Jill beamed. He turned to me. "Mr. McLoughlin, you did an excellent job as well. I'll call you the next time I need an engineer." "As long as the State's not involved. I learned my lesson this time. These enforced separations are no fun at all." "Well, I can tell you what I did when I caught the prettiest girl in town looking at me the way Ms.
Williams looks at you. That was thirty five years, three kids, and a bunch of grandkids ago.
You need to sort this out for yourselves, though." He put a hand on my shoulder and pulled me with him as he turned to go, speaking quietly. "You've got quite a left hook, son. I would have done the same thing, but don't make a habit of it, OK?" He slapped me on the back and walked off without waiting for a response.
Jill shook her head and slid her hand into mine. "My knight errant rides again. I should probably be mad at you for punching that creep over me, but somehow I'm not feeling it." "He must be one of those ones you refused to go out with." "How did you know?" "Recognized the type.
What a loser. Anyway, can I take you to dinner?" "I need to go unload all my trial materials at the office.
How about I bring dinner to your place when I'm done?" "Sure. Pack a bag and bring a nice dress or two. We're going away for the weekend." "Where?" "It's a surprise." Jill couldn't stop yawning over dinner, and wandered off toward the back of my house soon after.
She was sound asleep in my bed when I went to look for her. I did my chores and eventually crawled in with her, and she curled up to me without waking up. The trial had really worn her out. I woke her up early the next morning. She smiled and kissed me.
"I almost forgot how much I like waking up with you. Last night wasn't what I had planned, though." "Same here, but at least you're back where you belong." She kissed me again, and things started warming up quick. I had to stop way too early.
"As much as I'd like to spend the morning in bed with you, we've got a plane to catch." Her eyes widened. "A plane? What are you up to?" "Get dressed and you'll find out." She quickly showered and dressed and I drove her down to the harbor.
"A float plane? Ben, what is this?" "Hurry up and jump aboard." We found our seats with a handful of other people in the plane.
The pilot turned to speak instead of using a loudspeaker. "Welcome to the regular Victoria shuttle. I'm your pilot." and on through the standard safety lecture. "Victoria? I've never been there." "You're going to love it. Relax and enjoy the flight." Victoria is the most beautiful city in what, in my opinion, is the most beautiful place in the world. It sits on the south tip of Vancouver Island just across the water from the northwest corner of the continental United States, and most of it hasn't changed much since about 1900.
The plane landed on the harbor right in front of our destination. "The Empress? My God, Ben, I've heard so much about this!" The Empress Hotel is a gorgeous pile of brick that was built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad around 1908. It was a favorite of the British royal family back when Canada was part of the British Empire, and when you walk in you think you're back in the days of the Empire.
The interior has been carefully maintained exactly as it was built. "My mother used to tell me stories about afternoon tea here when I was a little girl!" "We have reservations for tea this afternoon. Let's find our room, get unpacked, and figure out what to do next." "Ben, are you crazy?
What is this costing you?" "What's the point of working hard if I can't spoil my girl once in a while? Don't worry about it." We spent a good part of the day wandering around the formal English gardens that surrounded the harbor area before heading back for afternoon tea. In my totally unbiased opinion, Jill was by far the most beautiful girl in the room in her flowery summer dress. From the looks she kept getting, most of the men in the room thought the same.
Toward the end of tea, I reached for her hand. "Jill, I really hated being separated from you these last few weeks. The only positive part is that it made me realize how much I love you, and that I never want to be separated from you again.
I need to do something I should have done long ago." I pulled a small box out of the pocket of my suit jacket. "Jill, I want us to be together forever.
Will you marry me?" She didn't hesitate. "Yes! Yes! Yes!" I somehow got the ring on her finger with trembling hands, and a bottle of champagne appeared from nowhere. Late that night, in our room, Jill was studying her left hand as it rested on my bare chest. She had hardly been able to keep her eyes off it during the brief periods we weren't otherwise occupied.
"Where did you find such a lovely ring?" "I had Kim pick it out. She's been pushing me to do this for a long time. If you don't like it, though, we can exchange it for something else." "I can't imagine loving anything more. Except you, of course." A year later she wandered into my home office, holding an open file. She had her hair pulled back, reading glasses on and a pen behind her ear. "Hey, Ben, what's an Atterberg limit?" "Have we talked about my consulting fee?" She walked over to my easy chair and put a hand on either arm, making sure I got a good look down my old button down shirt past her gently swinging breasts to the bright red silk thong that was the only other thing she had on.
"I'm sure I can think of something you'll like as soon as I finish this project." "Sounds like an offer I can't refuse. Just don't forget." She perched on the arm of my chair and ran her fingers through my hair, sending chills down my spine. "Why do you think I'm absent minded?" "You wouldn't be here if you hadn't left your cell phone in my truck the first time we met." "Good Lord, I've married the village idiot!
You still think that was an accident?" "It wasn't?" She kissed me, and I pulled her down into my lap. "I was rescued by a brave, kind, handsome knight errant who wasn't trying to get my phone number.
Sometimes a damsel in distress has to be her own fairy godmother." "I sure wanted to see you again, but it seemed like a dirty trick to hit on you under the circumstances." "I probably would have blown you off if you had.
The fact that you were too decent to try made me decide to give you a reason to call me." "You've been one step ahead of me this whole time, haven't you?" "I still am, big guy, and don't you forget it." She curled up in my lap, flipped her file open, and settled her glasses in place.
"Now help me finish this stupid project so I can remind you why I'm worth it." And she is.