Scenes From a Life Not Lived: Graduation Day, Part 1
The false midnight of the eclipse had given way to daylight, which had given way to the true darkness of evening. Still, the former Sunnydale High continued to bustle with activity and light. There was flashing red and blue from the emergency vehicles, harsh white from the klieg lights, glowing orange from the fading embers. Jenny crossed her arms against the faint chill and stood in the midst of the chaos, watching her lover speak to his Slayer.
She smiled when the girl did, as Rupert handed over the diploma hed painstakingly dug out of the rubble.
She had always come second for him, and always would. And that was ok. He was all the more amazing for his wholehearted devotion.
He touched the Slayers shoulder one last time and then turned, caught site of Jenny through the drifting smoke and started towards her.
She smiled again when he reached her.
So, hows she holding up?
He grinned and ducked his head a bit, and she felt a tingle of affection run through her at the familiar gesture.
As well as can be expected I suppose. She needs rest, of course, but...
So do we all, Jenny finished for him, reaching out to brush her fingertips against his arm, just to touch him.
He raised his head, still smiling.
For a moment, they just looked at each other, oblivious to the chaos surrounding them. Then, he stuck his hand in his coat pocket and broke eye contact with her.
Um. Jenny. I, well, that is, um-
She peered up at him through her eyelashes, quietly amused, waiting for him to stammer out whatever pronouncement he felt the need to make.
He shut his eyes, drew a deep breath. Jenny could almost hear the mental pep talk he was giving himself. After a moment, he drew himself up to his full height, squared his shoulders, and said:
The wind went abruptly out of his sails.
Jenny shot him what she hoped was a sympathetic look, even though he was clearly trying not to look at her.
Maybe you could write it down?
She was unmoved by the thunderous glare he directed at her.
Hell. I dont need to--Jenny, what Im trying to say is--that is. Er. *Bloody* hell. Here.
And he pulled a small velvet box from his pocket and pressed it into her hand. Then stuck his hands back in his pockets and glowered down at his feet.
The world stopped.
Oh my God, she said. Oh... my... God. Rupert...
He peered up, a vague and hopeful glint in his eyes.
With an embarrassingly Wesley-like squeal, she threw her arms around him.
Yes, yes, yes. Of course, you idiot.
He hugged her back and gave a slight, strangled chuckle.
You- you havent even looked at the ring yet.
She didnt loosen her arms one bit.
Hell, Rupert, even if you got it out of a vending machine it wouldnt change my answer. Im marrying you, not the ring.
Ah. Yes. Well. I did, um... well, I just hope you...
Sensing he wouldnt rest until the issue was resolved, she bounced back and opened the box. The ring glittered up at her, catching the light of the emergency vehicles, but suddenly, she could hardly see through the tears in her eyes.
Its beautiful, she sniffled, because she didnt need to see it to know it was.
She only cried harder when he lifted the box gently from her hands and slipped the ring onto her left hand.
God, Im sorry, Im just--its all too much for one day, she said, laughing through her tears.
He just wrapped his arms around her again and they held each other as the emergency crews toiled on around them.