November Rose
By Stefanie

Setting: 1960s, middle class suburban neighborhood

Author’s notes: This story contains some French dialogue. If you do not know French, you can probably still understand all of the story anyway.

@->->--

It was evening and the only lights on in the house were the lamp by the staircase and the one in her bedroom, awaiting her return. Abigail, a dark haired, blue eyed seventeen year old, stared at the telephone on the small wooden table next to the lamp, noting the device’s reflective ivory color and the smooth details, the shape of a modern work of art. So many young people took them for granted these days, never knowing what it would be like to go without one of today’s everyday luxuries. Abby tried not to be one of those people.

She kept staring at the phone, wanting to pick it up to call Garrett. In her mind, events of their date came as a tidal wave, threatening to leave a trail of destruction and defeat to anything unfortunate enough to stand in its way. She was horrified with how he thought about her after the “minor” scene she pulled at the movies. He had tried to kiss her, and she, completely involuntarily, screamed and pushed him out of his seat. Abby was so embarrassed that she darted past him and ran the three miles home in the snow. She hadn’t spoken to him in a few days, hadn’t actually had the chance with all the homework she was given, but she needed to see how things would go from there. Would he be angry at her for embarrassing him in public? Would he ever even want to lay eyes on her again? She suddenly felt faint and collapsed on the floor.

Abby was awaken by the phone ringing. She blinked hard, trying to regain her composure, and answered it.

“Hello?” she said shakily.

“Hi, Abby,” the voice on the other end said. “Are you okay? You’re breathing hard.”

“Am I? Oh.”

Pause.

“Is everything all right?”

“Yes, everything’s fine. I must have fainted. The phone just woke me up.”

“Fainted?”

“Yeah, I was overwhelmed. You know, the date. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and I suppose it got to be too much.”

“That’s the third time this week that’s happened. Maybe you should see a doctor about that.”

“I don’t think that’s necessary, Shay. I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about it. It’s just the stress. That was the first date I’ve ever been on, and it was awful. Are all dates the same?”

Shayna, her blonde haired, green eyed eighteen year old friend, laughed, “No, Abby. That was just bad luck. And don’t fret. There are other guys better than Garrett out there. You just have to find the right one.”

“Maybe you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right. Have I ever lead you in the wrong direction?”

“Well, no.”

“You see then? You gotta dump Garrett. He’s no good for you. He hasn’t even called you yet, has he?”

“No.”

“Figures. You know what, Abby? He deserved what you did to him. He was a jerk for pressuring you. You don’t have to put up with that.”

“Okay.”

“Can I come over?”

“Sure, why?”

“You’re a damsel in distress, and I don’t want you fainting again. You could get seriously hurt, you know. You might fall down the stairs or something.”

“Yeah, whatever. When will you be here?”

“Well, I’m a little tied up with chores at the moment,” Shayna said with a sigh. “I’ll get them done as fast as humanly possible, and I’ll be there as soon as I can. ‘kay?”

“Yeah. See you.”

“Bye.”

Abby hung up the phone, and wandered over to the bottom of the staircase. She sat down on the third step and folded her hands in her lap, waiting patiently for a knock on the front door. She wished Shay had already been there to comfort her, but her need for the arrival of her friend wasn’t going to get her there any sooner.

She began humming the tune to a song she had recently written. Abby rocked back and forth slowly, off beat to the song, but nevertheless to her own natural rhythm. She had a habit of doing it whenever she was feeling down. Now, she wasn’t just depressed but also lost. With all the feelings she had inside of her, she didn’t know how to handle them, didn’t know how to make sense of them all, and they were beginning to break her down. She had had a crush on Garrett for two years now, but only four days after their first date, she was already unhappy with him. And...she noticed she was becoming attracted to someone else at school.

A while later, there was a knock on the door, and Abby opened it for Shayna. She took off her coat, scarf, and boots, put them aside, and gave Abby a hug. The blue eyed girl surrendered to the arms of the green eyed girl and sighed.

“It’s been a long time since anyone’s hugged me,” the dark haired one said.

“You’re welcome,” the other replied.

They broke apart reluctantly.

“Do you wanna come upstairs?”

“Sure.”

Shay followed Abby to her room at the top of the steps. The cream painted walls were sporadically dotted with pictures of people drawn by the blue eyed girl, and the cream colored carpet was lined with furniture, leaving empty spaces around the large bed and beside the other pieces for room for a variety of items. In one of the corners sat a guitar beckoning talented fingers to play it. Abby sat down cross legged on the floor, and Shayna followed her example.

“I see you drew another picture of The Beatles,” the green eyed girl commented, looking at the piece of paper beside the bed, not yet hung on the wall. “Are you becoming obsessed, mon petit chou-fleur?”

Abby smiled at the use of the pet name Shay had dubbed her. “My little cauliflower” was a common term of endearment the light haired girl learned from her French class.

“No, I am not obsessed, ma chère amie.”

“Tu es certaine?”

“Oui, mademoiselle, je suis certaine.”

“Fabuleux. Maintenant, nous pouvon danser!” Shay exclaimed.

She jumped to her feet and pulled a hesitant Abby up with her before she had the chance to say anything. Shay began humming Moonlight Sonata and held the other girl close. Abby rested her head on the green eyed girl’s shoulder, smelling the sweet perfume she wore and fragrance the shampoo left in her beautiful golden locks. She smiled, knowing Shay wouldn’t be able to see it. She relished in the moment, wishing it would last forever. They slow danced for a few minutes until Shay forgot how the rest of the song went. They both laughed when the music stopped.

“C’est tout pour maintenant, je pense. Sais-tu une autre chanson nous pouvon danser à?”

“Non, je ne le pense pas. Désolée.”

“Pas de problème, mon petit chou-fleur.”

“That’s enough French for now,” Abby declared. They both sat down on her bed. “Now, why are you here again? Is it really because you wanted to keep me safe, or are you just feeling sorry for me?”

“Well, both I guess. But I’m sure you don’t want my pity.”

“Of course.”

“Then what *do* you want?” Shay asked.

“I want things to sort themselves out. I hate being a miserable wreck. I haven’t been able to sleep much, so I have bags under my eyes, and I haven’t paid much attention to my hair. It probably looks like hell.”

“No, you look beautiful. Just like always.”

Abby blushed and smiled. “Merci.”

“Hey, I thought you said no more French.”

“Whatever. It just felt right to thank you in another language, one not many people around here know. It’s like a safety blanket, you know? No one else can understand. It’s funny ‘cause we can use it around just about everyone, and they wouldn’t be the wiser on what we’re talking about.”

“Our own secret way of communicating,” Shayna added.

“Yeah. Exactly.”

They both sat in peaceful silence for a few moments before anyone said anything. Then Abby said enthusiastically, “Wanna hear the new song I wrote?”

“Of course! You know I love your songs.”

Abby got the guitar and sat back down at the edge of the bed with the guitar situated in her hands, ready for playing. Shay moved to sit right next to her.

“It’s called ‘November Rose.’”

She began singing...

There is bliss in anticipation
Of wit and love and proclamation
Intimate needs of human form
Of romance’s womb thou hath been born
Devine voice from Heaven sings
Bring’st about thine angel wings

November rose, come to me
November rose, set me free

Take me to that lovely place
Where no one cries and no one hurts
The November rose waits for me
Always, always patiently
With love to give and never hate
Never leave me, always stay

November rose, symbol of love
And we exist in peace

November rose, the rarest treasure
Our love can never cease

Never hath the need of love
Put thine lips on mine above
Control rules me ev’ry time
But future hopes leave my face to shine

November rose, come to me
November rose, set me free

When she stopped singing, she put the guitar beside her and glanced over at Shayna. Her friend’s face was lit up with the most genuine of smiles.

“What do you think?”

“That was wonderful, Abby. When did you write this?”

“I’ve been working on it for a few months now. The words came easily, but the tune didn’t. It took a while, but I’m happy with it.”

“And you should be. You really should consider getting a record contract. You could make a lot of money with your songs.”

“But I’m not the kind of person who likes to play in front of other people. You’re the only one I’ve ever played for.”

“No one even in your family has heard you?”

“Well, through the door maybe. But otherwise, no. Not the songs I’ve written anyway.”

“Then why do you do it for me?”

“I trust you. I’m not afraid you’re going to laugh or criticize me. Sometimes my songs are stupid, something I came up within a few minutes for the heck of it. And even then, you always like them. Even when I haven’t warmed my voice up or anything.”

“You have an awesome voice, Abby. And you have a gift. So thank you for sharing it with me.”

“You’re welcome.”

Abby went and put the guitar back in its corner, then sat back down again next to Shay.

“Can I ask you a question?” the light haired girl inquired.

“Anything.”

“Who did you write that song about?”

“Me.”

“Who else? Who’s the ‘thou?’”

Crystal blue eyes met shining emerald green. “You, of course.”

Shayna didn’t know quite how to respond to that. She was blown away with the sheer magnitude of what Abby had just told her.

“Je t’aime, Shayna. Toujours.”

“I love you always, too, Abigail.”

Abby took her hand in both of hers. “I was afraid I would offend you with it. I didn’t know how to tell you. That’s when I came up with the idea of that song.”

“You said you’ve worked on it for months. How long exactly did you know?”

“Almost a year now, in December.”

“My goodness, Abby, I wish you would’ve told me sooner.”

“I was scared you would be scared. But you said you love me, too. How come *you* didn’t come forward?”

“You were with Garrett. And you always seemed to be attracted to guys. I thought that, well, you would shun me for loving you like I do.”

“I would never shun you, Shay. Never.”

Suddenly, Abby felt Shay’s lips pressed against hers. The kiss began soft, slow, gentle but became increasingly filled with more and more passion. The light haired girl pushed the dark haired girl down on the bed and situated herself on top of her, never breaking the kiss. Then, they heard a door slam.

“Damn,” Shayna said, pulling away and moving to lay with her head resting on Abby’s shoulder. “Looks like your parents are home.”

“If they catch us like this, all hell will break loose.”

Shay put a finger to Abby’s lips. “Shhhh... Don’t ruin the moment.”

They laid like that for a while when the green eyed girl spoke up, “Can I spend the night? It’s Friday. My folks shouldn’t care.”

“I’m sure my parents won’t mind. As long as they don’t see us being...intimate.”

“Fabulous. But, I may have to sleep on the same bed as you. The floor is so cold and hard. I want something warm to curl up to.”

“I wouldn’t pass it up for the world."

@->->--

La Fin