We both knew it wasn't going to last. She was leaving to go back to Michigan on Monday morning, this made that Saturday night a little more special for us. When I took her back to Bonnie's on Sunday, I hung around until about 2 or 3 in the morning again. It was really painful for the both us when I finally had to leave her. We exchanged addresses and we promised each other we would write. I had a sunken feeling in my heart, as expected, when I drove back home. At least I wasn't as torn up about it like I was with Teresa. I will admit that I had a feeling I would see her eventually someday again. But that was never to be. More on this later.
I was dog tired after fire fighting training that day. It was my first day for it. All i wanted to do was sleep so I did as soon as I got home and showered. I hit the bed and was out.
Tuesday night, I got a little restless. I thought about swinging by Bonnie's but figured she could use the break. I also knew it would have been because I was still feeling a bit empty over Julie and would have only been trying to fill that emptiness, and I knew it wouldn't do any good. Only being with Julie would have filled it. I had to get my mind off of her though, and I knew it, so I made a surprise visit to the Golden Saddle to see Lori at work.
She was very surprised to see me when I sat down at the bar. The place was close to being dead, just a handful of customers. She was able to pretty much sit with me for the two beers in which I stayed for. She gave me some good news. "I have this weekend off." She would tell me. "Starting next week, I will be working the first shift with Bonnie."
"What about school?" I asked her.
"I have the whole summer to think about it." She said. "I don't know if I want to go back. I'll work Tuesday through Thursday here, and pull a double on Fridays, but starting this Monday, I will be training with Waylon's accountant to take over when she quits at the end of the summer."
"You're going to quit working the bar at the end of summer?" I was surprised to learn.
"Yep, starting in September, I will be working full time as Waylon's business accountant."
I was happy for her. But no sooner did we end that topic when she started a new one. "Want to go out on another date with me this Saturday?" She winked.
I liked the sound of that. "Oh, so you're asking me out this time?"
She reached over and began rubbing my arm. "I've been thinking a lot about you lately."
Something stirred inside me that night. The look in her eyes and the way she was talking. Things between us has been going well lately. No arguments or fights. An old feeling started paying us both another visit. I responded to her touches accordingly by leaning over and giving her a kiss. Upon release, I had but one question. "What time shall I come by?"
"Oh no," She snapped back, "I am picking you up, mister. And I will be at your place at 7PM sharp. So you better be ready."
I liked the sound of that. In fact, I loved the sound of that.
The rest of that week went quickly. That Thursday night, Taco and Glen swung by to crash at the apartment. Friday night I walked over to the Silver Saddle and had some beers with the boys. A few of them crashed at the apartment that night too, but by 7PM, I was ready to go. Sure enough, she was thirty minutes late. We went to have dinner and some dancing at some Italian place then she drove me back to my place. I was a little suspicious when she asked me to bring her up for a night-cap. "Oh, I see, since you bought me dinner, I have to put out?"
She leaped over into my lap while we were parked. "Put out or get out." She joked. We ended up making out for a few minutes in the car before we took it inside.
Man, did it ever feel so good to be back in her arms. Back in bed with her. That electricity between us in the beginning was still there. That passion. But there was something different about it this time. Something more special I think. We had been through a lot already. I have been through a lot. I don't know what it was, but I could tell I had had enough of the way I was living my life. I wanted things to go back to the way they were. I really didn't want to keep hopping from girl to girl. Maybe that day when we asked each other what we wanted, maybe deep down, I did want to say I wanted her. Well, I was saying it to myself now. Watching her sleeping, I knew what I wanted. There was no doubt about it, I was ready. I was so ready to be the man she was looking for.
I was already cooking breakfast when she woke up and came out from the bedroom in her panties and one of my tee shirts, just a smiling. She walked straight up to me and gave me a hug and kiss before going to the coffee pot. "That was great last night, wasn't it?" She was spilling over with love.
"The best." I answered, still working on those scrambled eggs. She poured her cup and went to sit down at the table, but after placing her cup down, she froze. I could see her from the corner of my eye and I was just a grinning because I knew why she froze like that. She was staring down at the table. "Carroll?" She softly spoke in slight confusion. I didn't answer her. I just stood there in front of the stove still smiling. "Carroll?" She repeated, backing up a couple of feet then pointing at the table. "Carroll, what is that on the table? Carroll?"
I turned the stove off and began to scrape the eggs out of the pan and onto our plates that were also sitting on the table. "You hungry?" I kept ignoring her on purpose. She placed both hands over her mouth. "Carroll, what the hell is that in the middle of the table?"
I took a casual glance at it. "Oh that?" I toyed. I quickly set the empty frying pan on the stove and retrieved the item off the table. "This is just an engagement ring." I said. I opened it and walked up to her. Tears were now beginning to form in her eyes. "I thought maybe if you had some time on your hands," I explained, "that maybe you would consider becoming my wife."
She looked at the ring. She looked at me. She looked at the ring again, and then back at me. "What?"
Okay, so she was falling quickly into shock. I took the ring out, and ditched the case. "Will you give me your hand, please? I wish to put this on your finger if you don't mind."
She extended her hand, trembling terribly. She was visibly shaken. Once I slipped it on her finger, I brought her hand up and kissed it. "Will you marry me?"
She pulled her hand away from me to stare at it. She really was in shock here. She suddenly gave me an answer. "No." She whispered.
My eyes flew open. "No? You don't want to marry me?" I wasn't expecting that. Clearly.
She shook her head. "No, I mean, yes, I will marry you. No, this can't be happening."
I walked up closer and took her into my arms. "It's happening." I said. I kissed her on the forehead. "I love you. I want to marry you."
Suddenly, the shock wore off. She wrapped her arms around me and climbed on board, wrapping her legs around my waist. We came together, lips to lips. I spun her around. She started giggling. "God yes I will be your wife." She uttered. Then screaming in my ear. "I'm getting married!"
Needless to say, that turned out to be a pretty good day. But you wanna know something? It was about time. It really was. I was tired of being alone. I was tired of the drama. I was tired of the bullshit. I did love her. I loved Bernie. So why not? If she was happy, and I was happy, then why the hell not?
We're getting married!