Melanie walked down the sidewalk, skidding her feet over dirt, sending pebbles flying in all directions. Trying to keep her mind off of what lay ahead. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath through her nose. She coughed as she sucked in dirt. Hoping her disguise would work, she turned onto her road.

Halfway down the road, she grinned. Taking off at a run, Melanie jumped over the curb and splashed into a muddy puddle. She laughed, knowing the mud would add to her father's discomfort and disappointment. She peered down into the dark recesses of the puddle. Her reflection peered back at her. Her face was smudged with dirt and the front of her blouse stained black and brown. She had thrown on trousers, much to her mother's dismay, and her hair was a dishevelled mess. She smiled and bit her dirt-crusted fingernails.

Melanie stopped outside her small, but elegant house. She strained her neck to see in the window. She could see her father and mother sitting beside each other, conversing with a young man she knew had to be him. Ducking down, she sprinted lopsidedly toward the back door, where she sat on the stoop.

She rested her chin in her hands, knowing that if her mother saw her, she would blush from embarrassment. "Melanie! Father wants you inside!" the squeaky, arrogant voice of her little sister shot pangs of pain into her head. Melanie winced and sighed, standing up. This was unavoidable. I could run away. The thought came briefly, but she knew there was no time. She opened the door warily, making sure her feet were dirty enough, then poked her head inside. The rest of her body slipped in after.

What would be the most humiliating entrance? She smiled anxiously and took a deep breath. Then, she dashed into the room where her parents were and purposely tripped on the rug, sending her flailing across the room. "Yes, Father?" she said, a little too loudly as she righted herself. Her mother's face turned a bright crimson and her father shook his head and sighed.

"Melanie," he said, agitatedly, "someone is here to speak with you." Acting surprised, Melanie spun around to look at him. She almost sneered in disgust. Emerson sat opposite her, with a look of pure confusion and displeasure on his face. "Ah, Emerson, how nice to see you." she said overly sarcastically. His handsome face seemed to look down upon her. Not to mention his overly rich and pompous attitude.

"Ah, Melanie, take a walk with me, will you?" It was a command, not a question. She hated him with every fiber of her being. When he stepped toward the door, she stuck her tongue out at his back. He opened the door and held out a hand toward her. She didn't move a budge. "Melanie!" her father shouted. "Go with the man!" She hesitated a moment. "Melanie!" this time from Emerson. How dare he yell at her like that! She stomped to the door, pushed his hand aside, and clomped down the porch. Without looking behind her, she started off down the street where she knew he would be in about ten minutes. Emerson jogged to her side. "Melanie, slow down! And listen to me, woman." She whipped on him and glared at his beautiful, bestial face.

"What?" she asked rudely.

"Melanie, I know sometimes you can be stubborn and uncivilized and temperamental, but I believe we would be a good match for each other. You will fill in for my lack of rudeness, since I have all the good qualities a couple usually shares."

"Oh, yes, of course Emerson. You are just perfect."

"Well, yes. Melanie, I believe you would be a very good investment for our family. Please, you know you love me. Everyone does. Melanie, marry me."

Melanie could see him out of the corner of her eye, sauntering down the street. She turned to look at Emerson. She looked back down the street. He was nearer. Then back at Emerson. He slowly crouched onto one knee and took her hand. "Marry me, Melanie." She wanted to slap his beautiful, arrogant face. She saw the figure in the street, him, stop and stare.

"Ya know what, Emerson?" He looked up at her expectantly. The knowing in his eyes made her hate him even more. "I... I'm gonna have to get back to you on that one." With that, she ripped her hand from his grasp and kept walking. Emerson stumbled to get up, a look of disbelief on his face. "Me... Melanie! Come back here!"

"No, Emerson, I have to think about it. Now let me think in peace, for God's sake." He was utterly appalled, and stumbled away. As soon as he was gone, Melanie stopped and looked back. He was walking toward her now, running actually. She turned down a side alley. When he staggered into view, Melanie ran toward him and jumped in his arms. Lucas held her tight. She could feel his breath on her neck. She looked up into two pools of dark blue, drowning in them. He smiled and set her down. "Oh, Lucas, I'm so glad you're here." she sighed. He ran a hand through his dusty, blonde hair.

"What did you say?" he asked, longing in his eyes.

"I said I would think about it."

"You love him?"

"No, I hate him."

"Then what is there to think about?"

"My parents need me to marry him. We're low on money and he's rich beyond belief. I need to do what's best for my family." He grabbed her hand.

"What about what's best for you?" he turned to look at the wall. When he spun back to face her, there was a wild look in his eyes. "Marry me, Melanie." He pulled her into his arms and gazed down into her eyes. She stared into his handsome face, full of love. Love for her.

"Lucas, I want nothing more." He grinned, playing with her hair. "But, my parents needs come before my own." She let him go and stepped backward, her mind and heart warring inside her. Lucas stepped back, too, his face blanketed in hurt. Melanie wanted to run into his strong arms, tell him she loved him, and never let him go. She could feel the tears rising in her eyes and she looked down. She couldn't bear to look at his face. She had hurt him so much. He would leave her and she would be left with guilt.

"I will support you, whatever you decide." Melanie looked up in surprise. The tears started anew, and she ran up to him, sobbing on his chest. "I promise, I would provide for you and your family, no matter what. No, I'm not rich, but I... I'll move away, get a better job, whatever it takes, as long as you choose me. But, I will support you, whatever you decide." Then he walked away.

Melanie ran home, as fast as her legs would carry her, and stumbled into the living room, falling face down on the sofa. "Melanie?! Is that you?!" her mother's voice calling from upstairs.

"Yes, Mother."

"Oh, dear Lord. I'm coming!" Melanie could hear her mother's footsteps on the stairs. "Oh, Melanie, I'm so happy for you, deary. The first one to marry, out of all my children. God knows I didn't expect that. So, when is the big day?"

Melanie sat up, knowing her mother would see she was crying. "I'm not getting married."

"Well, whyever not?"

"Because I hate Emerson, but I love you!"

"Oh... deary. I... I'm sorry." Melanie could hear the love in her voice as she stroked her tangled hair. Memories began rushing through Melanie's head. Memories of her mother, bandaging her hurt knee. Of her father, kissing her forehead every morning and night. Of her mother, feeding her while she was sick. Of her father, holding her in his arms while she cried. And at that moment, Melanie knew what her decision was. She sprang up and ran to the door. Dashing down the street, she eventually came to Emerson's house. Not really a house. A mansion. She knocked on the door. A graying butler opened it and ushered her inside. "I'm here to see Emerson Palsley."

"Right this way." Emerson was in his study. When she entered, he rose and walked over to her, surprise in his every action. "Emerson, I'm sorry I was rude earlier."

"No, it's fine. You were just startled, that's all."

"Um, right. Um... I... I have decided... I have decided to marry you."

March 19, 2020 22:25

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Althea Keaton
15:26 Mar 24, 2020

Really strong beginning, good introduction of the character. The ending felt a little rushed, but the beginning is really good.


Annony Mous
19:03 Mar 24, 2020

Thanks. I thought the ending was a little rushed too, but thanks for your feedback


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