I was really doing well at Global. I’d taken the lead on three of our new accounts, I was incredibly busy. My days flew by and my nights were spent either with Bill or doing more work at home. Bill, Callie and I rotated between our houses, which was becoming a bit of a hassle. I hated having to miss my walks with Terry. I didn’t bring up the subject of marriage again with Bill. I felt the fact that he was still by my side was enough, for now, but I’d hoped he would ask me again.
It’s been about six weeks since Michael went back to work. Bill was wonderful about keeping me updated, I worried about him being in danger so often. Once, he’d even put Michael on speaker phone, when we were together and he got a call from him, I got to hear his voice and we updated each other about our lives. I thought it was so unselfish of Bill to share him with me, considering our circumstances. He never seemed to be jealous or resentful. I think he truly understood our relationship. I was so thankful to him, and loved having Michael in my life too.
I felt my cell phone vibrating in my pocket:
Let’s do dinner somewhere nice tonight
I was thinking Paradox
Yes!! I loved it there
Pick you up at 6:30?
Love you too
Bill was really good at spoiling me. His business was growing, partly thanks to our marketing, his sales were up and the business had hit the five year mark, each year gaining more profits. I liked that he shared some of his information with me. He asked my opinion often.
We sat in the same little area as the last time we were here, it was secluded from the other tables, which was nice for privacy when talking. Bordered us wine.
“Do you remember what happened the last time we were here?” he asked me.
“I remember we danced, you were very charming!”
“Is that all?”
“Hmmm...You mean do I remember that this is where you first told me you loved me?” I smiled at him, “Of course, I can’t forget that!”
“It impresses me, that you remember too.”
“It was a very important night for me Lisa, it’s also the night I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.”
He got up and I assumed it was to move his chair closer to me again, but then he got down on his knee, pulled out my ring and said, “Lisa, will you agree to spend the rest of your life with me, as my Wife?”
“Oh! Bill really!” I gasped and leaned over to hug him. “Your really sure?”
He laughed, “Yes, I’m really sure, what about you?”
“I love you,” I kissed him. “I love you so much,” I kissed him again.
“Does that mean Yes?”
He took my hand, slid the ring on my finger and moved his chair closer to me.
“Oh Bill, it’s just beautiful!”
“This center stone here,” he pointed, “this was part of my grandmothers ring, her and my grandfather were married over 50 years.”
“Yes. My mother had saved it after grandma passed away and always said her first son to marry could offer it to his wife. I’m lucky, I’m first.”
“It’s even more amazing knowing it comes with memories. I absolutely love it Bill.”
“I had the jeweler add all of these surrounding stones and put it in a new setting, but I liked the idea of keeping the original stone.”
“Mom said you’d like it, she approved it.”
“I asked her for the ring, the night we left here last time. I told her I’d found the one. Believe me, it’s been hard for her to keep it a secret!”
“How did I get so lucky to have you in my life?’ I leaned over and kissed him again, “I can’t wait to make our life together, I want to spend every day, every night with you forever.”
“Do you want a big wedding?”
“I would love to get married, right here at Paradox. The first time you brought me here I said it would be a beautiful place for a wedding and now, it has two special nights for us. What do you think?”
“I think that’s perfect, I’m in! Do you want to dance?”
I put my one arm around Bills neck and the other just flat on his chest, I couldn’t stop looking at my ring. It was stunning and had so much thought put into it. “You spoil me Bill.”
“I’m glad to,” he kissed me softly.
“Wait till Terry hears!”
He laughed, “I’m sure she will be excited to help you plan things.”
“Mom wants to arrange an engagement party for us, invite the whole family out to the house. What do you think?”
“Sounds good! I really like your mother.”
“She always wanted a daughter, you know.”
“Yes. She couldn’t have anymore children. Not that she wasn’t happy with us.”
“I want a daughter too, I understand. I’m sure while you and Michael were off shooting guns and fishing, she’d have loved to of had a daughter to do girl things with,” I smiled.
“Probably. Let’s agree here and now then, we keep going till we have a boy and a girl.”
“What if I have two or three boys first, like your Mom?”
“I can afford to have a dozen.”
“Maybe, but you don’t have to actually give birth to them all!” we laughed.
“I’m so happy Bill.”
“Me too Lisa. I want to seriously look at buying a piece of property, soon as possible, we can build our dream home. I thought I’d sell the condo and we could stay at your apartment till the house is ready. What’s your thoughts?”
“That makes sense, we don’t need both places, I’m tired of lugging things back and forth between the two for sure. When do I get to start spending every night with you?”
“Tonight sounds good to me!”
In the car Bill said, “How would you feel if I called Mom to let her know?”
“Yes, put her on speaker phone.”
She was so genuinely happy to hear the news, she made me feel so welcome and truly wanted me to be a part of her family.”
“Should we call Michael next?”
“Yes,” I smiled.
He put him on speaker phone as well:
“Hi Kid, it’s me and Lisa.”
“Hey Michael!” I said.
“Hey! I’m glad you caught me, what’s going on?”
“I wanted to let you know, I asked Lisa to marry me, and she said yes!”
“I’m so happy for you both, wow! Hey, did you take Grandmas ring?”
“I did, sorry bro.”
“Michael, it’s so beautiful!” I bragged.
“I’m glad you got it Lisa. When’s the wedding?”
We laughed, “Well we’re not sure yet, but soon!” I said.
“I will be there.”
“Kid, is there anyway, I know it’s a little weird, but I want you by my side, as my bestman, if you can handle it? Be honest.”
“Damn right, I’m your best man! I wouldn’t it miss it for all the drug deals in the world!” he laughed.
“Thank you Michael,” I said.
“Well look at us,” Bill said. “We are doing this pretty well, I’m proud of us.”
“Me too,” Michael and I said together.
“We’ll keep you posted as we figure it all out. You staying safe Kid?”
“Yeah, this jobs not too dangerous. It’s nice to have semi normal for a while. Look, I even got to answer my phone like a normal person.”
“You promise to give me lots of nieces and nephews right Lisa?”
“I can’t wait,” he said. “I’ve got to get going. I will call you next week Bill.”
“Ok, bye Kid”
“Bye Michael,” I said.
“Thank you Bill,” I said and held his hand.
“For being so generous, so understanding, for everything you think to do to make me happy. I wanted to ask you something about Michael. I hesitated, “You know the night we all left your Moms? I didn’t think, I know I hugged him, it’s just an instinct.”
“If it bothered me, I’d have told you Lisa. I have thought about it all a lot lately. I realized I can’t take away how much you and my brother care for each other, I don’t want to. I want to make you the happiest Wife and Mother you have always wanted to be. I’m the lucky one. I can have you as my Wife, my friend, my lover, and the Mother of my children, I get it all! I’m glad Michael gets to keep you as a friend. I’d never want to take that away from either of you.”
This is the first time we actually spoke about it again. “I’m the lucky one for sure,” I said as I admired my ring and all that went along with it. I would be Mrs. Lisa Bowen.
Epilogue - Six Years Later
Bill rolled over to me, “Good morning!” He kissed my cheek and put his arm around me and rubbed my belly.
“Mommy, Mommy!” In ran Matthew and Christopher. “Wake up!” they jumped onto the bed.
Matthew said, “Is today the day Uncle Michael’s coming, is it?” He had climbed onto Bills belly and bounced up and down.
“Oh! Your getting too big for this, I’m not strong enough!” Bill said as he lifted Matthew into the air and over his head, flying him around like an airplane. “Yes, today you get to see Uncle Michael!”
“Daddy, I’m five now, I have been big for a long time, besides, you can never stop flying me!”
Bill laughed, “Ok, if you say so!”
“Me Daddy, me too!” shouted Christopher, who was nearly four now.
“Ok boys, come on! You need to go straighten up your rooms before Uncle Micheal, Grandma and Grandpa get here, hurry and go get started. I will be in shortly,” I said.
Downstairs, Bill had started breakfast with the boys. “Mommy, what do you think Uncle Micheal brought us this time, huh? Maybe a horse!”
I laughed, “He does spoil you, but I don’t think your getting a horse Matthew. Not until you can take care of it by yourself.”
“A puppy!” Christopher shouted.
“He’s here! He’s here! I see his truck!” They ran off to meet him.
“I bet I beat you!” Bill said as he ran out faster, just like one of the boys.
I watched through the window as I cleared the table. Michael flew out of the car, “Hey! there’s my boys! Oh, did I miss you guys.” He swooped them both up easily and carried them up to the house. Bill leaned over and made it a group hug for the four of them.
“Kid, you look good!”
“Yeah, I know how Ma hates to see me scruffy. I cleaned up.”
“Did you bring us something Uncle Michael? Did you bring us a surprise?” the boys shouted.
“Of course I did! Let’s go see your mom first.” Michael said.
“Lisa!” He put the boys down and walked over to me. “Hey!” he hugged me and kissed the top of my head.
“Michael!” I squeezed him back.
“The house looks great, I see you finished off the porch since the last time I was here.”
“Yes.” Bill said. “There’s never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure! In fact, I was hoping you’d give me a hand later this week with the tractor.”
“Sure, no problem.”
“How long can you stay Michael?” I asked.
“Probably about a month, this time. I’m going to go and look at one of those condos in the building you used to live in Bill. It’s time I get a place of my own for when I’m back and forth.”
“That’s great news Michael,” I said.
“We have great news of our own,” Bill said.
Christopher ran into the kitchen crying, “Mommy, Matthew pushed me down!”
“Matthew Michael Bowen! Come here!” I used his full name when I was angry with him. He walked in with his head hanging down, knowing he was in trouble. I bent down, “You tell your little brother, your sorry, right now!”
“Give him a hug,” I scolded. “I want you to both go play outside with Callie, while you wait for Daddy and Uncle Michael. Matthew, any more trouble and you’ll be staying inside with me while everyone else goes fishing today.” I held his chin between my fingers, and then kissed the top of his head, “Go on!”
“Your such a great Mom, Lisa,” Michael said.
I walked over to him, took his hand and placed it on my belly, “We’re hoping, this one’s a girl!”
“Are you serious! Another!” He rubbed my belly and gave me another hug, “I’m so happy for you.”
“We haven’t told Mom or Dad yet, or even the boys. We figured we’d announce it at dinner tonight,” Bill said.
Michael went and hugged him too, “Bro, your living the dream!”
“Uncle Michael! Are you ready to give us our prize yet?” the boys shouted from outside impatiently.
“I got them new fishing poles!” he said to me as he headed back out to the truck. “Your getting bigger and bigger every time I see you Matthew!” he swooped him up again. “Let me see those muscles buddy.” Matthew held his arm up with pride. “You eating your vegetables?”
“Yeah, mommy makes me,” he said and made a face. “I want to be big and strong, just like you Uncle Michael,” he felt Michaels arms for muscle.
I watched on the porch as they all headed over to the truck for prizes.
“Mommy says your just like Superman, Uncle Michael. She said you save people all the time.”
“Is that what Mommy said? Well she must be right then!” He tickled his belly, and then looked over at me, winked and smiled.
“Look Daddy! Look what I got!” Christopher shouted.
“Can we go now? Can we!”
“We have to wait for grandpa to get here,” Bill said.
Within minutes they pulled up too. We saw them weekly, but you’d never have guessed by how excited the boys got to see them each and every time.
“There’s my babies!” Jane shouted as she held her arms out for the boys. She kissed each one about a dozen times before letting go and then moved on to Michael and did the same.
“Michael! You look good!” she touched his shaven face.
“Lisa! Hi!” She waved and then began pulling things out of the car.,“Here Bill, bring this into the kitchen.”
“Hi Dad,” he hugged him tight.
“Who’s ready to go fishing!” Tom shouted.
“Me!” They jumped up and down. “Look grandpa, look what we got!”
Later that evening we all sat around the table eating dinner, in my beautiful house, with my beautiful family. I couldn’t have asked for a more normal, happy life. I had everything I ever wanted, I rubbed by belly and smiled to myself.
“You ready to tell them?” Bill whispered as he put his arm around me.
After dinner Bill took the boys up to get in their pajamas, Jane helped clean up the kitchen.
Tom asked, “Can I put the news on Lisa?”
“Sure, Tom go ahead.”
“I don’t want to hear another word about it, all he wants is to keep listening over and over to that horrible story, the poor girl. Everyone just needs to leave that family alone and let them have some privacy. It’s a sin the way the news camps out at that families house, waiting for a photo opportunity,” Jane went on.
“It will die down Ma, once there’s another story to take its place,” Michael said.
“I just thank God she got home safe.”
I grabbed the garbage and headed out the back door.
“Here let me do it Lisa,” Michael said.
“Thanks, I’ll show you where we moved the trash too. The racoons kept coming too close to the house after it.”
We walked a short distance, “Lisa, you know the story, on the news right now, the girl….”
“Yeah, I’ve been following it too,” I had to admit.
“It was me,” Michael said.
“You were on that case Michael?”
“Yeah, don’t tell Ma or Dad, I don’t like them to worry any more than they already do.”
“I won’t ...Wow, Michael, I had no idea. That’s incredible, really. She was so young, it’s so sad and ...thanks to you, wow! What a difference you’ve made for another family, Michael.”
“I guess so. A few assholes at a time, right?” he smiled.
“I’m so proud of you,” I said.
“I’m so glad your happy.” He touched my belly again and said, “I hope this one’s a girl too, I’d like a niece to spoil,” we smiled at each other.
That night I laid in bed with Bill, the boys were wiped out and fast asleep, Callie laid at the front door, the house was quiet, for now. I rolled over to Bill, and put my hand across his cheek, “Do you know how happy you make me Mr. Bowen.”
“I think I might have the energy to make you just slightly more happy, right now,” he grinned as he slid his hand between my legs and kissed me. “Mrs. Bowen, you are the one who has made all of my dreams come true.”
We made love. Oh, the things this man can still do to me, I thought to myself.
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