First Sight

#strongwomen #writer #author #entrepreneur #blog #blogger #canadian #alberta #chapter #romance #drama #novel #asaviourspath #excerpt #writing

“I want to ask you something, Ben. And I don’t want you to go on and on, or get mad. I just want a simple answer. Yes or no. Can you do that for me?”

She could see the struggle on his face as he automatically wanted to deny that he ever went on and on and that he resented the implication that he was unable to give a simple answer to a question, but he nodded his agreement.

“I just want to know. When you saw my life, and my house, and my son, and all that…is that why you wanted to marry me?”

His eyes widened, and he opened his mouth, then shut it again. She watched shock, hurt, anger, then resignation pass over his face. Finally, he shook his head, and he seemed to settle on sadness. “No,” he said softly.

She hated to hurt him, to upset things, but she had to know. “Was it…the money?”

Now he was back to anger again. And disbelief. “No,” he ground out, jaw tight.

She tried to plead with her eyes for him to be patient. “Okay. If you’re not too upset, could you…could you tell me? Because ever since the first time you told me you wanted to be with me, I’ve been wondering. I thought you loved your life, travelling around and teaching kids and flirting and – ”

He held up his hand, eyes shadowed with irritation that bordered on rage. She inhaled, then exhaled again.

“You loved it. That explosion blew up our lives, Ben, and I just don’t understand how your feelings changed so fast. Can you tell me why you thought I was your ‘one’?”

He was quiet for a long time, and he seemed to shutter his face as she tried to scrutinize him. He gazed off, fiddling with the measuring tape, and she focused on her breathing while she waited. She thought she would pass out from relief when he turned and she saw the tenderness on his face. When he lifted his arm to her, her mind flashed back to their second last night in Africa. Just like that time, and dozens more since, she suddenly needed to be near him, and she crawled over and rested her ear on his chest. He stroked her head.

“Do you hear that, my love?” It felt like his voice was inside her. “My heart beats for you, Lanie. Because of you.”

It was the one question she hadn’t dared to ask. Whether he had stayed with her because he felt he owed her some sort of debt of gratitude. She thought she couldn’t bare the answer to that one, even if her motives had originally stemmed from that guilt. But now, she couldn’t bare not knowing. “Is that why?”

He sighed, but then hugged her tighter. “Do you remember the first time we met?”  She nodded. She couldn’t forget. “I don’t think you knew I heard you, but the first thing you said was, ‘Who’s that idiot over there?’ And I looked over to see who was making fun of me, and I see this jacked-up, scary, tatted babe with her hair in a twist so tight it was almost pulling out of the roots, in combat boots, watching me. And I remember thinking, who does this woman think she is? But then Mickey introduced us. And the sun caught your hair just right, and it looked like it was sparkling. And then you saved me from that wall, and patched up my hand. I wasn’t kidding when I said I thought you were hot. I didn’t want to admit to myself that I thought you were kind of sexy. I didn’t think I would ever go for a meat head. But the way you put yourself in danger for me, and then the gentle way you patched me up after. I think we both judged each other pretty harshly, in the beginning.”

She looked up at him. “I was never in any danger from that wall, Ben, or anything else. I knew what I was doing.”

He grinned for a second. “See what I mean? In a way, I might have been kidding when I asked you to marry me on the spot. But Lanie, I never kissed anyone again after I met you. I didn’t understand it, and I tried to tell myself it was just because I wanted to focus on the building project. But now, looking back, maybe it was because you completed me.”

She knew he was in his introspective phase, so she kept herself from snorting at the cliché. She smoothed her hands from his chest to his stomach and back up again. He relaxed into the touch. They were melting into each other. Fusing together.

“And then, I got to know you. For four weeks, I found excuses to talk to you, and be with you, and I wanted you to know everything about me. And you didn’t share much about yourself, but that was okay, at the time. It made you mysterious, and it made my crush grow. I saw the way you were with the kids. How protective you were. How dedicated you were to your mission work. And how thoughtful and caring you were with the patients at the hospital. Your hospital.”

She scrunched her nose and rolled her eyes, and he patted her affectionately.

“I got a new memory today. That night when we were talking by the river, I was trying to tell you about saving myself for my wife because…I felt like maybe, one day, in the future, you could be my wife. I wanted that. I wanted to get to know you more, and I was going to ask if we could date when we both got back home. I was telling you that because I’d never felt that way about a woman before. It felt like the feeling I had been waiting for when I made that stupid promise in rehab. I wanted someone I could just sit and talk with on a warm night. Or a cold night, if we went back to Canada.”

She shifted. If he remembered the night before the explosion, what would happen if he remembered the night of? And now he remembered their night overlooking the river. What if…

But he went on before she could let the possibilities get out of hand, he continued, his hand cupping her face. “I didn’t want the night to end, even if all we did was talk, even if I never touched you. As much as I did want to touch you, for the first time, that wasn’t the main thing on my mind. I found you interesting. Beautiful just to sit and look at. I thought I could easily sit and talk with you every night for the rest of my life. I thought you were a woman I wanted to build something with. More than schools and hospitals; a life. It might not have been love at first sight, Lanie, but it was pretty close. And all of this was before you showed me your house. Before either of us knew about Dre. Before I knew about the money. And before the explosion. Even though you had saved me several times before that. I’m a klutz idiot, remember?”

She couldn’t help but laugh a bit. “Yeah, you really are. And a hopeless romantic.”

He kissed her deeply. “How’s this for hopeless? I could sit here all day and tell you the whole story of how you slowly but surely captured my heart, and how every day since that first day, I’ve fallen more in love with you. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot, but every day I’m reminded how lucky I am to have you in my life. When I found out you had a son, I fell a little bit more in love with you. And of course, I was instantly bonded to Dre. Partly because of him. But also because of the parts of you in him. When I saw your house, and you told me about all the work you’ve put into it, I fell a bit more in love with you again, and I wanted to take care of this place with you.”

 He took her shoulders and stared at her intently. As always, it was nearly impossible to look away from his hypnotic eyes.

“I’m so in love with you, Lanie. I’m excited about every day with you. Every day I get to wake up and be your husband; isn’t that cool? Whatever that entails. I would be happy if we sat on a hill in the dark and didn’t touch or talk or look at each other and I got to be near you and know that you’re there. But I’m over the moon that we get to have this adventure together. That I do actually get to hold you, and see you, and talk with you. Among other things. Everything else is just one more thing to be excited about. And these babies – ”

His torrent of words cut off, and he let go of her, then gazed down. Her heart pounded, and she shifted so that she could look at the roses.

“I’m sorry if I somehow made you feel that I only cared about how I could check off some list of childhood fantasies. That I wanted to use you and Dre to fill up something that I thought I was lacking in myself, or somehow fix my past. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I know these babies weren’t really part of our plan. I’m not sure we ever seriously talked about whether we wanted more kids and when, and even though to me it seems a bit late for that, I think we should still talk about it. But I do want you to know that I love my life. I…ummm, adore you, and Dre, and I want to adore these babies. I want to cherish and take care of all of you, and do what I can to make you all happy and safe.” He took a breath, then smiled self-consciously. “But…I guess that was me going on and on. Long story short, I married you because I love you. Full story long, if you ever let me say that I love you, those are the things that are behind it.”

She could tell he wanted to say more, and while she did enjoy the sound of his voice, her brain was so full she felt like her head weighed a million pounds. She kissed him, then stood up and held out her hand to him. She smoothed the worried crease in his eyebrows, then drew his head down and kissed the spot. “Okay, Ben. Thank you. Let’s go get dinner started. Can you give me a day or two? Without us talking about it?”

Reluctantly, he nodded, and she touched her forehead to his. “Of course,” he said, wrapping her in a warm bear hug. “Whatever you need.”

Thanks for Stopping by!

I hope you liked what you saw. What did you think of the topic? Leave a comment and start a discussion with your thoughts! Don’t forget to like and share with your best friends, mortal enemies, and everyone in between. Come back later to see if your icon appears in my subscriber cloud! Even better, validate my work by leaving a tip to support this (not actually) starving author. You can also support my company, Planet Hope Christian Enterprising, by donating to our crowdfunds on at GoFundMe and FundRazr down below. We are a non-profit providing pay-what-you-can creative and communication services to individuals and organizations – including you! By donating, you can help us reach our goal to provide top-rate creative and support services to charities and others who would like our help. But we can’t do it without your support, so even if you can’t give financially, please like, share, subscribe, and comment. Many blessings to you today and every day.

Never miss a post!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.”
~ Romans 15:13


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s