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TAKING A CHANCE ON FOREVER

“But they have their whole lives, Dan. Why do they have to rush into marriage now? They’re both working and living in the same area - they’re both freer than we were back in the day.”

            “Yeah,” he agreed, with a note of bitterness. “No danger of her flying off to another country and never coming back.”            She turned slowly to look at him. Bitter regret served now to warm her.            “I wondered if you’d bring that up. And, since you did, what about you? I was planning on coming home that summer, to have the talk with you. Lo and behold, the wedding plans you never seemed to want to discuss with me sure did come up with the first girl who winked at you once I’d left!” Her voice trembled, and she swallowed hard, forcing back the lump of tears only seconds from emerging.            They stood only a foot apart. He raised his finger and pointed it at her chest, his jaw hard.             “That was after you’d met the Paris Playboy,” he accused, his eyes burning. “Your letters were filled with Marc this, and Marc that, and ‘everyone thinks he’s just a flirt, but I think he has the soul of an artist.’” His mouth twisted in a sneer. “What was I supposed to do, Katie? Fly off to Paris and challenge him to a duel?”            “No….”            “…Burn the phone lines every night to woo you?”            “That’s crazy!” She thumped his chest and he caught her hand, squeezing it so hard the pain seared up her arm.            “Then, what could I do? What would you have had me do?” His eyes were bright with anguish. “Crawl on my hands and knees and beg you back?”            “Yes!” she cried, then clamped her hand over her mouth. She spun away from him and went back inside the restaurant before he could respond, leaving him outside in the cold without his jacket.