*Note to the Reader: Because the apostrophe key on my computer types foreign characters, I have either omitted the apostrophes altogether, or replaced apostrophes and quotation marks with a dash. I hope this makes the text easier to read.
The music slowed, and Brian took Stacey into his arms, as they danced in perfect harmony. It was their song, and Stacey relaxed in his embrace and released a contented sigh. The music swept over her, strumming the chords of her heart, as she floated in the feelings of warmth and safety and love.
-Lets drive up to Juliets Lookout later tonight,- Brian whispered into Staceys ear.
-Mmmm,- Stacey murmured. -But I thought we were going to the party at Jodis house.-
-I know,- he said softly. -But I just love you so much, and I want to be alone with you.- With that, he nestled his face into her neck, and they finished the dance, their souls relishing a sweet communion.
Stacey gazed at her reflection in the lavatory mirror. Was this really real, or only a romantic dream?
Brian was truly her Prince Charming-- tall and handsome, his chiseled profile never failed to reflect his warmth and love.
He was so romantic as well. Last weekend he-d taken her on a mystery date--a surprise trip to the lake, complete with an exhilarating ride in a motorboat and a succulent seafood dinner at the lakeside restaurant. It had been a perfect day.
She had to pinch herself often, to be sure she wasn-t dreaming, when she was with him.
Surely, she could do this one thing for him: skip the After Prom Party and go up to Juliet-s lookout, as he-d asked?
It would be all right. Wouldn-t it?
Stacey reached into her evening bag to retrieve her lipgloss for a touch-up, and as she did, she fingered the letter and the gift her mother had left for her.
Before her mother had died of cancer a year before, she-d presented Stacey with a treasure box, full of little gifts and letters, for Stacey to open when she reached special milestones in her life. There was one for her first date, her first prom, her high school graduation, her wedding day, and many, many more.
-I wish I could be there with you, Stacey Doll,- her mother had told her, pressing her hand as intently as her waning strength would allow. -But since I can-t, here are some treasures I want to share with you along your way.-
Stacey took the letter out of her evening bag, unfolded it, and reread it, as she leaned with her back against the marble vanity:
-Dearest Stacey Elise,
-A special day has arrived, and you are about to attend your Junior Prom.
-I know you will look like a Princess on the arm of your Prince Charming. How I wish I could be there to help you prepare for the Ball! But since I can-t, please accept this gift as a token of my love.-
Tears came to Stacey-s eyes, and a lump swelled within her throat, as she retrieved the hand-crocheted lace handkerchief her mother had wrapped for her in lavender tissue paper and tied with a pink satin ribbon. The sweet scent of her motherí»s perfume remained on the handkerchief as Stacey rubbed it against her cheek.
Stacey dabbed at her tears and then read on:
-Stacey, my precious daughter, tonight, and always, please remember one thing. You have a sweet and generous heart to give that special someone some day, when you find him. Once you have given it away, your heart can never again be completely your own. So please, before you give it away, make sure he is going to take care of it with tenderness and love. That is my hope for you, my daughter.
-Your Loving Mother,
-Catherine Tess Munroe-
Stacey returned the letter to her purse. Then she folded the delicate handkerchief, now damp with her tears, and pressed it firmly against her palm. She turned to study the daughter of Catherine Tess Munroe in the glass.
The young lady she saw was not yet ready to relinquish her heart completely to Prince Charming, she decided. He would just have to wait.
The time had arrived. Tom Munroe offered his arm tohis beautiful daughter, all dressed in white, as he peered deeply into her eyes. -Ready?- he asked gently.
-Ready,- she smiled up at him, calmly, peacefully.
With that, she took her fatherí»s arm and marched down the aisle toward her Prince Charming. Her lace handkerchief was in her hand, and her heart would soon be his.