Today marks the 4th anniversary of the day I married the absolute Man Of My Dreams.
Yes, I write romance novels, both standard and erotica. Anyone who reads, or writes, romance novels knows that we all, the authors that is, write about our heroine finding the perfect man. He's an alpha male, but has a tender side that he shows to our leading ladies. He's tough, willing to kill or die for her, and totally fearless, except of her. The hero is almost always tall, handsome, strong, and has a body that makes Mr. Universe look like the proverbial 97 pound weakling.
We also know that men like that don't exist in the real world.
Well, I used to know that, too...
Jack came into my life when he was hired as a security consultant. He had the needed experience having been a Navy SEAL and working for the US Secret Service. The first day I saw him, I damned near melted. It was, for me, an instant attraction, but he was married and had an infant daughter.
OK, I'll admit it. A man being married was never a red light to me to stop when it comes to making a move on him, but having kids, especially little kids, always was a line even I wouldn't cross. As far as I was concerned, Jack was off limits back then.
After a few years of working for me, Jack got a divorce. He never, in the time prior to that, showed any interest in me, and even after his divorce, he was a total professional. It seemed that he just wasn't interested in me, but I did notice that he wasn't dating anyone else.
To make a long story short, and Jack has covered some of it in his blog posting about life with me, he and his two daughters ended up living in my house.
It was at the end of a rather bad time for me when a dear friend suggested that I go out with Jack. Jack had still shown no interest in me other than as an employee and a friend, but when I told him about my friend's idea, Jack did ask me out.
From there on out, it was all free fall for me. I admitted to myself that at some point in the previous few years, I had fallen for Jack, and he made it clear to me that he felt the same way.
I won't go into all of the details, but we dated for more than six weeks before we made love. I will tell you that I had never done that before, though. I mean I had never waited six weeks before getting into bed with the person I was dating.
There is one night with Jack I do want to tell you about, though...
It was Saturday night, March 10, 2007. We were home alone because Maria (my housekeeper) had taken the girls to her house for the night so they could all get up early to go to church on Sunday morning. Jack had cooked a wonderful dinner of nothing but hamburgers and fries, and we had finished eating and were sitting in front of the fireplace on the floor sharing a bottle of wine. It was Orfila Estate Ambassadors Reserve Merlot 2003. Yeah, I remember that detail. Actually, I still have the cork from the bottle.
We were just talking and laughing, snuggling and making out a little, but nothing too extreme, but the evening was yet young and I had high hopes.
We were laughing at each other about carrying on like a pair of teenagers in the backseat of dad's car and the fact that we were both far enough away from being teenagers that we might have trouble getting up from the floor when Jack went suddenly very serious on me. With nothing but real, deep concern painted across his face, he said to me, “Melodee, I want to talk to you about something important.”
Honestly, I was scared. I had never seen Jack so serious other than a couple of times when he thought he might have what he calls a shooter in the crowd someplace. I swallowed hard, but I still didn't think I could speak very well, so I signed back to him, “Sure. What's wrong?”
He smiled at me, something like a little boy with a big secret that excited him, but that he was afraid to share for fear of getting in trouble. He signed back, “I hope nothing is wrong.” He hesitated for nearly a minute, and as he did, that cute smile faded away, replaced by an uncertainty I never even suspected Jack could harbor. He looked down for a moment, then back up and stared into my eyes. He took my hand in his and put my fingers on his lips, kissing them softly. Then, with my fingers still touching his lips so I could feel the movement and not have to rely totally on reading his lips, Jack said, “Melodee, will you marry me?”
We had drank almost the entire bottle of wine, but it wasn't the alcohol that made the room swim around me. I can still remember how my hand dropped from his face, my arm falling limp to my side as I inhaled deeply. No, I really didn't see this coming at all, and I still have no idea why not.
I had been proposed to before. I really can't remember how many times, but there was only one case when I took it seriously, but I turned him down for a number of reasons. This wasn't a new experience for me. Been there, done that.
I stared at Jack, the man I knew I loved more than I had ever loved anyone else, and I must have looked like an idiot. I felt my breath, fast and shallow, pulsing in and out of my open mouth. My heart raced in my chest. I could even feel sweat running down my back and chest as my hands got clammy. I sat there staring at him long enough that Jack signed, “Are you OK?”
I could only nod in reply. I raised my hand to sign to him, but I stopped, and I took Jack's hand in my sweaty fingers and raised his fingers to touch my lips.
I took as deep a breath as I could, and I managed to say, “Yes, Jack, I would love to marry you.”
He smiled again, but not that little boy look from before. It was like when the sun charges over the mountain at daybreak, suddenly making the dark of the night vanish and proudly announces the start of a brand new day, fresh and wonderful. I couldn't help but smile back at him.
Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box, not from Tiffany's or one of the big-time shops, but from one of the better known local stores here in San Diego. His smile went a little sheepish and he said, “This isn't the kind of thing you're used to.” He opened the box and took a ring from it and then took my left hand and slipped the most gorgeous diamond solitaire engagement ring I have ever seen onto my finger. Jack shrugged a little. “It's not much.”
I wonder if I looked silly or like an animated cliché, but I clutched my hand to my chest, his hand still holding mine, and I replied, “It's amazing. I love it, and I love you.”
That bright smile returned to his face. “I love you, too.”
Over the last four years, Jack has pressed me several times to get a new engagement ring, something fancier and more expensive. He has it in his mind that somehow or for some reason, I need or want a ring that costs more than the one he could afford at the time he gave me the original.
As I sit here typing this, that same ring with the beautiful stone set in the bright yellow of the gold rests in the same place it has been since that evening. It has, in that time, left my finger one time for about four days when I had surgery after almost dying from a brain aneurysm. The diamond catches the light of my desk lamp and throws fire in all directions as my fingers move over the keyboard. And each flash of light, every flicker of the radiance, reminds me that the Man Of My Dreams is here with me, for all time, and that we are a part of a team made up of me, Jack, Amanda, Debbie, and JJ. The sum of the team is much greater by several orders of magnitude than the simple total of the individual parts.
The team even has a name...
I love you.
Melodee Aaron, Erotica Romance Author
Melodee's Books at BookStrand