I ignored the voice and kept walking. Dreadful tears streamed down my face, and I wiped at them fiercely. When did I ever think I could marry Jake Riley?!
“Carrie, please stop, let me explain.”
Loud footsteps hurried behind me. I kept my eyes on the ground. Just ignore him. A long stride matched mine on the snow-covered lane, and Jake reached for my arm.
His voice rose, “Carrie, be reasonable!”
“Reasonable?!” I faced him, yanking my arm out of his grasp. His deep blue eyes pleaded for me to understand. “How do you expect me to be reasonable when I’ve discovered that ‘my fiance’ doesn’t really want get married?! Explain that to me, Jake!” Jake opened his mouth but not words came out.
See. I twirled around, and quickened my pace. I shivered as white, snowflakes floated from the clouds, begging me to look at them. I brushed at my long dress. Ugh, I wish I could just disappear.
Jake hurried ahead, and stopped in front of me. His hands gripped my shoulders. “Please! At least hear what I have to say!”
I had no choice but to stop. I crossed my arms, and looked up at him. His wavy hair was dotted with snowflakes, and a green scarf wrapped tightly around his neck. If he were smiling you would have seen the dimple in his left cheek. I swallowed the lump in my throat. He was “my Jake”, and my heart was pained at the thought of giving him up.
Jake swallowed, and ran a hand through his hair. “I didn’t mean for it to sound like that back there. I was a little frustrated.”
I frowned. “You were so frustrated that you told your Dad, you wouldn’t marry me?!”
“I’m making a mess of this.” He took a deep breath. “You see, Dad has been stressed about running the mercantile on his own. We barely make it with the two of us. Money’s too tight to try to hire someone. I’m worried about him.”
“I still don’t get why you would say that you didn’t want to marry me, Jake. That hurts.”
He took my gloved hand in his. “I know and I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I do want to marry you, Carrie. But I’ve been thinking, maybe we should wait until next fall.”
Next fall? I tried not to cry, “But Jake we were supposed to get married this Christmas and…and we’ve been engaged since the spring. We’ve waited so long already.”
Jake squeezed my hands. “I know, but I can’t move away when my father needs me.”
Tears ran down my cheeks. “What are you saying?”
Pain flashed across his face. “I’m saying that I can’t marry you right now.”
His words hit me like an iron fist. I coldly pulled my hands out of his. “If that is what you want…”
Jake’s eyes filled with alarm. “Carrie, I don’t mean…”
I took one last glance into his eyes, “Goodbye, Jake.”
Two years later
“Oh, Carrie I don’t know how I’ll survive Christmas break without you! It will be utter agony!”
I laughed, looking up at Rose. “It’s not the end of the world, Rose. I’m just going home for like three weeks then I’ll be back. You can’t get rid of me that easily!”
Rose slumped onto the side of my bed. “I know, but I’ve been your roommate for two years now, and you’ve always spent holidays with me, and my family. I’ll miss you.”
I folded clothes into my trunk. “I’ll miss you too, but this trip is long overdue.” I looked up, “I’ve only seen my family twice since I’ve been going to college. Twice! And it’s because they have visited the city, not because I went home. I need to go home. Beside it will be nice for me too. The city is so noisy, it will be nice to be surrounded by quiet again.”
Rose let out a long sigh, “I know. But would it help if I begged?”
I chuckled, “You could always come with me. I’m sure everyone would love to meet you!” My eyebrows rose.
Rose stood up, looking offended. “And get in the way of your heartfelt family reunion? No, I wouldn’t dare.”
What if you came with me?! My face brightened. “But why not?”
She gaped at me. “You can’t be serious? Are you sure they wouldn’t mind?”
“They would love to see you! Mom has expressed many times how badly she wants to get to know you! It would be a nice surprise.”
Roses eyes took on a shine. “Really?”
I nodded. Please say yes!
“Well, let me call my parents and make sure it’s alright with them.” Rose smiled, hurrying out of our dorm room.
Nervous excitement coursed through me. Having Rose there will be so much fun! I put the last item into my suitcase, snapping the buckles shut.
I glanced out of the train window. The scenery was a blur of rolling hills, and wide acres of farmland. I can’t believe that I’m almost home. It’s been a long time. I grimaced. It’s my own fault.
The train suddenly lurched, I struggled to keep myself upright.
Rose gasped, and her eyes popped open. “What happened?”
To be continued…