The Senior CenterbyDG Hear©
Life went on and before I knew it, it was June. Granddad was still visiting Ben twice a week and they would go fishing at least once a week. They became really good friends.
I came to work one day and Ben was really happy, a lot more than usual. When I asked him what put him in such a good mood he said he had a surprise for me. I looked up and saw a man in uniform. I knew it was Rob.
I was a bit embarrassed. If I knew he would be there I would have at least done something to my hair or fixed my makeup.
"Isn't she every bit as pretty as I told you?" said Ben to Rob.
"Yes she is Grandpa. Nina, it's very nice to meet you. Needless to say Grandpa always writes about you." I think we were both a bit lost for words.
"It's nice meeting you too Rob. I have to get back to work, I hope to see you again," I said as I walked away. I was a nervous wreck the rest of the evening.
That evening I stopped at my grandparents and I mentioned to Grandpa that Rob was home. He laughed and said he knew Rob was coming home. Ben had told him the last time he visited the center. I asked him why he didn't tell me and he said that he was under the impression that I didn't even know Rob.
"I don't but Ben talks about him a lot. How stupid can I be? I have a crush on a guy that I don't even know," I said to Gramps.
"Honey, I'm sorry. Ben told me not to tell you; he wanted to surprise you," replied Gramps. "I think it worked".
I have to admit that I was a bit confused about Rob. Was he being nice to me because of Ben? What should I do or how should I act? I decided to just act natural around him and be myself. I'd wait to see if anything would come of my meeting Rob.
The following morning there was a knock on the door. I had just gotten out of the shower but did get dressed in a pair of jeans and a shirt. I wrapped a towel around my hair since I hadn't had time to brush it out. I looked out the window of the door and saw the back of a young man.
I opened the door and stuck my head out. "Yes, can I help you?" I asked.
I could have died when the man turned around and it was Rob. He was dressed in street clothes. I was at the peak of embarrassment when he spoke.
"Hi there! I was riding through your neighborhood and thought I'd stop by and say hi. I hope I didn't interrupt anything. I was wondering if you would like to go out for lunch with me before you go to work."
"Why are you here?" I asked.
"I just told you. I wanted..."
"No, why are you really here? Did Ben send you? You don't even know me and you come by unannounced and I look a mess. Why are you here?" I asked again.
"I'm sorry. I really did want to take you to lunch and get to know you better. Grandpa always wrote to me about you and I started carrying your picture in my wallet. If you are half the woman Gramps says you are, you must be fabulous. Do you want me to leave?"
Decision time for me. "No, I'm sorry, please come in." I couldn't believe I gave in so easily.
I invited him in and offered him a soda. I told him I had to comb out my hair before it dried. He said he was used to seeing women with turbans on their head. We both laughed.
I spoke up while I was brushing my hair from the bathroom. "I have to tell you that I don't trust most young guys. I guess I spend too much time with the elderly. They don't lie to me like the young guys do."
"Ouch! Were you in a bad relationship?" he asked me. "Just so you know, I had a girlfriend when I left for the service. She wrote to me for three months before we broke up. A friend of mine wrote to me and told me she was dating other guys. When I asked her she lied at first and then told me she was bored and they didn't mean anything to her.
"She wrote a few more times and wanted my forgiveness but that wasn't going to happen. Once she lied to me I knew I couldn't trust her after that. The last I heard she was engaged to the mayor's son which is fine with me." I walked into the living room where he was sitting.
He stared at me. "You know Grandpa is right. You really are beautiful."
"What? Are you blind? I'm overweight, I'm dressed in jeans and my hair is a mess."
"You don't understand. You have natural beauty; not all made up with a lot of makeup. You definitely are not overweight. I'm being serious here. Are you going out to lunch with me?"
"Yes, but we need some ground rules. I'm not a pushover for a man in uniform. You need to know that." Why did I even say such a thing? Am I an idiot or what?
He laughed and said, "Whatever you want".
We went to lunch and talked for three hours. I was almost late for work. When Ben saw me he told me I looked really happy. I told him I had lunch with Rob and he really is a nice guy.
I had a long talk with Ben about Rob. I wanted to know more about him. "Ben, why did Rob enlist in the service? His family has money and he is really intelligent. Please tell me the truth."
After looking at me for a few seconds Ben told me a little about Rob. "Rob didn't know what he wanted in life. His parents wanted him to follow in their footsteps in the banking industry but Rob didn't want that. He enlisted to find himself. He believed the girls dated him for his name and financial situation and he wasn't happy.
"He likes fishing, hunting and helping others. He told me he wanted to be like me." I saw a tear in Ben's eyes. "Damn allergies," he said.
"My daughter and her husband were furious with Rob when he enlisted. They were mad at me for encouraging him to do what he wanted. They couldn't stop him and eventually wished him the best. He's a great kid.
"He would write home to us and tell us how bad it was in Iraq and how the Air Force was helping people. He really felt good about it. He even thought of reenlisting but I mentioned that we missed him and I had a girl for him to meet."
"You didn't! Oh my God! I'm so embarrassed, I hope he knows I had nothing to do with it." Ben was laughing; it made me start laughing.
"You're a good person Nina. You're beautiful, intelligent, you have a heart of gold and would be a great catch for any man; don't let anyone tell you differently. It's why I sent your picture to Rob. I knew he would want to meet you."
The next day Rob came by in the morning and I was ready for him. I had my hair done and at least presentable. "You cleanup pretty good," said Rob as he laughed. Did you do it for me?"
"No," I said quickly and realized how stupid I sounded as I said it. Rob laughed and we headed out for lunch. It was the start of a great relationship. He would stop by and see Ben a few times a week. He even went fishing with my Granddad and Ben. We talked a couple of times a week and he would take me out on my days off.
He never tried anything flirty and always treated me like a lady. I liked that but I had to wonder how he really felt about me. Was I more like a sister or just a good friend? I knew I was falling for him.
I asked Rob about his future and what his plans were. He told me he had signed up for a couple of Criminal Justice courses. He was going into law enforcement. The local police department explained that his military background as military police qualified him for a position but he needed to take the courses to understand local and state laws as they differed from military law.
He would spend time at the college during the day and three evenings a week he would ride with a police officer in a cruiser and learn the ropes. He said his parents weren't really happy with him going into law enforcement but understood his decision. They were just happy that he didn't reenlist. I guess it was hard on them knowing their only son was in a foreign country fighting a war.
After us going out for a couple of months I asked him about our relationship. I took a chance and asked him straight out where he thought it was going. He smiled at me, leaned forward and gently kissed me. "Does that answer your question?"
Two dates later after he took me out for dinner and dancing for my birthday, he took me home and I invited him in. He kissed me but this time there was more passion in it. It led to us making love for the first time. I knew right then that I was in love with him.
"Rob, please don't lead me on. I've fallen for you or I wouldn't be here with you right now."
"Nina, I love you. You've told me your past relationships didn't fare well and I wanted ours to last. It's the only reason I haven't pressured you earlier."
From that night forward we made love on a regular basis. When I told Ben that I loved Rob, he smiled. "I knew you two were meant for each other."
Now I hoped his parents were ok with it. They knew me from when they visited Ben but I didn't know if they were aware of Rob and I dating. I asked Rob the next time I saw him if his parents knew we were dating?
"Yes, they know. They are kind of coming around and realizing I'm a lot happier than I have ever been. In fact they are throwing a large Thanksgiving dinner and inviting friends and relatives. They asked me to invite you and your grandparents. I think my mom and dad are really trying."
I stopped at my grandparents house and told them about the invitation. I told them that I was in love with Rob and really wanted them to come to the dinner. They smiled at me and said they would be there.
Grandma called Rob's mom, Barb, and told her she would make a couple of pies. Mrs. Parsons' told her that the dinner was being catered but she heard from Ben what a good cook Grandma was and said it would be fine. She would let the caterers know that she was making the pies.
Ben was happy to see my grandparents at the dinner. By now it was like they were old friends. I felt a little out of place since I didn't know hardly anyone. Ben could see the slight worry in my face and told me everything would be fine.
Before dinner everyone was standing or sitting while talking to one another. I didn't do much mingling but sat with my grandparents and Ben. I hadn't seen Rob yet and wondered where he was. At least his mom and dad had said hi and were pleasant towards me.
People would say hi to Ben and he would introduce my grandparents and
me as friends of his and said I worked at the Senior Center. He didn't say anything about Rob and I but why would he. I guess I was just nervous.
A butler stepped into the room and said, "Excuse me please. Dinner will be served in a few minutes. Also, Mr. Robert Parsons has an announcement he would like to make."
I had talked to him the day before and he seemed excited. He told me he had a surprise for everyone the next day before dinner. Now, I had to wonder what he was going to say.
Rob entered the room in a police uniform. He really looked handsome. Everyone began talking and saying hi to Rob.
"I would like to announce that starting Monday I will officially be a member of the local police department." Everyone began to clap but Ben and I clapped the loudest. I knew he was taking his exams but he never said anything about them. I actually stood up and clapped for him. I didn't care what anyone else thought, I was so proud of him.
"I have another announcement and then we can all sit down and eat this wonderful dinner," said Rob. He walked over to me and asked me to sit back down, but in a nice way.
He knelt on one knee and I already had tears in my eyes. "Nina, I love you with all my heart and soul. I have never met a woman that is so beautiful and sweet both inside and out. I want you in my life as long as I live. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"
There was stone cold silence as he pulled out the most beautiful engagement ring. He continued; "This ring belonged to my grandmother. Before she died she told me to only give it to the woman that I truly loved and that woman is you."
With tears running down my face I said, "Yes! Yes, of course I'll marry you."
He slipped the ring on my finger, took my hand as I stood up and we sealed the deal with a loving kiss. The allergies were running pretty high as Ben and my grandparents all had tears in their eyes. Even Barb and John Parsons must have the allergy bug.
It was announced that dinner was being served and everyone headed to the dining area. I sat next to Rob and most of the talk at the tables was about us. Many asking who I was and how did we meet.
When it was time for dessert Mrs. Parsons announced that the pies were made by my Grandma. She ended up making five pies to make sure there would be enough for everyone. Everyone told her how good they tasted. Grandma felt proud and Grandpa was proud of her.
After dinner Rob and I went and sat alone in a side room of the house. I kissed him passionately and told him how much I loved him. Then we discussed when we would get married. We decided that we would get married on Valentine's Day, February 14. I honestly don't know why we chose that day. I suppose my reason was because it was a day for lovers and I truly loved Rob. For Rob I think it was a date that he wouldn't have to worry about forgetting.
We went back among the dinner guests and gave them our wedding date and told them they were all invited to the wedding which brought on cheers. Rob's parents came up to me and hugged me and welcomed me to the family. They hugged their son and told him how much they loved him.
When I went to work on Monday, everyone already knew about my engagement. Ben sat there in his chair with a big smile on his face. "You can start calling me Grandpa any time," said Ben.
I hugged him and thanked him for introducing me to Rob. He told me we are all better off since Rob and I got together. His grandson is home and has never been happier. His daughter and son in law understand Rob much better and understand he needs to lead his own life, but most of all his grandson has met a woman who loves him for himself.
I had tears in my eyes and said, "I love you too Grandpa." Then gave him another hug.
Hope you enjoyed this lighthearted story
A happy Valentine's Day to all my readers
Comments are welcome and appreciated