Hi Folks, this is a weird one. And I know that some parts of it are improbable. The stranger thing about it is that those improabable parts are mostly true. It's been said that real life is often stranger than fiction and after writing this one I realize how true that is. You should also look for me to tie up a lose end from a previous story that you guys have been on my back about. I need to mention as always how glad I am to have the incredible Mikothe baby editing my stories and she did her usual excellent job on this one. And this week is extremely special. because two years ago this week, a depressed forty five year old divorced guy who writes stories on the internet met a beautiful twentyfive year old divorce woman at the Woodward dream cruise and blew her off. Luckily for him she stalked him. And one year ago at that same Woodward Dream Cruise they got married. They'll be there again this year to celebrate their one year anniversary. And for those of you who wonder about my stories or why I write the way I do. I still look at things from the perspective of that lonely, depressed, divorced guy. I got lucky, I found a younger, prettier woman who loves me even more and that's what I want for each and every one of you. There are lots or great wome out there, they come in every shape, color and form. You just have to get out there and find yours. For those of you in the midwest. See you at the cruise this weekend!
I don't like running. I hate running at any speed. I truly believe that as a thirty five year old woman, running should be relegated to the past with other things like mud pies and pajamas with feet in them.
And then there's me. I know that I'm pretty. Paul always describes me as beautiful. But I don't exactly have the body for running. I'm 5' 6" and thin but curvy. My boobs are kind of big and since I'm heading for forty, they're starting to hang more than sticking straight out from my chest the way they did five years ago. But Paul loves them so who cares. I still have a tiny waist but my butt is anything but tiny. Again, Paul can't seem to keep his hands off of it. I have a little bit of softness in my thighs now. I guess that's what brought on the interest in running. But I quickly got it out of my system.
As you can tell by the way I'm built that I'm not exactly one of those svelte athletic women. And although I'm not overweight, it's a struggle keeping all of my girl's parts contained and restrained. I think when I ran there was far more bounce than glide in my stride. And to tell you the truth, every step I took when I tried to run, it was taxing, tedious, and boring. I only wanted to run in the first place so I could spend more time with Paul.
Paul, on the other hand, is one of those people who were born to run. Even at forty two, he glides along effortlessly and gazelle-like. I've often wondered, if running is supposed to be so good for you, why do the people who run look so God damned miserable while they're doing it. My Paul, on the other hand, has the biggest smile on his face while he runs. I get the biggest smile on my face too, because I love being around him.
Paul eventually solved our problems though. He bought me a bike. He claimed he did it as an excuse to buy me some of that tight, sexy biker wear so he could stare at me when I wore it. I know that what he said was partially true, he does like looking at me and I love having him do it. But I think the biggest reason was because he likes to run fast and there was simply no way I could keep up with him. But on the bike, we're more than equal. A fast paced run for him is a comfortable pace for me on the bike. An easy run for him is a meandering conversational pace for me on the bike.
I try to spend as much time as I can with Paul. We've been together for almost two years now. The weird thing about it is that I can tell he loves me by the way he looks at me and by the things he says. And all I have to do is mention something and he buys it for me, even if I don't ask for it. Both of us have great jobs. He works as an engineer and I'm an X-ray tech. I spend far more time at Paul's house than I do at my apartment. My parents love him and so do all of my friends.
We do, however, have one huge flaw in our relationship. That flaw is that we don't have a relationship. I love him to death. We kiss and hug and hold hands and have mind blowing sex. My favorite thing in the world is waking up in his arms. But we are not married. We are not engaged. I am not even his girlfriend. Every time I bring it up, he changes the subject.
If I try to pin him down, he asks me, "Are you happy?"
"Very," I tell him.
"Then why mess things up?" he asks.
I'll bet most people would think that Paul is hiding something. Maybe he's got another girlfriend or a wife hidden somewhere. It's been driving me crazy, so I did what most women do. I know it was a terrible violation of his privacy, but I put a private detective on Paul. I had him followed for a month. Paul had no idea. And since the operative who did the following didn't know me, the report was interesting.
After a month of paying nearly a third of my salary, the background check reported that Paul had been married once and was divorced. I already knew that. I also learned that Paul was seeing an attractive brunette with a body like a brick shipyard. It was flattering hearing another man talk about me.
The thing that pissed me off the most though, was that the operative took video and photos. He was trying to get some sort of dirt on Paul, so he recorded and took pictures of everything he could see. One short video made me angry enough to scream. It was of Paul on one of the rare nights that I stayed at my apartment. We all talk to ourselves or think out loud occasionally, but Paul really pissed me off.
As he got back into his car, a beautiful Grabber Orange 2009 Mustang GT, Paul shouted out, "God I love that woman." I know I should be happy. I'm the only woman in his life. He's not cheating on me and he's not cheating on some other woman with me. He has no type of relationship with his ex. From the report I got, she's tried to contact him several times and he refuses contact.
I guess I should be glad to find out that I'm with a good guy. But if he loves me so much that he can scream it out in the street after he leaves me, why the hell can't he give me some kind of title to acknowledge it?
I have the video of him screaming how much he loves me to God. I would give absolutely anything to have him tell that to me, just once. Believe me, I understand being gun shy after a bad relationship. I know that Paul's first wife stupidly cheated on him and then tried to hose him in the divorce. I know that will make a man want to think twice about getting married again.
My first marriage was worse. I married a man that my mother and father loved. He was a guy that I'd grown up with. His family sat across the aisle from us in church for as long as I can remember. After we both graduated from college, we started dating and I always felt like something was wrong or something was missing. I wrote it off as just being nerves or jitters. He proposed to me and my mom was happier than I was. We had a huge church wedding and it was downhill from there. Over time, John became more controlling and more abusive.
I hid and put up with split lips, black eyes, name calling, you name it. There were a couple of times when we separated and I left him. We went through marriage counseling and even turned to the pastor of our church for help. I listened to everything from, "He's a good guy, he just needs to learn to control his temper," to, "Maybe he has a mental problem and needs some sort of mood altering medication." My personal favorite was, "Lisa, maybe it's you. Maybe you're doing something to trigger it."
My parents loved him. His parents loved him. Every one of our friends swore he was a great guy. Everyone loved him all the way until he put me on the hospital with injuries so severe that I'd never be able to have children. Small town justice swept that under the rug. It was an accident and my sterility was the result of an accident. He spent three days in jail, got three years on probation and was told to get counseling for domestic abuse.
I was in the hospital for three months and ended up thousands of dollars in debt. He was back on the streets of our small town months before I was. He was running around with other women before I could even get out of bed. So as bad as Paul's marriage and divorce were, I doubted that he could match mine.
Paul, on the other hand, was a dream-come true. We met while I was updating my knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology. I'd decided to finally take the test for my registry. I'd been working steadily and had never gotten around to taking the test. Being registered would mean a nice bump in salary and the ability to become the lead tech in a lot of the hospitals I worked in.
Paul, on the other hand, wanted to get into Biomedical engineering. He needed several classes and we happened to draw the same A&P class by random draw. We went from talking in class, to having coffee and chatting, to studying together, to fucking and that's how we got to where we are. I know that Paul has his issues. For one thing, he claims not to be jealous, but he is. And he acts like a child about it. I found out about it the hard way.
Paul went to my brother's wedding with me. At the wedding, I danced with a few guys. One of them got a little bit grabby on the dance floor and since it was my brother's wedding I didn't want to make a scene. The guy spent half of the song with his hands on my ass. Towards the end of the dance, he was actually grinding on me. I couldn't wait to get away from him.
When Paul took me home, he took me to my apartment, which kind of shocked me. He was still polite, he was still calm. There was no sign of anger or sarcasm. But the next day he didn't call me and all I got was voice mail. After four days, I couldn't take it anymore, I went looking for him.
He was polite, he was charming, but he was distant. It was awful. We actually ended up starting our relationship, or whatever we have, all over again. We moved all the way back to the meeting for coffee stage. It took me almost six weeks to get inside of his apartment again. It was another month after that before we had sex again.
Had it not been for a weird set of circumstances, I might not have figured it out. He had just done one of those things that only a man who loves you does. Paul grew up listening to heavy metal. He loves Van Halen, Dokken, Ratt and Ozzy. Paul had dressed up to go to a performance of classical ballet with me. I had danced as a child and still loved it. For most of the evening, Paul never looked at the stage. He stared at me and held my hand. He smiled the whole time, but I knew he hated it. Like his running, he loved his music hard and fast.
As we left the Music Hall, I ran into a guy I had dated for a while before I met Paul. We'd gone out a few times but I got that same feeling that I had about my first husband. So I'd broken things off before they got anywhere near serious. Robert called to me and came over and hugged me. Paul and I had been joking and hugging each other the whole night. I had been teasing him about screwing him until he couldn't walk. Seeing how he'd been willing to go through that ballet performance for me was the ultimate aphrodisiac.
I was so in love with the man it should be illegal. Anyway, when Robert hugged me, it was unexpected. Paul's reaction was even more so. He immediately let go of my hand. He shook Robert's hand and made polite conversation. He avoided holding my hand for the rest of the evening. He took me to dinner and smiled at me the whole time. But when it came time to leave the restaurant, he started talking about how tired he was. And then he dropped me off at home again. After all of the teasing, not only did I not get my daily dose of dick, I didn't even get a goodnight kiss.
I went inside the apartment angry, horny and confused. I thought about the evening and I thought about the first time he'd done this. It took me over an hour to figure out the common events in the situation. Once I got it, I put my clothes back on and stormed over to his apartment.
He opened the door and asked me what I wanted.
"Aren't you going to invite the slut in?" I asked. He looked at me in confusion.
"Lisa, is something wrong?" he asked. "Have you been drinking?"
"Yes and no," I said. "Why are we not together tonight?"
"Uhm..." he said and his voice dropped off.
"Maybe you're not in the mood?" I asked. "I mean that happens, right?" He didn't say a word. He just started looking anywhere but at me.
"It's funny, because all night you were sneaking little grabs of my ass and every time I hinted about what we were going to do when we got home, you were into it. And you know what Paul? You and I are beyond our twenties. And what we have is about more than just sex. Remember a couple of months ago when I picked up that nasty bug at the hospital and you stayed home from work for four days taking care of me? Paul, how many nights have there been when we didn't even have sex, we just fell asleep in each other's arms?"
He tried. He opened his mouth, but no words came out.
"You were fine all night, Paul," I said. "All the way until that guy I used to go out with came over. Then all of a sudden it was like I have bad breath or cooties. For the rest of the night, you not only turned down pussy, you wouldn't even hold my hand. I fell for this shit the first time, Paul, but not twice."
"I guess I should be honored, because the fact that you get jealous because some guy that I used to know comes over to talk to me means a lot. It means that you really do have feelings for me whether you choose to admit it or not. The hurt in your eyes and that little flash of anger you got. You hid them really well, Honey, but there are a couple of things that you need to consider. The first one is that if I wanted to be with that guy, I would be. I stopped going out with him before I ever met you. Things between him and me weren't what I wanted. If they had been, you and I wouldn't have gotten together."
"Secondly, you have no reason to ever be jealous, Paul. Whether, you admit how you feel, or not. I belong to you. If that changes, you'll know because I'll tell you. We've already gotten to know each other twice, Honey. And if I have to start all over again from scratch a third time, I will, because you're worth it to me. But if I'm worth it to you, why do we have to? It just seems like we'd be wasting a lot of time. Like tonight; do you really want to send me home?"
"I'm not jealous," he said quietly. I think he noticed my smirk.
"I'm not," he said. "I don't get jealous ... EVER."
"So what do you call this?" I asked.
"Choice," he said. "We're not married, or engaged, or any of that stuff. Both of us are free to do whatever we want."
"No we're not," I said. "You brushed me off like I was a bag lady. You couldn't wait to get away from me. Not only did I not get the sex you promised me, I didn't even get a kiss good night. Or are you too tired for that too?"
"I just wanted to give you the space you needed to explore things with that guy," he said. "I didn't want to be in the way. This way you have the space and the time to try things with him without having me to worry about."
"I don't have anything to explore with him, idiot. I already told you, things with him ended before I ever met you. And we both know that if I did any exploring with anyone, even with our non-committed status, you wouldn't be waiting for me. Even if you weren't dating or seeing anyone, there'd be no chance for us to even be friends. And I'm sorry but I intend for us to be a lot more than friends."
I gently pushed the door open and went by him, into his house. That was a few months ago. Things went back to normal for us and we started spending even more time together. We got even closer. I loved being with him and he loved being with me too. He even got me started into going out to run with him. As I've mentioned, I'm not a runner, so the bike is great. It gives us another chance to be together, but on one particular afternoon, something happened that finally let me into Paul's head.
As Paul finished his run, I got off of my bike. This was one of my favorite times during the workout. He stretched and I went over to one of the vendors to get ice cream for us. It probably doesn't make sense to do all of that exercise and then give up the benefits by scarfing down a double sized cone, but we're all going to die of something, right.
I got a chocolate cone for Paul and strawberry for myself. As I walked back over to Paul, I noticed that he was having a conversation with a younger guy. As I got closer to them, I overheard them.
"I really don't care about any of that," said the guy. "No matter what I have to do to be with her, I'll do it. True love is more important than any sacrifice. She makes me feel so good just being around her. I feel like one of those crazy old love songs. You know the ones where they say they'd climb the tallest mountain or swim the deepest sea. When it's true love, you do that kind of stuff."
The man was obviously proud of himself and although his delivery was overly dramatic, his words made me smile. I felt the same way about Paul. And I was sure he felt that way about me.
"True Love is a fairy tale," said Paul. "There's no such thing." Hearing the man I loved say something that cold shocked me to my core. If there was no such thing as true love, then what exactly were he and I doing together?
As I got closer, I handed Paul his cone and he stopped me before I tasted mine. He leaned over and kissed me.
"I wanted to taste those lips before you got strawberry all over them," he said.
"You don' like strawberry?" I asked.
"It's not that," he said. "Strawberry is fine. But I like the way you taste better."
I smiled and then his smile flattened out. "Is that too corny?" He asked.
"I guess I'm just confused," I said.
"You say the nicest things to me. And you treat me the way a woman wants to be treated. But you've never once told me how you feel about me and then I heard what you told that boy. Is that really how you feel? What about us? Am I just wasting my time here?"
"Only you can make that decision," he said.
"In that case, I guess I'm not." I told him reaching for him to hug me. He did and as usual I felt warm and happy just to have him touch me. "Paul, what I get from you is far more than your weird little quirks. So if you're asking me, you know what I'll say. But I think I've earned the right to know why you feel like the things I feel don't exist."
"Pizza, beer and talk," he said.
"Wine for me," I said. "But you're on."
We headed back to his place. We showered and put on those thick comfortable terry cloth robes that I swear he must've stolen from the finest hotel in Heaven. But even more special was the feeling of his arms around me as we snuggled on the couch in front of a fire in his big stone fireplace.
I took a sip of my wine and felt the warmth go through me. He laughed as he watched the way I ate my pizza. I always pick off the toppings first and then nibble off the cheese and leave the bread.
"Why can't you eat pizza like everyone else?" he asked gently. He guzzled his beer and put the can down.
"This is the first time I've ever seen you drink any type of alcohol. That's an unusual brand," I said.
"I don't always drink beer," he said. "But when I do ... I prefer..."
"Shut up!" I laughed. "You bought that stuff because you like the frigging commercial. Let me get you a Pepsi before you burp both of us out of here."
As I got up to go to the kitchen, I had a thought. Paul was smiling already. He seemed to be a lot happier than normal. I remembered when he got sick the previous winter. Paul had never smoked or taken any kind of drugs. He didn't even take aspirin. When he'd gotten sick, I'd given him an ordinary Motrin pill and it had knocked him out for nearly the whole day. His system had no tolerance for most drugs or chemicals. That gave me an idea.
I got two cans out of the refrigerator. The first was his Pepsi. The next was another can of Dos Equis. I figured that if one can, could make him silly and happy. The second can might make him talk. It was sneaky and underhanded, but I loved him and I thought I deserved to know at least this one of his secrets.
"Thanks," he said as I handed him the Pepsi.
"What're you doing with my beer?" he asked. I kicked one leg over him and straddled him.
"I'm done with my wine and I had a taste for it. I have to be careful with the alcohol. If I get drunk, you might try to take advantage of me," I said.
"I'm going to take advantage of you whether you're drunk or not," he laughed.
"You'd better," I said. "Here have a sip of our beer. We'll share it." he took a small sip. I pretended to do the same.
"Do you like it?" he asked.
"I think the commercials are better than the beer," I said after pretending to drink some. I handed the can back to him and he took another healthy drink. "What do you think?"
"This is the first time I've ever drank beer," he confessed. "I'm trying to get used to it, but I think the Pepsi is better." I pretended to drink again and then he took a healthy pull on the can. We kissed each other gently and passed the can back and forth between us. I pulled a blanket over us and he lay his head on my breasts as we watched the fire dancing in the fireplace.
"Paul, Honey," I asked a short time later.
"Yes, Honey," he giggled. From the laughter in his voice and the fact that he'd called me Honey, I knew that he was as drunk as a skunk."
"Paul, I love you," I said. "I love you more than anything."
And then it happened. He smiled at me and said it. "I already know that, Dumbbell," he said. "And I love you too." He had the silliest smile on his face when he said and I knew that he was as drunk as I'd thought. I felt a bit of guilt, but also, a lot of excitement from hearing him, say the words that I'd longed for.
"Paul, why don't you ever tell me that?" I asked.
"I'm scared," he said.
"What do you have to be afraid of?" I asked.
"I only have a little piece of my heart left," he said. "I don't think I could take having it broken again. I have to be very careful. If you hurt me, I might die."
As far as I knew, there'd only been the one marriage.
"Paul, how many times has your heart been broken?" I asked.
"These many," he said, holding up three fingers.
"I know about Arlene and the divorce," I said. "But I don't know about the other two."
He laughed out loud. "Arlene didn't really hurt me," he laughed. "The thing that hurt me the most about that bitch was that she tried to get my Mustang in the divorce. She wanted it so she could give it to her fat boyfriend, just to hurt me. She was a really stupid bitch. Not getting that car was the best thing that ever happened to her. If the judge had given her my car, she would have never lived to drive it. I'd have killed that bitch first. I'd probably be in jail right now."
"But I thought that you were upset about your divorce and that was why you're scared of love," I said.
"Arlene was just a band-aid over a gaping hole in my heart," he said thickly.
"Well, who we're the other two?" I asked in pure confusion.
"You suck at Math," he gushed. "I might not be able to marry you. I can't marry an idiot."
I was so happy I thought my heart would explode. Had he just said the M word? Still, I needed answers.
"What do you mean I suck at math? You said that your heart was broken three times. If Arlene trying to take your car was one, that leaves two, right? My math isn't that bad," I said.
"Yeah it is," he laughed. "It was broken twice by someone else. I was still trying to get over her when I married Arlene."
I was shocked. I had never heard him ever mention any woman other than Arlene and me. I'd heard that alcohol is truth serum and when you get drunk enough, the things you try to hide come out. At that point I felt bad about what I was doing, but let's face it, women are nosy as hell. And when the information is about a man that we love, we simply can't resist finding out. I know women who go through their husband's wallets or their phones or even their pockets. Sometimes you just need to know.
As I looked into his eyes though, I couldn't do it. Paul was definitely hiding something. It was something that had hurt him a lot and it was probably affecting our relationship, but I couldn't pump him for information while he was drunk. If I violated his trust like that, he'd never trust me again.
"Good night, Honey," I said, snuggling closer to him.
"Good ... Hey, aren't we going to... !" he began.
"You're drunk and I'm exhausted," I said. "Go to sleep."
"Okay but tomorrow night we're gonna ... zzzzzzzzzzzz."
"You bet we will, Honey," I said, kissing him lightly on his forehead.
Fortunately the next day was a Friday. I had the day off and Paul called in.
I've heard that the first hangover is the worst. I felt pretty badly for my poor Paul, but at least I was there for him. By afternoon, his head had stopped throbbing and we were able to sit down and talk a bit.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I've never been drunk in my life. And the beer tasted so awful too. But for some reason I couldn't stop drinking it. How many of those did I have? I must've drank that whole case to get that drunk."
"You had about a can and a half," I giggled.
"I guess I can't handle my fire water," he said. "My alcohol drinking days are over. Did I do or say anything embarrassing?"
"Not really," I said. "You did mention that you'd had your heart broken twice by some woman other than Arlene. But I stopped you from talking and we went to sleep."
He just looked at me then and I think that we had just crossed a line. And from everything I picked up from his look, I was sure that I'd done the right thing.
"Come sit down with me," he said. I went back over to the sofa and we sat down together.
"Thanks," he told me.
"For what?" I asked.
"For being someone I can trust," he said. "I wasn't drunk last night. I just wanted to see how badly you wanted to know what screwed me up."
"I want to know pretty badly," I said.
"Yep, but not badly enough to take advantage of me," he smiled and hugged me tighter. "Maybe Danny was right after all. He liked you a lot. He told me I'd be stupid to let you get away."
"Who's Danny?" I asked.
"You remember, him," he said. "The guitar player in the band I took you to see. We sat with his wife Rhonda, that tiny little blond woman. Remember how she cried when the band played that Ratt song, "Shame, Shame, Shame?" She said it was the song that brought them together. She explained to us that Danny's first wife had cheated on him and he used that song to let her know that things between them were over."
I nodded my head and wished then that Paul could get over his past and move on like Danny had.
"Lisa, when I was eighteen, I went downtown to a concert," he began. "It was an unusual thing for me to do because I skipped school to go. Missing a day of school, even though the school year was almost over and I was already going to graduate was just out of character for me.
I went with a friend named Tommy who was an aspiring drummer. While we were there, we fell in with a group of people who were about our age and hung out with them during and after the concert.
For the most part they were high school students like me. I wish that I could describe or remember them but honestly I can't. You see, from the first second that I saw them, before we ever even spoke to them, I had been stricken.
Her name was Lia. She was very small, but she had a head of long curly fire engine red hair that you could see for miles. She had very pale skin and freckles. Her smile and her fiery green eyes flashed with every word she spoke.
I was awestruck by her. After the concert ended we all walked down to the riverfront to get something to eat and just hang out. We got food, threw rocks into the water and just had a good time. After thirty minutes or so, Tommy and I had to leave. Tommy, as usual, had gotten most of the girls' phone numbers. I had spoken to one or two of them just to be polite.
When I got home, my message light was flashing. This was a little over twenty years ago so it was before everyone had a cell phone in their pocket. Anyway, I checked to see whose call I'd missed and it turned out that Mindy Wang, one of the girls that we'd met at the concert, had called me.
While I debated whether or not to call her back, the phone rang.
"Hi Paul," said a high pitched voice.
"Hi," I said back.
"This is Mindy. We met at the concert today," she said.
"I remember," I said. She was short and had thick legs and a nice butt to go with her silky, inky black hair and almond shaped eyes.
"You're kind of shy, so I thought that I' call you," she said. Mindy was vivacious and out going and she drew things out of me and made me feel comfortable. As shy as I was, she managed to keep me on the phone for over an hour before she lowered the boom on me.
"Paul, you're a really nice guy," she said. "Can I ask you something?"
"Of course," I said. "We're friends now. You can ask me anything."
"Okay, why don't you like Lia," she asked. "She's my best friend. So I just wanted to know. I mean it's no big deal. Some guys just don't like redheads. Some guys don't like freckles. Some guys like girls with a little bit more up front if you know what I mean."
"What makes you think that I don't like her?" I asked.
"Well ... you didn't say a thing to her at all," said Mindy.
"I was afraid to talk to her," I said.
"That's silly," she giggled. "Why we're you afraid of her, she's tiny. And she's nice."
I don't know where it came from but I bared my soul to Mindy.
"I couldn't talk to her because she was so beautiful that I could barely breathe around her," I said. Even as I said it, I heard two gasps of air. I hadn't realized it but Mindy hadn't been the only person on the phone.
"I have to go," said Mindy quickly. I felt like an idiot. I had a really nice looking girl on the phone and I had ruined everything by talking about another girl.
It took less than twenty minutes for my phone to ring again.
"Paul?" asked a feminine voice.
"Mindy?" I said, but it felt strange. I couldn't think of any other girl who'd call me, but it just didn't feel like I was talking to Mindy."
"No, it's not Mindy," she said. "And that's a mistake you'd better not ever make again."
"Sorry," I said. "I couldn't think of any other girl who has my phone number."
"Now that's a good thing," she said.
"I guess," I said. "But it still doesn't help me figure out who you are." she laughed and my heart melted. I loved the sound of her laughter.
"Let's see," she said. "You said I was so beautiful that you could barely breathe around me. Or do you say that about everyone."
My heart started pounding in my chest. I couldn't think of anything to say at all. There was dead silence over the phone. "Paul?" she said. "Are you still there?"
"Yes," I croaked. My throat was suddenly so dry that I could barely get words out.
"Wow, you were a lot more talkative when you were talking to Mindy," she said.
"No!" I said.
"Yeah you were," she said. "Paul, I should probably tell you that I was on the phone with Mindy when she called you. As a matter of fact, it was me that had her call you. I wanted to find out why you didn't like me."
"I did!" I practically yelled. "A lot!"
"I know that now," she said. "At least you claim to. But I still think you like Mindy better. But don't feel bad about it. Most guys like Mindy, especially when they find out that she puts out. And I have all kinds of problems."
"Like what?" I asked.
"I don't tan, I just burn," she laughed. "So we won't be spending a lot of time at the beach or doing things in the sun during the summer. And my family is awful. I guess I'm not the smartest person in the world either. I'm terrible in school. I'm eighteen. I should be graduating with Mindy, but I'm only going to be a senior this year. I was held back twice. I made up a grade by going to summer school for the past two years, but I'm still a full grade behind."
"So," I said. "Everyone is different. We all have our strengths and weaknesses."
"Oh, my God! You can talk," she laughed. "That was actually two whole sentences. So. What are my strengths?"
"Well, for one thing you're the most beautiful thing God ever put on this earth," I said.
"We have to get your eyes checked," she giggled. "Everyone seems to think my sisters are much prettier than me. I'm just weird looking compared to them. Except for how red my hair is, I'm as plain as grass."
"I'll never mow the lawn again," I said.
"I hate talking to you like this," she said.
"Okay, I'll let you go," I said. She started laughing.
"Paul, you're way too nice," she said. "I'm going to have to get used to that. But that's not what I meant. What I meant was that I'd like it better if we were talking to each other in person."
"Do you want to meet somewhere?" I asked. "Or do you want me to come and pick you up?"
"Either way is fine with me," she said. "But I don't have a car."
She gave me directions and I drove to her house. She lived just outside of the city in the nearby suburbs. I was kind of shocked that so many people lived in such a small house. Lia has three sisters. Two of whom were already married and had kids. With all of the kids and the sisters and their husbands, I estimated that 11 or 12 people lived in a house that wasn't nearly as big as the one that my parents and I lived in.
I was very polite and never mentioned any of that. I did get a chance to meet her mother, who was apparently the only person in the house with a job. There was one woman who was sick or asleep on the sofa. There were also several guys who couldn't be bothered to look up, let alone come and meet me.
Her mother gave me a serious look-over and then smiled. As she left to go to work, I felt a lot better. There was something in the look she have me that told me that she was sure that I would treat her daughter right and that she was expecting me to look out for her. At that moment, I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.
That evening we went out to eat and sat on a hill that overlooked the nearby lake. We sat there and told each other our life stories and what we wanted to do with our lives. Lia really had no idea about what she wanted to do beyond high school. She just wanted to graduate high school. According to her, she'd be the first person in her family to do so.
The funny thing was that she told me that from the very first second she'd seen me, she'd known that we were going to be together forever. She claimed it was love at first sight, but I'd almost messed it up. I told her that I'd fallen for her at first sight too. She laughed then and told me that she'd known I had, but had gotten kind of pissed when I didn't talk to her. But, now that she knew why she felt like she was going to burst.
Lia and I were inseparable after that. I dealt with everything that came our way. I loved her. I took care of her. I helped her with her work for summer school. I helped her through all kinds of family drama.
I remember one afternoon when Lia's mom called me and told me that she couldn't go home because she was working a double shift. She told me that Lia was upset, so I needed to go and get her. When I got to their house and spoke to all of the people gathered in the living room, they told me that she'd gotten pissed and ran away.
When I asked them why no one was out looking for her, some of them laughed and the others said that they knew that I'd go out and find her.
I did and I took her out for ice cream and we talked. Lia and I hadn't had sex. But we did hug a lot and kiss too. That afternoon, Lia spelled some things out for me. She told me that she and I were going to be together forever. We were going to spend the rest of our lives together and we were going to get her the hell out of that house where no one cared about her.
Her two oldest sisters were too busy with their husbands and children to worry about her. And her other sister, Carrie, was too busy working at becoming the town slut to bother with her. Her brothers in law were hitting on her and her father was no longer in the picture and hadn't been since she could remember. Her mother was so busy working to support everyone, that when she was home, she just slept until it was time to go to work again. Lia thought that no one loved her.
I told her that I did and that I'd do anything for her. That afternoon bonded us together even closer. My parents loved her so she spent a lot of time at my house and doing things with my parents and I. As the summer wore down, our sessions of making out had become pretty close to us going all the way, but we hadn't yet. Lia and I both wanted that first time to be very special and to mean something.
Another thing that was really strange was that the two of us had met while groups of friends had attended a concert, but neither of us had those friends any more.
I had abandoned Tommy as a friend because Lia liked it better when it was just the two of us. Lia had gone over to Mindy's house and started a fight with her former best friend because Mindy had done a terrible thing. Mindy had called me to see how things were going between me and her best friend. Lia had called me and found my number was busy. Then she'd called Mindy only to find that her number was busy as well. When she finally got me on the phone, she was extremely angry. I guess that I'd lost track of the time I spent talking to Mindy. I'd also forgotten about Lia's temper. When she finally got me on the phone and verified that I had been talking to Mindy, she excused herself and went over to Mindy's house.
She never told me about the fight with Mindy, but when she called me back about a half hour later, she told me that I was not to speak to Mindy, ever again. I thought it was odd, but what would happen later on the summer would prove that to be nothing.