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Her parents were finally allowed to meet Jason. She had talked to them at length about him and how different he was from anybody she had even considered dating. He was so polite, caring, attentive, and an absolute gentleman. What a change!

Janice was not one to hold much back. She liked honest people. Unassuming people. She did not need everyone to like her. She had her opinions and she wanted others to have theirs. There was nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree on any given subject, in fact, it usually made the discussion that much more interesting!

Everything was fair game. She was not one to sidestep politics or religion or any other taboo subject. Bring it on! That’s the kind of people that interested her!

And of course, Jason. Obviously intelligent, not arrogant, but very self assured, and quite decidedly his own person. She salivated just thinking about the discussions they had already had and what was yet to come.

When the doorbell rang, it startled her momentarily. “Oh my God, he’s here already! How do I look? I’m acting like a school girl! Not a 35 year old woman!” And she giggled! A quick ruffle of her hair and she darted for the door, narrowly beating her Dad. She wanted to make a proper introduction and not have her Dad intimidate Jason before he even got in the house. Her Dad was a large man and liked to come off menacing to her dates. This is my little girl! Don’t you dare mess around with her! But he was actually a teddy bear; a big, soft, cuddly teddy bear but they didn’t need to know that!

By the end of the evening Jason was a star in her Dad’s eye. She wasn’t certain, but it was darn near a bromance from what she could tell! There was no doubt that this was going the distance.

Jason knew that Janice loved attending church, and that she led a small study group on Wednesday evenings as well. She was always sharing some new revelation or another with him. He longed to have the faith she had, but he knew he didn’t. He talked to God alright, sometimes pleading and sometimes raging at this God who had given him such awful parents. He knew better than to blame God, but He was an easy target and Jason’s anger was not easily defused.

But he knew how to play the game. She would never know what he really thought. He’d be there for her, and even attended some of the study sessions whenever he couldn’t come with an adequate excuse to miss the meetings. Usually that was no problem as he was often working on projects at the University.

It wasn’t that he didn’t know God. He did. His Mom had made sure of that. But then she changed and he couldn’t understand how an all knowing God could let that happen. He was confused and this would remain with him throughout his life.

Janice led him by the hand through the social jungle until he was as much at ease with her as she was with him. Never had he felt this way! Emotions long buried, swam to the surface, and for the first time in a very long time, he was happy! Within a short time, he was in love and he was pretty sure she was as well!

Time would pass and these two became inseparable. Play had once again become part of his vocabulary. Play, fun, happy, joy, peace, love! Words that were foreign to his life were now front and centre. All because of Janice.

Jason had never even considered being in a relationship with anyone. It hadn’t even crossed his mind. When he stopped to think about it, that was strange. Why wouldn’t he be involved with somebody? After all, he wasn’t a bad looking guy, in fact, according to Janice, he was ruggedly good looking. He smiled as he checked out his reflection in the nearest window and then hurriedly glanced around to make sure no one saw him.

She wondered why he was reluctant to share his past but felt it best to leave that up to him. When it was time she was sure he’d let her in. After all, whatever had taken place in his past, made him the person he was today. And what a person he was! She knew she was in love, and damn it, he’d better be in love too!

He was! In spades! And soon he asked her to marry him. He had just blurted it out! That’s not what he had meant to do. He’d rehearsed exactly what he’d say for days. And then in a manner of minutes, he blew it. He couldn’t help himself!

It happened so quickly. He’d picked out a ring that he was positive she’d love, and was headed to the restaurant they were to meet at in an hour, so he could get the maitre’d to bring it to the table in the guise of an appetizer.

But as he hurried around the corner of the building, they literally bumped into each other, and without thinking, he dropped to one knee, pulled the ring out of the box, and proposed to her right on the spot! People stopped and clapped, cell phones snapped away, and Janice, ever so graciously, slipped the ring onto her finger, and flung her arms around his neck, and need I say . . . accepted his proposal. She knew him. He was way too methodical to ever do it this way, and yet he had acted impulsively. And that was a very good thing in her estimation. Finally he was loosening up!

Slowly he began to share his past with her. He alluded to the abuse he had suffered at the hands of his dad, and he effused over the love of his mom. And he shared his grief over the death of his parents lost so tragically in a house fire and how he sometimes wished he would have died with them. She held him close as he delved ever deeper into a past that showed little pity for a lost little boy forced to become a man before his time.

He cried as he told her his story. Real tears. But he knew he dare not share too much. They had their own life now and it was good.

She too was an only child, born and bred in this very city. Her parents had adopted a child a couple of years older than she, but she was no longer a part of their lives. Her choice, certainly not theirs. And not up for discussion! Her parents were elated that she had fallen in love with such an incredible man. When he asked for her hand in marriage, they were quick to extend their blessings and offer up their home for the ceremony.

It was a simple wedding, performed in her parents home. There were but a dozen guests, as was their request, and a pastor well known to the family.

They returned to their jobs two days hence, most of their colleagues unaware that anything had changed. And though more outgoing than her husband, she saw no need to share her personal life. And that’s how they lived their lives.

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