Special Guest Author - Lynne Macaulay
Kevin rolled over onto his back and pulled Lynne with him. She snuggled into his side, her head on his shoulder and her arm across his broad chest. As his breathe began to return to normal Kevin ran his fingertips up and down her sweat slicked back causing her to squirm and giggle.
“You laughing at me, woman?” He kissed the top of her head.
“Yes. Yes, I am. What are you going to do about it?” She raised her head to look into his sparkling green eyes and tried to look serious.
“Guess I’ll just have to teach you some respect.” He drawled as he smacked her bare bottom lightly and chuckled as she yelped and pouted prettily.
“Okay, I’ll be good….for now.” As she snuggled close to him again, Kevin pulled the tangled sheets up to cover their cooling bodies and they relaxed in each other’s arms.
The ringing of the phone startled the lovers from their post-coital nap but neither made a move to answer it.
“It’ll just be Aje again.” Kevin yawned as he sat up to stretch. “More ‘exciting’ news about the wedding, I’m sure.”
“He’s too funny. Who’d have thought he’d be so into wedding planning?”
“Not me, that’s for sure. But, the trouble is, he thinks everyone is as excited as he is. There hasn’t been a day in the past month that he hasn’t called at least once with questions, news, information and more questions.”
“I don’t know why they’re bothering, anyway. Why go to all this trouble and expense?” Lynne rose from the mattress and padded on bare feet toward the bathroom. “Want to share my shower?”
“It’s not as if he’s worried about the cost.” Kevin followed her and stood in the doorway, admiring the view as she leaned over to adjust the water temperature. “MmmMmm. I do love your perfect little backside.” He moved in behind her and cupped her cheeks with his warm hands as he nuzzled her neck.
“Then, come and wash my ‘perfect little backside’ for me, big boy.”
Kevin slipped the scrambled eggs onto the plates as Lynne buttered the thick slabs of toasted, French bread; a routine they had perfected since he had come to stay with her. Sitting together in the cozy breakfast nook of the large kitchen, they watched the news on the small, portable television that sat on the kitchen counter as they ate their late night snack.
The entertainment segment began with a shot of AJ and Ali sitting in a luxurious office as the voice over explained that the interview with the engaged couple and a well-known, celebrity wedding planner would be shown after the commercial break.
“This must be what his last call was about.” Kevin laughed out loud. “So he’s finally giving in and letting someone else worry about the planning. I wonder if Ali threatened to call the whole thing off if he didn’t calm down?”
After the interview was over and the couple had jokingly made suitably snide remarks about the whole thing, Kevin cleared the dishes while Lynne made tea.
“Let’s take it to bed, babe, I need to get to sleep since I have to get up early to catch my flight home.”
“I really hope your family understands why I can’t make it.”
“They’re cool with it, and besides Will’s gonna have another birthday next year anyway.” Kevin smiled at his girlfriend as they crawled under the covers and relaxed against the carved headboard. “He understands that you have to work.”
“Make sure and tell everyone how I could normally take the time, but with the clinic being so understaffed right now, I just can’t leave.” Lynne felt terrible at having to decline the first invitation from Kevin’s family in Kentucky especially since she knew Kevin was eager for her to meet them.
“I know. My nephew knows. My whole family knows. Now, stop worrying.” He pulled her closer and slipped an arm around her shoulders as he sipped his tea and she skimmed through a magazine.
“AJ’s wedding is getting close, have you found something to wear yet?’
“Nope, I haven’t even looked.”
“As soon as I get back, I’ll take you shopping.” He took her silence as an affirmative response.
“I never thought I’d be the last one. The unmarried one. The oldest, unmarried one,” Kevin mused thoughtfully.
“Maybe, you’re the smart one.” She continued leafing through the slick pages, engrossed in an article on pre- and peri-natal health care.
“Yeah, real smart.” He gave a small laugh. “I feel like the dumb one.”
This got Lynne’s attention and she lifted her head from the magazine to look into his troubled eyes.
“Why would you say that, Kevin?”
“Look at me. I’m over thirty, not married, no kids, I live my life from day to day. Most of my friends have families. I’m the one missing out.”
Lynne turned her whole body around so she was facing Kevin.
“Being married is overrated, Kevin. That’s the last thing you should be worried about.”
“Don’t you ever think about getting married? Having a family? I thought all girls wanted the white wedding.” He was only half kidding.
“No. I never think about getting married. I’m not planning on ever getting married.”
“Never? What about love? What about children?” Kevin was incredulous. He’d seen Lynne with other people’s children, with Garrett and Jesse, she seemed to really care for them. Why wouldn’t she want her own?
“Oh, Kevin! Of course, I want kids. I can’t wait to have a baby. But, what does having children have to do with marriage?”
Kevin studied her face, trying to find the humor, knowing she had to be teasing him.
She was serious.
He sat up straighter and crossed his arms. This wasn’t going the way he had assumed it would go. Every courting couple eventually had the ‘wedding/marriage/children’ talk. It was part of the game. What is your dream wedding? How many kids do you want? It was an important part of the intimacy ritual. With all the wedding plans going on he had been surprised that they hadn’t gotten to it yet.
Now, he knew why.
“Kevin, you know that my father left before Beth was even born and my sisters and I were raised by our mom all on her own?”
“She raised us to be strong, self-sufficient women. That’s a good thing, right?” She smiled encouragingly at him.
“You know how I feel, Lynne, I love everything about you.”
“Well, along with all the other traits you love so well is my ‘fierce independence’. Right?” She smiled at him again but his only response was the raising of his eyebrows.
“I feel that marriage is unnecessary. It’s legalizing something that doesn’t need to be legalized. How can a legal document make a difference if two people are in a committed relationship? And, why is divorce so prevalent if being legally married is so important? Besides, marriage started out as an ownership situation, so no one else could have the women, they were basically chattel.”
Kevin almost smiled at that last statement. This was the crux of the matter, her pride and her rebellion against the thought of being ‘owned’. This was why she was so adamant about not moving to Orlando with him. This was why she wouldn’t let him buy her extravagant gifts and sometimes insisted that she pay his way on dates. She was determined to be an independent person, but where did that leave him?
Lynne reached forward to touch his cheek with soft fingertips. He turned his head to kiss her palm before taking her hand in his.
“I have to tell you, I just don’t get it. I can’t imagine not being married to my soul mate for my whole life. I’ve grown up knowing that someday I would be married and live ‘happily ever after’. When you love someone you want to be with them forever. Getting married shows the world that you are committed to each other in your love.” His eyes glowed with passion.
“But, you can do all that without the legal document.” She spoke quietly but with confidence.
“It’s not the same though. If you’re willing to legalize it then you’re willing to promise before God that you will cherish this person forever. That the relationship really means something.”
“Kevin,” she sighed, “we’re going to have to agree to disagree about this. We have very different views on the subject and I really don’t want to fight with you, baby. We need to get some sleep; you have to get up early.” She kissed his lips with a light touch and hugged him before snuggling under the covers.
She was soon asleep but Kevin lay awake for a long time, staring off into the darkness listening to her soft breathing. He felt uneasy but couldn’t put his finger on the exact reason. His relationship with Lynne was very important to him. He had never met any woman that fit so easily into his life or was so accepting of the unusual demands sometimes made on her. She was smart, funny and passionate and made him happier than he could ever remember being. They rarely argued but when they did it was fast, furious and always ended in the best sex ever. They were proud, stubborn and easily provoked but their mutual respect kept them from hurting each other.
Things were better than he’d ever thought possible. So why was his stomach in knots and his mind racing a mile a minute? He needed to think about what had just gone on between them. Maybe, he’d find some time to think while he was in Kentucky.
Chapter 21 Index