Justin's Thanksgiving Day Marriage Proposal

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Intense_Restraint
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Justin's Thanksgiving Day Marriage Proposal

Post by Intense_Restraint »

Justin peered over the counter in the jewelry store at the engagement rings.
"May I help you?" inquired a salesman as he approached Justin and his parents.
"We are looking for an engagement ring for my girlfriend," said Justin.
"Let me pull them out of the case," said the salesman, unlocking the case and retrieving a tray.
"You need to decide if she would like a traditional gold band or white gold or platinum," remarked Justin's mother.
"She always wears yellow gold," replied Justin.
"Do you know her ring size?" asked Justin's dad.
"Yes, it is seven," said Justin, turning a slight shade of red. "I asked her on our first date if she would tell me her ring size just in case I ever wanted to propose."
"How did she react?" asked his mother.
"She laughed and told me I was sweet," replied Justin. "Then she said she would have trouble sleeping for wondering when I might pop the question." His parents chuckled, and the salesman smiled.
"Anyway, I like this diamond with the rubies around it," said Justin.
"That's a beautiful ring," said his mother. "I think she will love it. And if she wants a more traditional wedding ring, then I imagine you could bring her into the store and help her select an alternative."
"That's right," said the salesman. "I agree it is a beautiful ring, but if she wants something different, we will be happy to help."

* * * * *
Justin arrived at Sharon's house and parked his car along the long, curving driveway. He got out of the car balancing a bottle of wine, a box of candy and a bouquet of flowers. Before he could reach the front door Sharon came bouncing out in an elegant dress with a joyous expression on her face. "Aren't you sweet," she exclaimed as she saw his gifts. "Thanksgiving dinner won't be ready for a half hour, so you'll have plenty of time for a tour. My father wants to show you the property outdoors, and my mother wants to give you a tour of the house. We've just finished some remodeling."
"You look gorgeous, sweetheart," he said, admiring how her auburn hair complimented the yellow dress.
"You look handsome yourself," she replied, admiring his athletic build and the way his blue blazer complimented his piercing blue eyes and dark hair. "How clever of you to wear a yellow tie! It matches my dress!"
As they entered the house, Sharon's mother, and their cook, Rosa, both came out to greet Justin. "Welcome, Justin! So nice to see you and I'm so glad you could join us for Thanksgiving today! How sweet of you to bring gifts! Thank you! These flowers are lovely," Sharon's mother said, handing them to Rosa and giving Justin a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
"Nice to see you again, Mrs. Thompson," said Justin. "I've been looking forward to Thanksgiving, it is one of my favorite days of the year, and I'm very glad to be able to spend it with you all. What a beautiful house you have here!" he said, looking around an admiration at the tall ceilings, the curving staircase, the beautiful tiled foyer and the large paintings on the walls.
"Thank you so much," replied Mrs. Thompson. "We love living here."
This is Rosa," said Sharon, changing the subject as she put one arm around Rosa and gave her a little hug. "Rosa has been with us since I was a child, and she could tell you all sorts of interesting stories about us." Sharon put one finger to her lips to indicate that Rosa should keep her stories to herself, at least for the time being.
"Very nice to meet you," said Justin to Rosa.
"You look like a nice boy," replied Rosa, smiling. She turned around and headed away, saying, "Muy guapo! Muy guapo!"
"Gracias, Rosa!" replied Justin, laughing and turning slightly red, understanding Spanish well enough to know that she was complimenting him on his good looks.
"Take Justin out to say hello to your father, Sharon," said Samantha. "He is out back practicing his putting."
"Of course, Mom," replied Sharon. She led him through the house to the yard in back where her father was standing on a putting green with close-cropped grass that was surrounded by a boxwood hedge.
"Hello, Mr. Thompson," said Justin. "What a beautiful day to be outdoors!"
"Hello, Justin. Welcome to our home. I'm glad to see you again. I haven't seen you for a few months, have I? I can't remember where I met you."
"It was at the beach, Daddy," said Sharon. "Don't you remember? You met him at Susie's wedding at the Hilton on the beach."
"Oh, yes, yes, yes. Now I remember," said Mr. Thompson. "That was a beautiful wedding, wasn't it? The Hilton did a great job."
"Yes, it was a great event," replied Justin.
"You were going to give Justin a tour of the property, weren't you?" asked Sharon. "I have a few things I want to get ready inside."
"Yes, I'll be happy to give you a tour if you'd like, Justin."
"Sounds great to me," replied Justin.
"Let's start with the garage," said Mr. Thompson. "I have a golf cart in there, and we can ride around and see the property on that. He led Justin into a beautiful five-car garage, where the golf cart was parked next to two shiny Mercedes and Sharon's Mazda. They rode around the property admiring the landscaping, the tennis courts, the guest house, the pond, and the acres in back where they had grapes growing. Mr. Thompson stopped the cart by the vineyard vines and told Justin about his arrangements with a neighbor to have wine made with his own grapes.
"May I interrupt you, for a moment?" asked Justin.
"Yes, of course."
"Since we have a chance to talk here, I was thinking it would be the perfect time and place for me to share some special news with you," said Justin as he pulled out the little box with the wedding ring and opened it up for Mr. Thompson to see.
"Wow, what a beautiful ring! Stunning!" said Mr. Thompson, carefully taking the box out of Justin's hand so he could get a better view. "But I'm not sure it will fit on my finger," he remarked with a smile.
"Very funny," said Justin, cringing a bit at the feeble joke. "It's for Sharon, of course. I was hoping to ask for her hand in marriage today."
"Aren't you wonderful!" cried Mr. Thompson. "This is great news! I'm very happy for both of you. I know Sharon is very fond of you, and I think she will be thrilled to see this beautiful ring. I hope you two will be very happy together." He jumped out of the golf cart, still holding the little box with the ring and walked around to Justin's side. "Let me be the first to congratulate you." Justin got out of the cart as well, and Mr. Thompson hugged him. "Welcome to the family!"
"Thank you, sir," said Justin, blushing a bit.

* * * * *

After the Thanksgiving meal Sharon challenged Justin to a game of pool, and she led him to the billiards room. As she pulled out pool cues from their holder on the far side of the room, Justin quickly pulled the engagement ring box out, opened it and set it down on the pool table. As she turned around, he knelt down and prepared to surprise her with his proposal.
"Are you about to tie your shoe or do you have something important to ask me!" asked Sharon slowly as she walked over to Justin, setting the cues down on the table.
"Sharon Thompson, I believe you are the most beautiful young woman on earth, and I've waited eagerly for this special day ever since our first date. I believe you are the one person who can bring me lasting happiness, and I would love to be the person you share your life with. I am a better man because of you, and I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?" asked Justin.
"Oh, Justin, yes! A thousand times yes!" replied Sharon, pulling him to his feet and giving him an enthusiastic hug, then finding his lips with her own and giving him a tender and passionate kiss. After a few seconds she pulled away, "Enough kissing - I want to see this beautiful ring!" she exclaimed, and she held out her left hand so that he could slip it on. "It fits just right!" she said. "I love it! Let's go show my parents."
She led Justin through the house until they found her parents sitting in the living room by the grand piano, sipping glasses of wine. "Justin asked me to marry him!" she announced with joy, showing them the ring.
Sharon's parents jumped up and both started talking at once, hugging both of them and congratulating them. Sharon's mother wiped a tear from her eyes as she said, "I'm so happy and pleased for both of you."
"Let's go tell Rosa!" exclaimed Sharon, grabbing Justin by the hand and leading him to the kitchen. When they walked into the kitchen Rosa was hugging a young muscular Latino man. "Carlos!", Sharon exclaimed. "I'm so glad you're here. We have some special news to share with you two," she said, holding her hand out to show them the ring.
"Oh, Sharon!" said Rosa, giving her a big hug. "I'm so happy for you both." Then she hugged Justin. "Welcome to the family, Justin," she said warmly with a hug. "And I want you to meet my son, Carlos."
Justin reached over to shake Carlos' hand. Carlos shook it briefly, then hugged Justin. "Welcome to the family," repeated Carlos, grinning from ear to ear.
"Carlos and I grew up together," said Sharon. "Now he is our gardener."
"Very nice to meet you," said Justin, wondering if Sharon and Carlos had ever had special feelings for each other.
"Likewise!" said Justin. Then he turned to Sharon. "When are going to tell him about the family business?"
"Hush, you!" Sharon scolded. "As a matter of fact, I am planning to give him the grand tour of the family business this afternoon.
"Oh my God!", said Carlos. "Today?"
"Yes, today. If Justin is willing. Our plant is not far. Let's go and tell my parents."
"Okay," said Justin, wondering what concerns Carlos had about the business.
Sharon and Justin returned to the living room. "Where's Dad?" asked Sharon.
"He's looking for something in the attic," she replied. "He will be back soon."
"We are going for a drive," said Sharon, suddenly deciding not to tell her mother where they were going."
"What about dessert?" asked her mother.
"Is it okay if we eat dessert in an hour or two? I’m still stuffed from all that turkey and dressing," said Sharon.
"Of course," replied her mother. "That will be fine."
Sharon excused herself for a few minutes and came back downstairs with an unusually large purse. Then she excused herself again and stopped in the kitchen. As she returned to the living room, she said, "Okay, I'm ready. Let's go."
* * * * *
Sharon and Justin drove up to the front of her father's business. "I usually come in the back way through the warehouse when I visit, but since I'm with you, I'll take you in the front," she said. The building was about thirty feet high in a wooded setting. Other commercial buildings for other companies were in the vicinity. The size of the building was roughly the size of a football field. Sharon pulled out a key and let them in the front door, where a curved reception desk sat near the foyer with some chairs for visitors.
"You never told me much about your father's business," said Justin. "Is it a secret?"
"Actually it is a secret, sort of. The business sells mostly sex toys. We have the warehouse here, and we have shops in various locations, and we have a website. We import the items from various countries. Some of them are made exclusively for us. Are you shocked?"
"Well, I'm surprised. Actually, I'm really surprised, because you have always said you didn't want to have intercourse until marriage!" said Justin.
"Yes, that's still true," said Sharon. "I don't like contraceptives: condoms, pills, whatever. And I don't want to conceive a child before I am married. Of course I want to have intercourse when we are married, but I would like to wait until then. Is that okay?"
"Well, now that we are engaged, I was hoping we could be more affectionate," said Justin.
"Of course we can," said Sharon. "I want that too, just not intercourse, not right now."
"Okay," said Justin, feeling a little puzzled.
"Let me show you the warehouse," said Sharon. She led him through some double doors into the warehouse, and the walked through the rows of boxes as she pointed out various items. Justin listened with interest, feeling his penis get stiff as he thought about the various products and the ways in which they could be used on himself or on her.
"Now I'll show you the main offices," she said, as they walked into another part of the building. She showed him where the accountants worked, the little kitchen/snack room, her father's office, and the main conference room. "Sit here and I'll be right back," she said. Justin sat at the conference table in a comfortable swivel chair and wondered what she was doing. After a minute, she returned to the room with a rectangular box, the type of box that might hold a shirt. "I have a little present for you," she said with a smile.
"Oh, my," said Justin. "I didn't know we were exchanging presents today. Well, actually I guess I don't need to feel bad since I gave you a ring. What is this?" he asked as he opened the box and pulled out the canvas shirt.
"It's a straitjacket," she said with a smile. "I thought you would look adorable in it, and I was hoping I could take a picture with you in it."
"You've got to be kidding!" responded Justin, turning a bit red. "I don't know if I feel comfortable putting it on right now."
"Pleaeeeese!" said Sharon. "Please do it for me. You'll be so handsome with it on. I get hot just thinking about it."
Justin liked the idea of Sharon feeling turned on, so he agreed to put it on, even though he had to take off his jacket, tie and shirt to do it. Sharon helped him into the sleeves, then fastened it securely. "Oh, that feels snug," commented Justin. He wiggled his arms a bit inside the canvas enclosure and felt the restrictiveness of the fabric. Sharon reached into her large purse and pulled out her camera and snapped some pictures. Justin smiled for some of the photos and grimaced as though he was struggling for the others.
"Thank you, Justin. These pictures look great," said Sharon as she reviewed the photos she had taken. "By the way, I don't mean to rush things, but have you thought about our honeymoon? Do you have any plans for that?"
"I was thinking it would be fun to go to Bermuda," replied Justin, wondering when she was going to untie him.
"Bermuda sounds perfect!" Sharon exclaimed. "As a matter of fact, I was hoping you would suggest a beautiful, romantic spot like that. Actually, I want to try on some clothes for you that I was thinking about bringing with me on our honeymoon. I stuck them in my purse just before we left because I wanted to show them to you."
"They fit in your purse?" asked Justin.
"Yes, you'll see. I'll be back in a minute with my new bathing suit on."
"You bought a bathing suit just before Thanksgiving?" asked Justin.
"I was thinking ahead," said Sharon. "I saw it on a website, and I couldn't resist." She headed toward the door with her purse.
"And you are going to untie me soon?" asked Justin. His penis was starting to ache with excitement from being alone with his beautiful girlfriend and from being held hostage in a kinky way, but he was curious about her intentions.
"Eventually!" exclaimed Sharon as she breezed out of the room.
Alone in the room, Justin struggled with his straitjacket, not because he was uncomfortable, but because struggling with it was turning him on, as evidenced by his penis, which was pressing hard against his pants.
Sharon returned to the room wearing a navy blue bikini, which she modeled for him as if she were on a runway. She sauntered up to his chair and rubbed one of her bare feet on his legs, and then she grasped his head and kissed him. 'Oh, God. You are so cute in the straitjacket. I can hardly stand it," she said.
"You are adorable yourself. You look great in the bikini. I can just see us in the hot tub now, or beside the pool sipping Margaritas. Good thing you will have that big ring on your finger. I hope it keeps the competition at bay," said Justin.
"Thank you, sweetie. Now I have something else to try on for you. Don't go anywhere; I'll be right back."
"Hah hah, very funny. Don't worry, I'll be right here," replied Justin.
"Actually, before I go, I want to show you something else I brought along," said Sharon. She pulled a Tupperware container out of her purse, a small china plate and a silver fork. Then she opened up the container, lifted out some dessert items and placed them on the plate in front of Justin. "I know I promised my parents we would have dessert with them later, but I brought a few things along, so you could have a taste in advance. Here is a little piece of pumpkin pie with home-made whipped cream, a little piece of pecan pie, and some chocolates from that box of candy you gave us. I'm going to set this plate in the middle of the table so that you can think about how good these will taste."
Justin couldn't think of anything to say in reply as Sharon waltzed out of the room, looking very pleased with herself. He stared at the desserts while she was gone, starting to feel hungry again and wondering what she had planned.
Sharon walked back in, dressed in a flimsy red nightgown. "I bought this awhile ago in hopes that you would propose and that I might wear this on our wedding night. Do you like it?"
Justin's penis pressed harder into his pants as he reminded himself to breathe. "I love it!" he replied. "Maybe we should get married tomorrow!"
"Oh, you naughty boy! My parents would be so disappointed if we eloped. I'm sure my mother will want a perfect wedding, with flowers and guests and live music and everything."
"Is that what you want, Sharon?" asked Justin.
"Yes, that is what I want," said Sharon.
"I'm sure that's what my parents would want also, and although I don't know how I'm going to be able to wait until our wedding day now that I know how you are going to be dressed on our wedding night. I guess I'll have to go along with what you want."
"Thank you, sweetie," replied Sharon, giving him another kiss on the lips. "You really know how to please me, and I appreciate it more than you know. You are such a gentleman and such a good sport. I love you so much."
"I love you, too. So, what comes next? This is quite an adventure!" said Justin.
"I have some other things I'd like to show you", said Sharon. "I'll be back in a minute."
Justin sat alone in the room for a few minutes more, amazed at all that had happened and a little embarrassed because his penis was dribbling wet precum into his pants. He hoped it wouldn't show through his pants.
Sharon returned to the room carrying a tray of unfamiliar-looking metal items. "What on earth are those?", asked Justin.
"These are male chastity devices," Sharon replied. "We sell a lot of them, and they are a big source of income. As you can see, we have a variety of sizes. Most guys like to start out in a fairly big one, but once they get used to wearing them, sometimes they prefer a smaller one. Do you have a very big penis, Justin?" she asked.
"Wow, what a question!" exclaimed Justin. "Since we are being bold with our questions, do you want to see my penis? It has been struggling against my pants ever since you put me in the straitjacket and teased me with your tantalizing outfits. My penis is trying to reach its full potential, but these pants are holding it back."
"Aren't we being daring!" replied Sharon. "Certainly I want to see your penis. I can't think of a better time to see it than when you are restrained in a straitjacket. Stand up," she commanded. She helped him to his feet, then slowly undid his belt, then pulled down his zipper, unbuttoned his pants and let them drop to the floor. Justin stepped out of his pants and kicked them to the side. Sharon grabbed his underpants and slowly slid them to his knees. Justin's penis immediately stood at attention. "I'd say you are definitely above average, not that I've seen a lot of penises."
"You've seen penises before?" asked Justin.
"Well, I've seen Carlos' penis, for one, but that was when we were kids," replied Sharon.
"Were you playing doctor or something?" asked Justin.
"Something like that. My parents weren't very happy when they found out. We both got scolded pretty bad. Anyway, I've seen some porno from time to time."
"Porno? You? I shouldn't be shocked but somehow I am," said Justin.
"Don't you ever watch porno?" asked Sharon.
"Yes, but I'm a guy. Guys like porno more than girls do, don't you think?"
"You may be right. Anyway, my father's company makes some porno movies."
"You're kidding?" asked Justin.
"No, I'm not kidding," said Sharon. "In fact the studio tour is on our agenda this afternoon."
"Oh my God!" said Justin, his penis clenching and dribbling more precum at the thought. "So, anyway, I am afraid to ask this question, but why are you showing me these devices and asking me about my penis?"
"Oh yes, I almost lost my train of thought. I'd like you to wear one of these until we get married," said Sharon.
"Oh my God!" said Justin again, incredulous. "My poor penis! I don't know how I could squeeze it into one of those little things for one thing. I hope those things don't cause injury. I have my whole life of marital bliss ahead of me, remember? My penis is rather an important part of our marital happiness, right?"
"Let's try one of the bigger devices," said Sharon, picking up a large one. "You'll be fine. We sell thousands of these things, and no one complains about them. Do you see those desserts on the table over there? I'll give you a taste of one of them if you agree to try it." Sharon picked up the plate with the other hand and brought it close to Justin's face so he could have a better look.
Justin's penis clenched again as he thought about his predicament. His beautiful fiancé was teasing him mercilessly in a sexual manner that was beyond anything he had ever imagined her capable of, and he was beginning to wonder how his penis would feel trapped in the metal device. "Okay, you win," he said. "I'll try it, but like I said, I don't know how we will get it on with the way my penis is feeling right now."
"Don't worry," said Sharon. "I've got it all figured out." She gave him a bite of pecan pie and then waltzed back out of the room, leaving him alone with his aching and oozing penis. After awhile she returned to the room with a large cup of ice from the freezer.
"Oh, no," said Justin, realizing what the ice was for.
"Oh, yes," said Sharon, pulling a piece of ice out of the glass. She positioned him with his buttocks against the table, and began rubbing the ice on his penis, balls and the hairy skin surrounding them. At first his penis refused to budge as it stood resolutely tall. After a couple of minutes of treatment, though, it eventually wilted. "Yay!" said Sharon triumphantly. Then she held the device's ring against his scrotum and prodded and pulled until his testicles slipped through the ring. Then she gently squeezed, prodded and pulled his penis so that it went through the ring as well. Finally, she inserted his limp penis into the metal cage and fastened it with a heart-shaped lock to the ring. Justin's private parts were secure. Sharon shook the cage gently so that Justin would feel his captivity and gave him a sultry kiss. Justin felt a bit dazed, as if he had just been wheeled out of an operating room.
"Wow, I don't know what to say," said Justin.
"You don't have to say anything," replied Sharon. "But now that your pants are down, I can't resist the urge to grab your buttocks," she said as she sunk her fingers into his backside. "What firm buns you have!" she exclaimed.
"Oh, God," said Justin. "My penis is going to be straining against the cage if you don't stop that."
"Okay, I'll stop," said Sharon. "I'll take you on the rest of the tour now, but first I promised you some more dessert." She gave him a big bite of pumpkin pie, and as he ate it, she undid his shoes and removed his socks. She led him out of the room and down the hall. She was still dressed in the red nightgown. He was still restrained with the straitjacket and the chastity device, but otherwise naked. Justin had a fleeting feeling of walking down a hall in a jail, despite the fact that her jailor was an adorable and scantily-clad woman.
Sharon brought them into a large room with video cameras on tripods and a hospital bed. "This is where some of the videos are filmed. Lie down on the bed, and I'll try on one of the costumes for you."
"Oh my God!" exclaimed Justin again, his penis starting to press against the cage at the thought.
Sharon returned to the room dressed as a nurse. She flipped on one of the cameras and aimed it at Justin. Then she walked over and said, "Justin, I know you've had amnesia and you can't remember all of the weeks that I've ministered to you here in the hospital, but something tells me that if I kiss you, you may start to remember our special relationship." She kissed him passionately, then paused.
"I'm starting to get my memories back, nurse," said Justin. "I think I remember you used to do something with a vibrator."
"Oh yes," said Sharon. "I'll go get it."
"Oh, God," said Justin, realizing she meant what she said. He watched her waltz out of the room in her nurse's outfit, leaving him alone with his hospital bed, straitjacket and restrained penis, the camera still recording every second of his predicament.
Sharon returned to the room, opening a box that held a fancy-looking vibrator. "I have to be careful, since your penis is still recovering from the operation," she said, for the benefit of the video. She drew a chair up to Justin's hospital bed and began applying the vibrator to his cage. "Too bad I can't operate the camera and do a close-up while I do this," she muttered, wistfully. Justin's penis pressed hard against its enclosure, helplessly trying to grow with mounting excitement from the stimulation.
Just then the door to the room opened, and Sharon's father walked in holding a gun.
"Daddy!" shrieked Sharon.
"Sharon!" said her father. "Oh, it's only you two. I see you've made yourselves at home. The silent alarm was tripped, so I came by to see what was happening. The alarm has been tripped accidentally so many times that the police don't even come by to check on the place anymore. I didn't realize you were here. Is Justin auditioning for a role?"
"Oh, no Sir," replied Justin, his face a bright red. "Sharon was just giving me a tour. Very impressive facilities you have here."
"Thank you, Justin," replied Mr. Thompson. "Well, I hate to interrupt your fun. I'll head back to the house. Remember to come by for dessert later!"

[The author of this story is also the author of Intense Restraint, a novel available on Amazon as a Kindle version or a softback book.]
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akcouple2000
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Re: Justin's Thanksgiving Day Marriage Proposal

Post by akcouple2000 »

would love hearing more of this story
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Intense_Restraint
Posts: 72
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Re: Justin's Thanksgiving Day Marriage Proposal

Post by Intense_Restraint »

After Justin and Sharon returned, the family reassembled in the dining room. Sharon’s mother served the dessert, cutting slices of pie for everyone and adding a dollop of home-made whipped cream that Rosa had made.
“Rosa is taking the rest of the day off,” said Mrs. Thompson. “I told her earlier in the week that she could take the whole day off, but she wanted to meet Justin. Of course I’m glad she could be here, because she is such a great cook. I could have managed without her if I had to, though.”
“I’m very fortunate to have a wife who is a good cook,” said Mr. Thompson. “And we’re lucky to have Rosa as well.”
“Thank you very much for the delicious meal,” said Justin. “I feel lucky too.”
“You’re very welcome,” said Mrs. Thompson. “So, did you enjoy your tour of the plant?”
“It was very obvious that he was enjoying himself,” said Mr. Thompson.
Justin paused as everyone laughed. “It was quite an adventure,” he said. “And, yes, it was much more fun than I could possibly have imagined.”
“Do you want to see a picture of Justin in his straitjacket?” asked Sharon, handing her phone to her mother.
“Of course,” she said, looking intently at the screen.
“I wasn’t expecting you to show anyone,” said Justin, as Mrs. Thompson started flicking from one photo to the next.
“Stop, mother,” said Sharon. “I only wanted to show you one or two. There’s one that’s a bit too revealing.”
“I can see you were enjoying yourself,” said Mrs. Thompson, staring at one particular photo on Sharon’s phone. “And I see Sharon managed to get your pants off as well.”
“Mother!” exclaimed Sharon, grabbing her phone in dismay. “Don’t embarrass him!”
“I’m sorry,” said Mrs. Thompson. “Anyway, you certainly looked like a very healthy young man in that photo.”
“Whew!” said Justin. “I was hoping we would get better acquainted, but not like this, exactly.” He turned to Sharon, “Are they always like this?”
“We’re very down to earth,” said Sharon. “We deal with life as it comes. We’re very straightforward, well, I guess about most things.”
“Most things?” asked Justin.
Just then Sharon’s phone rang. She picked it up off the dining room table, saw that Carlos was calling and answered.
“What’s up?” she asked, pausing to listen to his response. “Tomorrow? Really?” She turned to Justin, holding out her phone. “It’s Carlos. He wants to ask you something.”
“Carlos – you mean Rosa’s son?” asked Justin as he accepted the phone. Sharon nodded yes as he held the phone to talk.
“Carlos? This is Justin.” He listened to Carlos for a minute, then said, “Yes, Carlos, that sounds like fun. I’ll come by tomorrow at 10. See you then.” Justin handed the phone back to Sharon. “He wants to play basketball with me tomorrow,” he said. “He says you have a neighbor who has a basketball goal mounted on the roof over the garage, and he thinks we can play over there.”
“Oh yes, the Barringers,” said Mr. Thompson. “Carlos and Sharon have played basketball over there from time to time in the past. They don’t mind.”
“I’m happy to play basketball with him,” said Justin. “I’m just surprised by the invitation.”
“I’m sure he wants to get to know you better,” said Mrs. Thompson. “He and Sharon have been very close friends ever since they were children. In many ways he is like a brother to her, and he feels protective of her. I’m glad you said yes. We’re all very fond of him, and I think you’ll like him also, once you get to know him.”
“I’m sure I will,” said Justin, diplomatically, hoping it would be true.

* * * * *

Justin parked his car in the curved driveway outside of Sharon’s house. Before he could reach the front door Carlos came out, dressed in a white tank-top t-shirt and black shorts, and carrying a basketball.
“I brought a ball also,” said Justin.
“It’s okay. We can practice a few shots before we play,” said Carlos, reaching out to shake hands. “I hope you don’t mind losing.”
“As a matter of fact, I hate losing,” said Justin, as they walked to his car. “It’s been awhile since I’ve played, though. How about you?”
“I play with my cousins sometimes,” said Carlos. “They live a few miles away from here, and let me tell you, they are tough competition when they are feeling energetic, which is most of the time.” He paused, looking at Justin’s crotch. “Are you going to be able to play okay with that thing on?”
“What thing?” asked Justin, having a really good idea what Carlos meant, but wanting to be sure.
“The chastity cage,” said Carlos.
“She told you about that?” asked Justin.
“Yep,” said Carlos.
“Yikes! You two really are close friends! Anyway, it should be fine,” said Justin. “I haven’t had any problem so far, except at night. When I get a boner in the middle of the night, it wakes me up.”
“You’re a brave man to agree to being locked up like that for an extended period,” said Carlos. I don’t think I could do it.”
“I think I’ll manage. I’m trying not to think about it. You’re not helping.”
“Okay, sorry,” said Carlos.
Carlos directed Justin to the neighbor’s house, and they parked in the driveway close to the front of the property. Justin parked in a spot that wouldn’t block the neighbor if he or she needed to get by.
“Do we need to tell them we’re here?” asked Justin, getting out of the car.
“No, they know we are coming,” said Carlos. “When they hear us playing basketball, they’ll know who is here.”
They walked a couple of hundred feet to the area where a basketball hoop was mounted on the roof overlooking the garage and started shooting baskets.
“How long have you known Sharon?” asked Justin.
“My mother has worked for the family since I was five or so,” said Carlos. “I met Sharon for the first time when I was seven. Her family was having a 4th of July party outdoors. They invited relatives over for hot dogs and hamburgers. They also invited me. They needed my mother to help get everything ready, and they probably felt a bit bad about having her work on a holiday. I guess they thought it would be easier for her if I could be near her. At that time my grandmother lived with us, and they invited her too. Anyway, Sharon and I became friends almost instantly. She gave me a tour of the house and the property, and we played hide and seek for hours. I think that was the most fun day I ever had. After that I was invited over frequently. They even invited me over sometimes when her rich kid friends came over. Not everyone was as friendly to me as she was, at least not at first, but once they saw how much she liked me, they seemed to accept me. Of course I couldn’t match them when they started talking about their summer houses or their trips to Europe or their horseback riding. Sharon would sometimes wink at me when they weren’t looking, as if she and I had some private joke. She knew how to make me smile.”
“She has a talent for socializing, that’s for sure,” said Justin.
“So, how long have you known Sharon,” asked Carlos, tossing his basketball into the hoop from the free-throw line.
“We met in our sophomore year,” said Justin. “We had both become active in student government. We were on a committee planning concerts for the student body. She was quite the organizer. I was completely impressed. She can charm the socks off of anyone, as you know.”
“That sounds like Sharon,” agreed Carlos.
“So, anyway, before long I began inviting her on dates, and we got to know each other over a period of time. What I found surprising, though, is that she has lived at home during all four years of college, but she didn’t ever want me to pick her up for a date at her house. At least I got to meet her parents one time at a wedding. We spent a lot of time at my parents’ house, so of course I wondered what the big secret was that kept her from wanting me to come to her house. Everything about her home seems perfect, so I don’t know why she didn’t want me to see it until now.”
“I have a very clear understanding of why she didn’t want you to come to the house,” said Carlos. “There’s something very special about the house and her life she hasn’t told you yet.”
Justin stared at Carlos. “What’s that? I know about the family business. What else hasn’t she told me?”
“I’m thinking she’s going to tell you very soon,” said Carlos. “But please don’t get me in trouble. Don’t tell her what I’ve just said. Wait until she’s ready.”
Justin looked at the ground and then back at Carlos. “Okay, I won’t say anything. But if she doesn’t tell me in a week …”
“Then you’ll be patient,” said Carlos.
“You’re asking a lot,” said Justin.
“I guess so,” said Carlos. “But if you love her, you’ll wait.”
“Okay,” said Justin. “I’ll be patient. Actually, I will be impatient, but I’ll try to hide it as best as I can.”
“Good,” said Carlos. “Okay, gringo, ready to play one-on-one?”
“What did you just call me?” asked Justin.
“Gringo?” said Carlos.
“I thought we were starting to be friends, and then you call me ‘gringo,’” said Justin, sounding miffed.
“I thought you needed a nickname,” said Carlos.
“I think you can do better than that,” said Justin.
“Did you have a nickname when you were younger?” asked Carlos.
“Not one I want to tell anyone now that I’m an adult,” said Justin, laughing.
“I think I’ll call you Blazer,” said Carlos.
“Why Blazer?” asked Justin.
“Because you were wearing a blue blazer when I first met you,” said Carlos. “You looked so preppy in it, and I know Sharon’s mother was impressed. We all were.”
“I’m not sure I want a preppy nickname,” said Justin.
“Most people don’t like their nicknames at first,” said Carlos. “We’ll see if it sticks. If it’s a bad nickname, it won’t stick.”
“Do you give everyone nicknames when you meet them?” asked Justin.
“Only people I care about,” said Carlos. “Anyway, let’s use your ball,” he said, tossing his into the grass. “Come on, Blazer, show me what you’ve got.”
Justin immediately drove for the basket but Carlos stayed with him, jumping high to try to block his shot. Justin managed to get the ball into the basket anyway. Seeing the ball sail though the net, he smiled contentedly. Carlos grabbed the ball, dribbled it back twenty feet, and surveyed the court. Justin got into position in front of the basket and waited for Carlos to make his move. Carlos dribbled up, started to go around him, and stopped to shoot about eight feet from the basket. His shot sailed into the basket as well.
The two guys continued playing. They were fairly evenly matched in height and stamina, but after a while Carlos had more points. The longer they played, the more aggressive they became, bumping into each other and trying to steal the ball. At one point, as Justin was trying to fake a shot to get Carlos off-balance, Carlos just grabbed the ball out of his hands, pulling it with a powerful grip. Justin had to dismiss a sudden desire to slug his opponent, and wondered why he felt angry all of a sudden.
“I think I’ve had enough,” said Justin, feeling the need to cool off physically and emotionally.
“Okay, we can stop,” said Carlos.
“You’re not going to get sweat on my upholstery, are you?” said Justin, noticing perspiration on Carlos and feeling his own damp condition.
“Are you going to put me in the trunk?” asked Carlos.
“I’m just kidding,” said Justin. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sweaty too. It can’t be helped.”

* * * * *

As Justin backed out of the driveway, he asked, “Where can I drop you off?”
“Home,” said Carlos.
“Where’s home?” asked Justin.
“Sharon didn’t tell you?” asked Carlos.
“No,” said Justin. “Should she have?”
“I just thought she might have. Anyway, I live in the guest house. At least I live there when they don’t have guests staying with them, and they don’t often invite people to stay overnight.”
“Sounds like a nice place to live,” said Justin. “Unless you feel like you need some breathing room and would like more privacy.”
“I’m happy there,” said Carlos. “I have all the privacy I need.” He pulled a mobile phone out of his pants pocket and dialed. “Hello, darling,” said Carlos. “We’re done with basketball, and we’re all sweaty.” He paused, listening to Sharon. “Okay,” he said. Then he spoke to Justin, “Sharon wants to know if you want to go for a swim with her. We have lots of bathing suits, and you can use the shower in the guest house.”
“I wouldn’t want to intrude on your space,” said Justin.
“No problem at all,” said Carlos. “But you’ll have to give me a couple of minutes to straighten up first.”
“You don’t have to straighten up for me,” said Justin.
“I want to,” said Carlos.
“Okay,” said Justin.
“He says okay,” said Carlos into the phone. “Don’t worry.”
“Don’t worry about what?” asked Justin, wondering what Sharon was worried about.
Carlos thought for a moment, trying to figure out what to say. “She said to find a bathing suit that would look nice on you.”
“Oh,” said Justin.
“By the way, bathing suits are optional at the pool,” said Carlos. “You can go skinny dipping if you want. No one will mind.”
“Is that what you do?” asked Justin.
“Sometimes,” said Carlos. “It depends who’s watching through the curtains.”
“I hope you’re joking,” said Justin.
“Not really,” said Carlos. “I get lots of compliments.”
“Oh dear,” said Justin. “I had no idea things were so steamy at Sharon’s house.”
“I don’t think steamy is the best word,” said Carlos. “They leave me alone when I’m naked at the pool. They just enjoy the view. It doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t bother them.”
“Wouldn’t you be embarrassed if you got a boner?” asked Justin.
“Boners are a part of life,” said Carlos. “I think Sharon’s family understands that more than most people, given the business they’re in.”
“I suppose so,” said Justin. “Did Sharon know much about the business when she was growing up?”
“No, we had no idea until she was about seventeen. We’d heard they were in the import/export business, which is true. Eventually Sharon overheard her parents talking about some of their products, and she asked them to level with her.”
“Were you shocked?” asked Justin.
“I was surprised, but not shocked,” said Carlos. “I’m pleased for them that they have a successful business. At least I hope it’s successful. I’ve seen her father look a bit stressed from time to time, but I think that’s normal for anyone who runs a business.”
“I imagine so,” said Justin, parking the car along the curving driveway.
“Come around back with me,” said Carlos. “You probably don’t want them to see you looking so sweaty, do you?”
“I guess not,” said Justin. “Do I look that bad?”
“Are you sure you used deodorant?” asked Carlos, waving his hand in front of his nose and laughing.
Justin lifted one arm and smelled his armpit. “It doesn’t smell bad to me,” he said.
“Maybe it’s the other side,” said Carlos, laughing again. “Come on, Blazer, we’ll get you cleaned up.”
“I think I can get cleaned up by myself, if you don’t mind,” said Justin.
“That’s not what I meant,” said Carlos. “I wasn’t going to rub soap on your back for you. And certainly not on those armpits.”
“I know,” said Justin, smiling. “I was just kidding.”
When they reached the guesthouse, Carlos reminded Justin to stay outside until he could straighten up a few things. After a couple of minutes Carlos reappeared without his sweat-soaked shirt, invited him in, showed him the way to the bathroom and pointed out some towels and bathing suits. “Help yourself,” said Carlos. “I’m going to rest on the couch.” Carlos spread a large towel on the couch and laid down on it just as Justin disappeared into the bathroom to take his shower.
Several minutes later Justin reappeared, fully clean and wearing a navy blue bathing suit.
“Looks good on you, Blazer,” said Carlos. “But don’t you want to trim that chest hair? Sharon likes guys who are smooth, like me.”
“Please tell me you are kidding,” said Justin, feeling genuinely worried.
“I’m kidding, Blazer,” said Carlos. “Of course I’m kidding. Actually, she’s never told me which she prefers. I always assumed she liked guys like me. She’s stared at me often enough when I’ve been outdoors without my shirt on.”
“Perhaps she would have stared more if you had hair on your chest,” said Justin.
“Maybe so,” said Carlos. “I never thought about it.”
Justin looked over at the bar at the kitchen area and was surprised to see a children’s book. “Did someone leave a book behind?” he asked.
“Oh, that?” said Carlos, turning red. “Yes, you’re right. I was babysitting my cousin’s children recently, and they left a book behind.”
“You babysit?” asked Justin. “What a guy!”
“I can be a nice guy sometimes,” said Carlos.
“I’m impressed,” said Justin. “Are you going swimming with us?”
“No, man,” said Carlos. “I’m just going to relax. You go ahead.”
“Okay,” said Justin. “I had fun playing basketball.”
“So did I,” said Carlos. “It was fun.”
Justin walked over to the pool, letting himself in the gated area. Sharon got up off a chaise lounge, dressed in a bikini, and gave him a kiss. “I was hoping I’d see you before you left,” she said. “I was hoping he wouldn’t wear you out.”
“We certainly played hard,” said Justin. “He was getting rather aggressive toward the end.”
“Aggressive in a good way or a bad way?” asked Sharon.
“I don’t know,” said Justin. “Don’t say anything to him about it. I was just a little surprised. He didn’t need to prove anything, did he? It was like he wanted to show me how much muscle he had, how much stamina. It’s okay, I’m fine. I was just feeling a little confused about his style of play. He was somewhat intimidating with his energy level, but it’s okay.”
“Well, I’m sorry if he roughed you up,” said Sharon. “He can be excitable sometimes. I think he was happy about being able to get to know you. Sometimes he’s like a little kid, you know. He has a good heart. I always feel safe when he’s around.”
“Yeah, he seems like a good person,” said Justin. “He seems like a really good friend of yours. I guess you’re lucky to have such a close friend. Some people go through life never really having a close friend.”
“Yes,” said Sharon. “That’s true.” She pointed at a cooler. “What do you want to drink? I have energy drinks, soda, beer, bottled water and wine. Help yourself.”
“May I have bottled water and a beer?” asked Justin.
“Of course,” said Sharon.
“I should just drink the water, after all of that exercise,” said Justin. “But I feel like drinking beer also.”
“Help yourself,” said Sharon. “Please pass me a Diet Coke.”
They sat and drank their beverages for a minute while they rested.
“There’s something I need to talk with you about,” said Sharon.
“Yes?” asked Justin.
“Do you have time for a serious conversation?” asked Sharon. “You don’t need to rush off somewhere, do you?”
“Today I have all the time in the world,” said Justin. “I’m listening.”
“Okay,” said Sharon. “Whew! This is hard.” She sat for a moment looking upset. “When you proposed, I was very surprised. I know we had been dating for two years, and I should have realized that you were starting to have serious feelings for me.”
“But?” asked Justin.
“But somehow I thought I had more time to tell you certain things about me before you might be close to proposing. What I’m trying to say is that you don’t know me as well as you might have thought.”
“What?” asked Justin gently. “What didn’t I know?”
“Where do I start?” said Sharon. “I guess I’d better start at the beginning.” She paused. “Okay, more than two years ago at Christmas time I was dating Brad. Do you remember Brad? He was on the committee with us for a short time.” Justin nodded, and she continued. “He was handsome and moody. Some people didn’t like him, but I had a big crush on him. We had several dates, and then when my parents made plans to be away for New Years, I asked Brad if he’d like to spend a couple of days with me at my parents’ cabin at the lake. I thought we could get away with it since my parents would be gone. If they had been home, they might have told me no. Anyway, he agreed to go with me. The day we were supposed to go, he called me up and told me he had to see me. He had to tell me something important. He came over and told me he had started dating someone else. He still didn’t know her very well, but he had strong feelings for her. He didn’t want to go with me to the cabin. It was such a shock! When he left, I cried and cried. I just had no earthly idea he was seeing someone else. I was just distraught at the thought of him having happy times with some other girl.”
“Sounds like a rough time,” said Justin.
“Okay, so here’s where the story gets more painful,” said Sharon. “I made a mistake. I asked Carlos if he would go with me to the cabin.”
Justin gasped. “Carlos?”
“Yes, Carlos,” said Sharon. “I thought we could go as friends. We had been friends for years. We always had fun together. I thought he could cheer me up.”
“So, you were alone with Carlos in a cabin when you were in a vulnerable mood.”
“Yes, yes,” said Sharon. “It seems so obvious now that I made a big mistake. Everything was fine at first. We rowed around in a canoe for a while. We had some dinner. We watched a movie. We ate popcorn. Then we went to bed. I mean, we shared a bed. I just wanted him to be with me. Stupid me, I wasn’t thinking anything would happen. I just wanted the comfort of his presence. I was in my pajamas, and he was in his underwear. We fell asleep, and everything was fine at first.”
“Oh, my,” said Justin.
“Okay, so I was sound asleep, and he shifted in the bed. His hand landed on my breast, and it woke me up a little. I wasn’t too upset about it. I was thinking he was sound asleep. But after a minute he began to massage my breast.”
“Oh, no,” said Justin.
“I think you can imagine the rest,” said Sharon.
“I can imagine the rest,” said Justin. “I’m imagining that one of you had the foresight to bring along some condoms.”
“You’re imagining wrong,” said Sharon. “Neither one of us did. We had sex, and we had no protection. If I had been more awake, I might have been thinking more clearly. It was dark, and we were in a cabin, and he was loving me in the way that I had wanted Brad to love me. I must confess, I enjoyed it too much to be able to stop once we got started.” She paused and then continued. “The next day I told Carlos that I loved him as a friend but not as a boyfriend. He’s been like a brother to me. I told him he would someday make some woman very happy, but not me. I wanted him to always be my friend, but not that kind of friend. You have to know he has many wonderful qualities, but he has no ambition at all. Every cent he earns, he spends. He’s not the kind of guy a woman wants to be her husband, I mean, unless all she cares about is sex. He’s like one of those Peter Pan guys, he doesn’t want to grow up. I love him like a brother, but that’s as far as it goes.”
“Some women fall in love with Peter Pan guys, despite all of their faults,” said Justin.
“I imagine they do,” said Sharon. “But I’m more sensible than that.”
“So, is this what you wanted to tell me? That you had a brief sexual experience with Carlos?”
“I wish that was all I needed to tell you,” said Sharon. “I have something more difficult to say. What I mean is that it may be difficult for you to hear. Something very special happened as a result of that one night.” She paused. “I have a daughter as a result of that night.”
“Oh boy,” said Justin, jumping to his feet and pacing around the pool in dismay. “Oh boy, oh boy.”
“I don’t blame you for being shocked,” said Sharon.
“You’re telling me you have a child?” asked Justin.
“Yes,” said Sharon.
“How could you have a child without my noticing?” he shouted.
“Calm down!” said Sharon.
“How could you have a child without my noticing?” said Justin, red-faced and incredulous, in a stage whisper, as he sat back down.
“Remember I told you we had our little experience in the cabin at New Years,” said Sharon.
“Yes …”, said Justin.
“Do the math,” she said. “I had the baby at the end of August, just before the school year started.”
“Oh boy, oh boy,” said Justin, jumping to his feet again and pacing around. “Didn’t anyone notice just before summer break?”
“I tried to wear clothes that would conceal my condition,” said Sharon.
“And you didn’t tell any of your friends?” asked Justin.
“Not one person. I spent the entire summer here at the house. I never went shopping or anything. I just didn’t want anyone to know.”
“If you didn’t want anyone to know, why did you have the baby?” asked Justin.
“What a shocking question,” said Sharon angrily. “I loved this baby from the moment I realized I was pregnant. I never once thought about having an abortion.”
“Did you tell Carlos?” asked Justin.
“Of course I told Carlos,” said Sharon. “It was exciting news. We were both excited about having a child. Now telling my parents was much more difficult.”
“How did they react?” asked Justin.
“They were completely flabbergasted,” said Sharon. “They had no idea Carlos and I had had sex. I had to explain the whole situation to them. Of course they were upset and worried for me, but aside from that, they were very supportive.”
“Did you give the baby up for adoption?” asked Justin.
“Oh, no,” said Sharon. “Carlos and I wanted to keep her.”
Justin suddenly remembered the children’s book he saw on the bar in the guest house. “Now I know why Carlos wanted to straighten up before I came in the guest house,” he said, sitting back down next to Sharon. “He wanted to pick up some of her toys, didn’t he?”
“Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly what he did,” said Sharon.
“So, you and your family invited me over for Thanksgiving dinner so that we could all get acquainted,” said Justin. “I met your mother and your father. I met the father of your child. I met your daughter’s grandmother. Everyone in the whole house knew I was being deceived.”
“You weren’t being deceived,” said Sharon. “I just wasn’t ready to tell you yet. I was trying to work up the courage to tell you.”
“You surely realize that you’re not the only young woman who has had a child out of wedlock, right? I mean, this sort of thing is very common these days, right? I can understand feeling a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, especially when you live in a mansion and he cuts the grass, but you two obviously love each other. It’s not like you two met in a bar and decided to have a one-night stand.”
“I know, I know,” said Sharon. “I’m usually so down to earth about everything, but somehow having a child with our landscape guy just seemed too embarrassing. I dreaded telling anyone about it. My parents tried to convince me to be open about it, but I just couldn’t.”
“Okay,” said Justin. “Now tell me about your daughter. Does she live in this house? Or does she stay with someone elsewhere?”
“She lives with us here. When I gave you the tour, I skipped her room, and we hid all of her toys. And, by the way, I want to apologize with you for taking so long to tell you. I’m really sorry.”
“Okay,” said Justin. “But I still want to hear about your daughter. What’s her name?”
“Her name is Elena. That’s Rosa’s middle name. I thought it was a pretty name.”
“What’s her last name?” asked Justin.
“We gave her the same last name as Carlos: Medina,” said Sharon. “She is Elena Ana Medina. I wanted her father to be important in her life, and I felt she should have his last name.”
“Oh boy, oh boy,” said Justin, jumping to his feet again and pacing around. “You must really love Carlos if you gave her his last name,” he said.
“I really love Carlos as a brother, as a friend,” said Sharon. “Not as a husband. But, since he is like a brother to me, I want him to be a part of my life, now and always.”
“Oh boy, oh boy,” said Justin, pacing some more. “This is a lot to take in. Surely you know, this is a lot.”
“I understand,” said Sharon. “Of course it is. Of course.”
“Where’s Elena?” asked Justin. “How could you hide her during Thanksgiving, when you all were with me?”
“She was with Carlos’ cousins,” said Sharon. “She had a great time. She’s too young to know about Thanksgiving, so she didn’t realize she was away from us on a holiday. She had fun playing with her cousins, and then she came home in the evening and had a great night’s sleep. She was exhausted.”
“Is she bilingual?”
“Si,” said Sharon. “As bilingual as a two-year-old can be.”
“Is she inside the house right now?” asked Justin.
“Yes, she is,” said Sharon. “Do you want to meet her?”
“Yes, of course I want to meet her,” said Justin. “But not right now. I think we both need time to digest this conversation.”
“Of course,” said Sharon.
“Forgive me if I ask you, but is she healthy?” asked Justin, sitting down again.
“Oh, yes, yes,” said Sharon. “She is the perfect picture of health. She’s always been healthy, from the moment she was born.”
“And I imagine Carlos was with you in the hospital room when she was born.”
Sharon paused. “He is my best friend and the father of my child. Yes, he was in the hospital room. I couldn’t have done it without him. The poor guy, I squeezed his hand so hard, but he didn’t mind. Of course it was the least he could do, given the circumstances. I think I might have cussed him a bit, but I don’t remember very well.”
“Is there anything else you want to tell me?” asked Justin.
Sharon shook her head. “No, that’s the story. That’s what I needed to tell you.”
Justin sat and looked at his hands for a moment, dreading what he was about to say. “I’m glad you told me,” he said. “You should have told me a long time ago, but I’m glad you finally told me. I hope you’ll understand that this is a lot of really important news. When I bought the ring, I was thinking only of you, how beautiful you are, how wonderful you are, how much fun we could have together. Of course you are still beautiful. You’re still wonderful. Now we have a hurdle to cross. The hurdle is that I need to love you and love your daughter. I feel like I need to start over. I’m telling you I want to start over. I want to date you again. I don’t want to be your fiancé now. I want us to forget that I proposed. I want to start over.” He paused. “What I’m saying is that I want the ring back.”
Sharon gasped. “Oh!” She looked down at her hand and thought about what to say, but there was nothing really she could say. She pulled the ring off her finger and gave it back to him.
“Now I think I’d better go,” said Justin. “I’ll call you tomorrow.” He stood up and hesitated for a moment, but her head was down and she looked dazed. He decided he should just go, so he walked off toward the guest house to retrieve his clothes, wallet and car keys.
When he reached the guesthouse, he wondered if he should knock or just open the door. He decided to knock. Carlos came to the door looking half asleep. “Sorry to wake you,” said Justin.
“No problem, man,” said Carlos. “Did you swim?”
“No, we just talked,” said Justin. “I’m thinking Sharon needs a hug right now,” he added.
“Did she break the news?” asked Carlos.
“Yes,” said Justin. “Congratulations on the baby. I’m sure she means a lot to you.”
“You’ve got that right,” said Carlos, smiling. “She’s a real sweetie.”
“Do you think anyone will mind if I wear the bathing suit home?” asked Justin. “I don’t feel like changing back into my sweaty clothes.”
“No one will mind,” said Carlos. “Just roll up your clothes in a towel and carry them home.”
“Okay,” said Justin. “Good idea.”

[To be continued ...]
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