Tom nervously runs his fingers over the soft petals of the single rose. One rose, just one. It's bright red, with vibrant petals and a stem with no thorns. Elliana, more commonly known as Ellie, doesn't deserve a rose with thorns. While every rose has it's thorn, Ellie is the exception.
I know this is what Tom thinks, because I can read the expression on his face. He looks at that single rose with both pride and dismay. He put forth all of his money so he could take Ellie to this nice restaurant. It isn't fancy, but it's classy. He wears nice jeans with his nicest black dress shirt. He's gone all out. We are best friends, and he's explained to me what he would do for her. He hates that he can't give her the world. I hate that he even wants to try.
Finally, Ellie arrives, and she settles down at Tom's table. They smile and share a kiss. Tom's rose is tucked out of sight, resting on his thigh. I'm in the ideal location, out of sight. I know I shouldn't be here. I know that I probably have earned myself the creeper status, and I know I'm just causing myself more pain. But I want to see the look in his eyes as he says it, so I may imagine the look he would have in making this gesture to me.
Tom and Ellie laugh and talk. Ellie's dress is the perfect shade of pale pink. It flatters her slightly rotund body in the perfect way. Ellie may be classified as fat, but she isn't disgustingly so. It looks good on her, and she has no blemish marking her perfectly pale skin. Her curves are visible, especially in that dress. I finger the fabric of my own outfit. I wear a simple red dress with a high low hem. It's sleeveless, and the neckline rests at my collarbone. It flows with sheer material, and it hugs my body perfectly. A red dress. How fitting for valentine's day. I always loved the color red. Red, like a rose. Just like me. I am Rose. Literally. Rose is my name. That just makes what Tom is going to do all the more ironic and painful to watch.
I sadly rest my cheek on my hand as I sip at the water in front of me. Then I jerk my hand away. The oils from my hands will just make my face break out even more. Even with the acne, and although we are just friends, Tom has told me that I'm beautiful. I've never believed him, but I certainly try my best. I notice Tom's eyes flick in my direction, so I arrange my chestnut brown hair to fall over my right side, like a curtain. It works and his eyes glide just over my hiding spot.
A waitress approaches their table, and they order, just as a waiter approaches mine. I order food in perfect French though I'm barely paying attention. I also think it's ironic that Tom chose a French restaurant, considering I speak the language fluently. It's a little funny to watch them both struggle over the menu. They end up pointing to what they want.
As our food is prepared in the kitchen, I see Ellie and Tom having conversation. It seems to be really fascinating, with many pauses for them both to fiddle with their clothes or hair. I wish, oh how I wish I was sitting at that table, and not Ellie. Tom and Rose. Rose and Tom. That has a nice ring to it. Better than Ellie and Tom. Or Tom and Ellie. Maybe not. Maybe it's all in my head.
Time seems to pass so slowly. Or maybe it passes extremely quickly. Or maybe it even stops as Tom's fingers gently grasp around that perfect, vibrant little rose. He brings it out from under the table and Ellie smiles. My stomach clenches into knots. I watch his lips, and I listen carefully. I know the gist of what he is going to say, he's already told me. Even with that being said, each word drives a new knife deep into my chest.
"Ellie, the only thing I have to offer you is a rose," He says. She looks into his eyes as he continues. "I may never have anything else to offer you. But this is my promise to you. I know that you are the one I want to spend my life with. I may not be able to afford a ring, not at the moment, but-" He gets down on one knee and all the other diners stare at him conspicuously. "-I'm prepared to give you my all, this one rose, every Valentine's Day from now on, until I can't anymore. I promise, just say yes. Marry me, Ellie. Please."
Everybody holds their breath, everything is silent. I bring a single, shaking hand to cover my mouth because if I don't, I'll burst into tears. Tears are streaking down Ellie's cheeks as she nods and she wraps her arms around him.
"Yes," she says, "I will." The restaurant erupts into applause as the waiters appear with my food, and the food for Tom's table. Tom and Ellie kiss. The kiss is loving, but also harder than it was before. I can't stand to watch. I can't hold it in any longer, mascara stained tears run down my cheeks as my food is set on the table.
I throw a fifty on the table, and rush out of the restaurant. Whether Tom and Ellie see my hasty exit, I don't care. Because in the next moment, the chilly air hits me and I stop. When I stop, I know I can't stay still any longer. I run. I run and I don't stop until my high heels leave my feet blistered and bleeding, until the cold hair stabs at my lungs, until I've collapsed into my bed, swathed in the silky red material of my dress. I sob with exhaustion and despair into my pillow. It muffles my tears, though it doesn't do anything to block out the emotions. I give and give and give. I am wilted, now. I may be Rose, I may be a flower, but I'm wilted. I'm dying inside, and even though it kills me when he looks at her, I just give.
But I can't give anymore, I can't. Because Ellie and Tom are getting married. They will give their vows, they will give their lives to each other. I can't give him that. He doesn't want that from me. My last thought is of the shining look in his eyes, as he asked her to be his wife and not me.
And then I fall asleep, hoping that I won't wake up.