Inside the restored cabin that some people call the Hermit’s Museum, the couple had just become engaged. The woman was caught up in the moment briefly when her true love proposed to her, but she finally accepted the gorgeous ring he’d picked out for her. She slid it onto her finger and was speechless once again; she could only sigh as she beheld the precious 1.5 carat diamond ring.
“I’m so glad you like it,” he said.
“Oh, I love it! How did you even manage to get this?” she questioned him, because they’d only had a day and a half in Oasis Springs before they left for the surprise retreat.
“I asked my boss to help me out before we left treatment,” he explained. “That’s why his wife came to our house that first night.”
Still gazing at the stunning ring, the woman admitted, “I thought she was just coming to check up on you.”
“Maybe that too, she is a bit nosey,” he agreed with a revering laugh, “but she’s a nice person, and it’s good that she cares.”
“Okay, I’m going to stop looking at this ring now!” she insisted and her fiancé got up from the floor.
“You may want to look at it some more later,” he explained. “I had it engraved with my name… and also got your name written inside my ring.”
“What?” She was more jolted by that surprise than the proposal! “But they took your ring when you…”
He cut her off from speaking of that dark time by declaring his eternal love to her. “I would do anything for you.”
He kissed her and they both thought of that night. It was the night they first kissed also, and that upset him terribly because he was lost in mourning. He said she reminded him of his wife and he fled to be alone. That night was the only time she ever feared for his life, and so she broke into the Art Therapy Room and painted her hair blue, after hacking massive chunks of it off.
At last, he picked her up in his strong arms. “Thank you for accepting me as your future husband!”
She still wasn’t over the ring. “But honey, you put my name in your ring? When? Why?”
“I had it done before they gave the ring back to me, because you were the one who helped me, and you are the one who is real.”
“Your wife was real,” she said softly. “Even if she was an experiment, she was real and…” Seeing sadness return to her sweetheart’s eyes, she stopped and said, “I adore you completely, and I am so honoured to build a life with you! I will love you forever.”
They took the quick route back to the campgrounds, and stopped by the bathrooms before bedtime. After they freshened up, the woman pointed out, “It looks like the bear’s been here.”
The man turned to his ladylove and flirtatiously said, “I’d like to get you back to the tent and ravage you!”
“Oh no! The bear,” she cried out.
There was something far too eager about the way that bear was approaching. The man groaned, “I did not mean you, Bear!”
“Are you kidding?” the woman asked no one in particular when the bear kept advancing on her partner.
“Only in Granite Falls could a bear possibly think you meant that!” she complained with embarrassment.
“It’s all right, sweetie,” he said to her. “I’ll take care of the bear and meet you back at camp.” He turned his attention to the bear while his fiancé decided to clean up the mess the bear made before they arrived.
“See these muscles, Bear?” he pointed at his arms. “You might think I’m small, but I’m going to bust out all your teeth if you try anything!”
“Hey, there’s no need for violence,” the bear said in a hushed voice.
“You can talk?” the man exclaimed.
“Yeah, it’s just a suit,” the bear replied. “It’s my job to go around and tear up garbage, get into food, and make people clean up after themselves. Otherwise, they just leave a mess everywhere they go, you know?”
“That’s true,” the man replied. “So are there any real bears here?”
“Not that I’m aware of,” the bear answered. “This region was just opened to visitors but I’ve been working here with the residents for about two years, and I never saw a real bear.”
“No hairs, no scat?” he wondered. “I mean, if we can find some DNA from a bear, we could at least attempt to restore the species.”
“All I know is you might find something like that in a fossil, maybe.”
After hearing of a few potential locations for fossils, the man said, “Well, it’s late and I’m looking forward to getting back to my fiancé now. Sorry for the misunderstanding there.”
“I was actually going to congratulate you!” the bear explained with a chuckle. “You see, in the morning your girl was whining at me, even though she thought I was a real bear, and she went on and on about you and how much she loves you! So congratulations, and treat her well or I’ll bust out all your teeth!” They both laughed and the man returned to camp.
The woman waited for him at their campsite, and even she was yawning, despite her brief nap in the evening. When he arrived, she playfully asked, “Are you too tired to follow through with that suggestion you made a little while ago?”
“I can always sleep in tomorrow,” he replied with a playful grin.
“Forgive me, I didn’t start a fire,” the woman apologized as she beckoned him into the tent. “You will keep me warm, I’m sure!”
They went inside the tent to be alone. As they enjoyed a private and intimate night, the Watcher was amused by some nature townies on their way to the public bathroom. It turned out to be the judgemental woman from the cabin in the woods, walking with her teenaged foster daughter.
“What’s going on in that tent?” the teen asked, just to annoy her caregiver.
“Just keep walking and don’t listen!” the nature townie commanded as she continued to waddle urgently along the path.
Inside the tent, the lovers overheard that and giggled briefly before forgetting all about the rest of the world.