He had spent weeks planning this, and yet there were so many things out of Dracula's control. He had to make sure that everything was perfect when he popped the question, including the proposal itself.
The first week he had tried to write poems, but couldn’t find the words to describe his love for her in a few sentences, nor any parchment long enough to list all the things that fueled his feelings.
The second week he considered taking a romantic getaway. That was spoiled when Lisa revealed she was in no mood for traveling in her pregnant state.
The third week was when the perfect plan struck him.
A flower, a rose to be more precise. A symbol of love across cultures, a simple yet powerful statement.
So the last month had been spent researching. It had to be white, her favorite color (conveniently complimenting his black aesthetic). “It’s a little silly, but it reminds me of a blank canvas,” she had said, “A statement about endless possibilities perhaps. Or maybe I just think it’s pretty and that’s looking a bit too deep into it.”
As she went to bed one summer’s eve, he put his plan into action. Having researched beforehand, he had discovered that the best place for white roses was in the ruins of a villa that had belonged to the nephew of a famous Roman author, and planted so many of them that they persisted through the years.
Dracula stepped through the mirror and into the field.
“Just one rose,” he told himself. How hard could it be?
Too limp. Too bruised. Too faded. Too infested with bugs. Jesus Christ, was not one rose in this God forsaken place!?
He sat on the ground with a sigh, holding his chin in hand as he thought. Perhaps he could grow roses in the lab greenhouse? No, Lisa had a knack for coming across things she wasn’t supposed to, proven by the fact she somehow managed to locate his castle right in the middle of nowhere.
And he loved that about her.
She was hard-headed and witty. Her laugh was loud, always punctuated with a snort, her smile lifted even the foulest of moods. Her passion was fiery and persistent, and yet she never allowed herself to be unkind or cruel.
She was strong, yet also soft. A rare thing to find in people.
Then it suddenly became clear to him. Lisa would not reject an imperfect rose.
Just as he thought her beautiful even on days when she had just finished puking her guts out from morning sickness, she would admire a rose for what it was, not what it wasn’t. He could give her the most flawed rose he could find, and she’d still love it.
With a renewed sense of confidence he stood and looked back to the flowers with a soft smile. He simply picked the closet one, and returned to the castle through the portal.
Lisa hummed as she sat in her favorite loveseat, rubbing her stomach as she read the book perched upon her swollen stomach. The fire crackled, its warm glow filling the room with a sense of calm.
She was only four months along, but that was apparently full-term for dhampirs. It was only a matter of time before their little bundle of fanged joy came crashing into their lives.
“I expect a lot of breakfasts in bed from you after all this Hell you’ve put me through.” she says, tapping her stomach. The baby turned over inside of her, as if to say ‘yeah sure, whatever mom’. Lisa chuckled, returning her attention to her book.
Just as she was getting to a good part, the door opened behind her. She smiled, pretending not to notice as he footsteps grew closer, not even as he stepped in front of her and blocked the light from the fire.
“May I help you?” she asks coyly, flipping the page. When he doesn’t respond with a quip, she finally looks up. There’s an expression of worry on his face, one she’s only seen whenever he fretted about her or the baby. The nervous energy radiating from him was nearly tangible as he held his hands behind his back.
“Vlad?” she says, putting her book aside as she watches him with concern, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” he replies in a voice that tells her something is very wrong. Before she can press, however, he gets on one knee in front of her, holding up a beautiful white rose that lays across both his hands.
Lisa looks between him and the rose in a mix of confusion and amusement, “What are you doing?”
“My love,” he breathed, swallowing heavily, “You, you’re soft like these petals, and I’m sharp like these thorns. Lisa,” he bowed his head, raising his hands and presenting the rose, “Can I marry you?”
Had he had a beating heart, he'd be unable to hear Lisa’s soft gasp over it pounding in his ears. He felt her warm, calloused fingers brush against his hand as she took the rose, and looked up in time to see her holding it to her chest.
Her eyes brimmed with tears, a wide smile on her face as she nodded, “Yes,” she whispered, voice, “Yes, of course.”
Had she not been in such a fragile state, he would have lifted her into the air and spun her around. Instead he moved up and next to her, kissing her tenderly as he laid a hand on her stomach.
“Just so you know,” she says as they shed tears of joy, both of water and of blood, “I’m waiting until after this baby to even think about getting into a wedding dress.”
“Whatever you want love,” he chuckles, pressing their forehead together, “Whatever you want.”
The rose wilted eventually, so Lisa kept the browned petals in a small box on her vanity, so that she could see it both as she got ready for the day and as she got ready for bed.
A portrait was commissioned to capture their day of love and unity. Vlad dressed in his best attire (after Lisa shot down the idea of him wearing armor to their wedding), Lisa a beautiful gown made by the finest tailors and holding their son between them, dressed in an adorable little blue jumper and smiling brightly, unaware of the significance of the day.
On their hands were silver rings, simple but clear in their message.
Unlike the rose, their love for one another would never fade.