Category Linkin Park

Nervous Wreck by Penelope_Ink

The Ring

So here's something completely different. For me. Uh,this is in first person, which I have NOT written in YEARS. That's all in caps because first person scares the hell out of me. I'm not used to it. I'm not practiced in it, and so I suck. But for whatever reason, this came out in first person and I couldn't stop it. So I'm sorry. On top of that, I wrote this in a stream of consciousness type style, which is another field I'm not practiced in at all. I hope you guys can follow it, and it's not some big messy mistake.

Worst lead in to a story ever. I know.


The bed is hot. The sheets are sticky. I grab my black-rimmed glasses from the nightstand and slide them on my face. The clock says 3am, but if feels much later. Or earlier? Crap, I don’t even know which one is right. All I do know is that I’m a nervous wreck. Today is the day. Or, it was supposed to be the day.

I let out a quiet sigh before turning to look at the man next to me. At Mike. He’s sound asleep, with his lips parted just slightly and the faintest sound escaping his throat. We always keep the curtains in our bedroom open, letting the moon cast a dim light through our space. It lets me see a little more than shadows and outlines. Our second floor master bedroom means we don’t have to worry about anyone seeing us, since our view is of the ocean and the endlessness that goes with it. Mike compared it to our relationship once - that we’re like the ocean: we’ll go on forever.

My heart pinches for a moment. I love him so much. Four years, and I love him more and more the longer we're together. Each day he makes me laugh. He inspires me to be better. He makes me think a little deeper or care a bit more.

A smile etches its way across my face. He’s even got me recycling and turning lights off when I leave the room. I’ve got my daily shower routine scaled back to 8.5 minutes. And I do it all because he’s made me care. I care about the environment and global warming. I care about the drought and making sure to repurpose everything we possibly can.

Mike Shinoda is amazing in that way. He makes me care, which is something I didn’t realize I had a problem with until I met him.

But now, now I’m ready for more. I don’t want to just be a live-in boyfriend or a lover, by title. I want to be the husband. I want a ring on my finger and my name on a piece of paper that legally binds us together. I want to be the unquestioned partner and recipient of all things Mike. I want the next level.

I glance at the clock again before I sit up, slowly. The blanket moves with me, partially exposing Mike’s naked chest to the moonlight, and for a second I pause. My eyes search over his tanner skin, darker nipples and the way his collar bone dips and curves. He breathes, lightly, and I watch as his body inhales and then exhales like there’s an invisible hand somewhere inside of him making it happen. His eyes are closed, but he’s facing me, and for a split second I swear I saw him looking at me. I freeze, hoping I didn’t wake him.

The room is silent, save the clock on the wall and its gentle, methodical ticking and our cat, Talinda. She’s curled up at the end of the bed, her low snoring filtering up to my ears now and again. She’s been with us for the last two years. We had no idea we were secretly adopting a drama queen when we picked Talinda out at the animal shelter.

I let my gaze wander to the end of the bed now, eyeing her gray fur and white on each of her paws. She has beautiful green eyes and a meow that makes Mike and I both jump to attention. The metal jingle bell on her purple collar is catching a shine from the moonlight, making her partially glow, like the angel we both think she is.

I think about stretching down to the end of the bed to scoop her up and bring her to lay between us, to stroke her soft fur and take comfort in her purs and nudges, but I don’t. That would certainly wake Mike up, and he hates it when he doesn’t get a good nights sleep.

So I leave Talinda alone for now. And focus back on the fact that I’m a loser. Today is the day. Or it was supposed to be the day. But it wasn’t. I reach over to the nightstand and open the drawer. Through the dark I feel around until I recover the little box I hid there only hours ago.

I caress it in my hands, feeling the velvet texture and the seam that holds it together before I open it. My breath hitches in my chest for just a second as I stare at the ring. The ring. The one I want to give Mike.

I turn and look at his face and the way he’s so peaceful right now. He’s dreaming of ice cream and walks on the beach while I’m sitting here practically shaking.

I touch the gold and onyx ring, letting my finger slide across its smooth surface. I have a second one that matches it perfectly, hidden away in a place Mike will never find it. I smirk just a little. Between the two of us, Mike is always the one planning things - our dates, our nights in, the holidays and how we spend our extra money or save it. I’m much more impulsive. I’m the one who swerved our car off the road in a haste to get to the animal shelter on a whim as we drove past. We needed a cat, I suddenly decided that day.

I’m the one that bought our coffee table the second I saw it, even though it matches nothing else in our house. I’m the one that came home with dyed blonde hair. I’m the one that pierced my lip and then my nipple. Mike doesn’t mind either, though he’s informed me that I should stop with what I have.

I have to hold in a laugh at the memory. Mike took the lip well, the nipple was a little more for him to get used to, then I did the other nipple and he insisted I stop putting holes in my body. I agreed he was right, mostly. Though who knows, if the mood hits me right I might just come home with a Prince Albert one day.

He’d flip.

I cover my mouth and my giggle this time, before I force the thought away and look back down at my ring. His ring. This was the one thing I planned. I purposely researched wedding bands and which ones were the best. I measured his finger without him knowing and went to five different jewelry stores before I found just what I wanted. Just what I knew he’d love. That was weeks ago. Ever since, I’d been trying to gather my courage, but chickening out at the last minute every time. Asking Mike to marry me has turned out to be the one thing I can’t do on the spur of the moment.

That’s why I decided it would be easier just to pick a day and stick to it. So I did. Today. Today is the day. Or it was.

I look at the clock again. It’s already after midnight. I failed. I can’t even ask him to marry me. . .so maybe I’m not ready for marriage after all.

I drop my head. He’ll say no. He’ll laugh. No, he wouldn’t laugh but he will say no. He’ll say it’s too soon. He’ll say we’re not ready, that we don’t have enough money saved or that it’s too soon in our relationship.

I turn my head, eyeing my boyfriend, this time with a little less affection and a little more judgment.

Why hasn’t he asked me yet? It’s been four years. We’re both each others longest relationship. It’s my hair. I know he hates it. I think.

I scratch my fingers through my still-blonde locks. I style them most days, letting them stand on end in endless spikes, but right now they’re flat and unbecoming. Messy looking.

It’s not my hair, I decide quickly. We’re too young. That’s what he’ll say. We don’t have enough security or something along those lines.

I nod in agreement with myself. That’s it. But he’s wrong. We’re not too young. I don’t think so, anyway. We bought our condo together, just last year. It’s ours. We’re making our mortgage payments and paying our bills, so we have the security. My job is good and so is his.

That’s not it.

I purse my lips as I take the ring from the box, spinning it around my finger. I’m not Japanese. That could be it. He’s all about tradition, and I’m not. I’m still working on learning about his family history and trying really hard to like fish and sushi, but yuk.

I stick my tongue out. Seaweed and rice and the insides of. . .things.

I shake my head and try not to imagine some of the traditional family dishes he’s made me try over the years.

But I don’t think that’s it either. I’m not Japanese or even half Japanese like Mike is, but his parents love me. So I’m pretty sure that doesn’t matter.

I’ve been loyal and so has he, as far as I know. So that’s not it.

My shoulders slump. Maybe he’s not ready. That’s all it can be. Nothing else makes sense. And if he’s not ready, he’ll definitely say no.

I look at the ring. I slide it onto my finger, it’s a little big. Maybe he’s waiting for me to ask. Maybe it’s not that he’s not ready, maybe he’s hoping I’ll be the one to make the move.

And I am, I remind myself as I look back at Mike, the smile popping off my face.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the day. I’ll wait till after coffee and breakfast and I’ll catch him in just the right mood. Tomorrow is Saturday, so we’re both home all day. It’s perfect. Today was all wrong anyway, I tell myself as I go to put the ring back in its box, but then I stop.

I really hope it fits. It would ruin the moment if it doesn’t fit.

I look back at Mike and his left hand, which just happens to be inches from me. I debate, but not for long. I reach for his hand, loving how warm it is, as I slip his ring on his finger and. . .yes. It fits!

I’m grinning. My stomach is doing flips. I want to turn on the bedside lights so I can see how the ring looks on his finger better. I want to wake Talinda up and show her. I want to call my mom and tell her I’m engaged. I want to call all our friends and announce that we’re finally going to be Mr. and Mr. We can get a new mailbox and stationary and checks - all with our new last name on them. Bennoda. Chester and Mike Bennoda.

I giggle just a little. Bennoda has always been a joke. The thing we say when we’ve talked about hypothetical marriage in the future. But now it’s real. Or, it’s going to be real. Tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day.

I look down at my own hand; my ring finger is empty. I look back at Mike’s hand. It seems wrong he’s wearing his ring and I don’t have mine on. Like he’s engaged somehow to someone else. My stomach sinks at the thought, but that’s silly. And I scold myself for being silly.

But it wouldn’t hurt to try mine on again, I decide quickly. I prepare myself to slip out of bed to go retrieve the other ring box when Mike suddenly shifts.

I go still, like a dead man on a cold morning. Mike just rolled over. His hand - the ring! - is gone. I gulp. And then I start to breathe a little harder. I try to see over him, try to see if his hand is accessible from the other side of the bed, but it’s not. He’s laying on it. It’s out of sight, and out of my reach.

I look at the clock. I have a few hours. Hopefully he’ll roll over again and I can get the ring back before he wakes up.



To Be Continued. . .

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