This novel is available from Jupiter Gardens Press.
“There’s a lot more to this than just driving the boat.” Reesa saw a smaller motorboat off to her side and waved. A little boy on board jumped up and down as he waved back. “It’s fun, though.”
“For you,” Micah said. “You just have to sit there while I steer. So anyway, did I freak you out completely, or just a little bit?”
“You mean with the marriage stuff?” She didn’t even want to think about it. Knowing that they’d keep seeing each other told her enough about the future. She didn’t want to think any farther ahead than that. Bad enough he had clothes and a toothbrush at her apartment, and that had been her idea.
“I wasn’t proposing,” he explained. “Just saying, someday we might end up there. Or we might move in together, or we might just keep things as they are now. Don’t worry so much, honey. I’m not trying to make you make any decisions about the rest of your life. I just mentioned it because it’s something I’ve thought about. Not specifically with you. I mean…shit, I’m screwing this all up, aren’t I?”
“Kind of,” she agreed. Then she decided to cut him some slack. “I do understand what you’re saying. You’re one of those white-picket-fence, two and half kids and a dog sort of people, right?”
He laughed. “Yeah, that kind of sums it up. Growing up, I used to imagine what the right woman would be like. And then I never found her. I’m thirty-two, which isn’t exactly ancient or anything, but most of the people I went to school with are married now. Some are even divorced, which isn’t really what I’d want. The point is, I thought I’d have found someone by now. Honestly, I’d almost given up.”
“And then you met me?” she said sarcastically.
“And then I met you.” He looked at her solemnly. “I haven’t known you long enough to say you’re ‘the one’ or anything like that.” He made air quotes. “I know that you and I get along better than anyone else I’ve ever dated. And you don’t mind the work schedule, which is a plus. If you aren’t ‘the one,’ you’re pretty darn close.”
“You sound an awful lot like you’re looking for more of a commitment than we’ve already agreed to.” If they hadn’t been out in the middle of the ocean, she would have walked away from him. She didn’t like to be pressured, and even though she doubted he intended it that way, he certainly did seem to be pressuring her. Maybe it had just been way too long since he’d had a serious girlfriend and he’d become overexcited about the idea.
Maybe she was the one with the issues, and she needed to just listen to him and accept that he was only expressing his opinion, not trying to force her into anything. Some women would love hearing a man say he might want to spend the rest of his life with them. They wouldn’t see it as a trap, they’d see it as proof that they deserved something that good.
She was thirty years old and the most serious relationship she’d ever had had been with Kent. And that had only happened because it had seemed like the right time to have a relationship, not because Kent had seemed like the right man to do it with.
“I’m not looking for anything more than you’re willing to give,” Micah assured her. “Look, I know I’m botching this up. We’ve already established I’m awkward with the whole dating thing. I’m not professing undying love for you or anything like that. I’m just saying that I do love you, and I won’t mind if things do wind up with us having a stronger commitment. I also won’t mind if we don’t. I just want to have you around. Okay?”
“You are pretty damn awkward.” Reesa stared out the windshield. “I think I understand. Just realize, I do have issues, even though I look like I have it together. So yeah, I’m going to freak out a little if you start talking moving in and marriage and all that stuff. Doesn’t mean I don’t want it someday. I used to daydream about it too. Too much has happened in my life for me to have a very positive outlook about it right now, though. So how about if we just agree that we love each other, we’re seeing each other, and whatever happens, happens?”
“Yeah, I think that’s what I meant to say,” he said slowly. “You’re much better at this talking thing than I am. Maybe I should hire you to translate me.”
“Except that I’m the one you need to be translated for,” she pointed out.
“I think you understand me very well.” He put his hand on her knee. “You and I seem to think along the same lines sometimes.”
“Yeah, we do.”
For a while, Micah drove the boat around, keeping an eye out for any trouble. All the boaters they passed waved, and some called hellos. Reesa sat back and enjoyed the wind flowing through her hair as the boat continued through the water. Despite the choppy waves, she loved being out, away from land and away from all the crap she’d dealt with. Something about the ocean made it all seem to go away.