Author's Note: This was inspired by the song Lay Lady Lay by Bob Dylan and also having a need to help a surprisingly unpopular pair which I happen to love. Although I'd write a long-fic for them, I don't have a lot of time lately, so a one-shot it is. I don't even know if this is any good since I only just finished it at... oh, four in the morning. All the same, just sit back and please enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own neither Harvest Moon nor the song which not only inspired but also lent its name to this story.
Lay Lady Lay
Mornings are curious things, aren't they? You either love 'em or hate 'em, and there's really no in between. Funny how I used to feel the later of the two until recently. Now I can't help but smile as I prop myself up on my elbow, sinking deep into the new, unfamiliar mattress. It's hard not to when the light of early dawn falls on her angelic, sleeping face through the slats of the blinds. The soft satin sheets lay forgotten at the end of the bed, and even though her creamy skin is bare, the way she lays curled up into herself is more innocent than anything else in this whole world. I don't think I've ever felt quite so blissful before...
They say that marriage has a way of changing a man... and I suppose it truly has come to pass in my own experience.
Every day was exactly like the last in the time before I met her. Nothing ever seemed to change, and while I couldn't really complain about where my life stood, I couldn't say I was happy with my current position, either. Maybe I was simply content, or perhaps I was just complacent... Whatever I was, it wasn't what I wanted to be which was why I found it so strange that our meeting ended up making any sort of difference at all. After all, it was just so... normal.
She was just a girl, more or less, simply like any other. Long blonde hair and golden, brown eyes... nothing out of the ordinary. Even when she first smiled at me on the docks, I thought she was little else but a cute sweetheart of a gal, and I figured that's all she'd ever be to a man like me, hopelessly laid back and lacking any real sort of ambition. Her tinkling laughter was what touched me, though. It was like the ringing wind chimes in a gentle, ocean breeze or the light sound of ice in a tall glass of lemonade.
Still, I chose to tell myself I was being overly sentimental about a girl I barely knew. I have a single clue about her past and who she was to the world, if anything... and figured I never would. There wasn't any point in pursuing the matter further than that from what I could tell although I'd never say as much. 'Why should I?' was the mentality I had back then.
For the longest time, I'd remained completely unaware of the changes that were occurring in both myself and my little slice of the world we all live in. It began simple enough with me greeting her on the shoreline every morning after bringing in my catch for the day in the hours soon following the dawn. She was always there, you see, casting out her line into the shallows, and even if she had to wait for hours to get so much as a nibble, she wouldn't give in to her apparent misfortune.
Oh, sure, there were times she'd throw an absolute hissy fit and throw down her pole in an act of childish impatience. However, she would inevitably pick it up to try again once she'd calmed herself back down, and that absolutely fascinated me. It wasn't like I'd seen a woman fish, and when I later found out she was a celebrity... well... let's just say I'd been a bit skeptical to accept it.
Didn't mean I told her as much, though.
I have to smile when I recall those few times I caught her deep in the throws of one these frequent tantrums. I'll admit I was a bit intimidated upon seeing them first hand from the safety of my fishing trawler, and I'd often have to swallow my nerves to gain the courage to greet her afterwards. They certainly weren't the only occasions I'd witness her fiery temper, either, and I came to know them better than anyone since I was usually the one to bear the worst of it. After all, I wasn't exactly the best at remembering things, not to mention my apparent lack of tact...
A word of advice, though... Never question a woman's skills in something she's passionate about. If you do, I can guarantee you'll be paying for it soon enough, and as a result, you'll most likely be left in the fetal position with your hands between your legs, questioning the possibility of ever contributing future generations to your family's already dwindling line.
Unfortunately, I had to learn from experience.
However, I did know a few things about women, and the most important one was that a compliment can go a long way for a man and almost never goes unappreciated. She'll always be grateful to you for it, but she can still tell the difference between one that's sincere and one that is all for show.
Even so, she knew I meant every word I said which I was careful not to take for granted. Trust takes time to build, after all, and I treasured the honesty we could share so easily between us. There were plenty of exaggerated fish tales, of course, but we both knew they were all in good fun though we didn't say as much. That's usually how we'd spend the evenings at the local diner while we swapped stories and laughs over coffee, mine black and hers with three creamers and two sugar packets, and a large order of fries to split. She politely chose to ignore the fact that I tended to eat more than my fair share, too.
I can't rightly say when we became more than 'just friends,' yet I can only assume it was during that blizzard a little over a year ago. She'd seen my dilapidated shack enough times during the years we'd been acquainted to know that it wasn't exactly the best place to be on a miserably cold winter's day, with or without the blinding flurries. Therefore, I couldn't have imagined she'd brave the unforgiving winds, rapidly piling snow, and below freezing temperatures that day, especially for me of all people. She'd even gone so far as to bring me a crock pot of her homemade fish stew as well, and although I was grateful for the thoughtful gesture, I still had to ask why she'd gone to all the trouble for some no good sailor. Her cheeks, though already rosy from the bitter chill and barely peeking out from her fuzzy pink scarf, turned bright red and she replied,
"Well, it's the Starry Night, isn't it?"
Let me tell you, it's quite an interesting maneuver to get two people into a hammock, regardless of whether one of them weighs barely anything over a hundred pounds at best, but we somehow managed to make it work that night being that she ended up being snowed in. However, I don't think I've ever been so nervous before although there would certain be times that followed, easily paling it by comparison.
One particular instance that stands out so vividly in my mind to this day was the time a certain cowboy happened to stumble across us at what should've been a private picnic on the beach behind my old shanty.
I'd been almost absolutely certain she'd never be on speaking terms with me again after having her avoid me for the next two weeks following the unfortunate discovery by our rather sullen friend. I already figured that everything had come to an end, and it was a curious wonder indeed that I bought the blue feather at all since I felt I didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of her accepting the thing. I still don't know what possessed me to go through with it in the first place, either. Maybe I was holding out one last hope for us to be together, or perhaps I just thought I had nothing left to lose. At the very least, it could've been that the merchant was simply damn good at his job which was probably the most likely answer anyway.
Finding her wasn't much of a problem, luckily. Since she no longer came to the shore, for obvious reasons, there was really only one place for her to go and fish with any hopes for success. Oddly enough, if not conveniently, it also happened to be right in front of the church as well.
Her dark, amber eyes were so alarmed when she first caught sight of me, but she didn't run past me in a fit of tears. Instead, she merely turned away gazed out over the small, inland lake where the full moon and stars reflected themselves on its tranquil glossy surface and cherry blossoms drifted by lazily on the occasional ripple in the wake of what could've been a fish. Perhaps it was even caused by the higher being that was said to dwell within these sacred waters... I honestly couldn't say.
I, too, let my gaze linger there while I prayed to my fish god and the goddess that supposedly hid herself in the pool, just for good measure. It took some serious doing to gather up the courage to ask her, but beneath my bandanna, I felt the feather grow warmer as if it was ready and anxious to be given. What could I possibly tell her, though? 'You know that... thing that happened? Well, let's just get married and forget it ever happened. Okay?'
Yeah... that would work...
Just as I was about to open my mouth, in the hopes that something intelligent would come out of it, I suddenly found myself lost in a passionate, spontaneous kiss. Right then, my brain had all but short-circuited, and I couldn't form a single coherent thought, unless you count 'Woah' as clever. However, once her nimble fingers had made their way to the top of my head and entangled themselves in my unruly curls, she paused for an instant, and soon enough she'd brought her hand back to reveal the azure hue of the engagement feather to her own eyes. I mentally curse myself for not being about to handle the proposal on my own.
She was silent for a moment which caused my heart to put itself on hold, waiting with nail biting anxiety. I couldn't read her seemingly placid expression, either, and for the first time in my life, I was all but a nervous wreck. What if she said no? Was it okay that I hadn't gotten down on one knee and done the whole chick-flick performance? Would she yes only to leave me alone at the alter out of spite for not being able to keep myself out of her pants (despite her always wearing a dress) until after the wedding vows were said?
When her gaze met my own, I held my breath and shut my eyes as tight as I could manage to prepare myself for the worst. However, she merely smiled up at me which chased away all my fears. In my relief, I vaguely noticed there were petals in her hair, but I couldn't bring myself to brush them away since they simply belonged there... or so it seemed anyway. I didn't have much time to dwell on the beauty of the moment, though, before I got an answer.
"Denny..." she began quietly, her melodic voice ringing sweetly in the air between us. "Of course I'll marry you." However, when I tried to speak, she rested a delicate finger on my lips to silence me and added, "Just promise me that you won't let Vaughn speak at the wedding, okay?"
Though I'd given her my word, I really should've known better than to trust a man like him. Of course, it didn't help that there was liquor involved before the reception even got started, but I'm getting ahead of myself again.
As ceremonies go, I don't think we could've hoped for anything more fitting for the two of us. The church was decorated simply with small bouquets of pink cats and teal ribbons along the aisle, yet she had assured me she had always preferred the 'quaint' to the extravagant. I suppose it was a result of her weariness from the being in the realm of show business in the past. Regardless, I doubt any of that really mattered to either of us once she appeared in the open archway leading into the sanctuary.
My wife to be had certainly pulled out all the stops to capture her audience, for if I'd felt my bride was something special before, I was beyond certain of it during her first, breathtaking steps down the aisle. As she put it shortly after we stepped out of the church, it was her 'finest performance yet.'
Every step was graceful, yet undeniably self-assured and decisive. She had done up her hair in a loose ponytail with spiral ringlets that tumbled about her bare, narrow shoulders. Her impressive, silk dress wasn't even long enough to trail behind her as she made her way towards me, and although her mother had protested on the basis of modesty, she had also chosen a sleeveless style with a darling, sweetheart neckline for herself. After all, she had always dreamed of a summer wedding which, she explained, made it an appropriate choice on her part.
Besides, after the reception, the poor older woman, who was already grudgingly accepting the idea that a fisherman would be her son-in-law, would probably realize that the matter of sleeves and cleavage was hardly worthy of her concern.
While most brides were on the verge of joyful tears upon joining their husbands to be at the alter, being that it's such an emotional moment, she was smiling brilliantly and her cheeks were a light, innocent shade of pink. Only once she took my chapped hand in her own soft one did she start to tear up on me, but the mist over her beautifully warm, brown eyes quickly vanished after I flashed her a reassuring grin. In that one, simple gesture, I'd done my best to banish any of her lasting anxieties although I'll admit mine were still very much there. What groom wouldn't be nervous on his wedding day, though?
Giving up the life of a bachelor is no easy feat, you know.
However, before I could even consider what was happening, it was the moment of truth at last, and there I was, tongue-tied and dry mouthed just in time to make my vows. Perfect... All it took was a wink from my bride, though, and the words came to me effortlessly in a smooth and even tone. Strange, isn't it, how she was the one helping me with the whole thing when I should've been supporting her through these kinds of things instead?
Vows were made, rings had been exchanged, and a kiss was shared in what was nothing short of a blur as I found myself being swept up in a whirlwind of a giddiness I strongly doubted I would ever experience again. They say that the day a man and woman are married remains an unforgettable memory, yet I have to confess that in the rush of all the excitement and emotions of the event I couldn't have remembered much of anything.
Of course, it's even harder to think straight when someone breaks out the champagne and vodka just after the ceremony. It also probably didn't help that I'm a lightweight and thus was easier to take advantage of in such situations.
Looking back on it now, I've got to say that at the very least, Vaughn's toast to the newlyweds was rather unforgettable. After all, not every reception leaves the bride's entire family gaping as the Best Man twirls their daughters black, not to mention sheer lace, panties around his finger during his speech, recounting the evening he happened upon them on the beach in the throws of passion. I still haven't gotten him to tell me how the hell he got a hold of them in the first place, though, or why I haven't gotten them back for that matter...
They hadn't even been off all the way when he found us, either, which was another mystery entirely.
Even as I lay here in my bed with my new wife, the sunlight now streaming in through the window and onto the entire brass bed, I have to chuckle at the memory. It's really some kind of miracle that I managed to coax her under the covers with me last night, but I know there'll come a day when she can laugh the whole embarrassing ordeal off along with me. After all, we've got a lifetime ahead of us, and I know she can't stay up tight about it for that long. Besides... what's done is done, so there's really no point in fretting over something so insignificant which is something I'm starting to accept it's is just another part of life.
With that thought, I bow my head and give her an affectionate kiss on her forehead, but I can't help feeling a bit sorry for her when her warm, brown eyes flutter open. With the dreaming spell broken, she comes unwillingly into the waking world to join her husband and all the terribly reality that comes with us, yet she still manages to offer me a sleepy smile as she lifts herself up off of the mattress and her blonde hair falls into her eyes.
I vaguely wonder if she thinks this nothing more than a dream, too, here one instant and gone the next. All my worries are brushed aside, though, while she gives me another kiss with those soft, satin lips of hers. Such a sweet angel she is... and it's only because of girls like her that I can believe theirs something like heaven out there.
Hey, it might sound clichéd to some, but this early in the day, I'm not going to apologize for being a romantic fool especially when she's so deserving of something so wonderfully sappy. It's also a bit hard to worry about being manly when your new bedroom, not to mention the entire house, is reminiscent of living in a Pepto Bismol bottle. Even so, I guess it's a fair since I where about the same ungodly amount of purple anyway...
"Good morning, Lanna," I coo sweetly as she nuzzles into me like a kitten. "Might I say you're looking beautiful this morning?" Of course, she giggles in reply, but soon enough, we begin to drift off into a peaceful slumber once again, snuggled close together over the covers. I'm not complaining, though. The rest of the world can wait for us to get out of bed until the end of eternity for all I care.
Because if this is nothing more than a fleeting moment of pure bliss... I don't want to wake up...