A New Beginning

New YearsMaybelline always hated Christmas.  No matter how great it was, there was always a little bit of letdown.  This year was even worse for Maybelline.

After ten long years of dating, Maybelline was certain this was the year her boyfriend John would ask her to marry him.  She waited all through Christmas Eve for John to propose.  She sat on the edge of the green velvet stool, her hands clasped in anticipation, as she waited for the big moment to happen.  She could hardly contain her excitement when John handed her the gold and silver wrapped gift box.  It was ten times larger than a ring box, but Maybelline wasn’t worried a bit.  John always liked to be sneaky.  This was just another example, Maybelline thought. 

With shaking hands, Maybelline ripped open the box.  After diving through piles and piles of white tissue paper, Maybelline stared at the gift in disbelief.   A five carat diamond set in a platinum band was not staring back at her. 

She looked up at John.  “A gun?”

“A Taser gun,” John corrected.  “I thought you could use it so nothing bad happened to you.  You know,” he added.  “If you should decide to take up running.”

Maybelline was certain she hadn’t heard him correctly.  “Running?” she asked.

John nodded his head.  “You know . . . to get some exercise.”

Maybelline blinked in surprise.  Since when did John think she liked to run?  Or for that matter, needed exercise? 

“Well, gee, thanks for the advice and the gift,” she sniffed in irritation as she covered the gun with tissue paper.

John stopped her.  “Wait, there’s more inside . . .”

A burst of excitement rolled through Maybelline.  Of course! Maybelline thought.  Now she understood why he wanted her to run.  It was obvious.  He wanted her to get into shape for the wedding!

The thrill of anticipation was short lived as Maybelline dug through the tissue paper once again in search of the black velvet box that would surely hold her five carat diamond.  The only thing she found was a flat white envelope.  Maybelline didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that a five carat diamond wasn’t tucked inside. 

“What’s this?” she asked looking up at him.

He gave her an encouraging smile.  “It’s a gift card.  Open it . . .”

A gift card!  Maybelline was certain it was for a jeweler’s.  Maybe even Harry Winston.  John knew how particular she was.  Why, he probably wanted her to pick out her own ring.  Bursting with excitement, Maybelline ripped open the envelope.  It wasn’t the Harry Winston gift card as she had hoped but instead, one to the House of Salads.

“Do you like it?” John asked, eagerly.  “I thought you could use it.”

Maybelline thought she could use it too . . . when she shoved it down his throat. 

Once again, Christmas had proven to be a complete bust.  When she left his house, she tossed the Taser gun and the gift card on the front passenger seat of her car and drove home, disappointed and depressed.   

Maybelline fumed all through Christmas Day.  She was still angry the next day when she went to her best friend April’s house.

“That’s it.  John and I are finished!” Maybelline announced as she as burst into April’s kitchen. 

 “What happened?” April asked in surprise. 

“I’ll tell you what happened!” Maybelline shrieked as she tossed her purse and keys on the table.  “The stupid man got me a Taser gun and a gift card to the House of Salads!”

“Ouch.  That hurts,” April said.  She gave Maybelline a sympathetic look.  “So how did he take it?”

Maybelline plopped down in a chair and looked at April.  “Take what?”

“You breaking up with him,” April replied.

“Oh that.” Maybelline waved her hand in dismissal.  “I haven’t actually broken up with him yet.”

“Why not?”

Maybelline rolled her eyes.  “I can’t break up with him before New Year’s Eve.  I don’t want to be without a date on that day!  Besides, I want to stick it to that stupid Jenny Pickler that once again I have a man on New Year’s Eve and she doesn’t.”

April sat and tapped her fingers on the table in thought.  Suddenly her face lit up.  “Maybe he’s gonna ask you to marry him at the New Year’s Eve Festival in the Park.”

Maybelline looked at April.  “What?”

“Well think about it,” April said.  “You know how he likes to do things in spectacular ways and what’s more spectacular than proposing at the biggest event in Aberdeen?”

“That’s true.  He does,” Maybelline murmured lost in thought.  A slow smile began to cross her face.  “You know what?  I bet that stupid stun gun was just a rouse to throw me off.”

They decided to celebrate the news by going to the mall to pick out the perfect outfit for Maybelline to wear on New Year’s Eve.  She found it at a tiny boutique shop at the far end of the mall.   

“This is it!” Maybelline announced, holding up the outfit.

“Are you sure?” April asked hesitantly.  “Those are silver lamé leggings.”

“Exactly.  They’ll match the platinum engagement ring,” Maybelline replied.  “And I’ll really stand out.  That will show that stupid Jenny Pickler.”

“What shoes are you going to wear with it?” April wondered. 

“I’ve got some silver sequined peep toe platforms that will look perfect with it,” Maybelline replied. 

“You’re gonna wear peep toes shoes in January?” April exclaimed.

“Technically it’s December, and yes, I am,” Maybelline replied.

“There’s gonna be a foot of snow on the ground.  You’ll get frostbite on your toes”

Maybelline waved off April’s concern.  “I can’t be worried about my toes!  I have to look good when John proposes to me.”

“What you’re gonna, do is kill yourself,” April warned.

Maybelline rolled her eyes.  “Don’t be ridiculous.  I’m an expert in platform shoes.”

April didn’t even bother to try to change Maybelline’s mind.  She knew Maybelline too well to know she’d be dissuaded by any arguments.  Instead April asked, “Are you going to try those pants on?”

Maybelline held up the silver pants and looked at them.  “Nah . . .there’s spandex in them, see . . .” she said as she pulled on them.   

Maybelline took her time getting ready on New Year’s Eve.  It was a good thing too because the silver lamé leggings she thought was her size, actually ended up being a size too small and didn’t have nearly the right amount of stretch in them that she needed.  She threw on an oversized white and silver sweater to cover up the lumps and bumps that seemed to stand out in the leggings.  She added large silver hoops in her ears and the four-inch peep toe platform stilettos on her feet.  When she was finished, she looked at herself in the mirror.   Maybelline thought she looked pretty darn good. 

She grabbed her car keys and cell phone and headed down to her car.  She tossed her cell phone on the car seat next to the forgotten taser gun.  There was no way she was going to add any more lumps or bumps to her outfit.  Besides, she wouldn’t need her cell phone when she was at the park.  She’d just have April take the pictures of John’s proposing to her. 

She spotted April was waiting outside of Jim’s Gym just like they had arranged.  Maybelline parked her car then climbed out.

“Where’s John?” April asked, looking around.

Maybelline shrugged.  “He said he was working,” she replied.  “But I don’t believe him.  I think it’s part of his surprise.  Come midnight he’ll be up on the stage waiting to propose to me.”

April sighed.  “This is all so romantic . . .”

Maybelline had to agree.  It was just like a Hallmark movie.  And just like any good movie, Maybelline wanted to have the perfect response to John’s proposal. 

“Hey, I’ve been thinking about my answer when John proposes,” Maybelline said.  “I figure he’ll want to do it on the stage so everyone in town can see it.  So, I’ll want my answer to be perfect.  What do you think of me saying, “I will?”

April considered Maybelline’s words.  “I don’t know . . .” April replied.  “Isn’t that what you say when you get married.”

Maybelline curled her lips in thought.  “Yeah, that’s true.”  She thought for a moment more then said, “Okay, then what about “Yes?”

“Every girl says yes,” April replied. 

That was true too.  Maybelline wanted her response to be original.  “How about “I’m all yours?”

April looked at her like she’d lost her mind.  “Really?” April laughed.  Her face suddenly lit up.  “Hey, how about “I accept?”

Maybelline shook her head.  “Nah.  Who says “I accept?”

“Well you better think of something soon,” April warned her.

“Don’t worry.  I’ll come up with the perfect response,” Maybelline replied as she stepped off the sidewalk. 

She was so lost in her dilemma that she wasn’t paying attention to her footing.  Her four-inch platform heel hit a sheet of ice.  Her platform clad feet flew out from under her and she landed with a thud on her backside.  She tried to stand up only she slipped once again and kept right on sliding down the center of the street.  She narrowly missed getting hit by Mr. Winders car.  Thinking quickly, Maybelline dug her heels into the ice like they were ice picks.   

“See?  I told you I can do anything in these shoes!” Maybelline announced as April helped her to stand.

The park was decorated for the New Year’s celebration.  Lights in a multitude of colors sparkled off the blanket of white snow that covered the ground.  The large, custom-made, crystal pinecone was perched at the top of City Hall, just waiting for the countdown to the New Year.  And where the town’s gazebo once sat, now was a stage where the New Year’s Eve band was playing.  Tall stands were stationed around the park and upon them were video cameras sending images of the partygoers to the big screen T.V. on the stage.      

Maybelline took one look at the large T.V. and turned April.  “I just bet, John and I will be on that T.V. tonight!”

She could just picture herself up on the stage, so proud and happy as John got down on one knee and said the words she’d been longing to hear. A soft sigh escaped her.  Why, she almost thought she could forgive John for the taser gun and for pretending to be working.

They spend a good part of the night searching for John.  They didn’t find him anywhere.  Maybelline’s confidence began to waver.

“Maybe he really is working,” April suggested.

Maybelline wondered the very same thing.  The excitement in the park began to build.   Everywhere they looked the hum and buzz of laughter and noisemakers sounded throughout the area.  When the band announced it was three minutes to the New Year, Maybelline knew there was a slight glitch in the plan.

Determined to find John and get her proposal, Maybelline said to April.  “That’s it.  I’m going to call him.  He’s probably lost track of time and doesn’t realize it’s almost midnight!” Maybelline turned to April.  “Where’s your phone?”

April shrugged.  “I left it at home.”

Maybelline glared at her.  “You were supposed to photograph John proposing to me!” Maybelline huffed.  “Fine.  Let’s go.  Mine is in the car.”

She hurried across the street, careful to avoid the ice patches.  She opened her car door and reached inside for her cell phone when April said, “Oh God, there’s John.”

Maybelline looked up.  There under the street light, not ten feet away was John.  His back was to her but Maybelline could tell he wasn’t working.  He was busy though . . . kissing Jenny Pickler.

Her cell phone was forgotten as Maybelline grabbed the first thing her hand touched.  She scrambled out of her car and raised her hand.  April let out a panicked cry when she saw the gun.  She threw herself at Maybelline, jarring her.  The sound of the gun discharging filled the air just a second before John dropped to his knees as fifty thousand volts shot through him.  When he finally stopped flopping around, Maybelline walked over to him.  A smile spread across her face as she looked down at him.

“Gee John, you were right.  That gun did keep something bad from happening to me.”

And with that announcement, Maybelline linked her arm in April’s and strolled back to the New Year’s Eve festival.

“I guess you were right,” April finally said.  “You and John are on the T.V.”

Maybelline looked up just in time to see the replay of her tasing John broadcast on the big screen.  A smile of pure joy lit Maybelline’s face.  She might not have gotten her beautiful ring, or the man she thought was perfect for her, but she did get something better than that.  She got a whole ton of satisfaction and oh, wasn’t that just wonderful?

Yes, this coming year was going to be absolutely perfect, Maybelline decided, as the town rung in the New Year. 

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