If I Said Those Words

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If I Said Those Words

The rain ran in aggressive, unending turrets upon his brown hair. The flickering streetlights cast a bloody glow on the town, as if a murder had taken place upon every street corner.

He strode smoothly, if unevenly, occasionally kicking a passing rock as he went by. Hands shoved deep in his pockets, soaked to the skin after a block of walking, he went.

The houses were the type only well-off, privileged folk had the pleasure of purchasing: neatly pruned bushes, freshly mown lawn, flawlessly painted front porch. The young man so obviously did not belong in such a neighborhood it was comical. Yet still he strolled, turning into the yard of a particularly handsome blue house complete with veranda. He ambled past the two cars –latest model, so spotless they gleamed –and into the backyard, stopping just under a second-story window with sky-painted shutters.

Once there, he bent down, scurrying about like a rat in a sewer. Small stones filled his hands and pockets before he stood upright, their weight feeling heavier than standard due to the actions accompanying them. Then, with an elegant swing, he lobbed one at the shutter-covered window.

No response.

He tried again, his throw just as graceful, his brow furrowed in concentration.

It took four more rocks before there was movement. First, light flickered from behind the shutters. Then the sliver of light illuminated the green grass as slender fingers –the tips painted blood red, a large diamond on her left hand –opened the shutters a slow splinter at a time. A woman’s head popped out from the rectangular window. Her hair was a dark auburn, flashing red and brown with each tightly twisted curl as she turned to look down upon the man throwing rocks at her window.

“Wade!” Her barely-whispered voice was high and girly, a hint of Southern charm giving the word a musical lilt. “What in Heaven’s name do you think you’re doin’?”

“I’m throwin’ rocks at yur window, darlin’,” The young man replied, his words running together, slightly mocking.

“Well I can see that, you idiot! I mean what the blazes are you doin’ at my house in the dead of night?”

Wade peered around, realizing that night had descended upon the quiet town during his stroll. He shrugged indifferently and returned his attention to the pretty woman leaning halfway out her bedroom window. “Just payin’ ya a visit.”

“How kind.” Her voice dripped cynicism like the rain still pouring down Wade’s back. “Are you drunk?”

“So how ya doin’, Janie Ann?” Wade asked conversationally, flicking his matted hair out of his eyes and ignoring her latter question.

Janie Ann sighed. “Do you not remember that my weddin’ is tomorrow? I need my beauty sleep!”

“Oh, yeah,” a bitter tenor intruded into Wade’s otherwise friendly tone, “the weddin’ that I was not invited to. I remember now.”

Janie Ann sighed again. A deep sigh that seemed to start at her red-painted toes and climb the length of her slender body until it escaped from her pale lips. “You know why you weren’t invited, Wade.”

“So I gave the groom a black eye; so what? He’ll live.”

Janie Ann frowned at his blasé attitude. “You showed up at my house, unannounced, drunk, right when we were cuttin’ the Christmas turkey. George opened the front door and you just hit him. Right in front of my aunt Martha! She fell right out of her seat and we nearly had to call an ambulance. My daddy had to practically carry you off our property ‘cause you were so drunk you couldn’t walk straight. All the neighbors came out of their houses and stared at you while Daddy called a taxi. Then you puked on our front lawn.” She crossed her arms, an expression of distaste distorting her delicate, doll-like features. “Ring a bell?”

“I said I was sorry!” Wade threw his arms wide, not caring he could wake her parents. “I apologized the next da-”

“We’re over, Wade.” Janie Ann over-enunciated the words, trying to convey her point. “I dumped you. We are not dating anymore. Heck, I’m getting married tomorrow.” She waved her left hand, showing off the large diamond.

“I see that.” Wade replied, trying to appear unaffected by her speech –it had not been his proudest moment. “And I know that he can probably provide for you way better than I ever could. He can buy you anything you want. He can buy you things you don’t want. But he’s not me.”

“Obviously,” Janie Ann scoffed, interrupting his dialogue.

“What I’m trying to say is,” Wade took a deep breath, “that I lo-”

“Don’t,” Janie Ann disrupted him again. Her voice was sharp, pain curling up the edges like flames licking at paper. “Don’t you say it-”

“But if just said those words maybe-”

“Don’t you dare say it, Wade Bradley-”

“If I said those words-”

“If you’re smart you’ll keep your mouth shu-”

Their voices rose together, each shouting at the other without any sense of control.

“I love you!” Wade cried, cutting off them both.

Janie Ann shook her head sadly, her voice quivering almost as much as her jagged heartbeat. “I told you not to say it.” A single tear slipped along her cheek, off her chin, and tumbled down to the grass, mixing into the rain that hit the ground relentlessly.

“Janie Ann,” Wade struggled to speak above the rain without sounding as if he were yelling. “I love you. I honestly do. I’m ‘bout near crazy ‘bout you, and I can’t imagine life without you in it.

“I know you love George and he’s one of those steady-income folk, but I promise you I will never stop loving you. I’ll always love your curls, even when they’re white and grey. I’ll love your laugh even when you’re laughing at me. And after a hard day’s work working at some crackpot job that barely pays me a dime, I promise you that I will always greet you with a kiss and a smile.” He bent down to one knee, his already soaked jeans becoming muddy. With fumbling fingers, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring.

The diamond wasn’t big. The band wasn’t sized. At first glance, it might look like something out of a cereal box. But to Wade it meant a lifetime of happiness and, for that, it was priceless.

“Janie Ann McGee, will you do me the pleasure of becoming my wife?”

Janie Ann covered her mouth with one trembling hand. George’s ring glittered, catching every light. Yet the ring Wade held in his fingers seemed to be lit from within: a steady burning fire. “I-”

Rumors circulated that night for years, each one more ridiculous than the last. Some said Wade arrived on horseback like a true Prince Charming. Others claimed he was so intoxicated he could barely stand, and Janie Ann was too embarrassed to say anything.  Still others told of how he climbed the veranda in an attempt to get eye-level with her window but fell, unintentionally killing himself and causing Janie Ann such pain she ran away from home.

None of them were right except for one small fact: Janie Ann never showed up to her wedding.

That morning, Mrs. McGee went to check on her sleeping daughter, only to find a hastily scribbled note on her pillow, along with George’s over-sized ring:

He said those words

Janie Ann’s clothes were missing, her purse was nowhere to be found, and all Mrs. McGee could do was wail. She didn’t know that three towns over Janie Ann was riding shotgun in Wade’s barely-running Toyota, her hands in the air –little diamond sparkling on her left –and her auburn curls flying.

All because she said, ‘Yes.’

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This is just a little one-shot I wrote for fun. Kudos to anyone who gets the male name references. They're from one of my favorite tv shows ;)

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