Crackers Over You

Shutterstock / Banana Oil ©

Love made Hannah brave and she got a sparkler worth her courage!

Hey Simon! You made me jump coming in the back door like that!”

“Sorry.” I take Hannah in my arms. We kiss and laugh.

Like a lot of people, unexpected noise often makes her edgy.

“So what about Guy Fawkes Night tomorrow?” I asked. “Are you up for a display or do you prefer a quiet night in?”

She shivers.

“I don’t think you need an answer to that one.

“I might very well join all the cats and dogs around here and cower under the table when the crackers get cracking! But if you really want to go…”

“No, I’ll be happy indoors, too. Judging by the weather forecast it’s not going to be a dry evening anyway.”

Fireworks off the agenda, we prepare supper together.

But things alter next day.

“The weather forecast has changed to dry,” says Hannah. “It’s a shame to deny you the fun of the fireworks. Why don’t I buck up and we go to a display after all?”

“Are you sure?”

Hannah nods bravely, but there’s no time for discussion; we have to go to work.

It’s busy at the estate agent’s but after the final house viewing of the day I stop off in the high street to for a few purchases – a box of fireworks and a bottle of champagne to celebrate!

Hannah is home before me today. She’s already changing into her jeans and a thick sweater by the time I get there.

“Are you sure about this?” I check.

“Certain.” Hannah’s smile could light up a dark room.

I love her so much. She really doesn’t like fireworks and yet she’s willing to put up with my childish pleasure in rockets and Catherine wheels.

“What time are we going?” Hannah reaches for her coat and woolly hat.

“No need to rush. We don’t want to be there too long; you’ll only get cold,” I say, distracting her as I slip the bottle of champers in the fridge.

It’s eight fifteen before we get into the car. The champagne and glasses are safely in the boot, smuggled there while Hannah was in the loo, and the fireworks box is on the back seat.

“Do we really need to take fireworks to a pre-arranged display?” Hannah asks.

“We’re not going to a display after all.”

“What? Where are we going then?”

“Wait and see.”

I start the engine and we’re off, driving through a night that sparkles with all manner of colours and shapes.

I turn the car radio loud so Hannah can see the fireworks without the bangs.

Before long we reach woodland.

“What are we doing here? I can’t see a firework display.” Hannah presses her nose against the window. “It’s deserted.”

“Exactly my plan. We’re going to open our own firework box just here…”

“What?” Hannah turns to look at me in amazement.

“First let’s go for a walk and enjoy the peace of the countryside and then…”

“You’re completely mad!” Hannah’s laughing as she gets out of the car.

I come round and help her button her coat, then gently wrap her scarf around her neck and pull her gloves out of her pocket.

We walk for a few minutes before she stops and put her arms around me.

“I love you. Shall we have the fireworks now? I see why you bought your own box, so we can set them off here, away from everyone. Did you remember matches?”

I don’t answer. Instead I lead her back to the car.

“Why don’t you open the box?” I suggest to her.

Hannah sits on the back seat of the car.

“These are very lightweight fireworks,” she says tearing at the cardboard, “and what’s this inside… tissue paper?”

She takes off her gloves to investigate more thoroughly.

“It’s a ring!” she squeals.

“It is. I love you, Hannah. Will you marry me?” I say, as I put the solitary sparkler on her finger.

Our My Weekly Favourites series of lovely short fiction from our archives continues on Mondays and Thursdays. Look out for the next one.
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