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SilasCrane t1_jaogs4p wrote

Elise had never lied to Jason. Considering the secret she had to keep, she was proud of that fact -- although, it wasn't as though he'd ever looked in her in the eye and asked her "Are you a werewolf?"

But now, as he knelt before her, looking at her expectantly with an open ring box on his palm, she was at a loss for words. He'd asked her to marry him, and she wanted to say "yes". But if she did, the very next he would do is slide the ring in the box onto her finger.

The silver ring.

Of course it would be silver -- the metal of the moon. They'd talked about how she loved the moonlight, and shared many wonderful nights beneath the moon and stars, though obviously never on the night of the full moon. The princess-cut diamond that the ring was set with was even flanked by a pair of smaller moonstones. It was beautiful -- but to her, it would be pure agony to wear.

"Ellie?" Jason said. He cleared his throat, nervously. "Don't...don't leave me hanging here, babe..."

Think. Think. She had to think. A thousand lies would serve -- a rare silver allergy, maybe? But she didn't want to lie. Not now. Not to him. So she told him something true instead. Not a secret, but something she'd never told him, nonetheless.

"Yes," she said. "I will marry you..."

Then quickly, before he could act, she took the hand that held the ring box, closing it in the process.

"But...I...." she began, uncertainly.

"But you...what?" he asked, his face full of concern.

" remember what I told you, about how messed up my parents' marriage was?" she asked, recalling a past conversation.

"Oh, honey..." he said, placing his other hand atop hers, his brow furrowing with concern.

"There's one thing I'll always remember, from when it was really bad, towards the end. I was home alone one night, they both were out...somewhere. They'd left me money for pizza in a bowl on this little side table by the front door, where they'd always drop their keys, spare change, and stuff like that when they came home. So, when the pizza guy came, I went to get the money...and both their wedding bands were in the bowl underneath it. They'd just left them there before going out, like it was no big deal. Like it was nothing."

Jason's expression softened. "Ellie..." he whispered, sympathetically.

"So part of me...part of me thinks about that night whenever I see a wedding ring." she said, staring down at their hands holding the closed box. "And...I just don't want it to be like that with us. Not ever."

It had started as a deflection, just another diversion to keep Jason from finding out about her, to protect him from the truth. But as she remembered that lonely night when she was a kid, she realized it was more. It was a wound inside her that her gift couldn't heal, not even when the moon was full.

Elise felt Jason's curled finger beneath her chin, and she lifted her eyes as he gently tilted her head up to face him. He smiled at her lovingly, his eyes glistening.

"It won't be." he promised.

Two hours later, Elise leaned in to kiss her betrothed, for probably the tenth time since he'd made his second proposal of the evening -- that he accompany her to a tattoo parlor he knew of that stayed open late. The artist, an acquaintance of Jason's, had been thrilled to work his magic on short notice for the happy couple.

After a moment they broke the kiss, and continued walking hand-in-hand down the quiet street where the tattoo parlor was located. Abruptly, Jason paused, pulling away to take a call on his phone, and so she put her hand into the beam of a streetlight to admire her tiny, intricate tattoo, the first one that either of them had ever gotten.

It was Jason's name, wrapped around her ring finger in a flowing script that matched the "Elise" tattoo on his own finger. She treasured it more than she could have treasured any ring, whether silver or not.

And then, as she watched it, the letters of her future husband's name started to warp and sag. Her eyes widened in shock, as tiny black droplets like inky sweat started to ooze out from her pores.

She realized with horror that her power, the secret that had made her almost impervious to injury by anything other than silver, since the first full moon when she'd changed, was healing away the one wound she'd wanted to keep.

"Okay, sorry -- had to take that..." Jason said, sounding stressed and frustrated. "I just...sorry."

She thrust her ink-stained hand into her pocket.

"That's okay." she squeaked, her mind racing. There was no explaining this. There was no diversion or redirection that could possibly work. She couldn't keep her hand in her pocket for the rest of her life. She didn't know what to say, but she had time to think, as Jason kept talking.

"When I...when I got you that ring..." Jason said. "It was more than a symbol, you know."

Her heart sank. On top of everything else, was Jason having second thoughts about getting tattoos instead of rings?

"It was a symbol of trust. You've always been someone I can be myself with...someone I can be honest with, vulnerable with, but..." Jason stammered, then trailed off.

"I...what are you talking about, Jason?" Elise asked, stopping beside him beneath another streetlamp, looking at the agonized expression on his face, terrified of what he might say.

Jason raised his hand into the light. Elise's eyes widened, as she saw a tiny rivulet of black ink run down the back of his hand, from where the tattoo on his ring finger had been.

"...but I haven't been completely honest with you. There's something I need to tell you." he said.

/ . / . / . / . /

Jason had known, on some level, that if he was going to be with Elise, he couldn't keep her in the dark forever. She would learn his secret, eventually -- he had been amazingly fortunate that she never wanted to go out on the night of the full moon, even though she loved the moonlight as much as he did.

It had been easier to give her a ring made of the one thing that could hurt him, a symbol of his trust and devotion that only he would truly understand the depth of, than to give her the secret that could destroy him.

Had he known her response to learning his his secret would be to burst out in joyful laughter, and then kiss him harder than he'd ever been kissed before, he likely would have told her long before.


Inqeuet t1_jaoll9h wrote

That was a beautiful read and Iā€™m totally not crying now šŸ˜­