the summer. I didn’t know then quite what I was saving for, but I would know in a few more years.
After we graduated high school, we went to the same college, quite by accident. I had been looking at Martinez University for a long time, because of its excellent music program. I could learn about the music industry, mostly about digital music production. I decided to get a degree in media planning in marketing. We got quite a few scholarships between the two of us.
Asena went to Martinez University to also learn about music, mostly vocal and instrumental music, and get a degree in therapy and journalism. She had always wanted to help young people overcome mental issues like anxiety and depression. She would be perfect for her job, either therapy or journalism. She would also fit the music business, her voice was so beautiful.
College was amazing, I met a lot of new people. My dorm roommate, Derik, was one of the best people I’ve ever met. Asena’s roommate, Renna, was also a great person. Renna really helped Asena overcome some of her shyness in front of large groups of people.
After college, Asena and I each bought an apartment, even though I was secretly planning to propose by this time. Asena got a job at the local newspaper, and she was making pretty good money. Her employers loved the way she wrote, how she related to every person who read her articles. I also got a job working as a media planner.
Which leads me here, where the story began. Sneaking into my girlfriend’s apartment, laying everything out with my hands shaking.
I had no idea what to do for my proposal for Asena. Instead of putting out the cliché rose petals, I used dozens of bouquets she had pointed out to me in her favorite flower shop. They were a mixture of Vendela roses, Dusty Millers, Anemone, White Ranunculus, Blue Thistle, and Silver Brunia. When all the flowers were laid out, all thanks to Renna, I set out the speakers in the hallway. I was planning on playing, “Like An Angel” by Careless Rain, as it was Asena’s favorite song.
The rest of the setup was a blur, I’m surprised I made it through without collapsing from nerves. Renna was the one who made everything go correctly. I vaguely remember Derik stopping by and helping, but I can’t be sure.
“Can I see the ring before I go?” Renna asked me.
I wordlessly pulled out the small box, and handed it to her. She gasped when she opened it. I admit, it is a beautiful ring. It was silver, the top molded into a rose shape. In the center, a beautiful diamond resided. The sides were twisted with the tiniest of diamonds on them. Asena would love it.
The clearest memory was when I heard the front door’s lock turning, and I knew that it was Asena. I raced to the bedroom, where I would put my heart out on the line, where it could get hurt. I pushed “play” on my phone, and heard the quiet music start. In my mind, I imagined Asena seeing the white envelope, taking out the letter and reading it with the concentration I loved to see on her.
As the doorknob turned slowly, my heart jumped into my throat. I tried to swallow.
Asena walked into the room and stopped in her tracks when she saw me. We stared at each other for a solid thirty seconds. I then came to my senses and slid off the bed to stand before her. I looked into her gray eyes and forgot what I was supposed to say. So I improvised.
“Asena,” I said in a quiet voice. “I love you. I have loved you since we became friends in high school. I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to call you mine. But you’re not completely mine, yet.”
I sank onto one knee and pulled out the small velvet box. I opened it slowly.
“Asena Jackleen Linz,” I said, still staring into her eyes. “Will you make me the happiest man in the world? Will you marry me?”
For about a minute, Asena just stared at me. Then, to my surprise, she also dropped onto one knee.
“Will,” she said in her melodious voice. “I love you, too. I have ever since that first concert with you. You’ve proved to me countless times that you are a great man, and I sincerely believe that. I will always be yours, no matter what.”
She put her hands on my frozen ones around the small box.
“William Daniel Thomason,” she said. “Will you make me the luckiest girl in the world? Will you marry me?”
I stared at her, wondering how a person could surprise me so much.
“Of course, Asena,” I said, my eyes never leaving hers. “I love you.”
“Then, yes to your question, as well,” she said.
I slid the beautiful ring on her finger. She watched my hands, mesmerized. I kissed her, hardly believing my luck.
She pulled back and hugged me.
“Oh, Will,” she said. “Meira won the bet.”
For a moment, I didn’t say anything. I was sure that I’d heard wrong.
“Come again?” I asked, pulling away to look her in the eyes.
She smiled the saddest smile I’ve ever seen. “Meira, my sister. She won the bet.”
My brain reeled. A sister? In the near ten years I’d known Asena, she’d never mentioned a sister.
“I didn’t know you had a sister,” I said, not knowing what else to say.
“I didn’t,” she said, further confusing me. Until I heard her continue, “I had two.”
Soon after these bewildering confessions, Asena led me to her car and drove us out of town. She wouldn’t tell me where she was taking me, only that I’d understand soon. We came to a small piece of land surrounded by a white fence, with many trees around it. I saw the headstones, the flowers, the words written on each stone. Oh.
Asena got out, and started walking to the middle of the graveyard. I caught up to her and held her hand. She squeezed my hand, as though reassured herself I was really there. She walked down about ten rows, then turned right and continued for five more stones. She stopped in front of two graves, side by side.
One grave read,
Vanya Mirella Linz.
Birth; December 10, 2004
Death; December 16, 2014
“Your spirit goes on while your body is left behind.”
The other grave read,
Meira Evette Linz
Birth; June 13, 2000
Death; July 6, 2014
“Keep up your happiness, it’s the only thing keeping you here.”
I was shocked. How could Asena not tell me that she had two deceased sisters? That seemed like something that you should tell your significant other.
I was too busy with my wild thoughts to notice that Asena had fallen onto her knees and put her face in her hands. I sank down beside her instantly, and put my arms around her.
She gasped and took her hands away. She touched Vanya’s grave, then Meira’s. Tears were falling down her face like a rain shower. She didn’t seem to notice.
“Meira and Vanya were my sisters,” Asena said. “They were the happiest and sweetest girls I’ve ever met. Vanya died of cancer when she was ten. Meira died in a car accident when she was fourteen. Before she died, Meira and I made a bet. Meira bet me $10 that I would get married. I agreed, saying that I wouldn’t. I said that even if she died, I would put $10 on her grave. Of course, I never dreamed she would die so young.”
“Asena,” I said, speaking for the first time since entering the graveyard. “How could you not tell me something as important as this?”
My voice was not harsh or angry, as I wasn’t angry, but Asena flinched. “I didn’t want people looking at me like I was a kicked puppy. The poor girl with two dead sisters. I meant to tell you once we started dating, so many times. But I could never get the words out. You’re the first person I’ve ever told about them. It’s so hard to talk about, even now.”
She turned her eyes away from the graves to look at me beseechingly. “I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you, Will.”
I looked into her eyes and saw a still-raw pain.
“Asena, I know this has been hard for you. I forgive you. But they would be proud of you. I know they would, you’re amazing,” I said, meaning every word.
“Thank you, Will,” she said, leaning into me. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
We sat there for a long time after that, just sitting there, not even talking. When we finally left, we went to Asena’s apartment and laid on the couch together.
Several months later, the wedding was finally starting. I was so nervous, especially when Renna evicted me from the room so she could dress Asena up. Who thought of the rule that the groom can’t see the bride before the wedding?
When I saw Asena walking down the aisle, my nerves were gone. I knew that my life was starting, that it was going to be wonderful. All because of that beautiful woman walking towards me, in a pure white wedding dress. I knew, and I was right. My life has never been better.
I hope you enjoyed my first published short story! Thank you for reading!
Yours in writing,