Chapter Eight: The Proposal

18 May
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L C went out with Raymond Stanhouser a couple of times. It was okay. Kind of fun but not romantic or exciting. The biggest thing was she decided she did not want to start out life as a full time mother.

Guinevere was at a fun age. Everything was new and over flowing with excitement. Watching a caterpillar crawl across a leaf was a wonderful adventure. Nothing was trite, dull, or boring. Learning the difference between friendly bugs you could hold in your hand and unfriendly bugs that bit opened up a new world.

Stanhouser’s children were beyond all of that. They were dealing with grades and sports and school and friends. Butterflies were “uh huh.” Trees were so many cords of wood, lawns were to be mowed on weekends if they could not escape doing it altogether.

Guinevere and Rocko, L C’s gold and white chihuahua, were playmates. L C took care of both of them. Stanhouser’s children were at an age when they wanted to “own” a dog, but did not want to take the time to feed it.

L C was not ready to see herself as a soccer mom. It was not a bad future to look forward too, at twenty-five or thirty it might be a lot of fun. But not at twenty.

Still Raymond never asked her directly. And, although she knew he wanted more than just a one night stand or a current girlfriend, he never told her how he felt about her or what he wanted. Had he made it clear she might not have dated anyone else. She might have committed herself to his future. But he did not.

When Nathaniel asked her out she did not hesitate. He was closer to her own age and had just entered a  high-tech career as a digital marketing agent with a promising future.

When Nathaniel was with her she was his entire world. No cell phones, no meetings, for the time they were together he was hers. That was so nice.

It was as though her taking a profound interest in Nathaniel was the trigger that caused Raymond to pour out his hopes and desires for their future. The day after she began thinking of herself and Nathaniel as a  couple Raymond came up to her, in the grocery store of all places. In the fruit section, when she was standing in front of apples and oranges, thinking of making a fruit salad. There was no preamble.

“You are the most precious thing in my life. I love you. I want you to marry me. I want you to love my children. I want them to love you.”

It seemed the oddest of times and the oddest of places to make such a confession. It was as though she had been thinking of making fruit salad and now she was being asked to choose between apples and oranges. She couldn’t make the decision. Nor did she feel right about turning him down, telling him she was seeing someone else, in the center of his own grocery store. Something like that should be said on neutral ground. It would not even sound right if it were done in the parking lot.

What she said was, “This is so sudden. I hadn’t… I didn’t… That you liked me that much. I really enjoy being a nanny,” she hedged. ”And I have to spend time thinking about this. I’m not sure I’m ready to be a full-time mommy. I mean I think the world of you, and I don’t know the children that well yet.”

“You will get to know them and they will get to know you. And love you as I do.” He stated.

Later she wondered why she did not just come out and tell him, “I’m seeing someone else and I think it might be serious.” She did not try to answer the question because in her heart of hearts she knew the answer. If something went wrong between her and Nathaniel she wanted to be able to go back to dating Raymond without him feeling she picked him up on the rebound. A subconscious intention she would rather hide from herself.

 

 

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