Thursday, November 15, 2012
Gardens of Stone-Fiction Part 4
At 6:55 Jack rang the doorbell of Marie's house. He didn't need her to tell him where she lived. He had been in the house many times when she was away at college. He and the Colonel had spent many evenings chatting on the front porch or in front of the fire in the living room. Jack held the two dozen roses in front of him as he waited for the door to be answered.
Marie pulled open the door and smiled at the huge bouquet of red and white roses. It was a surprise because most people chose a color and stuck with it. Clearly Jack had bought a dozen of each color and had them arranged together to create a beautiful and unusual bouquet. But she wasn't going to let the roses distract her from what she wanted to say to this handsome but pushy man standing on her porch.
"They are beautiful," she began " Please come in and sit while I put these in water."
Jack stepped into the house and was immediately struck by the changes Marie had made. He followed her into the living room where she indicated he should sit and sat and stared at the changes. Little things that just put a feminine touch on what have been a very masculine home.
" I am glad you are a little early" Marie called form the kitchen " I have a few things I would like to say before we go." She appeared with the roses in a vase. Jack stood when she entered the room "No, please sit, this will only take a minute." she placed the roses on a table in front of where Jack was again sitting and she sat across from him in a matching chair. "The Colonel always told me to 'Start as you mean to go on, and always state your intentions with clarity and honesty.' So here goes. I expect anyone who wants to go out with me to behave like a gentleman in all things. You want a date? You call me and ask. Don't just show up and expect me to be available and willing. You would do best to call for a date three days before you would like me to go out with you. I am making an exception tonight in honor of the Colonel who like you and mentioned often that you were the kind of man I should date. Don't prove him wrong. Don't ever be late with out calling, and don't think that I will arrange my life around the Marines. You joined them I did not. Are we clear?" She finished
Jack smiled and leaned back in his chair. " You know you are a lot like him. I could almost hear his voice just now as you laid down the law." Marie was wondering what all Jack had gotten away with by using that killer smile. Jack continued "I accept your rules and in the interest of honest and clarity,Let me state my intentions. I intend to make you fall in love with me. I will do whatever it takes to achieve my goal and I do not take direction easily so you may have to get a ball bat to get my attention. I am a loyal friend and a good Marine. We can work out the logistics of everything else later. Are we clear?" He finished smiling.
"What is your reason for intending to "make me fall in love with you"? You don't even know me. What if you find we don't suit? What if I decide that I don't want to fall in love, or be involved with a Marine. What then?" Marie asked.
"You already love a Marine...the Colonel. So I am not worried that you could never love a Marine. Now lets go have dinner and worry about the logistics later. Did I mention that I am a wiz at logistics?" Jack rose and took Marie's hand pulling her to her feet as well. " Do you have a coat? its a bit chilly outside." Marie motioned to the coat rack and Jack puller her along with him as he retrieved the coat and proceeded to help her into it. Marie grabbed her purse that was on the table next to the coat rack. He then put his hand at her back and opened the door for her to proceed him out on to the porch. Marie locked the front door and they headed to Jacks car parked at the curb. It was a low slung, black, sexy thing and exactly what she would have expected from Jack. He tucked her into the car and ran around to the drivers side.
"So how was your day?" Jack asked as they pulled away from the curb.
"Busy. This is year end and all of the forecasts for next year are due and we are short handed because, Georgie is out on Maternity leave." Marie answered
"Do you like what you do?" Jack asked
" Well I am good at it. I am not sure this is what I dreamed of doing when I grew up, but I am respected and paid well. So I guess I don't hate it."
"What did you want to do when you grew up?"
"I wanted to be a princess. The Colonel told me that I probably wouldn't be able to do that without moving to another country so I gave up on that dream. What about you, besides being in the Marines. What exactly do you do?"
" I could tell you but I'd have to kill you." Jack said looking over at with a smile Marie and winking. They pulled up to the curb in front of the restaurant as he said that and the conversation was effectively on hold until they were seated inside with menus in their hands.
'The Colonel and I always ate here when I came to visit. I thought you might like to go somewhere familiar this time." Jack said as he surveyed the menu. Maire had eaten here many times with the Colonel as well. Logically she knew that the Colonel had had a whole life away from her, but she was kind of surprised that Jack had been here with him. She had always thought of it as their special place and know she was confronted with the knowledge that the Colonel thought Jack was special too. Marie closed the menu and laid it on the table.
Jack did the same and magically the waiter appeared to take their order.
"So, about the whole job thing. Fess up what do you really do for the Corps?" Marie questioned
"I am in the process of changing positions right now. I have 15 years in and I needed to decide if I was going to stay in or get out next year. Two weeks ago I was here because the Academy wanted me to interview for a teaching position. I went not really thinking I would take it." Jack answered.
"Well you see I met this girl...and she really doesn't like the Corps. But If I was a teacher maybe she would like me a little more. Maybe she would be willing to give me a chance to woo her."
Marie laughed "So now your life decisions depend on someone you just met? I find that a little unbelievable."
Jack took Marie's hand in both of his and looked her in the eye. " I didn't just meet you. Not really. For five years the Colonel has talked to me about you. When I saw him last he made me promise to have dinner with the two of you when I got back. I didn't make that dinner. But I am here now. I want to know you. I want to see you the way the Colonel saw you. Believe me, I wanted to walk away after I met you in the cemetery. I even went back home. But I kept hearing that promise in my head and I had to come back."
Marie pulled her hand away and looked down at her lap. " Well Marine your promise is fulfilled. We are having dinner then you can go figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life." Marie was mad. First he says he wants her to fall in love with him then he tells her she is a debt he had to repay. What kind of game was he playing with her? What ever it was she didn't think she wanted to play it.
Jack took her hand back in his and laid it on the table."I didn't want to come back. When I saw you at the cemetery I felt like someone had kicked me in the chest. I almost couldn't breathe. You have no idea how unsettling it is. No matter what I did I could not stop thinking of you seeing you in my mind. I had to come back and see if this was real or if I just imagined it."
Marie leveled her gaze at him and said "Does that line usually work for you?"
"I wouldn't know, I have never said that before. Do you believe me?"
"I am not sure what I believe. First you tell me you want me to fall in love with you, then you say you came back here because of a promise you made to my Grandfather. Which is it?"
"All of it...All of it and then some. I don't even know where to begin with the things going on inside my head right now. But I do know that I want to get to know you. I want you to feel what I am feeling. I want to make sense of this whole thing..." Jack paused smiled and winked "And I want to go out with you again. Three days is it? Three days from now. I am flying home then. I was hoping to spend the weekend getting to know you but I will settle for breakfast in three days."
Marie shook her head smiling but she didn't retrieve her hand."Okay Marine, I will give you the weekend. I have things to do in the morning but I will spend the afternoon with you and then you can visit me Sunday afternoon as well." Just then dinner arrived.
"Great then lets eat and you can tell me your life story. I will let you know when your version is different from the Colonel's.
I will publish next weeks installment on Wednesday so as to not interfere with your Thanksgiving Holiday.