really sorry I left you here waiting on me for so long," Burt said as he
held Janet's hand across the table. "I just got caught up in...a
she laughed. "It's okay. Besides, it gave me some time to
decide what I want to eat."
"I was just afraid that
I'd disappoint you." He lowered his head slightly. He so wanted
to make her happy. Janet Scott was unlike any girl he'd ever met
before. Kind, gentle, intelligent, honest...
"Burt, don't you realize
by now that you could never disappoint me." Her face nearly radiated
as she spoke to him. Oh, how Janet needed his love. His love was the
only thing strong enough to make her forget about the past. She wanted
to forget about everything that had happened before; how she'd been foolish, and
naive, and.... She shook her head slightly as she tried to pry herself
away from the memories that were beginning to haunt her again.
"I hope this makes up for
it." Burt reached into his pocket and pulled out a beautiful velvet
Janet gasped at the
sight. A gift! Burt had bought her a gift! But, it couldn't
be.... No, she said to herself as she sighed. It can't be
an engagement ring. It's too soon. I know he's not ready for a step
like that yet. As her hand shook, she took the box from him and slowly
opened it to see what was inside. Janet inhaled sharply as the sparkle on
the beautiful broach took her breath.
"Oh, Burt! It's
"I-I wish I could have
gotten you something more elaborate. You know, something with real stones
instead of those paste ones. I just can't afford it yet."
Burt's face clouded over for a second as he thought about how he wanted to give
Janet the world and how he couldn't. How could you afford the world on a
stable hand's salary? No easier than he could've afford it on the pay of a
bartender in New York.
"I don't care if it cost
a million dollars or just a slug nickel!" she exclaimed as she fumbled to
pin the broach to the collar of her blouse. "Why do they insist on
trying to make me believe that the true worth of a person is based on their bank
account? Because you gave it to me, this broach is the most
valuable thing I own!"
looked at her curiously. "Who tries to make you believe that?"
Janet's eyes grew wide in
fear. Had she slipped and said too much? Had she been so caught up
in the thrill of Burt's show of affection that she'd forgotten who she was
supposed to be? "I-I just mean society in general." She
swallowed hard and quickly looked away. "P-people seem to think that
all those wealthy society folks have everything; that they are the only
ones that matter. Well, they don't! Those people are no better than
everyone else. They have problems and tragedies just like normal
"I know exactly what you
mean," Burt sighed as he thought again about his mother's secret photo
album and the mysterious pictures it contained. "I'm so glad you like
the broach. I wanted to get you something special to mark a special
"Special day? What
special day?" Janet's mind began to race as she tried to think.
Had she forgotten some important event?
He laughed warmly and reached
across to take her hands into his. "I wanted to give you something to
always remember this day by because this is the day I tell you something very
important." He paused and took a deep breath. "Today is
the day I tell you 'I love you', Janet Scott. I love you with all my