The prompt from Chrissy’s blog was simply “Fireworks”. This is where it took me…
Josh had always loved November the 5th, Bonfire Night,ever since he had been very young. In those days it meant sparklers, bangers, and a couple of Roman Vandles or Catherine Wheels badly nailed to the gatepost by his dad who would always tell them to “Stand well back I’m going in,” and “keep that lid tight on that tin, mother, we don’t want a Hiroshima re-enactment.”
The bonfire, always built and burnt at the end of the garden was where the jacket potatoes were cooked, and more importantly where the guy would meet its fate.
Every year he and his brother would stand out on the pavement in front of the house with the guy asking anyone who passed for a “penny for the guy.” They knew most of the neighbours and many of them were generous meaning the boys had money for sweets for a few days.
Things were different now. Official firework displays were the only way to see fireworks these days. Josh didn’t mind. The displays were larger than the ones from his childhood but didn’t always have the same atmosphere. “Nanny State gone mad, ” his dad had called it.
For a while now Josh had been making his plans to make sure this year was more exciting than any of the previous ones.
As he was getting ready and checking he had everything he needed he could feel the crazy butterflies in his stomach. He hoped everything would go to plan.
At seven o’clock, as agreed, he picked Alex up and arm in arm they made their way to the football pitch where the bonfire had been built over the previous days.
The sound system was playing the usual round of 80s hits as Josh and Alex got their cups of mulled wine and took their places in the seating area.
“Do we really have to sit at the front?” Alex asked as they sat down.
” We want the best view, ” Josh replied.
“Best view? The bonfire is huge and the fireworks will be in the sky, ” Alex took a sip of the mulled wine. “I don’t know why mum and dad didn’t want to come this year. ”
“Your dad said he was tired. They’ll hear most of it from the living room anyway, ” Josh sipped the mulled wine too. He wasn’t letting on.
Slowly seats were taken. Josh and Alex nodded to their friends and neighbours, occasionally making small talk with a few of them.
“Tonight’s the night, Joshy boy,” Sam the school caretaker said as he passed. Josh rolled his eyes. Nobody was supposed to know.
“The night for what?” Alex asked once he’d gone by.
“Fireworks, silly, ” Josh said noncommittally.
All of a sudden the music stopped. “It’s time, “Josh said.
One by one Josh and Alex’s friends appeared, just in front of the bonfire.
“What’s going on?” Alex asked as Josh jumped up and joined his friends.
“I love you,” he said.
Now Alex was worried.
Barry, another of their friends, had taken over the sound system. “Hit it,” he said as music burst out from the speakers.
In front of the whole village Josh and his friends started to dance, performing the routine they’d been practising for the last couple of weeks. The crowd were clapping, whistling and cheering as they watched. Alex wanted to crawl under her chair with embarrassment, then realised that the three songs the friends had been dancing too were their songs.
Finally the music quitened and someone handed Josh a microphone.
“Alex Benson. I loved you from the first moment I met you and I will love you for eternity.” He got down on one knee.
Alex couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Will you make me the happiest man in the galaxy?” Josh asked.
Meanwhile Alex’s dad had appeared with a tray with glasses and a bottle of champagne. He nodded at Alex.
“Will you?” Josh asked again.
The crowd were silent now waiting Alex’s reply.
Josh held his arms out, one hand containing a ring box.
Alex went to him and whispered,”Yes, of course, yes. ”
The crowd went wild as Josh and Alex’s friends engulfed them in hugs. The microphone had picked everything up clearly.
Behind them the bonfire was lit and the fireworks display began, but Josh and Alex hardly noticed that as they held each other tightly both in tears, both thinking of the future they were setting out on together.