Go back to the beginning or back to Part 3?
After an uncharacteristic silence of nearly a day from Captain Midnight, during which time I began to fret that I'd finally said something really offensive, The Letter arrived in my email.
First of all, it stated that although CM had dated Beatrice for a while and he liked her well enough, he had never felt the crucial spark that would indicate it was time to take things to the next level, so his romantic relationship with her was at an end. Second, it stated in slightly old-fashioned language that he would like to "court" me and see what happened next -- but only if it didn't ruin the friendship we already had.
Well. This was unexpected. (Remember, I hadn't heard the orchestral tiptoe noises.) Not to mention intriguing. I already knew Captain Midnight, I liked him as a friend, but what would it be like to date him? Would it mess things up between us? After a while I decided there'd be no harm in going out with him once or twice, just to see what it was like, and I wrote back to tell him I was interested in dating.
It's hard to explain what happened next, unless you've had the same experience. We started going out almost immediately, and everything just -- clicked. From the end of January, when CM sent The Letter, to Valentine's Day two weeks later, we were doing things together nearly all the time. We went to comedy clubs, we went to movies, we went to lunch and dinner together, we'd sit in the car after dates just talking and talking about everything that interested us, until nearly 2 a.m. We went to Hansen Planetarium to watch a laser light show... and when, in the middle of this show, he reached over and took my hand, I sat there smiling goofily in the darkness with little hearts going *pop* *pop* *pop* above my head.
On the evening of Valentine's Day, when the house was quiet and we were alone, he took the plunge and, for the first time, leaned forward and kissed me gently. (And I, being an unrepentant smart alec, ruined the moment by saying, "Finally!")
One day, when CM was over at my house and we were snuggled together on the couch watching TV, there was a knock at the front door. It was Captain Clueless. He was feeling unhappy about his latest girlfriend and decided to seek me out for free counseling -- only to discover that I was decisively not available to chat. During our brief conversation at the front door, I admitted to Captain Clueless that I wouldn't be surprised if Captain Midnight and I were married by the end of the year. He seemed stunned by this information. For the first time ever, Captain Clueless left my house feeling frustrated, while I went away from the exchange feeling happy and contented.
At first I wasn't sure whether I was in the advanced stages of twitterpation. I'd always thought I would need to know a man for years before I was ready to commit to something as life-changing as marriage. How could you really know, otherwise, whether this was the person you wanted to spend forever with? So when, after three months of steady dating, I began to wonder when Captain Midnight was going to get on the stick and just ask me already, I knew something was different about this relationship. I didn't fear making changes in my life, I wasn't afraid of committing, and the thought of having children with this man filled me, not with the usual nauseated revulsion, but a euphoric feeling of "Oh hey, that'd be neat..." Gradually, I came to the realization that I was neither obsessed nor temporarily infatuated, but had really, honestly, completely fallen in love with Captain Midnight. I just wanted to be with him and make him happy and I couldn't bear the thought of existence without him. For the first time in my life, I could say with certainty that I knew this was the right one.
But after six months, we were still happily dating and I began to wonder whether he had any intention of popping the question. Oh, I knew he loved me; he showed it by words and actions, treating me like a queen, and we had gone naturally and unselfconsciously into talking about things like where we'd like to settle down together and how many children we'd like to have. He'd met my family, I'd met his family, and everyone seemed to think it was only a matter of time -- and yet it kept not happening. Maybe he had a fear of commitment?
In mid-June, I got tired of waiting. I finally decided to take matters into my own hands and press the issue.
Dare you continue to Part 5?