Debbie & Ned: EpiloguebyPaul K. Merrill©
Ned's mother and father were curled up on the living room couch to watch the latest chick flick. But in truth, both were thinking about Debbie, though only one of them knew it. That one spoke up quietly.
"You know," said Ned's mother, "I was a little worried about you going over to Debbie's tonight."
"Oh, Ned's alright, Debbie loves him, that's for sure, but he knows he has some growing up to do before he gets into a serious relationship."
"Men and your egos, it's all about You!" She punched him ever so lightly on the shoulder, but for some reason it hurt horrifically for an instant. "I know Ned is all right. Just like Debbie knows that she would have to kill me before she did anything to him."
Her husband looked down at his sweet, loving, beautiful wife with surprise, but he didn't say anything.
"No, I was worried about you. I was afraid that you would come back with a broken heart or a broken neck."
"Well Debbie is an attractive, vivacious woman, but not nearly as special as the woman I married."
"You got that right buster," she laughed.
They sat together in silence for awhile until she looked up at him with a small question in her eyes.
"She didn't draw her swords for or against you?"
"No, but how did you know about the swords?"
His wife looked at him stony-faced.
"Promise me you won't move a muscle for the the next hour," she whispered.
"Sure, of course, " he said in confusion.
She grimaced as she rolled up her sleeves.
"Do you remember these freckles?"
He nodded, thinking of their early romance. He used to call her "My little druggie," which caused her to throw pillows and sometimes even paperback books dangerously close to his head.
"Well you were right, more right than you knew."
She looked away and began to cry. Her husband started to reach for her.
"Stop," she whispered, "Let me talk."
He leaned back into the couch and tried to breath through his confusion. She continued in a low, ferocious whisper.
"On Wednesday nights, I would go to my women's self defence class." She paused. Our instructor was a tough little marine named Deborah."
She turned and looked him straight in the eye.
"Deborah... Veronica... Starr."
He could only stare, mouth suddenly dry, an understanding dawning slowly through a thick grey fog.
"After class we would go out for ginseng coolers and all that crap. I would step outside the coffee house and score some smack. One day Dee, Debbie, found out."
"That was the night you came home saying that someone tried to rob you," her husband said.
"I wasn't lying either. But it was Debbie trying to steal my high." She grinned ruefully. "I never saw her again after that, until she came waltzing into our lives 10 years ago."
She smiled, taking her husband's hand and kissing his palm gently.
"I kicked the habit because of her, because of both of you, all of you."
"At first, I wanted to provethat I didn't need her help to get well. Then I wanted to prove myself worthy of you. Boy it was hard."
"You should have told me," he whispered in awe.
"If wishes were fishes..."
"I would become a sushi chef," he finished, laughing.
She grinned and kissed him lightly on the lips.
"I lost control once, and nearly lost you."
He nodded, remembering that horrendous week.
"Worst nights of my life," he muttered.
She grimaced, "That's an understatement. But when I found out a year later that Ned was on the way, the cravings stopped."
"You lost weight..."
"You don't know the half of it."
"Martial arts?" he asked.
"What do you think I was doing every day between 8 and 10, having tea with the ladies?"
"Wow. And now?"
"Just me and Debbie, once or twice a week."
"With the swords?"
"She always uses the Katana, the longer sword. I use a kitchen knife."
"You always were practical," he laughed as she grinned at him. "Do you know any good teachers for a poor, henpecked husband like me?"
"Our sensei teaches at the YMCA across town. He would welcome two men to his Dojo."
"No lessons from loved ones?"
"Let's keep the fighting separate from the loving, buster. At least for now. Besides, you guys need something to do together now that little league has lost its luster."
"Agreed Master," he said, with an exaggerated bow of his head.