Around 5:30 p.m. the first guests arrived at the VenDels' house, bubbling over with excitement in anticipation of the nights festivities. Mr. and Mrs. VenDel welcomed their guests with warm smiles and a pleasant "Good evening" while Rose sat at her harp and entertained everyone with music. As she played, Rose noticed a masked figure walking towards her, a closer look revealed that it was Henry. Seeing this, she just kept playing her music while he stood next to her.
"Good evening my lovely Rose...My what a fabulous party your parents are hosting; and might I say that you look absolutely stunning".
"Well I'm glad you're enjoying yourself, now if you'll excuse me I have to concentrate on my music".
"Now Rose, is this any way to treat a guest? I merely wish to talk with you since you didn't have time earlier".
"Well I don't have time now either; as you can see I am preoccupied with keeping the guests entertained".
"So I see; you know I always saw you as a pianist not a harpist...either way you play beautifully".
"While I appreciate the compliment, you are distracting me".
*smirk* "Oh come now when have I ever been a distraction to you"?
She gave him an annoyed glare.
"I know you're just playing "hard to get"; deep down you want to express your love for me...Well why don't we go into the library and "express" it together".
Rose instantly stopped playing her music and stormed off upstairs to her room, *Pacing around in a fury* "What nerve! Of all the discusting, improper, half-witted...What does he take me for? I am not some kind of coquette nor do I intend to act like one. Why can't he understand that I have absolutely no intrest in him. Personally I think he is the most arrogant and conceited person I've ever had the displeasure of knowing. I just wish he'd just move on and leave me alone".
*knock at the door*
Elinor stepped inside the room, "Rosie what happened? I saw you storm off before I got a chance to talk to you, are you okay"?
"Yes I'm fine, it's just Henry pestering me again, that's all".
"Oh the nerve of him. He just can't take a hint can he".
"Obviously not...I wish he'd leave me alone, I have no intrest in him but he disagrees and believes that I'm "playing hard to get", mind you that I'm not".
"Oh trust me, I know you're not...you give him all the signs that you are not intrested in him and yet he can't seem to understand".
"Oh I know he understands but I think he just doesn't want to".
"You may be right about that...Now don't let it get to you Rose".
"I won't, trust me I can outlast him; if he keeps pestering me I'll just keep ignoring him until he finally gives up".
"That may prove to be a challenge, Henry is known for his persistence and he'll keep trying to woo you no matter what you say or do".
" We'll just have to see about that".
"I believe so...Now come on Rosie, you don't want all this to ruin your Halloween party".
"No, I don't...Come on, let's go join everyone else...Oh, and Ellie...".
"Thank you for talking with me".
"You're most certainly welcome", and with that they both headed back downstairs to join the festivity.
Throughout the evening the VenDel house was filled with the sound of music and laughter; but when the haunting hour drew near it became quiet. One by one the guests departed and went their separate ways, only a few remained. When the majority of the guests were gone, Rose got up from her harp and started to head towards the library to read one of her books. Upon reaching the door she noticed that there were voices on the other side; one was her father and the other was Henry. Rose silently listened in on their conversation:
"Mr. VenDel, I'm sure that you are aware of my fondness towards your daughter".
"Indeed I am".
"Then you must know why I asked to speak with you".
"I might, but explain to me anyway".
"Very well...Over the years I've developed a strong liking for your Rose; I've watched her blossom from a young girl to a fine young woman. I look at her and I am captivated by her beauty and grace; I see her and then I see myself next to her. Mr. VenDel, there is never a moment where she is not on my minde and so I must confess that I love her and with that I ask you this...May I have you daughters hand in marriage"?
Rose stepped back from the door and with a sick feeling in her stomach she ran out of the house and headed towards her sanctuary, the cemetery. Once there she sat at the base of a large oak tree and began to cry; however, she was not alone. In the shadow of the mausoleum stood a tall, slender figure; he walked over to Rose, knelt down beside her and asked, "Are you alright miss"?
Startled, Rose looked up at the pale figure, "Oh I'm sorry I didn't see you there, you gave me a fright".
He smiled, "Yea I get that alot; however, it is I who should apologize, I didn't mean to frighten you".
"It's alright, besides it's Halloween; tis the season to be frightened".
"That is true...Oh, here let me help you up", he extended out his hand and pulled her up out of the shadows.
"Thank you, I...*startled look*...You're...you're a...a skeleton".
"I am, but don't worry...I'm not going to hurt you".
"Well that's comforting to know, besides you don't seem like a ruffian".
He smiled, "Oh trust me I'm not, I don't hurt people; I scare them but I never hurt them".
"I figured that you would scare people, considering that you gave me a fright".
"That I did, but it was unintended...Oh well, it happens".
She gave him a shy smile, "Pardon me for asking but I never got your name".
"Oh, well then allow me to introduce myself; my name is James, James Skellington", he offered his hand.
She shook his hand, "You have a very handsome and unique name...It suits you well".
"Why thank you, I appreciate the compliment...Now if I may ask, what is your name"?
"My name is Rose, Rose VenDel".
"Rose, that's a beautiful name".
"You're welcome...I have a question for you; if I may ask"?
"What are you doing out here in the cemetery at this late of night"?
"Oh, it's a long story I don't want to bore you with it".
"It's alright I like long stories; besides, if you need someone to talk to I'm willing to listen".
"Very well, I'll explain everything", Rose then described her situation to him and when she finished she asked in a soft tone, "Does that answer your question"?
James nodded his head, "It did, but now I must ask you this; Will you be alright"?
Rose looked into his hollow eye sockets and softly answered, "I'll be fine...I just needed to get my thoughts out, but I appreciate your concern".
He gave her a warm smile, "It's what I'm here for".
She smiled back at him, "Oh really, I thought you were here just to scare me".
"Well not intentionally but I guess you can say that".
"I guess so", off in the distance the howling of wolves was heard which made Rose shiver with fear.
James gave her a worried look, "Are you okay"?
"I'm alright, I just get nervous when wolves are nearby".
"I understand, besides it's getting late and I'm sure your parents are wondering where you are".
"You're right, I should probably head back before they send a search party".
"Allow me to walk you home".
"Oh no, you don't have to".
"I insist, it's not safe for you to be alone at this time of night; besides what kind of gentleman would I be if I let you go by yourself in the dark".
She smiled, "Well you do have a point there".
"Indeed...Well, shall we", he offered his arm to her.
She slipped her arm through his, "We shall".
The both of them then departed from the cemetery and headed for town. When they reached the VenDel house Rose stopped and looked up at him, "Well this is where I must go my separate way; thank you for taking me home...And thank you for everything else".
He smiled at her, "You're most certainly welcome".
"James, will I ever see you again"?
"Of course, every Halloween I'll come visit you".
"But what if I cannot wait that long"?
"Then I will write to you".
"You'll see soon enough".
"Alright...Well, I guess this is goodbye for now".
"It seems that way", they shook eachothers hand, "Goodbye Rose".
"Happy Halloween", Rose then entered the house while James walked back towards the cemetery and in their minds they both knew that this was one Halloween they would never forget.