Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pink Hats 27: Say You Will

Good news spreads like wildfire, especially when Halley is the one with the match. If Bob and Jessie had contemplated a formal announcement, there was no need. They spent Saturday afternoon Christmas shopping with the twins, and by Monday morning, both their email boxes were filled with congratulatory notes. Walking down the hallways at Maine Med was like running a gauntlet of handshakes, hugs, and well-wishes.

"I have to say, between the two of you, there are hearts breaking all over the hospital," Halley said, over tall glasses of Guiness at Bull Feeney's Irish Pub. "After the story of the twins, 'broke,' shall we say, single women were popping out of the woodwork asking me to fix them up with you, Bob."

Jessie chimed in,"Me, too, for a while, there." He looked at both of them with "Are you serious?" written all over his face and she said to him, "Listen, you were or soon enough will be were, single, established, and had twin girls named after you. Tell me that's not an aphrodisiac."

Never having considered himself a chick-magnet, it was hard to believe. "You're really not kidding." She shook her head. "Well. Shows how much I know about women. For the first time in my life I was a hottie and it blew right by me."

"Don't let it go to your head," said Halley, waving an uplifted index finger at him, "you were in demand, that's all, and so were you, Dr. Jessie, whether you were aware of it or not. I could have opened my own dating service. Now I'll have to settle for writing Halley's Advice to the Lovelorn for the hospital newsletter."

Jessie smiled. "It wouldn't have mattered who it was. Bob had me from hello," she said, her eyes sparkling as she shifted her gaze to him.

"I know the feeling," he said, his eyes matching hers.

Jen, Halley, and Ted shared glances, before Jen broke the silence. "So, why are we celebrating here instead of the Old Port Tavern? I thought it was your usual watering hole." Once inside the door of Bull Feeney's, you'd swear you were in Dublin, not downtown Portland, but atmosphere wasn't the reason they'd chosen it.

"Feeney's has live music, and a friend of ours is playing this evening. If you'd like, I'll introduce you afterward," Jessie offered with a sly nudge. "He said he wanted to do a special piece, just for us. The twins are with a babysitter -- someone Halley knew from work -- and we thought it would be a nice way to get us all together."

"It is nice and we'll see about the intro -- now, is it too soon to ask if you're thinking about a date?"

"I don't want a long engagement," said Jessie, fingering Bob's sleeve. "Most couples need one to really get to know each other -- we've had over five years. True, most of that time we weren't 'together' in the sense we were dating or anything, but still, we were in the ways that count. We know each other well enough to know we don't need to live together to make sure we've made the right decision."

"I'm definitely down with that," Bob said, "but I also want us to have plenty of opportunity to enjoy this. We're only going to be engaged once."

"'Down with that,' you're so cute," Jessie said, smiling. "How about June? I could get very used to the idea of being a June bride like your mother and mine."

"June is fine with me. We'll be settled in the new place by then --"

"-- and I'd love for us to be married in the meadow on the hillside behind the house, shaded by those tall pines. It's so beautiful there."

Before Bob could add, "Just like you," Ted interrupted, wide-eyed. "You made a deal, then?"

"Yup, the realtor showed my place to a buyer the other day, they loved it and made an offer on the spot I'd have been a fool to refuse. Jessie and I called the owners in Buxton and they're ready whenever we are."

"Well, tha' calls for uh nuther toast -- ah like this!" If there was a single word to describe Ted, enthusiastic was it.

As the five of them clinked glasses, if they'd been listening, they'd have heard the barman introduce a medical student making his debut at Bull Feeney's open mic night. Instead, it was a moment or two later when he began playing finger-style guitar, they heard Chuck say he wanted to dedicate his first song to a newly engaged couple in the crowd. He nodded toward Bob and Jessie as he began to sing,

Forever can never be long enough for me
to feel like I've had long enough with you.
Forget the world now, we won't let them see,
but there's one thing left to do.
Now the weight has lifted,
love has surely shifted my way.
Marry me, today and every day, marry me,
If I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe,
say you will...
say you will.

(Photo copyright 2011 by the author; Marry Me words and music by Train, copyright 2009)

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