They had often joked about the image of the bride that could be seen in the window of the old dilapidated house. The rumor was that she had been jilted by her lover. Afterwards, as the story went, she dressed in her wedding gown every day and sat in front of the window waiting for his return.
“Such hogwash!” exclaimed Gabriell. “Who would sit in front of a window everyday in a wedding gown?”
Brandon went on with the story. “They say that her engagement ring had a large, ruby stone. Her fiancée ran off the day after she lost the ring. Supposedly, she roams the hillside at night looking for it.”
“Well, if that is true, then we should be able to come out here and see her,” teased Gabriell.
To her surprise, Brandon accepted the challenge and insisted that they spend the following Friday night watching for the bride from the haunted house.
Realizing that she had no alternative but to accept, Gabriell decided that they should at least have some fun while they were waiting around for some ghost to appear.
“Actually,” explained Brandon, “I don’t think that there is a ghost. They say that she is very much alive.”
The thought of running into a woman in a wedding gown in the fields late at night gave Gabriell the creeps. Sounding braver then she actually was, she said, “That sounds wonderful. I’ll pack us a nice picnic lunch to enjoy while we are waiting for this apparition to appear.”
Brandon smacked his lips noisily. “One of your picnic lunches is more like a banquet. I’ll look forward to the feast.”
As they parted ways at the corner, Brandon called, “I’ll call you!”
True to her word, Gabriell packed enough food for an army and met Brandon to sit in the field on that cold, dark, rainy Friday night. Neither one of them really expected to see anything.
While waiting, they talked about the Senior prom. During a lull in the conversation, Gabriell shivered.
“Are you cold?” asked Brandon.
“Do you hear that?”
“Someone is humming a tune.”
They listened closely. Gabriell shivered again when she recognized the tune as the traditional wedding march. The only thing that broke the silence that prevailed was the continual thin wailing of the music.
“Oh!” cried Gabriell, “There she is!”
“Let’s get out of here!”
“No,” said Gabriell, “I feel as if she is asking for our help.”
“She can get all of the help that she needs from someone else.”
“Come on, you aren’t afraid are you?”
Brandon couldn’t admit fear; especially not in front of Gabriell.
Gabriell said, “Let’s follow her. I think that she wants us to come with her.”
Suddenly, the bride stopped. She began to search the hillside as if she was looking for something.
Gabriell said, “That’s it. She wants us to help her to find her engagement ring.”
After an hour of searching, they had not found anything and the bride had long since vanished. Brandon suggested that they look near the overgrown bushes. “In her day, the bushes were well maintained. That means that the ring might be lost in the rubble of the branches.”
“Ouch, these things have thorns!” cried Gabriell.
As she pulled her arm back to check her bruises, the branch moved just enough that allowed Brandon to see the gleam of the ruby.
“There it is!”
“It is the ruby ring. Look, you can’t miss it. The stone is huge.”
“We need to return it to her.”
“That’s fine,” said Brandon, “but I prefer to do that in daylight!”
“No, let’s return it now. She is home. I can see lights in the windows.”
“Hmm, that’s funny,” said Brandon, “normally the old house is dark except for the light in the upstairs hall.”
As they neared the front door, they could hear the sounds of an orchestra and lots of people.
“This is really strange. It sounds as if there is a party going on.”
Gabriell gulped as she knocked on the door. She was surprised when it was opened by a well-dressed butler.
“Do come in, Miss Gabriell and Mr. Brandon. It is a pleasure to see you this evening. We have been expecting you.”
After entering the foyer, they turned and saw her. She was radiant. “I believe that you have something of mine.”
“Well, yes. I think that it belongs to you,” whispered Gabriell.
Almost afraid to move too close, Brandon stretched his arm as far as he could to hand her the ring.
She took it carefully. Tears ran down her cheeks as she placed the ring back on her finger. She whispered, “It has been lost for so long. I can’t thank you enough. Now, my love and I can be together.”
“Uh, yes, yes, of course. Now, if you don’t mind. We have to leave.”
Brandon grabbed Gabriell’s hand as they ran out of the house. They didn’t stop until they reached the street where they both lived.
“Whew,” said Brandon, “that was weird.”
“I don’t think that we should say anything about this.”
“Don’t worry about that. I plan to forget everything that we saw and did tonight.”
The next day was full of more surprises. The newspaper headlines read that the old dilapidated house on Hill Street had burned down during the night.
Neither Brandon nor Gabriell could figure out what would have happened to all of the people that they saw. They felt certain that someone must have survived. Deciding to investigate further, they agreed to meet where the old house once stood. Gabriell was certain that the bride would come to them again.
They had waited about an hour and were ready to give up when she appeared. Next to her, was her groom. This time, he spoke. “I can’t thank you enough for bringing us together again. I have waited a long time for Virginia to come to me. Even though I told her that it wasn’t important, she wanted to have the ring on.”
Gabriell said, “I thought that you ran off and left her.”
“No,” replied the groom, “her Father had me banished from the country when he learned that she loved me. I died shortly thereafter.”
Both Gabriell and Brandon were speechless when the groom said, “You, Gabriell, are heir to this property.”
“Yes, you are the rightful heir. Virginia is a cousin to you. Please take good care of it. It was a place of great happiness for us.”
After that, the bride and her groom seemed to vanish. Though they called her name several times, there was no answer.
The property ultimately did go to Gabriell, who to this day, lives there happily with her husband, Brandon. There is an oil painting of Virginia and her groom at the top of the grand staircase. They tell the story of the love that was lost then found again whenever someone asks about the picture of the bride and the groom.