White Roses

White Roses

A story of a young man's proposal.


Coming-of-age / Young adult fiction


Gloria DeMoura (United States)

I awake to the sunlight upon my eyes. I blink and look to where the source of light is coming from to see it trickling in through the curtains. I sit up and reach for them. I open them and see the day greeting me with warmth, I look out upon the lawn at the green grass rising to the sun’s warm rays. I smile, It will be a beautiful day.

I slowly get out of my bed, I bend down to look in my laundry basket for clothes when I catch a glare of white coming from the window.

I look up and see her dancing in the yard across from me. The whiteness of her sundress reflecting her innocence as she dances in the soft grass. I smile. She stops suddenly when she sees me staring at her. She smiles and gently waves. I wave back and she giggles at the sight of me in only my boxers. I feel my cheeks flush and I walk away from the window. It has to be today that I embarrass myself in front of her.. . I pull on my jeans and throw on my shirt, and go back over to the window. But she is no longer in the front of her parents yard.

I sigh..

I go downstairs and out the door to my truck. I retract my hand when I feel how hot the steering wheel is. I start the engine and blast the air conditioning on.. I sit for a brief moment feeling the relief of cold air blowing on my face. I back out and drive to the store, trying hard to get the image of that girl dancing in my head to go away, even though I really didn’t want it too.

I enter the store, and go straight up to the florist and ask him if he has a bouquet of white roses. He smiles and hands me the last white bouquet he has. I pay him and thank him.The sweet smell of the roses makes me smile..

I leave the store and proceed to the Coastal Emergence, one of the best restaurants in town because of their waterfront view. I enter the restaurant and ask for the manager.

While the waiter goes to find him, I look out upon the oceanfront, everyone is already enjoying their summer break, the beach music fills the air and I watch a couple of young boys hitting a volleyball to each other.

I hear the manager discussing things over with the waiter behind the bar, with their voices hushed, which I find funny as there is almost no one in the restaurant since it doesn’t open for another couple of hours.

The manager approaches me and asks if I was the young man that called and I replied I was,

He shakes my hand and asks me what exactly I wanted.

I explain what I came for and he smiles.

“If you are thinking that I can’t afford this, I can pay you up front.” I say.

“No, you can pay for the meal, everything else I will take care of.” The manager responded.

“Please, you are too kind.” I say rather shocked knowing how expensive this place is to rent.

“No, Young men like you are rare. I insist that I take care of it.” He says smiling.

I thank him and shake his hand. I go out and walk toward my truck giddy.

I drive back to my house, I go up and unlock the door feeling the heat of the day on my back.

I put the flowers in the fridge to keep them from withering, and run up the stairs into my room. I glance at my watch, I have only hours left.

I feel butterflies flying around in my stomach in anticipation. I shower,shave and trim my hair. I take a long look at myself in the mirror before I walk out and grab the suit and tie on my bed. I put on my suite and tie. I find my bottle of cologne and spray a small amount under my neck. I walk down the stairs and put on my shoes. I grab the flowers out of the fridge and head for my door. I pause before going out and reach into my pocket and feel the outline of the small box. I stand in front of my door and breath out.. I open the door and walk across the street, holding the flowers behind my back. I knock on the door and hear someone walking toward it.

Her father opens it and says she will be done in a minute.

He winks at me, but also reminds me sternly that she is to be home at ten. The gentle breeze could almost take my breath away as I see her walk down the stairs in the dark blue dress, Her eyes nervously turn to me, I am speechless looking back into her eyes and I finally manage to say,

“You look beautiful.”

She blushes and receives the flowers that I hold out to her. We drive to the restaurant and she smiles at me for choosing her favorite place.

I open the door for her and the host takes us to our seat.

“I wonder where everybody is? This place is usually packed.” She says. I smile. We watch the sun set over the water without words, because they aren’t needed. We eat and then she tells me how funny I looked this morning, we both laugh.

“Look they have a white rose on the table…” She says.

“What do white roses stand for?” I ask.

Her eyes meet mine and she knows.

I feel myself shaking knowing the moment has come.

I get down on one knee and say;

“Kate, I want to spend eternity with you,”

Her eyes begin to fill with tears.

“Will you marry me?”

“Michael, How could I do anything else?” she says.

Competition: June 2015 Pen Factor, Round 1


Read Reviews

Review 1:

Compelling hook?


Strong characters?


Attention to Mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story. It’s always a pleasure to read polished English.
Mechanics - Narration Styles
  • Make sure that all narrative modes in the story are used appropriately and accurately, such as direct speech when the characters talk directly to each other. Other examples are reported speech when retelling something a character has said, chronology, retrospection, flashback etc.
Narrative - Internalizations
  • You write powerful inner monologues. You introduce these effectively by allowing the reader into the character’s head and hearing their direct thoughts.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and believable dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • The protagonist didn’t always respond believably against the backdrop of the story. Ask yourself if people would really answer to a situation in that way. Think about whether the character’s voice could be more convincing for their age, background, gender, time period, genre, gender and ethnicity. Dialogue should be natural and consistent throughout the story.
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were highly convincing.
Character Conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals and conflicts were clearly conveyed.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot and conflict, which needed resolving.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Think about the conflict and tension in your story. How effectively has it been introduced?
Technique and tight writing
  • Sentence length and complexity help set the scene for the story. Consider harmonizing genre and language in your story, in order to create more atmosphere.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice.
Atmosphere and description
  • Your story creates a vivid picture indeed. A feast for the senses. The atmosphere wrapped itself around me and transported me onto the page alongside your characters.
Setting the scene and backstory
  • A nice amount of detail was given in the right tone for the genre to set the scene. I was fully immersed in the place and unfolding events. The way the characters reacted to the setting and atmosphere was cleverly done. The narrative is skillfully presented. I was never bogged down with information or backstory.
Opening line
  • Your opening line was a promise of wonderful things to come and indeed your story was a good read. You capture the reader from the word go.
  • The opening line of a story is a writer’s promise of wonderful things to come. Perhaps review the opening line to increase the impact of your story?

Review 2:

Compelling hook?


Strong characters?


Attention to mechanics
  • You demonstrate a professional quality of writing throughout the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • Your story struck a good balance between narration and authentic dialogue.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
  • Make sure your characters are multidimensional. Do they have strengths and weaknesses? Mere mortals make the most interesting stories because they are like you and me and we are able to empathize with their journey. That’s how the connection with a character is formed.
Main character
  • Connect us to your main protagonist with a deeper characterization. Could your protagonist have a few more distinguishing character traits?
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals and conflicts were clearly conveyed.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a difficult balancing act. Are you sure all the material is relevant to the plot, setting and atmosphere? Make sure each sentence makes sense to the reader, and each paragraph moves their experience forward.
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. The build-up was intriguing and I felt the tension mounting with each word.
Technique and tight writing
  • When writing is tight, economical and each word has purpose, it enables the plot to unravel clearly. Try and make each individual word count.
Point of view
  • Point of view helps the reader identify whose perspective we are engaging with, i.e. who is narrating the story. It can sometimes be helpful to double check that the point of view in the story is successfully handled. Ensure you consistently use the same point of view and tense throughout, either: a) First person; b) Third-person limited; or c) Third-person omniscient.
Style and originality
  • Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose is tricky. As writers, we face the daunting task of making sure we are not being predictable. Can you find a way to give the content and characters more of a unique edge? Perhaps say something boldly, something fresh or show an unorthodox approach to a topic?
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The scene needs to be vivid and realistic in order to hold the reader’s attention. Being concise and plausible at the same time is tricky. Giving this further attention could perhaps be worthwhile.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Great stories, nowadays, start with a powerful opening line and compelling hook in order to keep the reader engaged. Have you baited the reader enough?