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From This Day Forward – Chapter One, Part Four

Welcome to From This Day Forward, book ten in the Operation Quickline series. It’s Sid and Lisa’s big day – their wedding. But in the weeks leading up to the event, something strange is going on. The only thing scarier will be their honeymoon. You can read the first episode here and see all the episodes that have run here.

5:25 a.m., just a few minutes shy of regular wake up time. I didn’t have to be up for another couple hours and would have happily slept in. But there was no point in trying to sleep that morning. I sat up and swung my legs over to the edge of the bed. Sid would never have believed it, but I wasn’t hungry. [You’re right. That almost never happens. – SEH] I started wondering what Sid was doing. Probably getting ready to go running. He’s usually up around five and nudging me awake by five-thirty. I am not a morning person, and he is. We usually run together with Nick and my dog Motley every morning except on Sundays. Sundays, I sleep in. He still runs.

Truth be told, I probably like complaining about running more than I, in fact, hate it, but it is not my favorite activity. It is necessary, which is why I end up doing it every morning. That morning, I found the running suit that Sid had packed in my overnight bag and put it and my regular running shoes on. I slid the last bit of cash from my wallet into my pants. Grandma continued to snore. I slipped outside the room and in the semi-darkness, made my way out to the front of the house. I stretched in the driveway of Mae and Neil’s house in North Pasadena. The air was just a touch nippy, and I happily sucked it into my lungs. I headed east down the street a block or two, then headed north two more blocks, then east again. I only heard it in my head, but there was a phone ringing…

(Monday, February 24)

Sid and I were in our office that Monday, the last week before the wedding. It was my day to answer the phones, and when the call came through from Dr. Kline’s office, I didn’t have to put her on hold. I put the call on the speakerphone.

“Dr. Kline,” Sid said. “Good to hear from you.”

We were both holding our breath.

“The test came back negative. You’re clean,” said her soothing voice. “I told you last October.”

“We still didn’t know,” Sid said.

“We do now.” Dr. Kline chuckled. “It’s like I told you, Sid. Seven months seemed to be the longest. On the other hand, all the data and everything else I’ve seen strongly suggests that the virus shows up in the bloodstream before six months. It’s been almost a year since your last possible exposure. You do not have the AIDS virus.”

Sid closed his eyes. “Thank you.”

“You may now fornicate in peace,” Dr. Kline said. “But please make sure you are covered.”

“That won’t be an issue, Doctor.” Sid smiled at me. “I seem to be settling into the old married man thing.”

She laughed. “Oh, that’s right. Well, do both yourself and Lisa a favor and stay out of trouble.”

“That is my plan.”

Sid said goodbye and switched off the phone.

“Yes!” I yelped. “I told you. I told you we were clear!”

“I don’t care.” Sid held his hands up. “It was not worth the risk of infecting you.”

I tried not to roll my eyes and didn’t quite succeed. “You know what this means. Full sexual intercourse.”

“Yeah.” Sid grinned, then winced and sighed. “There is one problem. I want to deflower you without having to worry about recharging, and when are we going to have the time?”

“What do you mean?” Yeah, I was upset. I’d been waiting for this for months.

It was part of the compromise. Sid had given up sleeping around for my sake, no matter how willingly. I was allowing for a looser definition of marriage on my end. I mean, why not? Sid and I had already promised our lifetime commitment and fidelity to each other almost a year before. We were, for all intents and purposes, already married, with our assets mingled, raising our son, sharing our toiletries. If we weren’t having full sex, it was because Sid did not want to risk infecting me after he’d found out he’d been potentially exposed to the AIDS virus.

Sid held up his forefinger. “We have barely an hour and a half before we need to leave to pick up Nick from school and get your parents and grandmother from the airport and bring them to your sister’s place.” He added the middle finger to the gesture. “Tomorrow, in the mid-morning, we pick up Stella and Sy from the airport, then spend all day shuttling them around to check out your nephew’s training, plus whatever celebratory hilarity ensues from there, and we both know there will be plenty. Three, having Stella around is going to be a problem, because even if she doesn’t come barging through any closed doors, she will knock until we answer, and that is not conducive to a pleasant first experience.”

I couldn’t help sulking. “And we’ve got the adoption hearing on Wednesday and the party after that, lunch with the parents on Thursday, plus your bachelor party that night. Maybe Friday morning.”

Sid’s eyebrow rose. “After a bachelor party?”

“Oh. Right.” I sighed. “Sid, this is ridiculous. Why don’t we just wait? It’s only a few more days, and we can keep on with what we’ve been doing.”

Sid laughed. “You mean, I actually get to deliver you to the altar pure and unstained?”

I shivered, thinking about what we’d been up to. “Maybe not so pure and unstained. Let’s face it, Sid. If I’m still a virgin, it’s merely on the technicality of no penetration.”

Thanks to Sid’s terror of exposing me to any of his bodily fluids beyond saliva (and it had been way too late for that one when we’d realized that he might have been exposed to the AIDS virus), there had been plenty of oral sex for me. Other creative measures for him.

He grinned at me. I could see him thinking about not having to wear his jeans to bed anymore. I bit my lip, then pushed him into my desk chair.

“What?” he asked.

“We’ve got at least an hour,” I said. “We can celebrate a little bit.”

“And what do you have in mind?” He groaned as I demonstrated. “Honey, do you know what you’re doing?” He groaned again in ecstasy. “Crud, you do! Good gravy, you do!”

[Again, not what I actually said. – SEH]

Thank you for reading. For more information about the Operation Quickline series, click here.

Please check out the Fiction page for the latest on all my novels. Or look me up at your favorite independent bookstore. Mine is Vroman’s, in Pasadena, California.

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