"If you're just tuning in, a fire has been reported on the oil rig, named Roi, in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a US-owned oil platform, which has been in service since 1982. It sustained some damage during Hurricane Katrina and closed briefly for repairs, but has been operational since. Reports coming in from the Coast Guard are saying that this doesn't appear to be an enemy attack. It is confirmed that six crew members were on board at the time of the fire, but the safety of those six remain unknown.
"We will keep you updated on the latest as reports come in. Reporting for ABC News, this is Gavin Gates. Lucy, back to you."
The image on the television split briefly, showing both the tall, handsome man reporting the disaster, and a pretty, olive-toned brunette sitting behind a news desk. As the reporter signed off, the image onscreen focused fully on Lucy. Her face registered sadness and despair as she mumbled to her co-anchor, "We're hoping for the best for those six."
Turning to another camera on cue, Lucy's face went into a full smile. "In other news, there was one lucky winner of the $2 billion dollar lottery drawing. The Lottery Association reports that the winning lottery ticket was sold at a convenience store in La Jolla, California. Congratulations to that winner."
Lucy turned back to her co-anchor. "What would you do if you'd won, Tom?"
Before Tom could answer, Wren grabbed the remote control from her friend Darla's hand, and punched the power button, throwing the remote on the opposite end of the couch. She scooped Darla against her and stroked her hair. Darla had been glued to the news since word broke of the fire, and her tears had long dried up, though her face and eyes remained puffy.
"Dar, you can't watch the news."
"I can't believe he's gone," Darla whispered, dazed.
"We don't know that he is. They said it was just a fire, not an explosion. I'm sure as I'm sitting here that everyone got off just fine."
"Did you see the fire?!"
"Yes, but we don't know how long ago the fire broke out. It's not like it just happened," Wren replied calmly.
Darla picked up her phone and opened her messages. She sent another text to her boyfriend, Mike, choking back a sob when it failed to transmit. She shoved the phone at Wren's face.
"See!! Messages aren't going through!" Darla buried her head against Wren's shoulder, another round of sobs tearing through her.
Wren held her friend, gently rubbing her back as she grieved.
The muffled sound of a text alert sounded from between them and Darla pushed away from Wren, sitting upright. She swiped at her tears with the sleeve of her Longhorns hoodie, hopeful that Mike was texting her. Her face fell as she glanced at the text.
Your drone delivery has been made! Please sign for your delivery ASAP. Instructions are included within the drone's body. (Standard data and msging rates apply.)
"Delivery?" Darla hiccupped. "I haven't... ordered anything."
She uncrossed her legs and stood, slowly making her way to the front door. Glancing back at Wren, who had joined her, she pointed to the drone sitting on her front porch. There was a small, clear cubby hole serving as the drone's body, with a small piece of paper rolled like a scroll. A small box was held firmly in the drone's pincers.
Darla squatted down and removed the scroll. The paper was rectangular, like a receipt, but the paper was matte not shiny. She read the words:
Scan the QR Code below to complete your delivery.
Darla reached for her back pocket where she normally kept her phone, but realized she must have left it in the living room when she got up. "Wren, can I borrow your phone?"
"My phone? Why?" Wren asked, obediently handing it over.
Darla pulled up the camera and scanned the QR Code. A popup message asked her to confirm the action and ten seconds later, the pincers released and the drone flew off. Darla handed her friend's phone back to her and picked up the package.
Darla looked at Wren again, who held her phone in front of her. Wren shrugged.
The box was wrapped in a heavyweight silver paper, with midnight blue scrollwork throughout. Darla carefully pulled off the wrapping paper and absently handed it back to Wren. She opened the box and pulled out a wad of bubble wrap. After peeling the bubble wrap apart, a small velvet box fell out. She bent down to pick it up.
"Darla," heavy footsteps ascended the porch steps. She looked up and froze.
Mike stood before her, dressed in a denim shirt, sooty jeans, and dirty, well-worn work boots.
"I don't--what?... how?... fire!"
Michael Randolph knelt on both knees before his girlfriend of three years. She collapsed into his arms, crying a fresh set of tears. He smelled of smoke, burnt oil, and sweat.
When her sobs subsided, Mike gently pushed Darla away so he could look down into her face. His green eyes looked at her with love and a silent plead for forgiveness. Darla wiped at her face with her sleeve again.
"How are you here?" she whispered, afraid that she was dreaming.
Mike smiled his easy smile and cupped Darla's face, his thumbs wiping away errant tears. "The fire started as I was doing my final rounds through the HVAC control room. It spread quickly but I was able to get out ahead of it and shut the fireproof door. Even though my door was shutting off the fire, it spread through the control room's other open door. Unfortunately, I think I dropped my phone in the process.
"I immediately radioed Mack and he sounded the alarm. We had a plane on deck fueled up and ready to go already, so the six of us jumped in and the pilot took off.
"Our shift change was mid-flight so they turned around to head back to the Mainland. By the time the news got hold of the story, we were already on solid ground."
Darla closed her eyes, relief flooding over her. She looked up at Mike again, seemingly unable to tear her gaze away. He's actually here!
Mike's eyes were what she noticed three years ago; they were the kindest eyes she'd ever seen, and reflected his every thought--good or bad.
"Baby, three years ago I met the most beautiful woman on the side of the road, panicked because she was going to miss her best friend's wedding." Mike glanced at Wren, nodded almost imperceptibly, then looked back to Darla. "I inflated her donut, changed her flat tire, and wished her the best, but I couldn't get her out of my mind. I kicked myself for not giving her my number.
"Later that night, imagine my surprise when this same gorgeous woman walked up to me as I pounded away on the drums at that same wedding. I nearly fell off my stool, and have been falling for her every single day since," without looking away, Mike reached down to pick up the long-forgotten velvet box.
"...and can't imagine life without her. Darla Ann Montgomery, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"
Darla gasped, covering her mouth with her hands. Wordlessly she nodded, then threw her arms around Mike's neck. "Yes!" she cried into his shoulder.
Wren circled the couple, still recording the sweet exchange. The setting sun cast gentle rays of yellow light between the two, and she zoomed in, fading to black as they kissed.
About the Creator
Coffee gets me started; my toddler keeps me haggard.
I've always had a passion for writing but fear has stopped me from sharing my work with anyone. Vocal is my push to step out of my comfort zone.