This week’s excerpt for Sweet Saturday Samples is the conclusion of Chapter 46 of Little Ragdoll, “Adicia’s Only Hope Left.” It’s several days after Ricky suggested a convenience marriage and running away together, and Adicia has had some time to think about his plan. He’s already withdrawn from Columbia and called a moving truck, and now she must decide if she’s going to join him.
July 11, Tuesday, is the day the movers are scheduled to arrive. They told Ricky they wouldn’t arrive till 1:00, so Ricky and Adicia are able to eat breakfast in peace instead of worrying they might come in at any moment.
“Happy birthday, my pretty little ragdoll,” Ricky smiles. “When I went out yesterday, I got you a present.”
“You didn’t have to do that,” Adicia tries to protest as he hands her a small wrapped box. “You’ve already put yourself out enough for me.”
“If you don’t like it, I can just return it to the store.”
Adicia’s eyes widen when she finds a dark blue velvet box and pops it open to see a deep blue sapphire with two small diamonds on each side, set on a white gold band. “Ricky, this must have cost you a fortune!”
“A gentleman never tells a lady how much he spent on her, but I can tell you it was one of the more modestly-priced rings. I know dark blue is your favorite color, and it matches your beautiful lapis lazuli bracelet.”
“Is this intended as an engagement ring?”
“I’ll ask you again, just to make sure of your answer before we both get out of here. Adicia Éloïse Troy, will you marry me and become my darling wife, and promise you’ll grow to love me the way a wife loves a husband?”
“I thought about it, and I believe I will agree to your proposition. It’s an unlikely match and not the usual modern reason for getting married, but I think you’ll be a good husband for me. Besides, I’d much rather marry a cute boy who’s only two years my senior instead of some gargoyle forty years my senior.”
He squeezes her hand, then slips the ring onto her left hand. “A perfect fit. I told them you’re very petite and have very small hands. They showed me the selection they had in size four. You’re so tiny. Now we know what size to get your wedding band in.”
“I can’t believe I’m actually going to be marrying you,” she says nervously. “You coulda knocked me over with a feather if you’d told me back in January that in only six months I’d be marrying the cute rich boy who just moved up the street.”
“I couldn’t have guessed I’d be marrying you either. Most people don’t leap from unrequited love and only friends to spouses that quickly.”
Adicia picks her fork back up and shovels scrambled eggs into her mouth. She blushes as she’s washing it down with orange juice. “Even if we only do a quick ceremony at a courthouse with a justice of the peace, what are we going to do at the end? Are you allowed to not kiss the bride? What if we tell them we don’t wanna do something so personal with an audience?”
“If they don’t buy that excuse, I’ll be as quick as I can. It’s not so bad, you know, if you’re doing it with someone you like. I think I’ve done it with maybe five girls. Just so you know, I didn’t like them nearly as much as I like you.”
“So I’m the first girl you’ve ever really been in love with?”
“I guess so.”
“Well, if I eventually grow to love you, you’ll be the first guy I ever loved too. I’ll be a good wife to you, even if I won’t sleep with you for a long time.”
“You never know,” he smiles. “Neither of us could’ve guessed six months ago that we’d be rushing into a marriage of convenience and running away together. Maybe you’ll feel ready to be with me completely sooner than we think too.”
Adicia goes back to her scrambled eggs. “Whatever happens, I’m really grateful you’re doing so much to help me. I can’t thank you enough for this.”
“I won’t let you down. I’ll be the best husband I can be. I know this is your only hope left, but I won’t take advantage of your situation. To me, you’re a pretty girl I’m lucky enough to be marrying. I don’t care you’re a runaway or from a poor family.”
In her head, Adicia sees the image of the crying Velveteen Rabbit on the garbage heap again, only this time that scene is followed by the Rabbit turning into a real rabbit and hopping around with the other living, breathing rabbits. She thinks to herself that Ricky’s love for her, unrequited as it may be, has finally made her Real, just as the Boy’s love for the Rabbit made him Real.