Open Now or Open Later?
She couldn't sleep. However hard she tried and in whatever position, she could not get to sleep. It was already Christmas morning and all she could think about was the large stack of presents under the tree downstairs. Especially one gift from someone she loved very dearly and couldn't wait to open the next day. But it already is the next day…her mind argued. So maybe no one would mind if she slipped downstairs and opened just one small gift to satiate her hunger.
Her mind was made up in moments. Silently she swung her legs out of the warm bed and put on her slippers, making sure to make no noise that would awaken the other occupants of her room to her movements. Tiptoeing to the door she stealthily opened the lock and slipped through the door while leaving it slightly open for an easier return.
Padding down the carpeted hallway she paused at the top of the stairs to listen to the hushed breathing of her parents in the next door room and could hear nothing from her brother's room behind her. Taking one step at a time she made it to the large atrium of the house where the base of the staircase was situated opposite the front door. The family room where the tree held order among its subjects, the presents, was on her left. However between her and the doorway the floor was uncarpeted and there were several spots that would creak at the slightest pressure. Their protest would surely awaken her light sleeping father and there would be no more present tonight, just a scolding for disobeying the hard rule of no presents until the whole family was ready. She winced when remembering this rule, a small fact she had forgotten in her eagerness to see what he had given her. Well, there was nothing she could do about that now. You just couldn't come so close to your goal to turn around for some silly rule that had been implemented when she was less than five years old and caught awake at three in the morning, waiting for Santa.
Taking a rather strange route to the doorway to any observer she managed to place her feet on the thick cream carpet with no noise. She began to feel all breathless and giddy, just at the site of the magnificent Christmas tree with the stacks of different coloured parcels sitting beneath the lower branches of the conifer. The white lights twinkled magically and made the tinsel sparkle and the baubles glimmer.
Approaching the tree, she sank to her knees, just to take in its glory from another angle. Smiling softly to herself, she gently brushed a stray lock of brown hair from her face and found the exact parcel she was looking for. It was a box, the traditional type with a lid held on by a thick and shining ribbon. The box itself was wrapped in a deep red with a texture that spoke of expense while the gold ribbon was of silk and expertly tied in a perfect bow at the top. This present could easily be opened, admired and put back again, good as new to be surprised with all over again the next day.
Placing the box before her, she gently pulled at the two ends to the bow as it smoothly came apart and fell from the box itself. She was almost holding her breath when she gently grasped the front sides of the box to slowly lift the lid and gaze upon the content.
Stunning…beautiful…touching… Those were her first impressions of the item that sat on the crushed red velvet backing. Fully removing the lid to the box, she gasped in awe as the twinkling lights from the Christmas tree above her shone through the item and give it a magical theme. It was an amberite rose. The top was from red while the stem and three leaves were of green. Between her gentle fingers she lifted the rose out of the box to look at it further. Each rose petal was individually carved from separate pieces of amberite and then joined together to form one, perfect rose. Where each petal met and the stem was attached, the amberite had been melted down to seamlessly fit together.
Time stood still for the young woman kneeling before the giant tree, holding this floral sculpture where the main item for their relationship had been immortalised forever in precious stone.
"I thought I'd find you here." Spoke a deep and quiet voice from the doorway.
Gasping with shock and surprise, she almost dropped the ornament while turning to see the owner of the voice. There he was, the love of her life, standing casually at the doorway in his pyjamas, a soft, kind and understanding smile on his face.
"I'm sorry, I just couldn't sleep or wait any longer to open something and I'm sorry if you wanted to be here when I opened it but…" her voice faded into nothing as he padded over to her in his bare feet and knelt beside her.
"Don't worry about it." He said, kissing her silky hair. "I was just concerned when I woke up and you weren't there and the door was open. I thought someone had tried to spirit you away from me."
"Well, I certainly didn't want you to feel that. I'd never, ever leave you and you'd have woken up long before anyone would be able to tear me from the bed." She gave him these comforting words and returned the kiss, this time upon his lips. "I just want to say that this is so, so beautiful." She held the amberite rose aloft and could feel the threat of tears in her eyes at the thought of how beautiful his gift to her had been.
"I love you so much…" he started, now moving to kneel before her and clasping her hands with the rose between them, facing up. "I suppose you haven't had time to examine the rose fully yet so take another look into the heart of the petals."
Doing as he asked after showing a face of confusion she peered down at the rose in their hands and gasped at what she saw. Right in the centre was a perfect diamond, mounted on a gold band.
"May, will you do the honour of marrying me?" he asked while staring deeply into her golden brown eyes that were still full of so much innocence that he just wanted to protect her from everything that wanted to cause her any pain, suffering or harm. Her beauty was unmatched by anything he had ever seen and for her to say yes would make him the happiest man alive, as well as the luckiest to be marrying such a pure hearted goddess.
She returned his gaze and took in his slightly pale completion that contrasted with is deep emerald eyes that were full of past loss and pain that she wanted to take within her arms and soothe better so that he could never feel any more pain in the world. Realising that he was still waiting for an answer while she had been lost in his eyes she breathed out, barely loud enough to be heard, "Yes."
Immediately his face filled with untold joy as he picked up the ring from the centre of the rose and slipped it upon her slender finger. They both giggled slightly with merriment before falling into each others arms and each others kiss.
"My little girl has all grown up!" trilled a very feminine voice from the door. May and Drew shot apart as horror filled their hearts and almost crushed the exquisite amberite masterpiece. Standing in the door was her mother, father and brother who had evidently heard the whole thing. Tears of happiness leaked from the corners of Caroline's eyes while her husband Norman rubbed her back and smiled at the two newly engaged people before him. Ushering his over reactive wife out of the room and back to their bedroom, he left them in peace.
Max remained for a moment longer at the door to smile warmly at his sister and grin knowingly at her fiancé who blushed a little in response. As Max's footsteps could be heard going up the stairs again, May and Drew looked at each other again, giggling slightly while sharing another kiss.
Carefully, May picked up the rose and returned it to his nest in the box on the bed of crushed velvet and was about the close the lid when Drew halted her hand. "Hang on, there's more to this rose than meets the eye." he murmured and took the rose from his fiancé's soft fingers and held the top towards them again where the blank space the centre now lay and the groove where the gold band had laid was visible. Lifting the cushion that the velvet was attached to, he turned it over to show a small hole in the base that was covered by a sheet of velvet. Pushing back the velvet he unearthed a strangely carved piece of amberite before replacing the cushion in the box. Lifting the strange piece up, he slid the oblong end into the top of the rose where it snugly took the place of the ring while from above, the rose was now complete and could easily be mistaken for a real rose with a mysterious coating. May smiled at him and was touched again at how thoughtful and perfect the gift was.
They climbed the stairs together with their fingers tightly interlocked and closed the door to their bedroom once more. Climbing into bed first, May grasped her husband-to-be's hand and wrapped his arms around her in a comforting hold. Sharing one last kiss they settled down to sleep for the rest of the night.
Before she fell asleep however, May admired the jewel that now bedecked her finger and smiled to herself. Yep, it had definitely been worth sneaking down this year.