Submitted on 03/13/2020

Categories: Fantasy Romance Science Fiction

“Dezzie?” Lisanne called out to her husband. She had gotten home from work and the house was dark. She cautiously entered the living room. “Dezzie, where are you?”

   “Surprise!” The lights turned on and Desmond appeared wearing a tux and holding a dozen red roses. He held them out to her.

   “Dezzie! What’s all this for?” Lisanne took the bouquet of roses from him.

   “Ah, I beat you to it this year!” Desmond smiled. “Happy Valentine’s Day, baby.”

   “Happy Valentine’s Day to you too.” Lisanne kissed her husband.

   “Now go and hurry out of those scrubs. We got a dinner reservation to get to.” Desmond took back the bouquet and headed into the kitchen. 

   “Be right back!” Lisanne went to the bedroom where she found more roses, a box of elegant chocolates, and a card sitting on the bed. “Aww! Dezzie!” 

   Lisanne changed out of her scrubs and got into a strappy, glittery, red dress she wore only once before for her cousin’s wedding several years ago. She touched up her makeup and put on a diamond necklace Desmond got her for their first wedding anniversary. With one final spritz of a perfume she knew Desmond liked, Lisanne headed back downstairs.

   “There’s my beautiful wife!” Desmond reached out to her. “You look beautiful, Lisanne. That dress! On second thought, what do you think about having a night in instead?”

   “Nope. I’m starving and we have no food in the fridge. It was your night to cook, remember?” Lisanne gave Desmond a kiss on the cheek.

   “Damn. Let’s hurry and get dinner over with then. I’ve got a feeling dessert’s going to be where it’s at!”

   “Desmond Turnbuckle III! You dog!” Lisanne playfully slapped Desmond’s shoulder as they made their way to the car.

   Dinner was delicious. Desmond had gotten a reservation at their favorite restaurant and ordered their favorite meal. 

   “Remember we had our first date here?” Lisanne asked.

   “How could I forget? I was so nervous. I didn’t know what I was doing.” Desmond poured them both a glass of wine.

   “Still, it was the most magical date I’ve ever been on. Even though you nearly spilled your glass of soda and ruined my dress.”

   “Could you blame me though? You looked so beautiful in that dress, I couldn’t take my eyes off you.” Desmond put his hand on top of Lisanne’s.

   “And now here we are, all these many years later together and happily in love.”

   “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

   “I remember meeting you for the first time in Ms. Havershamm’s math class.” Lisanne put her hand on top of Desmond’s. “Best day of my life was when you asked me to marry you.”

   “You were always such a sweet girl. You were really there for me when Marilyn went missing. Then when they found her body... I don’t know how I could have gone through all that without you.”

   “You don’t have to go through anything like that ever again. We’re in this for life, Dezzie.” Lisanne stroke his cheek.

   “I love you.” Desmond brought Lisanne’s hand up to his lips and gently kissed it.

   “I love you. More than you would ever know.” 

   ~ ~ ~

   In the morning, Lisanne decided to surprise Desmond with breakfast in bed. They always wanted to one-up each other.

   Lisanne tiptoed out of the room and as quietly as she could, started making waffles. With a mountain of waffles, some fresh fruit, and bacon all set in a tray, Lisanne was about to take it up to the bedroom, when she heard something behind her.

   “You’re up early.” Arms wrapped around her waist.

   “I was trying to surprise you.” Lisanne set down the tray.

   “I was surprised.” Desmond twirled Lisanne so she faced him. “I woke up alone in bed.”

   “I was making you some waffles.”

   “Then you’re forgiven. You know how much I love waffles.” Desmond kissed Lisanne’s cheek and let her go.

   “Go sit. I’ll get the coffee.” Lisanne went to the coffee pot. She took out two coffee mugs. From the cupboard next to the mugs, Lisanne took out a jar filled with brown liquid she usually put in her coffee.

   “What is that?” Desmond saw her scoop some of the liquid and add it into her mug.

   “Just a special ingredient.” Lisanne tried to shrug off Desmond’s comment.

   “Can I try some?” Desmond pushed his coffee mug toward her.

   “No. You wouldn’t like it.” Lisanne closed the jar and tried to put it away, but Desmond stopped her.

   “You don’t know that. What if I do?” He went after the jar, but Lisanne put it out of his reach.

   “Desmond, I said no.” Lisanne said.

   “Lisanne, what’s gotten into you?” Desmond reached for the jar and in her attempt to keep it away from Desmond, dropped the jar.

   “Desmond! What have you done?” Lisanne screamed. Liquid pooled out beneath them.

   “I’m sorry! It’s okay though, we can clean it up.” Desmond grabbed a nearby dish towel and bent down to clean it up.

   “Desmond, no, it’s okay. I can do it.” Lisanne tried to push Desmond away, but Desmond remained firm.

   “Lisanne, I can help. I feel bad about… wait. What’s this?” Desmond picked up a small silver locket. A few drops of the brown liquid fell to the ground.

   “Desmond that’s nothing. It’s…” Lisanne tried to take it from him, but Desmond pulled back. He examined it closely.

   “It was Marilyn’s.” Desmond saw the name engraved on the front of the locket. He looked at his wife.

   “Desmond, it’s not what it…”

   “Why do you have my ex-girlfriend’s locket?”

   “Desmond, I can explain.” Lisanne reached out to him, the mess on the floor forgotten. He pulled back.

   “Lisanne, you know we were together for a long time. I gave her this necklace for her birthday and she always wore it. They… they didn’t find it on her body.”

   “Please, Dezzie, let me… let me explain. I swear, it isn’t that bad,” Lisanne pleaded with him.

   “Lisanne, did you do something to Marilyn?”

   “Dezzie, I…”

   “Do not Dezzie me, Lisanne! Just tell me the truth. Was it you?”

   “I… I love you, Dezzie. I’ve always loved you. So so much.” Tears fell from her eyes. “I didn’t know how to get you to notice that she wasn’t right for you. But I was. I talked with a fortune teller and she said the only way to get you to love me was a love potion. So I…”

   “A love potion? Lisanne, what the hell? I can't believe this! You were there for me when… when it all happened. Now you’re telling me you’re the one responsible for it? All of my pain, grief, and… it was you?”

   “Dezzie, think of the life we have had! Do you think you could’ve had it all with her?”

   “That wasn’t for you to decide! God, Lisanne, what did you do?” Desmond took out his cell phone. 

   “Dezzie, what are you doing?” Lisanne cried out. 

   “You have to tell the truth, Lisanne. This is… this is out of my hands.”

   “You can’t do that!” Lisanne wrapped her arms around him. “I love you. Don’t you see? I did this all for us!”

   “Lisanne, you’re crazy! This… I can’t do this anymore!” Desmond pushed her away. 

   “Tell me you love me!” Lisanne screamed.

   “I… I can’t. How do I know if it's what I really feel? What if it's just the love potion that's talking? How do I know if any of what we have is real?"

"My love is real, Dezzie. I know your love for me is real too. We needed a small push, that's all."

"I'm sorry, Lisanne, I wish I can believe you." She saw Desmond dial 9-1-1. "But you have to tell the truth.”

   “9-1-1. What’s your emergency?” Lisanne heard the dispatcher ask.

   “Yes. I need to report… Argh!” Desmond crashed to the ground. Lisanne breathed heavily with the coffee pot in her hands.

   “Hello? Sir? Sir, can you hear me?” She hung up the cellphone and knelt down beside Desmond.

   Lisanne petted his damp brown hair and kissed his forehead stained with his blood. She then got up, hobbled out of the kitchen, and into the living room. She couldn’t take seeing his body laying there anymore.

   “We looked so happy didn’t we?” Lisanne eyed her wedding portrait hanging above the mantle. It hung there everyday for the past twenty-nine years. Barely out of high school, Lisanne Turnbuckle, nee Nelson, married her sweetheart, Desmond Turnbuckle III, in a beautiful, intimate summer wedding. They lived the life Lisanne had always dreamed of. She was in love with him ever since that fateful day in math class.

   “It could have stayed that way you know,” Lisanne sighed. “I loved you, Dezzie, so much. If only you loved me the same way.”

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