Wednesday, it was my turn to tail the official. Nothing happened. Sid had the night shift and didn’t come back until time to run, Thursday morning. He ran with us, then at breakfast, gave Nick permission to watch the pile of movies they’d rented the day before. After that, Sid went to take a nap and I went back to the office.
He woke up in time for lunch. I took mine back to the office while he and Nick chatted. When Sid finally came in, he stopped and looked at me.
“That’s a very nice blouse you have on,” he said smiling gently.
The blouse in question came from a McCall’s pattern with a square neck, front buttons offset to the right side and full, three-quarter length sleeves. I’d made it out of a linen with a flower print in apricot and light green.
“Thanks, Sid.” I was still a little suspicious. Sid complimented my clothes all the time, but there was just something off about his comment.
“Did you buy it?”
“No, I made it.”
“You did a nice job. That’s a good color for you.”
“Thank you,” I replied.
Sid went into his office. I bit my lip. Things were just too awkward and it was beginning to get to me. On the other hand, I really didn’t want to have a fight, and that seemed all too likely. Sid and I fought all the time, so it wasn’t that so much as me being afraid that he would use my engagement as an excuse to avoid the confrontation, which would eventually mean a really nasty dragged-out fight, which meant that if we were going to be fighting anyway, I might as well get it over with. I groaned inwardly, then followed Sid into his office and plopped down into the chair in front of his desk.
“Yes?” He glanced up at me, then returned his attention to the article draft that he was marking up with the fountain pen he reserved for red ink.
“Don’t you think it’s about time we talked?”
“About what?” He made a mark on the printout.
“About George and me.”
He looked up and shrugged. “What’s to talk about? You obviously love the man. I’ve taken great pains to avoid any of those sorts of ties between us. I have no right to stand in the way and I’m not going to.”
I somehow managed not to roll my eyes. “Sid, there’s more to it than that.”
“Of course there is.” His grumble was sarcastic as all get out, but he capped his pen and sat back in his seat. “Alright. I’m not terribly thrilled about it. But what can I do? I’m not about to offer you the same thing.”
“I’m not asking for that, and I’m not even sure I want it.” I looked down at my hands. “I am worried about our friendship.”
“How does George feel about it?”
“I don’t know.” I began picking at a hangnail on my thumb. “I haven’t really talked to him about it.”
“Well, you’d better.”
He was right, but I glared at him, anyway.
“What difference does it make?”
He held his hands up. “I don’t want to be an obstacle between you and your husband.”
“I’m not going to let that happen. And I refuse to let George determine who my friends are going to be. Sid, you’re my closest friend. I don’t want to lose that.”
Sid looked away, then back at me. “Are you planning on working for me after the wedding?”
“Well, duh.” I stopped and frowned. “I guess it isn’t that obvious. I mean, I want to. I’ve just got a feeling that George isn’t going to want a working wife. His mother doesn’t.” I put on a smile. “We’ll just have to talk that one through.”
“That’s not the only job problem you’ve got.” Sid’s eyebrow lifted.
Wincing, I got up from the chair and shut and locked the office door.
“I don’t want to be reassigned,” I said, sitting down again.
“That’s not what I’m worried about. Have you told George anything?”
“Of course not. But I’ll probably have to tell him something sooner or later.”
“Probably.” Sid shook his head. “Will you promise me one thing? Don’t tell him until after the wedding? I realize there’s always the possibility of divorce, but I’d feel a lot better if you waited until then.”
“Yeah. That makes sense. Alright. I promise.” I looked away and shut my eyes.
“Don’t feel you can’t break that promise if you have to tell him to keep him. But that’s the only condition.”
“I know, Sid.”
He still seemed a little uncomfortable about something. “Who knows? We may end up recruiting him.”
“I’d rather not,” I said, my heart skipping a beat. “At least, not immediately.”
Sid grinned. “I wouldn’t until closer to the wedding. Speaking of which, do you know when yet?”
“That.” I grimaced. “Probably not until next year or later, with any luck. We’re supposed to have the meeting with Father John…” I looked at my watch. “Shoot. In just about half an hour.”
“Oh.” Sid’s face fell.
I realized we still hadn’t discussed what I really wanted to.
“Sid, could you do one favor for me?”
“What?” He uncapped his pen.
“Could you not avoid me?” I know it’s a little awkward, but we can adjust. I don’t like having things between us.”
“I’ll try, Lisa.” He looked at me a little sadly.
“Thanks, Sid.” I got up and left.
There wasn’t much more I could ask for and I did believe he would try. At least, there hadn’t been a fight and Sid hadn’t completely avoided the topic.
My only other problem was the coming meeting with Father John, our pastor at our parish. George had talked me into it that Tuesday after Bible study. I pointed out that he had agreed to take things slowly, but he came back saying that the best reception sites were usually booked over a year in advance, so it made sense to have the date set sooner rather than later. Then my mother called after I’d gotten back and told me the same thing. Worse yet, she had a reception site that she really liked for the following April and needed to put a deposit in as soon as possible. So, when George called me the next day with the meeting time, I agreed to go. I also made the mistake of telling him what my mother had said.
Father John Reynolds is the only person I’ve even told about Quickline. He’s a tall, gentle man with a special talent for helping get and keep perspective on a lot of the questionable things I find myself doing. He’d been doing ministry over at UCLA, then was assigned to my parish as pastor right before I got there. Kathy, Esther, and Frank had known him from UCLA and followed him to the parish. George and Jesse knew each other and Father John from some other ministry John had been involved in and followed him to the parish. Which gives you an idea of just how special Father John is. The Church tries to encourage people to stay with the parish they live in to avoid anyone getting too dependent on one person. But Esther pointed out that as young adults, none of them had any ties anywhere and they might as well develop said ties with people that they like. It’s thanks to John that I’m up to my hips in the high school group and other activities.
As John ushered George and me into his office, the priest seemed unusually uncomfortable.
“Is everything okay?” I asked as we settled into chairs.
John shifted in the beat-up office chair behind his cluttered desk. “Yes and no. I just don’t know about this.”
“But why?” asked George, completely baffled.
“A lot of things, George,” John said. “It’s not that I don’t think you’ll have a good marriage. It will probably be nice and solid. You two love each other and you have a strong sense of commitment. You have a decent idea of what you’re getting into. So, for those reasons, I can’t refuse to marry you.”
“But,” I said.
Father John took a deep breath, then looked at me and George.
“But,” he repeated, “I don’t think it’s the best of all possible choices. It’s not a bad one. It’s just not the best.”
“John, I don’t understand,” George complained. “What could possibly be wrong with it? I love Lisa. I want to make her happy.”
“I know, George.” John looked him up and down. “But there are problems on both sides. For instance, I have to wonder about your motives, George. I’ve known you for a long time and you’ve been wife hunting almost since you got out of high school. It could be that you’re more in love with the idea of being married than you are with Lisa, herself.”
“But I love Lisa,” George’s voice took on a whiny edge.
“I know you do,” John said, more patient than I would have been. “And I said that.” Then he turned to me. “As for you, Lisa, I know you love George, too, but I also know you love your career. Are you sure you’re not running away from something by marrying George?”
“You mean Sid?” I asked, then sighed. “I don’t think so. Maybe, at first, there was a little of that. But we did get to talking about it this afternoon, and I’m confident in our friendship and I plan on maintaining it.”
“I see,” John said, still looking less than convinced.
“John, this is not a rush job,” George said. “I waited, just like you told me to.”
George rolled his eyes. “Okay. We both know I’ve been wanting to get married. And maybe I jumped the gun once or twice.”
“Four or five times, George,” John said.
“But I really took my time with Lisa,” George said. “I’ve never loved anyone more than I love her. I’ve thought long and hard about this and prayed about it.”
John looked like he wanted to say more.
“I know,” he said, finally. “That’s why I don’t really have grounds to refuse you marriage. I am going to ask you one favor, though. Wait. Don’t set a date for another few months.”
I was about to say okay, but George groaned loudly.
“We can’t,” he said. “All the good reception sites are already booked until next year. And my mom has been bugging me as it is.”
“So has my mom,” I said with a sigh. “But if you want us to wait, we will. Mama’s important, but not that important.”
“Hmmm. When did you have in mind?”
“Next April,” George said quickly before I could suggest the following July. “Lisa’s mom found a really nice hotel for the reception and she wants to put a deposit down as soon as possible.”
John looked at me.
I shrugged. “She’s pretty excited.”
John looked at us both for a very long minute.
“April,” he said finally, then reached over the desk to where the wedding book sat waiting. “I suppose I can work with that. Let’s see what’s available.”
George grinned and I smiled. We were able to get April 20, 1985, at ten a.m. Mama had told me to get the time a little later in the afternoon, but we didn’t have the option. All of the other Saturdays that month were booked and May was mostly full, too.
John wrote us in and told us about the preliminary paperwork and other requirements. George was so excited I don’t know how much he heard. As we started to leave, John held me back.
“I want to talk to Lisa privately for a minute,” he said.
“Sure.” George all but floated out of the office.
I sank back into my chair as John closed the office door.
“I think I know what this is about,” I said as he got back into his chair.
“I don’t know what you’ve told George about your little side business, but I thought I’d better not take any chances,” John said.
“That’s good because he doesn’t know a thing.”
“You’re going to have to tell him eventually.”
“I know.” I looked away, feeling guilty. “But I promised Sid that I wouldn’t until after the wedding unless I couldn’t keep him any other way.”
“That makes sense,” said John. “But it’s not all that fair to George.”
“The problem is, once he knows, he’s pretty much caught,” I said. “There really is no way to be fair to him that way. Heck, Sid couldn’t even tell me about it until I was already recruited.”
“I suppose not.” John looked at me again. “Are you sure you’re not running away from Sid?”
I looked at him, puzzled. “Sid and I are friends and that’s not going to change. So, there’s really nothing to run away from.”
“What about children?”
“What do you mean?”
John snorted. “What’s going to happen if and when you get pregnant?”
“I don’t know. I suppose I’ll have to go into some type of retirement.”
“You’d better find out before too long. That could put you into quite a bind.”
I shrugged, not wanting to admit he was right. “It’ll work out. I know of a whole family that’s involved. Sid was even talking about recruiting George.”
John’s eyebrows rose. “How do you feel about that?”
“Fine.” I stopped. “I don’t know, I guess. I don’t like involving George in the danger, but it would be nice to work with him.”
“You haven’t thought this out very completely.”
I squirmed. “We’ve only been engaged for less than a week.”
“Lisa, you should have thought of these things before you gave George your answer.”
“Maybe.” I was annoyed because he had me. Unfortunately, that only got my dander up. “But I’m committed to this now, so I’ll just have to work it out. I love George and I do feel good about this.”
“Alright. I’ll talk to you Sunday, then.”
John got up and opened the door for me.
“What was that all about?” George asked as we left the rectory.
“Oh, nothing. Just some minor issue.” I looked over the parking lot. “I don’t know, George. Maybe he’s right.”
“Of course he is, Lisa.” George pulling me close to him. “We have lots to think and pray about. But this is still right for us. We are going to be so happy. I love you so much, my heart is overflowing and I’m only going to love you more.”
George swept me into one of his gorgeous, wonderful kisses, and I let it fill me with his confidence.