This is the 3rd part in my fictional story. Check out the rest starting here.
The next Monday I woke bright and early to some small birds singing from the maple tree outside our bedroom window. If it had been spring, this would've been a regular performance and I would've opened the windows to let the fresh air flood inside carrying the tune along with it, but in October, the bird's song was a rare treat. Ben had already left for work and other then the sweet soft song from outside, the world was silent. I hated to break that silence with by making anything to eat quite yet, so I plopped down on the love seat in the corner of the room nearest the window, and curled up under a soft chenille blanket with a book. It was a romance novel, but not the hot and steamy kind with no substance, no this book was more real. Even more to me since it was the first book I had ever gotten published. It was a fictional tale of love based on how Ben and I had met, courted and married. Of course I added a little more drama to the actual events to grab my readers and suck them in, but under all the fluff it was real.
Ben had been taking night classes at the local community college 4 years ago when I moved into town. A week after I had arrived, on my way home from the grocery store in my little Ford Focus, I had gotten my first ever flat tire. I managed to steer my car over onto the side of the road safely, but it was dark out and I was in an unfamiliar town on a deserted road surrounded by looming pine trees. I had no one nearby to call to help me or get some for me, no directory to call for a tow truck or a cab, and no knowledge of how to get my spare on, let alone a jack to do it with. I just put on my hazard lights and prayed that someone would be coming along soon, kind enough to assist me somehow. I didn't have to wait long, within 20 minutes I saw the headlights of what appeared to be a truck or SUV coming around the bend in the road about 100 yards to the north of where I sat. It was Ben, my hero then and now. Despite a late night class after a long day at work, Ben pulled over to see what the trouble was. I was struck by how handsome he was. In the city, I had dated all the clean cut, savvy guys who looked sharper then a double edged knife, but Ben was a little more masculine somehow, and of course, tall, dark and handsome. His eyes were what drew me in. They were the kindest eyes I had ever seen. I could see the wear in them from all his years of hard work, and despite a tired appearance they were so alive with energy. A pale light blue with the most subtle green undertones, I loved the way they seemed to watch and take me in as we stood there. I was absently explaining what was wrong while being transfixed to look nowhere else but stare into his hypnotic eyes. Well eventually he looked down at my tire to make his own evaluation about the circumstance and I was forced out of my momentary trance and landed back in reality. I told him I did have a spare but unfortunately no jack stand. As luck would have it, Ben was the most prepared guy I could've run into that night, not only did he have a stand, but the back of his red truck looked like a whole auto supply store! He certainly wouldn't be stuck anywhere with car troubles for very long! Looking back I still find it odd though, that a man who so loved working on cars could not stand to be dirty. Seems to me that those two go hand in hand, but Ben somehow manages to be the cleanest car mechanic I have ever seen.
After replacing my shredded tire with the spare, Ben offered me his phone number, just in case I had anymore car troubles tonight...or another night. I took the hint. Between his eyes and his deep soothing voice, I knew I would be making that call, very soon. By the following weekend we were on a picnic at the local beach. And I knew he was the man for me, when we held hands for the first time that same afternoon. He had been working up to it as we walked along the water. First gently bumping into me as our bodies swayed side to side at our slow pace, then I could feel his fingers reaching, searching for my own. Slowly, sweetly our finger entwined. His hands were much larger then my delicate, lady-like ones, but even just to the touch of his hand, I could feel the security in them. I imagined his hands, protecting me, helping me, and caressing me. You could tell a lot about a man by his hands, my mom used to tell me. I didn't understand what she had meant until that very moment.
Ben and I began seeing each other every spare moment. His schedule was always busy between work and classes, but mine was flexible and we made it work. It was only a few months later when we were out and about that he pulled over to the side of the road, among trees that oddly reminded me of the forest that first night we had met. Ben said he was hungry and out of the blue pulled a picnic basket from the bed of his truck with a rather familiar meal, in fact that same meal from our very first date. It was unusual but I went along with our sudden lunch break and we laid a blanket out over the top of the cab and he stood in the bed of the truck leaning onto the cab as I perched myself, legs crosswise on the blanket.
We ate in the silence of the woods, listening and watching the nature all around us. A chipmunk scampered out towards the truck to investigate and I dropped some food for him. He hesitantly approached as if debating all the while whether the small crumb was worth the risk of being close to these strangers. Apparently it was, but not for very long, he snatched it and scurried as fast as he could back into the undergrowth.
After we packed up our leftovers, Ben walked around the truck to open my door for me, but then blocked my way at the last moment. He had dropped down to one knee with a tiny velvet box in one hand, I gasped and realized what this peculiar afternoon had been leading up to. Before he had said a word, I shouted "YES!" and the smile that spread across his face was brighter then the sun itself. He was beaming and I was all aglow as we got back in the truck, me with a new piece of jewelry proudly displayed on a very important finger.
The wedding was simple but beautiful. We didn't waste anytime in planning it either. Only 2 months after our picnic in the woods we were man and wife, the happiest couple you could ever meet.