The Confessions of Carrie Stone | Romantic Story from our Archives

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The Confessions of Carrie Stone

By Tessa Jo Stone

Sometimes the deepest feelings can be left unsaid with someone who really loves you…

There are some things I’ll never be able to tell Aaron, even though he wants to marry me. His proposal is as unusual as he is: in the foyer of our local Cineworld.

“So,” he says, on one knee amid the littered popcorn, “what do you say?”

Things I Can’t Begin to Tell Him #1:

This is not how I planned being proposed to.

All my life I’ve wanted romance. At eleven my first crush was Simon Pemberly on my school bus. Every day my journey was taken up with imagining how we’d reach the school gates and instead of trudging off to assembly he’d seize my hand and we’d escape. As we were bunking off in the art gallery or on the beach he’d casually say, in front of a Monet or a sunset, “I’m going to marry you one day, Carrie Stone.”

One day I found myself beside him at the bus stop. I touched his ink-stained sleeve.

“Do you like Monet?”

He looked at me blankly. “Who?”

That “who?” might have referred to Monet, or it might have referred to me.

The girls were giggling and refusing to kiss him

My first kiss came much later. For many reasons it’s Things I Can’t Begin to Tell Him #2.

I was in the sixth form and still shy about boys. On the last day before Christmas some girls in my class were teasing a geeky boy, blindfolding him with his tie and promising there was mistletoe in the doorway. He could probably sense some trick coming; the girls were giggling and refusing to kiss him. He was turning redder and redder.

One of them shoved me forward and because I remembered too well the pain of being jilted in public, I kissed him.

It wasn’t too bad. It was weird more than anything, because of my braces. (I’d fully intended to have my first kiss after my braces were removed.) But, for nerves, I can definitely recommend having the boy blindfolded. Having an audience, though? Not such a good idea.

Life was killing the romantic in me

Things I Can’t Begin to Tell Him #3 is my make-believe wedding.

When I found myself alone the day before my sister’s wedding, it wasn’t my bridesmaid’s dress I tried on, but her wedding dress. I slipped my feet into her shoes; I pinned the veil in my hair.

I took bright orange gerbera daisies from a vase and made them my bouquet. I pretended to walk down the aisle to some mysterious Johnny Depp lookalike.

I’m blushing now. All I can say is, thank goodness no-one caught me!

Yet there’s more I can’t tell Aaron. My years of disillusionment and bad boyfriends and broken hearts. Life was killing the romantic in me. I almost gave up.

These things I couldn’t tell a big-hearted optimist like Aaron. But sometimes I think he understands anyway. I think maybe there were times like that for him too, hard as it is to believe to look at him.

Also, some things he already knows.

There’s a cheeky bunch of mistletoe right above us

He’s filled the foyer of the cinema with my favourite orange gerberas amid the Christmas tinsel. It’s midnight. It’s just him and me. I don’t know how he’s done it. He knows I would have hated a public proposal; he’s known how shy I am ever since he saw me practically burst into flames the day I spoke to his best friend, Simon Pemberly.

Also, though we’ve never talked about it, I suspect he knows I’m the one who kissed him in the sixth form; there weren’t that many girls with braces. Right now, there’s a cheeky bunch of mistletoe right above where we stand.

Lastly are the things I can’t express: how lucky I feel that he came back into my life – rushing through the crowd in this cinema one year ago today when he recognised me, to catch me before I disappeared. How grateful I am, for him, for his lovely romantic gestures. For his love.

The lighted boards inside and outside the cinema all say, “Marry me.”

I can’t begin to tell him how much I love him.

So I simply say, “Yes.”

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Karen Byrom

My coffee mug says "professional bookworm" which sums me up really! As commissioning fiction editor on the magazine, I love sharing my reading experience of the latest books, debut authors and more with you all, and would like to hear from you about your favourite books and authors! Email me