500 Word Challenge (Non-Fandom Version)
Word Count: 521
“Sally, will you marry me?”
Her head swiveled sharply; for a moment, she was sure she’d misheard him completely. “…What?”
“Please,” Sonny reached for the debutante’s hand and gently clasped it between both of his own, “marry me. Right now.”
Sally opened her mouth, but found herself at a loss for words. After all, it wasn’t every day one received a proposal. Icy tears brimmed her eyes. “But… Sonny, it wouldn’t be valid…”
The soldier shook his head. “I don’t care! Even if it’s just symbolic, just for us… I just can’t go into tomorrow with the thought that you were never my wife. I can’t risk never having done this.”
His singed brows furrowed beneath his dirty hair — or rather, the patches of it that remained. His shoulders slowly deflated downward, and his face contorted with grief. “There’s so much I regret right now that I can’t do anything about, Sally. Maybe if I’d listened more, or if I’d slowed down a little, or if I’d just… waited… Maybe we wouldn’t be on our own out here. Maybe Betty and Ant and Richard wouldn’t have been captured. Maybe Travis would have survived…
“I can’t keep gambling on ‘maybe’!” Sonny said firmly, tightening his grasp. “This is something I can do something about, before it becomes another regret.” Without releasing her delicate hand, Sonny lowered himself to one knee, gazing up at her with a peculiar blend of melancholy affection. “Miss Sally Alicia of the House of Adams, please… Marry me.”
Sally’s throat constricted, momentarily strangling her of an answer. When she’d imagined her wedding day as a little girl, it had been nothing like this. She’d always pictured herself in a flowing satin gown, made of fabric so white it would rival the most breath-taking winter morning, and sparkling with a long, gossamer train. She’d fancied that Betty would do something especially amazing with her hair and make-up — something so dazzling that Sonny would gasp when her face crossed his gaze. She’d imagined the estate restored to its former glory, and her father, having been rescued from his exile, walking her down the aisle in the garden. After having the ceremony witnessed by all of her friends and family, she’d envisioned a great celebratory feast, with exotic recipes to tantalize her taste buds, and a gorgeous, sinfully delicious multi-tiered cake for everyone to share.
But this was nowhere near her fantasy. Instead, she found herself in the middle of a dark, cold, windy wasteland. Her stiff body ached from the ruthless battles of the last few days, and the swelling of her left eye continued to obscure her vision. Her skin was dirty and scarred. She had no gown, no garden, no witnesses, no feast, and no cake. There was only Sonny, the scattered remains of their rations, and a fire that constantly threatened to go out with every bone-chilling gale.
Sniffling forcefully, Sally took a deep breath and squeezed the soldier’s hands with as much strength as her tired joints could muster. “Sonny,” she whispered, cracking a weak smile, “will you take me as your wedded wife?”
All parts of the above passage were written by myself, and may not be reproduced without my expressed permission.