Today’s post is a prompt response to a picture prompt “Piecing Things Together” – the challenge was to use either one or all four images on the given puzzle pieces to build our story. Here’s my take. Constructive criticism more than welcome and highly encouraged.
“You want to… Camping? Come on, John, you know I don’t…”
Catherine paced their tiny kitchen as she spoke to her boyfriend on her cellphone. She had never actually been camping before. The only thing going through her head was future horror stories of chiggers and poison ivy.
“Why can’t we just go to the… because I like it there, it’s pretty. Yes, I know that…” She sighed. John was relentless.
“I don’t know… No, I’m not!” She quickly pulled her fingernail from between her teeth. Catherine liked things to be predictable. Change made her nervous. When she was nervous, she nibbled at her fingernails. John always knew when she was doing it.
“John…” She was running out of excuses.
“Look, give it one day. If you don’t like it, we’ll pack up and go to the lake.” the voice on the other end of the receiver was genuine and tender.
“Ok. We’ll go, but I’m not going to like it.” she said, half convinced.
“Good. That’s my girl. But, you have to trust me and go along with things for the whole day. Promise?”
“Ok, ok. You win. One day.” Catherine knew that promising took away her last loophole. In their two years together, he never gave her a reason not to trust him, but her stomach felt like it was capsizing.
“Alright, finish packing. Bring the things you would take to the lake. I’ll grab some stuff from my mom’s and pick you up at six. Yes, six. Hey, you promised and I’m making the most of it. Yeah, I know. You’ll live. You can sleep in the car for a little while if you need to. Ok, I’ll see you soon. Love you.” John smiled as he flipped his cell phone receiver closed. He loved their banter. He loved the draw in her voice when she got pouty. He loved her.
He wasn’t at his mom’s house as he told her. He was at his parents’ cabin on the opposite side of the lake. He hadn’t told her they owned one. He wanted to several times; but he kept it a secret in case of a situation like this.
John had been there all day cleaning and getting everything ready. It hadn’t been used for a while and needed a thorough once over. He stepped outside to take a break and looked around.
The tiny alcove had been in his family for almost sixty years. His grandpa found it while fishing one afternoon. In a stroke of luck, he had gotten lost and found the perfect spot, nestled quietly between two mountain peaks. The land surrounding the inlet was for sale, so he snatched it up immediately.
John was always awestruck in this place. Two hundred yards to one side was a gorgeous waterfall. The water running off the granite cliff was as clear a blue as the enormous expanse of lake to the other side. The small cabin was welcoming and extraordinarily comfortable.
As the dusk sky turned from blue to pink, John went back inside. Stopping just inside the door, he glanced around the room. The corner lamp lit up the faded, ornately designed red and white wallpaper in the living section. His grandmother had loved that wallpaper.
His eyes came to rest on the rough, oak table in the center of the room. There sat a short, white candle between two china place settings and a crystal vase bearing a single red rose. It was Catherine’s favorite.
In the middle of Catherine’s dinner plate sat a half-carat solitaire engagement ring, glimmering in the candlelight.