A cold winter wind blew and beat against the small town houses in Cornwall, England. Inside the houses warm fires lit the tiny windows. November had always been a gloomy and dreary month for Brielle, but now it seemed even darker since the death of her mother a few days ago. She had spent the last two nights just as she would spend this night; crying her heart out over the loss of her dearest friend. Her pillow was drenched, her eyes sunken in and bright red, her face as pale as the new fallen snow outside. Her mother was everything to Brielle. She had grown up without a father, which mad her mother all the more important and irreplaceable to her.
As Brielle lay on her bed with a crushed and broken heart a thought came to her. She stopped crying so hard and sat up (which helped ease the pain in her chest a little). She would leave. She had to escape! Escape all the memories this little house brought her, all her mother’s friends and relatives, all the questions, inquiries, and pity scenes that lay ahead if she were to stay. Yes, she would go, but where to? Cornwall had always been her home and rarely had she traveled far from it. The only time she had actually left the country was when she, her mother and an old acquaintance had visited and toured a Lucerne, Switzerland, a quiet smaller city nestled in the mountains of the Swiss Alps. Surrounded by an enormous lake and beautiful scenery what could be a better “get away”?
Brielle lay back down sniffling and trying to clear her thoughts. She was tired of crying and tired of thinking. She wiped her eyes roughly and blinked hard. Her cheeks were hot and giving her a headache so she got up, walked to the window in her bedroom, put one of her cheeks on the cold pane and looked outside. The lights in the town shone brightly and warmed her heart. It wouldn’t be easy to leave her childhood home. Everything would be so different, yet, Brielle had a feeling that her time here in Cornwall had run its course. Brielle breathed a heavy sigh and her breath fogged up the glass. She smiled, tilted her head and drew a heart with her thin finger. The steam on the glass smeared away and Brielle was left with her own reflection in the glass. She stopped smiling and pushed back her long bangs out of her face.
“Goodbye Mother,” she whispered; then it began to snow.
4 weeks later found Brielle walking down a familiar road near the train station in Lucerne Austria. The snow fell gently and in giant flakes decorating the quaint little houses and shops. The streets smelled of mountain air mixed with fresh baked goods and hot drinks.
Brielle had arranged to stay at a small boarding house near the edge of town. She had stayed in contact with the owner throughout the weeks. The house overlooked the lake and faced a mountainous slope. When Brielle arrived she immediately felt at home! The house was made out of cobblestones and the roof was high and slanting at both sides. The door was a colorful teal blue and there was smoke coming from the chimney. The house was situated inside a white picket fenced yard. At the entrance to the yard was a black trellis with climbing green ivy luminous against the white snow that covered the roof and yard. Snow was still falling and the cold air nipped at Brielle’s nose. She stood in front of the trellis looking up at the gray sky. The snowflakes fell on her long auburn hair and eyelashes. Brielle’s lip quivered as thoughts of her mother shot through her mind but she quickly pushed them aside and stood up straighter. As Brielle crossed the threshold of her new home she imagined herself crossing the threshold of a new life. No longer a child but a woman.
A lonely Christmas came and went for Brielle. Spring came and with it a fresh hope and a comforting feeling that filled Brielle’s
mind and soul whenever she stepped outside. She thanked God for His faithfulness and for returning spring to her heart.
Spring in Switzerland was unlike anything Brielle had seen before. The mountain sides were emerald green sprinkled with dots of pink, purple and red wild flowers. The pine trees released a powerful scent that filled her with the desire to climb a hillside and bask in the warmth of the pale spring sun. Birds sang, children frolicked the hillsides on their free time and their laughter was carried in the crisp wind to the ears of the peaceful towns people. Women hung their clothes out to dry just for the fun of it and cleaned their houses to match the freshness that spring brought to the little town.
Each time Brielle stepped outside she caught a wisp of joy and a smile broke out on her lips. Brielle had busied herself with a job at a florist shop near the lake. It was a small salary but Brielle didn’t need much anyway. Besides, she loved working with plants; especially flowers. On her way home from work each day Brielle stopped at her favorite bakery to order her “usual”: a hot mint tea and a blueberry croissant. Yes, Brielle was adapting well to her new home; already familiar with the streets and shops and even some of the towns people.
Brielle’s favorite day of the week was Sunday. She attended an old fashioned baptist church and would sing hymns. Her mother loved singing hymns and Brielle felt her mother’s presence every time she sang one. On Sunday afternoons she would take walks to talk to God and clear her mind. Sometimes she would wander the pretty streets of Lucerne and gaze in shop windows. However, most of the time Brielle took a dirt path up the mountain near the boarding house where she lived. The path wound along the foot of the mountain before climbing up the side of it to an edge that overlooked the whole city. Here Brielle sat on a large stone and listened quietly to all the sounds around her. She heard the bustling town below full of people, trains and cars. She heard woodland animals making noise behind and above her. A rustle in some leaves, a bird trying to impress Brielle with his voice and squirrels chattering and scurrying up and down the trees near her resting place. Brielle cherished these walks and eagerly awaited them each Sunday.
As the towns people in Lucerne got to know Brielle they began forming their own opinions about her (as all good people tend to do). Some would describe her as a lonely girl, a mysterious or inward girl. Just listen to one of the conversations that took place between a group of ladies who couldn’t help but gossip about the “new girl”.
“Well,” said a long necked woman, “I think she has a secret to hide. She may look all high and mighty but it may be just a front! Mark my words, she’s up to no good-I’ve been observing her” she whispered behind her hand.
“Oh, Tilly, you observe everyone. She’s probably just shy.” Said a younger looking woman.
“All the sly ones are Megan!” Tilly Retorted. “And if you were smart, you would keep your eyes open to what’s going on around you too.”
“Tilly, there’s a difference between being nosy and smart.” Megan replied calmly while pushing a stand of her loose brown hair behind her ear.
All the ladies in the room laughed at this remark. Tilly straightened up in her chair and threw a hot glance at Megan. Then another woman pitched in.
“Well, I see her at church and every time I get to say a few words to her she seems oblivious to what I had just said. She’s stingy!”
“What do you say Karol? You know her better than any of us I suppose. You live with her!” Megan prodded, addressing Brielle’s boarding-mate (for they lived in the same boarding house together).
“Hmm,” Karol started slowly with each woman hanging on the edge of their seats to hear this response. “She seems very dignified… and sort of… I don’t know, solitary I guess.”
“Yes, but how does she act?” Till brashly interrogated.
“She doesn’t stay long for dinner. She always resigns to her room as soon as possible in the evenings. She leaves earlier than she actually needs to, to get to her work. Probably just to avoid any kind of conversation with the other tenants and I. That’s what I think anyways.” Karol paused several times during this description to take sips of her tea and bites of cake, much to the annoyance of the rest of the company.
“I don’t think it really matters what Brielle does or doesn’t say.” Megan blurted out defensively. She had never liked a one sided conversation no matter who it was about. “None of us has actually taken the time to try and get to know her so I don’t think any of our opinions should be hurled around behind her back.”
“Oh Megan, you always ruin the fun. It’s just a bit of gossip.” Karol chimed in.
Brielle of course was oblivious to everyone and everything that was being said about her. She tried to keep it that way. She wasn’t
rude, stingy or shy. She just wanted a few years to herself and God. For this reason, she had no intention of making new friends; at least for the time being.
But it wasn’t to be that way for long.
One day while Brielle began walking home from work she decided to take a short walk up the mountain before dinner. It was a cloudy day in November and Brielle thought it would be refreshing. She would prefer a cloudy blustery day to a sunny day any time. The air was beginning to grow cold and brisk as she began her accent up the mountain. Thoughts of the past year and of her old home in Cornwall swirled in Brielle’s mind as she walked. Her jeans made a rustling noise mixed with the sound of leaves being crunched beneath her feet. Brielle soon found a place to rest. She sat down near the edge of the mountain and looked out. Such peace. Such tranquility. Brielle loved being outside, she couldn’t imagine life without these mountains that she had come to know and love so well.
On her way back down the mountain Brielle neared a sharp turn in the path that went around the side of the cliff. She was a good 40 ft above the bottom of the slope. Suddenly it began pouring rain. Within a matter of seconds Brielle was drenched. As she rounded the corner the path got thinner and thinner. In fact it was so thin that it was only a few feet wide. On one side was the mountain-on the other a drop off of the mountain. Brielle had passed this corner before but this time was different. A great fear welled up inside Brielle’s chest. She took a deep breath, put her back against the side of the mountain and began walking sideways to get around the corner. The rain poured so heavily that it stung Brielle’s bare neck. She clung to the mountainside with both hands as she scooted by.
Suddenly Brielle’s foot slipped in the wet mud. Before she could catch her balance or see what was happening, Brielle felt herself slipping over the side of the cliff. She let out a loud scream and flung her arms wildly on the muddy ground and her hand caught onto the cliffs edge just before she fell off completely. Dangling on the side of the mountain, Brielle felt herself shaking from fear. She tried pulling herself up but she wasn’t very strong and almost fell again. The rain kept pouring and stung her eyes and face. Brielle felt cold and so scared that she couldn’t breathe. She closed her eyes and imagined the worst. Then, just as she began to let go, she felt a strong hand clasp around one of hers. She heard a loud voice somewhere in the distance, “Hold on and don’t look down!”
Brielle opened her eyes and saw a man’s face looking into hers. Everything happened so quickly. With a hard jerk on her arm, Brielle felt herself being lifted up. Then, poor Brielle fainted. Everything went black and cold in Brielle’s mind. The man who had indeed saved her, held Brielle in his arms and carried her slowly around the dreaded corner and to a safe resting place on the trail. Here, he laid her down and fearfully studied her face. He checked her heartbeat and listened to her breathing patterns. The rain did not cease all this time; instead it gushed forth all the more tirelessly pressing on the two victims. The man shaded Brielle’s face with his coat leaning over her on his hands and knees to keep her face out of the rain. Brielle fluttered her eyes open and squinted from the drops of rain falling on her face (regardless of the strange coat hanging over her). She looked at the man’s face so near to hers then relapsed into her state of unconsciousness and shock. Relieved knowing that Brielle had only fainted, the man again picked her up and began the decent down the mountain.
When Brielle awoke again she was in a hospital. A doctor was leaning over some paper work on the counter in front of her. Everything was white and smelled sterilized. Brielle tried to sit up but a shocking pain went to her head. She groaned loudly and lay back down. The doctor, hearing this, went to her side and smiled.
“Does your head hurt dear?”
Brielle opened her eyes for a second to see the doctor then shut them tightly again.
“Well, that’s to be expected. You almost fell off of Gliders Cliff then you fainted. Being unconscious like that can put a big strain on one’s head.”
The doctor’s words drummed in Brielle’s ears.
“Hmm,” Brielle murmured so quietly that the doctor had to lean forward to hear what she was saying, “How then did I get here?” She asked a little annoyed now at the whole situation.
“Crispin brought you in. He’s my nephew. He told me that he was coming down the mountain from hunting when he heard you screaming.” The doctor gently patted Brielle’s hand and went back to the counter where he had been working. Brielle’s eyebrows creased in and she let a hot anger take over her eyes and facial expression. Now she remembered a man. Someone had carried her down the mountain. How embarrassing! Brielle couldn’t think clearly so she stopped trying. After a while she sat up and this time her head didn’t hurt as bad.
“Nurse” she called out. In a few minutes a nurse walked in. “When can I leave?” Brielle asked.
“Let me check your order here.” The nurse replied picking up the doctors file on the counter for Brielle. “It looks like the doctor wants to send you home with some aspirin, and then you can go whenever you like.” The nurse smiled and set the file down. “Can I get you anything?” She asked politely. “No,” Brielle replied laying back down.
A few hours later Brielle was checked out of the hospital. As she was walking out the doors she spotted her doctor walking down a hall.
“Sir!” She called out. The doctor turned and looked at her. Brielle caught up to the man and stood facing him.
“Oh, did you get your medication?” The doctor asked.
“Yes, I did,” Brielle replied. “But I was wondering, uhm, uh.” Brielle looked down, she hated being at a loss for words! “Your nephew, uh, what did you say his name was?” She finally got out.
“Oh!” The doctor chuckled much to Brielle’s disliking, “His name is Crispin.”
“I just wanted to thank him for saving my life,” Brielle recomposed herself. ” I was terrified sir, I thought I… I mean I didn’t…” She sighed and looked down at her shoes again. “I was just really scared.” Brielle’s eyes welled up with tears and her face grew pale.
“I understand dear” The doctor said reassuringly. He lifted her chin in his hands. He smiled at Brielle and said softly, “Crispin is at work right now but if you’d like to meet him I could give him your address and send him to visit if you like.” He paused and Brielle looked down again. “Or vice versa, I could give you his address.” The doctor said quickly.
“No, I’ll give you my address. Is that polite do you think?” Brielle asked nervously.
“Of course!” The doctor handed Brielle his notepad and she scribbled down her address then returned the pad to the doctor. He studied it and smiled. “He’ll be there tomorrow around 3 o’clock. Is that agreeable for you?”
“Oh yes that’s fine.” Brielle smiled sheepishly.
“Would you like me to call you a cab?”
“No, I’ll take care of it. Thank you doctor.” Brielle said goodbye and left the hospital. She whistled for a cab, hopped in and gave the driver her address.
On her way home, the only clear thought Brielle had in her mind was “What kind of name was ‘Crispin’?”
When Brielle got home that night it was about 11:00 at night. She had been gone since that morning and worked all day at the flower shop before deciding to take that “walk” around 5:30.
“Bad idea!” she mumbled and collapsed on her bed. She lay on her back looking at the ceiling while trying to turn over the events of that day in her mind.
Brielle had felt embarrassed and scared all at the same time. She couldn’t figure out what she felt like. She couldn’t focus on just one thing that took place that day without getting her thoughts all jumbled up. So she stood up, grabbed a cup of tea downstairs and went to bed.
Brielle skipped work the next day. She was so nervous about Crispin’s visit. What would she say? How could she thank him properly without everything turning into an awkward situation? Brielle played several scenarios in her mind where everything
turned out perfectly and made her look incredibly smart, sensible and polite. But she knew all too well that neither character in her scenario would follow her script. They never do.
3 o’clock came a lot quicker then Brielle would have liked. She had kept looking out the window to see if Crispin was coming around the corner. Brielle checked herself in the mirror. Plain sweater and jeans, really? Should she wear a dress? NO! Then it would look like she had put effort into preparing for his visit. She needed to look and act casual. Maybe she should put her hair up. It looked plain falling over her shoulders. “Oh well!” She thought angrily to herself.
Brielle turned furiously away from the mirror. “Decisions, decisions, who cares! That’s what mom used to say.” She told herself out loud. Brielle sighed and drummed her nails on the bureau. “I care!” she stated. Then the door bell rang. “Too late!” She thought. Then she panicked. Her heart raced and her hands shook violently. She picked up the books on her table as if she had been busy trying to convince herself that she was acting normal. Then she threw the books on her bed very much annoyed with herself.
“Get a hold of yourself Brielle and go downstairs to answer the door.” She murmured through her teeth.
“Ok, here it goes.” Brielle walked downstairs and saw that the landlady had not answered the door yet. “Perfect”. Brielle said sarcastically and rolled her eyes. As a matter of fact, Brielle could not see or hear anyone in or around any of the adjoining rooms. She sighed heavily, straightened her shirt and opened the door.
At first the man had his back turned looking out over the scenery, then he whirled around and faced Brielle. His face was unforgettable. His bluish-green eyes shown brilliantly portraying an intelligent, deep mind behind them. His face had very defined features, handsome and strong yet soothing and polite. His smile was the most definitive though. It was one of those smiles that when you see them you just know. You’re so sure of yourself, of the moment and of the person with the smile. There was nothing fake about him; nothing hidden. He was life itself staring Brielle in the face. It warmed her to the core and made her feel strong and happy. Crispin was a shadow of something that Brielle was missing but that she hadn’t known she was missing it till she’d seen him; something that sparked her with life.
“Hello,” Crispin greeted with a smile. His voice was smooth and kind.
“Good afternoon.” Brielle replied sweetly. “Will you come in?”
“I’d love too.” Crispin gently brushed past Brielle who held the door open. She let out a breath of air and closed the front door.
Brielle turned and smiled both politely and shyly at Crispin. “I don’t think we’ve officially met or introduced ourselves. I’m Brielle Kingsbury.” Brielle extended her hand to shake Crispin’s.
“I’m Crispin Rouillard and it’s very nice to meet you Miss Kingsbury.” Crispin replied politely while clasping Brielle’s hand in his with a warm handshake.
“Oh, please call me Brielle. No one calls me ‘Miss Kingsbury!’” Brielle nervously laughed and led Crispin to the sitting room.
“Alright, then you must call me Crispin or Cris. No one can pronounce my last name nor seem to understand my first.” Crispin too let out a laugh and sat down on a sofa.
Brielle, on the other side of the room, smiled sheepishly and clapped her palms together behind her back and began nervously twiddling her fingers.
“I, eh, can I get you anything Mr.… oh, I mean Crispin?” Brielle stammered.
No, no. Thank you. I had something on the way here.”
Brielle walked over and sat on the sofa opposite of Crispin’s.
“Sir,” Brielle said, looking Crispin full in the face. “I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving my life. I am extremely grateful and owe you a debt that I could never repay.” Brielle began reciting from memory her “imaginary script” of how to thank Crispin. Then it happened. The more Brielle stared into Crispin’s eyes while trying to be sincere, the more agitated and jumbled up her script became. His eyes captivated her senses, disturbed her train of thought and tore down all her barriers that she’d built to keep people out and from forming attachments to. So, naturally, her words came out just as distorted as her emotions were.
“So, I wanted to see you, I mean, to uhm, say that I… I c.c.can’t th, th, thank you. I..Ugh!”She was so embarrassed. How could her emotions be so mean as to betray her?! Brielle lowered her eyes and stared at the ground. She felt like screaming, and possibly throwing something.
While Brielle was looking down Crispin smiled quietly and covered his mouth with his hand.
“Oh, there’s really no need to thank me Brielle.”
Crispin stood up and walked over to the mantle that was behind the couch he was sitting on. Everything was quiet except the crackling of the blazing fire and some soft singing from the birds outside the window.
Then it began to snow.
Crispin continued. “I was very scared myself you know. But it’s over and inviting me here is thanks enough.” Now he turned to see what Brielle was doing. She was still looking down. Eventually she looked up and around the room. Brielle had recomposed herself and was ready to change the subject before she ruined Crispin’s entire image of her.
“How did you come by such an interesting name?” She smiled and cocked her head at Crispin.
“Ah, ha!” Crispin laughed. “Well you see…” He began and walked back to the sofa across from Brielle. Brielle began fidgeting with her fingers again.
“My mother was Italian, hence the name Crispin and my father was Italian too but his family was from a long line of Frenchmen. The name Rouillard goes way, way back in the history of France!” Crispin straightened up proudly but teasingly. He smiled at Brielle then asked, “But what about you? Do you have family here?”
Brielle felt her head getting hot.
“Well, I never had a father, growing up that is. But my mother was very dear to me. She died just a little over a year ago.” Brielle, after saying this, immediately stood up and turned away from Crispin to hide the pain she was feeling at remembering her mother. She shut her eyes as tight as she could to hold back any tear that might try to escape.
“I’m sorry Brielle.” She heard Crispin say. He walked toward her a few paces hoping to somehow comfort her but stopped shortly. “My mother died when I was eight. I never ever forgot or stopped missing her.” Crispin said softly.
Brielle sighed and turned to Crispin.
“Then you know what it feels like?” Her voice faltered a little.
“Yes.” Then the room was quiet for a little while. “Well,” Crispin broke the silence. “I’ve got some chores to get done for my aunt. I don’t want to keep you all day.” He said, picking up his coat that was on the couch.
“Oh dear, I’m so sorry Crispin, you can stay if you like. I could make tea.”
“No, no, it’s fine really. I promised my aunt that I’d be able to help this afternoon. But thank you for having me.” Crispin said on his way to the door.
“Well, thank you again, and I hope to see you soon.” Brielle caught herself saying.
“Yes, I hope so too.” Crispin replied taking Brielle’s hand and shaking it. “It was very nice meeting you.”
“You too,” Brielle replied shyly while smiling up at Crispin. His loose curly hair blew in the wind from the open door. His smile calmed Brielle’s pounding heart and made her feel safe. Then, he left. He walked out the door, down the sidewalk and turned around the corner to the left.
Brielle shut the door, ran to her room, threw herself on her bed and cried. She hated crying but she couldn’t help it. She was in love.
An agonizing week went by for Brielle. She knew nothing about this man who had stolen her heart. She didn’t know his family, his character traits or his beliefs! But worst of all she hadn’t seen him for a week. Each time she walked to work she hoped to see his face somewhere amongst the crowds in the streets. When she walked past the hospital where Crispin’s uncle worked she strained her eyes to see him near the door. But the week pressed on as weeks have a tendency of doing. When there is something you are looking forward to, or expecting, the weeks don’t seem to care. They bring forth day after day without pausing.
In Brielle’s tragic love case, the days that she didn’t see Crispin lasted the longest. Time wore on. Days were years to the poor love struck girl. She now recognized that her life was in fact, missing something. But being near Crispin that day had filled that missing mysterious void. When would she see him again?
Then Brielle heard of a Christmas parade that would take place one week before Christmas. The only reason Brielle decided to go was in hopes of “accidently” seeing Crispin there. But she had many second thoughts about going. After all, she didn’t know anyone there and the thought of being alone in a big crowd scared her. Still, she went.
Walking among the crowds wasn’t as bad as Brielle thought it would be. She watched some floats go by, walked in and out of some stores, and basically just wandered about. The Christmas lights in all the shop windows sparkled and snowflakes fell on Brielle as she stood alone on one of the empty streets. Brielle smiled and breathed in the moment. It felt magical to her. All alone under the street lamp she stood, staring up at the huge snowflakes magnified under the lamplight. Then she thought to herself that she would have enjoyed the moment even better if Crispin were there with her.
“Oh, you are so sentimental and weird!” Brielle shook her head at herself and began walking across the empty street. She jumped a puddle, skipped over a few sidewalks and joined the crowd watching the parade.
Brielle was being bumped around in the crowd and was being pushed here and there and felt very alone when someone tapped on her shoulder. Brielle turned and stared up into Crispin’s face.
“Hey!” He shouted over the loud band music and noisy people.
“Hi!” Brielle shouted back with a huge smile on her face, relieved to finally see him again.
Crispin smiled and stared at Brielle for a moment before asking, “Do you like the parade?”
“Are you keeping warm?”
“What’s that?” Brielle couldn’t hear very well so she leaned closer to hear what Crispin had said.
Crispin laughed and shook his head, “I asked if you were keeping warm!”
“Oh!” Brielle laughed too. “Yes, yes I am!”
“What’s that?” Crispin mimicked Brielle trying to tease her. Brielle pursed her lips together and lightly punched Crispin on the arm to get him back.
The two talked for a few minutes while the loud parade went on. Soon Crispin stopped talking and looked into Brielle’s face. Then a twinkle came to his eyes when he suddenly said, “Come with me I want to show you something!”
Before Brielle could answer, Crispin took her by the hand and led her through the crowds and right down to the lake a few blocks away from the parade. Crispin let go of Brielle’s hand and walked over to a shack that was near the shore. He unlocked the door, went inside and came back out with a canoe!
“What in the world!” Brielle exclaimed.
“We’re going on a little adventure!” Crispin declared as though they were traveling to a far off land and would be back in the morning.
“In a boat?” Brielle protested.
“In a canoe.” Crispin replied sarcastically correcting her while dragging the canoe into the lake.
“You can swim right?” Crispin shouted when he ran back to the shack for the oars.
This question surprised and frightened Brielle even though of course she could swim. Surly she wouldn’t have to get in the water, she thought.
“Um, yes, why?” Brielle asked trying to sound nonchalant.
“I thought so.” Crispin smiled to himself while bending over the canoe checking to see if they had everything needed. “Well, we might tip you know and I don’t want to have to save you!” He turned and smiled at Brielle devilishly.
By now Brielle had guessed that he was joking again and laughed at herself. Brielle caught herself whole heartedly laughing for the first time since her mother died. A lot was changing now since she had met Crispin. It felt wonderful. She finally felt joy emanating through her face. Crispin noticed it too but chose not to say anything; instead he made light of his little joke.
“I’m just kidding! I saved you once remember? I’d do it again if I had to.” He said while turning back to preparing the canoe.
Even though it was said in a joking manner, Brielle took these words to heart and cherished them. But she promptly replied, “Well, let’s hope you won’t have to.”
Crispin chuckled and gestured to Brielle to climb into the canoe.
“Ready for an adventure?” He asked. Brielle nodded her head like an excited little girl. She hopped in the canoe and Crispin pushed
them out to deeper water. He climbed in the boat with his wet pants and shoes and Brielle screamed “Ah! You’re freezing!” They laughed and dried off with the towels Crispin packed then started paddling out to deeper water together.
“We’re going to need some kind of light.” Brielle said.
“There’s a flashlight underneath your seat.”
“Oh.” Brielle pulled out the light and shined it in the water that they were gently gliding over. Soon they came to a stop about 80 feet off shore. Brielle set the flashlight in the middle of her and Crispin on the bottom of the canoe. The light illuminated both of their smiling faces.
“I have something for you Brielle.”
“Oh yay.” Brielle said sarcastically. She was having fun. The most fun she’d had in a while.
Crisping reached in his jacket pocket and pulled out a mini chocolate box.
“What are you trying to do, make me fat?” She laughed.
“Hmm, maybe I should wait to give you these till after I’m done rowing us back!” He teased.
“Honestly!” Brielle declared.
“Here,” he handed her the box and Brielle split the chocolates between them.
“So, was this the adventure?” Brielle asked.
“Wait for it…” Crispin said while looking at his wrist watch. Brielle looked around nervously. Then suddenly, fireworks exploded overhead! Pinks, blues, reds and gold shimmered in Brielle’s eyes and reflected in the water below them. Brielle couldn’t say anything. She was so happy and surprised. As Brielle watched the beautiful array of colors in the sky Crispin was watching Brielle’s face. She was beautiful. Her cheeks were perfectly set with pink dimples. Her lips were curved with delicate perfection and her eyes were glorious. Her curled hair fell loosely over her slender shoulders and complimented her defined cheek bones. Seeing Brielle happy brought Crispin an unexplainable joy. It was like showing a child a birthday present or experiencing spring after a long winter for the very first time. He felt like this was what he was meant to do his whole life. Suddenly Brielle stopped watching the fireworks and looked at Crispin.
“Thank you.” She smiled sweetly and it looked like she had soft tears in her eyes. Crispin smiled back in response.
When Crispin and Brielle returned after the firework show Brielle said she had to go home. They stood on the shore and were about to say goodbye when Crispin said “I know how lonely it is to have to struggle alone.” Brielle gasped at hearing those words and tears choked in her throat. That is what she had been feeling all this year. She was alone and she fought her emotions alone, she fought her financial battles alone, she fought everything alone and everything felt like a fight.
Brielle nodded and wanted to say something in reply but she started stuttering again.
“Well, I…I have…I mean I’m not all…I guess I…”
“It’s ok Brielle.” Crispin cut her short. “I bet you’re cold and tired. I’ll see you later ok?”
Brielle and Crispin said goodbye. Brielle grabbed her backpack and left quickly and a little embarrassed. He really knew how to hit a soft spot hard didn’t he? Brielle thought to herself on the way home. She thought that she was good at hiding emotions but apparently not from Crispin! She smiled thinking about what he had said. He was so sweet! He was trying to help her. Brielle closed her eyes and squeezed her backpack. Was this what she’d waited for her whole life? Love. It sure felt like it. Her heart was bursting with happiness. She decided to walk home instead of taking a cab. She liked to be alone with her thoughts and innocent day dreams even though it was cold.
Christmas came and went before Brielle saw Crispin again. She had worked all that past week before Christmas then attended a Christmas party that her landlady, Mrs. Hatteras, had hosted in the boarding home. It was another lonely Christmas. Brielle could have gone back to Cornwall to visit old friends and family but didn’t have the finances. She enjoyed the party as much as possible and decided to just focus on Christ’s birth instead of all the things she couldn’t have or do.
The day after Christmas Brielle ran into Crispin on her way into town.
“Crispin, hi!” Brielle said after he had passed by without seeing her.
“Oh, hey, how are you?” Crispin walked back to her and asked.
“I’m good, how was your Christmas?” She replied.
“It was great! I stayed at my uncle’s and my dad came over.” Crispin put his hands in his pockets and leaned up against the building they were standing next to. “How was yours?”
“That’s nice. Mine was ok. I just live at that boarding house you know…and I don’t really know anyone there so…” Brielle cut her sentence short and decided to leave it at that.
“Oh.” Crispin nodded his head. “So it was lonely?” He prodded.
“Man, does this guy have no boundaries to asking personal questions about other people’s lives?” Brielle thought to herself. She sighed heavily and looked down hoping, by doing so, to gain an apology from Crispin for prying. But none came. “Wow”.
“Yes, yes it was.” She answered finally. “I guess I’m still not used to lonely holidays even after a year.”
“I’m sorry Brielle. I should have invited you to our Christmas party!”
“No, I wouldn’t have wanted to impose.”
“You wouldn’t have been imposing. Actually you being there might have been helpful.”
“Helpful?” Brielle asked.
“Yes,” Crispin was the one who looked down this time. “You want to get a cup of coffee somewhere and I’ll explain?” He looked up and asked.
“Oh…I was..I mean um…Ok why not?” Brielle laughed away her stuttering and Crispin took the books that Brielle was going to take to the library. He carried the books and they walked along side each other on the way to “Alpine Café”, a quaint little restaurant in town. On the way, Brielle exclaimed “You got a haircut!”
Crispin chuckled, “Yes, I did. Thank you for noticing.”
And he did. His light brown/blondish curly hair was cut to a medium short length instead of the long wispy cut he had had before. For the first time it seemed like, Brielle began noticing little details about Crispin. He was a very simple young man. He wore jeans and flannels, he dressed casually but neatly. His face had a rugged manly look and he always carried a sense of pride with him. His eyes were so sweet and smooth though and showed his soft side.
“Do you like it?”
“Do I like what?” Brielle snapped out of her deep thought.
“My hair!” Crispin laughed and questioningly looked at Brielle.
“Oh, oh yes!” Brielle laughed at herself and apologized. “I’d like your hair any way you have it Crispin, as long as you don’t buzz it. I can’t stand that on a boy!”
“I see.” Crispin smiled and watched Brielle for a moment while they were walking.
“What?” She asked after noticing Crispin staring.
“Oh, I was just thinking that I would like your hair any way too, as long as you don’t buzz it.” Crispin teased.
Brielle rolled her eyes and shook her head. Then they talked about the weather, guessed what the next holiday decorations would be, and what kind of coffee each other liked and so on. Soon they arrived and chose a table near the big window to sit at. The two ordered mochas and chocolate cookies. Then sat and discussed little subjects together.
They talked about their jobs. Crispin worked for a construction company and wanted to save up for college. He wanted to work with his uncle at the hospital and would work his way through college. Brielle told Crispin where she worked and he said the job suited her,
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Brielle asked pretending to be mean.
“It means you look like a girl who works at a floral shop!”
“Oh dear.” Brielle shook her head.
“That’s a good thing silly.” Crispin winked.
Then Crispin set his cup down and folded his arms across the table. Before he began what they’d came here to hear “explained” Brielle interrupted the moment. “Well, what did you want to explain?” She took a loud bite out of her cookie trying to be silly.
“I was just going to tell you.” Crispin sighed.
“Oh! Go ahead then.” Brielle put her cup down too and tried to act serious.
Crispin shook his head and looked down.
“Well, I think you would have helped by being there because my dad is a very hard hearted man. Ever since my mom died he’s been cruel, unloving and just… mean. He blames me most of the time for his anger. He wishes I were richer, or that I had a better paying job. He thinks I’m reckless and self-centered. He’s always yelling at me to be better and smarter and richer. Just yesterday he told me I was pathetic and a waste.”
“A waste of what?” Brielle asked. She was trying to be sympathetic and wanted to help Crispin as much as he had helped her.
“A waste of everything I guess!” Crispin covered his hands in his face. “Maybe if you were there he wouldn’t have been mad at me.”
Brielle felt hurt for Crispin. She looked around and tried to think of some way to help. She slowly reached out and put her hand on his arm. Crispin looked up; his eyes were red and his face was hard and sad.
Brielle smiled gently and said “Come with me, I want to show you something.”
Crispin took a deep breath and put down the money for their bill. Then he stood up and followed Brielle out of the café.
Walking along, Brielle stopped in front of an old fashioned general store. She turned to Crispin, “Do you have any matches on you?” Crispin creased his eyebrows and looked at Brielle as if she were a little crazy.
“No.” He replied.
“Ok then, you get the matches and I’ll get the chips and hot dogs.”
“What?” Crispin asked completely confused now.
“Just do it Crispin!” Brielle grabbed a shopping basket near the door of the store then disappeared inside. Crispin shrugged his shoulders in bewilderment and went inside to buy the matches.
An hour later found the two friends hiking up one of the mountains on the east side of town. They didn’t talk very much. Brielle felt like she was in charge, leading the way and Crispin followed behind her smirking. They reached a place where the slope leveled off and the ground wasn’t inclined as much. Here Brielle left the well trodden path and walked directly into the woods. Crispin raised his eyebrows at this but followed along anyway. Soon they came to a clearing in the woods. There were three tree stumps that had been used for seats that were situated around what looked to be a campfire.
“Brielle, have you been here before?” Crispin seemed surprised.
“Yes, what do you think?” Brielle put her sack of food on one of the stumps.
“Well, how did you find this place?” Crispin asked sincerely curious.
“It’s on the map. You know… the trail map? There was a sign on one of the trees back there on the path too.”
“Wow,” Crispin looked down and scratched his head. “I’ve lived here almost my whole life and have never noticed that before. My uncle used to take me hiking up here all the time.”
“Oh.” Brielle busied herself with making the resting place as nice as possible.
“It’s going to get dark soon, we should have come earlier.” Crispin pointed out.
“That’s why I had you get matches silly! And the wood is all over the place.” Brielle pointed, implying that Crispin start building a fire. Brielle looked at him with a demanding look. “Hurry up I’m hungry!” She ordered.
Crispin laughed at Brielle put said “yes ma’am!”
“Ah ha! Got a laugh out of you did I?” Brielle smiled at Crispin and he shook his head and smiled then went to collect wood.
Crispin built a magnificent fire and helped Brielle cook the hot dogs. They laughed and talked while they ate. They exchanged old childhood stories and talked about their families and old friends and about school and problems they’d faced in their short lifetimes.
“How old are you anyway Crispin?” Brielle asked half way into her 3rd hot dog.
“How old do you think I am?” Crispin answered with a childish grin.
“Wow, so perceptive! Close but I’m 24.” After saying this Crispin sat up taller to try and look older.
Seeing this Brielle laughed and threw a hot dog bun at him.
“And you young lady? You look to be 15.”
“UGH! Really?” Brielle stopped playing and frowned.
“Well, no; but you look like your 18…or around 18?” Crispin questioned himself thinking his answer might offend Brielle even more.
“Yea, but I’m 20!” Brielle retorted.
“Sorry!” Crispin laughed and Brielle joined in.
After a moment of silence Crispin asked, “So this is what you brought me up here for?” trying to sound like Brielle on the canoe.
“Haha! Well are you having a good time?”
“Yes, very much. Thank you Brielle.” Crispin said with true sincerity.
Brielle stood up and looked at the stars twinkling against the now black sky. It was a clear night and there wasn’t much snow on the ground. The fire crackled and the pine trees let off a strong mountainy aroma. The clear sky promised a sunny day on the marrow. In addition to all this beauty there was a full luminous moon that night. It illuminated the trees and threw light on the distant mountains. It gave a sparkling light to the two friends as they looked up upon it that night.
“Crispin,” Brielle said while still looking at the moon. “My mom used to say that my grandma used to say, ‘God taught the sun and
the moon to be patient and wait its turn. They will each have their own time to shine.’” Brielle turned to Crispin. “You will have your time to shine too Crispin. Don’t be discouraged about what your dad tells you, but don’t disrespect him either. Try to have patience with him. There’s a light in you Crispin, I’ve seen it ever since I met you. Don’t lose that.” Brielle looked down and rubbed her boot in the dirt. Maybe she had said too much. But when she looked up again Crispin was looking down too with his right arm in his other hand. Then he looked up with a twinkle in his eye and said quietly “thank you Brielle.” The he walked up to Brielle and hugged her gently. Brielle felt her heart beating faster and closed her eyes trying to fight back the tears. She’d forgotten what it felt like to be hugged by someone she cared about.
After they cleaned up Brielle and Crispin walked back to town talking and using their cell phones for flashlights. They talked about Brielle’s job as a florist and about Crispin’s job as a construction worker. Then they arrived at Brielle’s home. They said goodnight and Brielle waved goodbye as Crispin walked out of sight around the corner.
The next few months were slow and quiet. Brielle and Crispin saw each other once in a while but both were busy with work. Sometimes they would run into each other in town or at social events but never planned anything together.
New years bring all sorts of work and business to try and make up for lost time over the holidays. So Crispin didn’t have many chances to see Brielle. They hoped that in the summer things would slow down and they might have some more adventures together. But then Brielle got a phone call in April. It was from her aunt Lydia who wanted to pay for Brielle to “come and spend the summer in Cornwall.” How could Brielle refuse? Her family hadn’t seen her for almost 2 years and they were all pushing for her to visit. Plus her trip was to be paid for. She had no excuses not to go. So Brielle made her plans to leave in June for Cornwall and would return to Lucerne in mid-September.
Brielle had been hoping to see a lot of Crispin in the summer. But did Crispin feel the same? Was he hoping to see more of her too? Would he miss her while she was gone? After all, they had only seen each other on a few occasions. Was she alone in her feelings of love for Crispin or did he love her back? She didn’t know. Brielle had thought the same questions and ponderings many times before. But just like everything else in her life, Brielle would have to entrust the matter to God.
So on June 7th, Brielle left her dear mountains and beautiful lake and left for Cornwall England. She had told Crispin that she was leaving but it was a very brief conversation. Crispin was on his way somewhere and wanted “to stay and talk” but just couldn’t. He said he was sorry to see her leave but was glad that she could see her family again. Brielle was disappointed with their parting but had to bear with it. There was nothing she could do now. So, just like that, Brielle left Lucerne.
“So Brielle, are you enjoying your time back home?”
Brielle’s aunt shook her thoughts.
“Yes, I am. Thank you.” She replied. The two of these ladies were sitting on her aunt’s patio in a garden on a hot summer day in July. The countryside was beautiful this time of year but Brielle missed her home in the Alps. Her aunt Lydia talked and talked about the latest news in Cornwall, pounded Brielle with questions about Lucerne and whined about the heat. It was easy for Brielle to zone out and retreat to her own thoughts. The last month of Brielle’s visit had consisted of long afternoons with her aunt, visiting old relatives, attending church events, summer potlucks and meeting new friends introduced by old ones. Rarely did Brielle get to spend any time alone. But she didn’t mind. Staying busy helped to keep her mind off of missing Lucerne and Crispin.
One day while Brielle was drinking lemonade and picking flowers in her aunt’s garden an old school friend strolled around the corner to her aunt’s house.
“Hey stranger!” She shouted.
Brielle looked up. “Cherry!” She screamed. Brielle ran over to her friend and hugged her tightly. Both girls were squealing and trying to talk at the same time. Cherry had been away at college for 3 years but both had been good friends for such a long time that it only took seconds to rekindle their old friendship. They decided to take a walk together and have a long conversation so that they could catch up on each other’s lives.
“I wanted to tell you something in person,” Cheery whispered to Brielle after some time. Brielle gasped and said “What, what is it?”
“I’m getting married!” Cherry exclaimed with a smile as big as her cute cheeks would allow.
Brielle stopped walking and looked at her friend in amazement. “Oh wow!” She was short of breath. “To who?” She was too happy to share in her friend’s excitement yet.
“To a boy I met in college, his name is George Mansfield.” Cherry said quickly and still smiling as big as she could. Brielle grabbed her and laughed and the two girls hugged until Cherry wanted to show Brielle her ring. It glittered in the sun and they talked about its quality and about how George had proposed. Then they went over the wedding details.
“We’re having our wedding on September 3rd.” Cherry mentioned. “Will you still be here?”
“Yes, till the 15th!” Brielle said excitedly.
“Good. I’ll need all your help and of course you’ll have to be here to pick out your maid of honor gown!” Cherry clasped Brielle’s hand. “You will stand with me, won’t you Brielle?”
Tears came to Brielle’s eyes as flashbacks of all her childhood memories with Cherry went through her mind.
“Of course I will Cherry.” The two friends hugged again and held hands as they continued their walk. They went on talking about the wedding and about George, his job, family, and about how wonderful he was. As they neared Brielle’s aunts house on their way back Cherry looked at Brielle and asked; “So, have you met anyone in Lucerne?” She smiled and threw a mischievous glance at Brielle.
Brielle looked at Cherry and rolled her eyes.
“Of course I have. I’ve met a lot of people. I’m not a hermit you know!”
“Yes you are! But that’s beside the point. I meant have you met anyone special…like a guy?” Cherry drew out the last word as if the only way to get Brielle to answer was by interrogation.
Brielle looked down, smiled and nodded her head.
“I think I have.” She answered.
Brielle enjoyed herself now that her friend was in town in the weeks that followed. They went shopping almost every day for wedding supplies and planned and planned for Cherry’s big day. They lunched together and took turns spending the night at each other’s houses.
Brielle met George, Cherry’s fiancé. She liked him, but each time she was around him or talked with him it only made her miss Crispin all the more. She missed his smiling face and fun conversations; she even missed being teased by him. But it was no use. Brielle would have to wait out the rest of her visit in Cornwall. So she stayed as busy as possible.
One weekend, Brielle, her aunt Lydia, Cherry, ad Cherry’s mother Lucien decided to take a weekend trip to the coast. It was only a 40 minute drive from Cornwall to the Chanel. The ladies were able to wind down from all the pressure of the wedding. They stayed in a beautiful cottage near the ocean.
Brielle walked along the shore and listened to the waves crashing against the sand. Her thoughts swirled and tumbled in her mind. Thoughts of Crispin and her future bothered Brielle. What was she going to do with her life? She couldn’t work at a florist shop and live in a boarding house forever. She needed to decide where this was all going. She knew that she wanted to marry and settle down with a family but who knew when that would happen. That’s when Crispin came to mind. Brielle loved him. She really, truly loved him. True love, if it really is true, isn’t a fantasy. It’s real, it’s tangible, it’s long lasting and never fading. But did Crispin feel the same way? Was he in as much love as she was? How could she tell? How was she to know? Just by guessing from his actions? No! That would never do. One cannot make grand assumptions and base her livelihood or well being on them.
Brielle sat down on the warm sand. She let the wind sweep her face and hair as she sat thinking. She decided that she would apply for a job as a journalist when she returned to Lucerne. She didn’t know what newspaper she would apply to but she knew that she wanted to write.
Later Brielle told Cherry all her plans and they talked about it over their weekend. Brielle was thankful that she had her friend with her during this time. It’s funny how friends are given to us for specific times in our life. But soon the girl’s weekend and time together would come to an end.
The day of Cherry’s wedding arrived. Brielle looked stunning in her bridesmaid dress. It was a pale pink flowing gown, her hair hung loose in thick curls down her back. The music began playing and the other bridesmaids walked down the aisle.
When Brielle’s turn came to walk down to the alter she clutched her flower bouquet and took a deep breath. While walking down the aisle Brielle tried to pay attention to what was going on, but only two thoughts were passing through her mind. 1, She wished she were walking down the aisle as Crispin’s bride-to-be and 2, Only 12 days left till she returned to Lucerne.
After the wedding and reception it was time to say goodbye to Brielle’s dear friend Cherry. Brielle would be gone by time Cherry returned from her honeymoon. Brielle hated saying goodbyes. She wanted to hold her friend forever and ever. Brielle, for some reason, felt scared in that moment while hugging Cherry. What if things had changed while she had been in Cornwall? She felt as if she were embarking on a whole new life, only, nothing had changed yet. She was on the brink of something big and frightening but she couldn’t see what it was. Brielle got a hold of herself and let go of her friend.
Cherry looked so happy! She was oblivious to Brielle’s feelings or thoughts. She loved Brielle but couldn’t wait to leave for her honeymoon. She looked right past Brielle it seemed like. Within a few sort moments Cherry was gone and Brielle was walking home alone.
The next 12 days were like a continual downpour of pure monotony. The days weren’t long but they weren’t short either. Brielle felt like a blank page. Nothing filled her. Nothing appeased her bored and depressed state of mind. She was tired of being in a place where everything reminded her of her mother. When the day of her departure came Brielle was more than ready to leave. Her eccentric aunt was in tears while Brielle boarded the plane. Brielle waved goodbye and happily left Cornwall. Again. On her flight back to Lucerne Brielle wondered about Crispin. While she had been away Brielle often thought of and prayed for Crispin. She really wanted to see Crispin’s relationship with his father restored.
When Brielle got back to Lucerne she decided to walk home, just as she’d done when she first arrived there. Autumn had come at just the right time. Brielle walked along all her favorite streets on the way back to her old boarding house near the lake. The beautiful autumn leaves fell down all around her as she walked on the moss covered cobblestones. The sky was gloomy and the air felt clean and fresh. Brielle was so happy to be back in “her mountains”.
For the first week since Brielle’s return she hadn’t seen any of her friends including Crispin. She wanted to take things slow and settle back in. She hadn’t quit her job as a florist yet. She wanted to look around for a position as a journalist first. She went to several newspaper printing presses and a few magazine publishers before she was accepted to write a weekly article for “Living Lucerne”, a popular newspaper. But a once a week article wouldn’t cut it for Brielle’s needs. So she decided to keep both jobs. Part time florist and journalist; It was perfect! Brielle loved being busy in the fall, it brought a sense of accomplishment and made her feel classy. But there was always a lingering question in her mind, “when will I see Crispin?”
Finally, Brielle decided to go see Crispin at his office of the construction company that he worked for. Walking up to the door made her more nervous than she’d ever felt before. A thousand thoughts and questions flew through her mind all at once. What if he is too busy? That would be embarrassing! Am I being too straight forward? But her hand reached forward and Brielle felt her fingers tapping on Crispin’s door. Crispin’s sweet familiar voice was heard in her ears.
Brielle bit her finger and covered her face with her hands. What was she doing?!
Suddenly with a burst of self-confidence, she stood up straight, pulled her shirt down and opened the door.
Crispin looked up at Brielle and immediately a shocking look went to his eyes. His face went pale and he opened his mouth but no words came out.
“Surprise,” Brielle smiled sweetly and walked in. “Hi Crispin.”
“Brielle,” he stuttered. “C, c, come in, sit down.”
Brielle was a little startled by his response but she sat down anyway.
“Hi Brielle,” he stood up and walked over to her.
“Hi,” she replied.
“I’m, I’m glad to see you back.” Crispin said bluntly.
“Thanks, I got back a little over a week ago.” Brielle tried to sound nice but she felt nervous.
“Oh, that’s neat.” Still there was no change in Crispin. He seemed scared and strange, definitely not his casual, usual self.
“Yea…How have you been Crispin?” Brielle kept trying to get him to relax while she tried to remain calm herself. But there was something wrong.
“Oh, I’ve been good I guess. How, uh, how have you been?”
“I’ve been fine. I missed Lucerne while I was gone though!” Brielle smiled.
“What’s the matter, what’s wrong? Did I do something to upset you, is this a bad time or something?” Brielle felt like asking. She was really uneasy around him right now. Somehow, there was something fake and scary about Crispin. Something had happened to him.
Crispin cleared his throat and looked down. “Hey Brielle, I’m pretty busy right now, but I would love to talk to you about your trip. So, maybe we could have dinner tonight?”
This came as a huge shock to Brielle. She did not expect that to come from Crispin especially after the way he’d been acting. She got scared.
“I…um…I wa’…um I guess…well. I mean what time should we…or you..I mean…uh, ok.” Brielle was shaking and looking all around then she looked down and squeezed her eyes shut.
“I could pick you up at 7.” Crispin’s voice sounded a little steadier now.
“Ok, see ya latter.” Brielle nearly ran out of Crispin’s office.
On her way home Brielle didn’t know what to think about; Crispin’s behavior or her dinner date with him that night. These were not the situations she’d envisioned when she thought of how Crispin would have asked her out on their first date. What was wrong with him? She had never seen him act this way. Was he mad at her for some reason? Then Brielle made one clear, final decision (The first one she had made all day it seemed like). She wouldn’t think about it. She wouldn’t analyze his actions/behaviors or her own. She would just show up at dinner as if nothing had happened; she would be herself. Why should she ruin things on their first dinner?
Brielle decided to do something to take her mind off of the matter. She went shopping for an outfit to wear to dinner. Brielle needed to be classy and composed tonight. “Don’t stutter tonight Brielle!” She kept telling herself over and over. Before she knew where all the hours had gone, 7 o’clock came. She heard Mrs. Hatteras her landlady call her downstairs, there was “someone” at the door for her.
Brielle grabbed her handbag and sprayed on her favorite perfume and ran down the stairs.
Crispin met Brielle at the door smiling but still seemed on edge. They drove to a restaurant and made small talk. At the dinner table Brielle talked about her trip and Cherry’s wedding. Crispin seemed distant and uninterested for the most part. But he was also trying to be polite.
Suddenly, as if he could take the pressure no more, Crispin interrupted Brielle.
“Brielle,” he said, his voice shaking, “Yes?” Brielle replied.
“There’s something I need to tell you.” Crispin looked down and seemed very upset. He was shaking.
“Brielle, while you were away, my father introduced me to a girl-a very wealthy girl named Veronica. Her father owns a vast amount of the businesses here in Lucerne and a few others nationally. My father, he…he wants me to marry Veronica so that he can be proud of me.” Here Brielle gasped and she shook her head in confusion.
Crispin went on. “I am engaged Brielle. Veronica and I are to be married on December 15th.”
Brielle pushed the chair out from behind her and stood up. “Wait! Wait, this is all wrong. I don’t understand Crispin.” She was talking fast and seemed jumpy.
“I don’t know what is so confusing Brielle. What’s not to understand?” Crispin asked trying to seem calm.
“I thought… I mean I…you were…you’re engaged!?” Brielle almost shouted.
“Calm yourself down Brielle! And yes, I am engaged to Veronica. I am sorry if I upset you.”
“Upset me? Oh, Crispin, you…you are so…I can’t talk to you anymore.” Brielle picked up her handbag and began walking furiously out of the restaurant. Crispin stood up and followed her. “Brielle wait!” He tried not to draw any attention but the crowd was watching them anyway. Brielle got out on the street and waved for a taxi.
“Brielle please don’t leave. Let’s talk about this please.”
“Talk about what? You clearly have everything figured out so, I don’t think I need to stay.”
A taxi pulled up and Brielle got in and slammed the door before she could hear what Crispin had to say.
Inside the taxi after Crispin was out of sight in the distance, Brielle burst into tears and developed a massive headache. Her thoughts were blurred in her hot tears. Nothing made sense any more.
When Brielle was finally alone in her room, she collapsed on the bed and sobbed. Crispin had loved her hadn’t he? If he had, then why would he choose to hurt her like this? He would choose to appease his father instead of love who he wanted to love? Everything was all wrong. How could this have happened?
At least Brielle knew why Crispin had been acting so strange. But what now?
Brielle felt rage, heartbrokenness, hate and loneliness all at the same time. She was tired of being disappointed and let down. When would things brighten up for her? Where was the sun in Brielle’s life? Didn’t God want the best for her? Brielle thought and worried and cried till she couldn’t think anymore. Her head hurt badly and she knew she needed to stop crying. She sat up and looked out her window.
In that moment, at about 1:00 in the morning Brielle felt Jesus arms wrap around her. She felt Him holding her and comforting her. She sat there on her bed lost in His presence. After a while Brielle decided that this would not get her down. She wouldn’t let this “set back” destroy another year of her life. She would move on. She would work hard and get back into her normal routine of things.
But this wasn’t as easy as Brielle had thought it would be. Thoughts and questions kept bombarding her in the weeks that followed. Brielle didn’t see Crispin or return his apologetic phone call. She wanted to forget everything; but that might take a while. So, Brielle stayed as busy as she could. She worked at the florist shop, stayed up late reading and writing for her article and even took on extra house work at the boarding house.
One month went by. Brielle heard from Cherry but didn’t talk about Crispin unless Cherry asked about him, which she never did. She was too consumed with her married life.
Another month went by. November was always Brielle’s hardest month. Thoughts of her mother now distracted and haunted
Brielle, adding to her hurt. Brielle was thinking about moving back to Cornwall to be nearer to her friends. At least she might not feel so alone. But she would hate to leave Switzerland! Brielle loved it here. She had come to call it home. She had a schedule, two jobs and a wonderful church. Not to mention the scenery. Could she bring herself to leave? If it meant forgetting Crispin and his “new wife-to-be”, then yes; she might.
Brielle mentioned this thought to Cherry on the phone one day.
“What are you waiting for?! Of course you should move back! I feel so lonely without you!” Cherry urged Brielle. Then, without thinking twice, Brielle began making plans to move back to Cornwall.
She didn’t have to plan much, she would move in with her aunt Lydia until she could find another job or establishment and she rarely had any belongings to pack. Brielle booked her one way flight to Cornwall for December 15th; purposely.
The next few weeks flew by with all of Brielle’s preparations, phone calls, transfers and such. For a while she forgot about Crispin, which was a relief. Then the day came. Brielle said goodbye to her friends at the boarding house and made one last stop at her favorite café. She sat down at the train station outside on a bench. Brielle set down a bouquet of flowers her old boss gave her and put her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe that she was actually leaving. Tears fell silently onto the pavement. The question “why”? was the only thing passing through her mind at the moment. Suddenly Brielle looked up. She looked at all the mountains around her, she smelled the air and listened to all the familiar sounds around her then hung her head again and shook violently with tears. After a while, Brielle checked her watch remembering her train schedule. “Hmm, Crispin should be saying his vows right about now.” She smirked and shook her head. Brielle picked up her bouquet of flowers and began playing with the petals while she waited for the train.
Suddenly she heard a familiar voice call behind her. Brielle stood up and whirled around.
There, in a black tux stood the man she loved. Crispin was staring at Brielle and holding his hands nervously.
“Crispin? What are you doing here?” Brielle looked shockingly at Crispin.
“Brielle, please hear me out. I just want to tell you that I, I really truly love you. I love everything about you Brielle. I love the way you stutter when you get nervous. I love the way your eyes sparkle when you see something for the first time. I love your stubbornness and fiery personality. But most of all, I want to be with you. I want to be the shoulder you cry on when you’re missing your mom. I want to there to see every smile that appears on your lips. So, Brielle, will you do me the honor of allowing me to spend the rest of my life falling more and more in love with you everyday by becoming my beautiful wife, the only wife I’ve ever wanted, the only wife I’ve always dreamed about having? Because I don’t want to miss anything you do. I want to witness every second of your life. I’ll keep rescuing you if you let me. Brielle, I love you. Marry me!”
Brielle at first was in shock. Then she began crying uncontrollably. She was looking down and rubbing her shoe on the sidewalk. Then she raised her teary eyes and saw Crispin there, with tears in his own eyes, asking for the woman he had come to adore and admire so much. She could not love him more in that moment. She dropped the bouquet and walked slowly over to Crispin and wrapped her arms around his neck.
Then it began to snow.