"Ned," Nancy couldn't breathe. Her knees started to tremble. He kept looking at the ring in silence…His eyes were glazed. He seemed to already be imagining their future.
"Ned, we can't," she breathed in. His head snapped up.
"What do you mean?" he gazed intently at his love.
"Ned, I'm not ready for something like this. We're too young!" The lid to the box snapped shut. He turned away. An eerie silence enveloped the room.
"Ned, say something," she choked.
"Nancy, I love you," he didn't turn to face her.
"I love you too, but, Ned, marriage?"
"Why not, Nancy?" he turned around and glared at her. There was something in his eyes that scared Nancy, "Huh? I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life making sure you know that. What's wrong with that?"
"Then marry me," he nearly whispered.
"Ned, I can't…"
"Are you seeing someone else?" he demanded.
"Ned!" Nancy shouted, startled and amazed that he'd suggest such a thing.
"Are you?" he stepped forward menacingly.
"No! I would never, Ned, how could you?" she tried to keep the lump in her throat from becoming tears on her cheeks.
The first of many, she tried to laugh, but couldn't.
He walked up to her and grabbed her shoulders. He shook her as if he could shake her into understanding his point of view. She jerked away. That only made him angrier. "Come here, now!" he yelled. Nancy ran from him, but he was faster. He grabbed her shoulders and spun her around.
"Let me go!" and then he slapped her…hard.
He'd never hit her before.
Nancy put a hand to her face. She was surprised that it hadn't bruised, maybe it still would. The fight had blown way out of proportion. Nancy had somehow slipped away into the night and managed to run home. Ned had yelled at her and expressed his hatred for her on the spot. He had even told her that he had someone else that he wanted to be with, a college girl. He described her and how she had been dropping hints to him.
"I don't need you!" he shouted after her. And that was the last that she'd heard from him.
Somehow, she didn't know how, she had known that it was more than just another fight, a fight that they could easily get over, a kink in the road…she had known that it was over, for good.