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Maggie...The Day After (standard:romance, 6591 words)
Author: Bob KainAdded: Sep 27 2000Views/Reads: 2692/1482Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The day after the storm. Better if you read Maggie...Is This Trip Really Necessary first.....

Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

caught my cheek, turning my head back to her. 

"I feel wonderful!"   A sly grin on her face, she kissed me, her tongue
sliding between my lips while her hand moved down my stomach and back 
to my thigh. 

"Mags, I'm not really a morning kind of guy, and there's a heck of a
storm going on here, in case you forgot."  Her lips moved to my neck, 
her hand moved to the inside of my thigh. 

"Whatever do you mean, honey?   And I know there's a storm, it's been in
all the papers."  The purr was starting to drip honey. 

"Well, you know...I'm not really into sex in the morning.   Everything
just isn't awake yet.  Don't you think we should get up and check on 
things?  Make sure the house is all right?"  Her tongue was flicking 
around the edge of my ear.  Her hand moved again, between my thighs, 
grasping me, squeezing softly. 

"Honey, I think you're mistaken.   Things down here seem wide-awake to
me.  Lilly and Ray will let us know if they need us."  The purr was 
dripping honey coated in sugar. 

"Now, Mags, that's just kind of a reflex action.   Doesn't really mean
anything.   Really, I'm just not interested in the mornings.  Doesn't 
this storm scare you just a little?"   Flashing the wickedest grin I'd 
ever seen, she lifted the sheet and disappeared under it. 

"Sweetie," came the muffled reply,  "I really think this little guy is
awake.  He's standing right up, looking bright eyed and bushy-tailed.   
And, this storm scares me to death.  But if something bad should 
happen, better it happen while I'm enjoying you rather than cowering in 
a corner."  A sudden jolt flew through me as Maggie's lips found their 
target.   That was it.  I threw off the sheet, grabbed her shoulders, 
pulled her to me and we were off again.   God, I'd been worried about 
surviving Hurricane Betty, but Hurricane Maggie was the one that was 
going to kill me. 

Two hours later, about ten o'clock, showered and dressed, walking only a
little bit funny, I followed Mags down the stairs to meet the family.  
Wind still howled and the rain still pelted against the shuttered 
windows, but we were together, and I couldn't help thinking that all 
would soon be right with the world.  Love is a powerful thing.  It 
makes you feel invincible.   Which, I suppose is the same as saying it 
makes you stupid. 

Lilly and Ray were sitting at the kitchen table listening to the weather
radio as Maggie and I walked into the room.  It occurred to me that I 
was an uninvited guest, maybe not a welcome guest.  Maggie did the 
introductions.  "Lilly, Ray, this is Bob Stone.  He just happened to be 
driving by last night and decided to stop in for a drink", she laughed. 
"I invited him to stay.  I hope you don't mind." 

With knowing smiles on their faces and a slightly embarrassed grin on
mine, we said our greetings.   Maggie went to the refrigerator to get 
us some juice while I took a chair at the table.  The electricity was 
off, but it must not have been for too long, the juice was still 

"According to the radio, the storm is moving on up the coast", Ray told
us.  "It peaked about an hour ago.  Guess you two slept through the 
worst of it."  I decided to let Maggie handle that comment, but she 
didn't say a word.  She and Lilly just exchanged quick looks and little 
grins.  Not seeming to notice, Ray continued on. 

"This storm really wasn't too bad.  We've had much worse here.  Guess we
wouldn't have needed to send the kids inland to stay with friends, but 
I'm glad we did.  You just never know what these things are going to 
do.  But it's definitely easing up.   Wouldn't be surprised if we could 
get outside later in the day." 

"That's good news", I replied.  "Guess I was worrying too much, and
didn't really need to come down here.  I really appreciate you making 
me feel at home.  Hope I'm not intruding too much." 

"Not at all", Lilly chimed in.   "I'm glad you came down.  Maggie has
told me so much about you, I was dying to meet you."  That comment 
earned Lilly a dagger look from Mags, but she smiled broadly back at 
her, obviously enjoying herself. 

Lilly got up from the table.  "Bob, I need to bring some things
downstairs.  Would you mind helping me?" 

Before I could answer, Ray volunteered.  "I'll be glad to help you, Hon.
Bob and Maggie probably have lots to talk about, anyway." 

"I don't mind at all," I finally said.  "I'd be happy to help." 

"Good", said Lilly.  "Ray, you just sit here and keep Mags company.  You
did enough work getting this place ready for the storm.  I promise I'll 
bring him back soon, safe and sound, Mags."  I didn't know just what 
this was all about, but it seemed something was up.  After exchanging 
slightly anxious looks with Maggie, I got up and followed Lilly up the 

She led me into her bedroom.  After opening the closet door she pulled
out some candles, a half-finished afghan and some yarn, all of which 
she handed to me.  Then she walked to the bedroom door and closed it.  
Lilly looked me square in the eyes, saying, "Maggie tells me that she's 
in love with you.  That she thinks you were made for each other.  Do 
you love her? " 

"You get right to the point, don't you Lilly?"  I asked, returning her
stare. "Yes, I do love her.  I know it seems way too early for us to 
feel like that, but I've never met anyone like her.  She is everything 
I have ever wanted, and frankly, I find that more than a little scary; 
but I'm going to hold onto her with everything I've got, and pray that 
she keeps right on loving me.  Any more questions?" 

"No, I don't think so.  I won't apologize for asking you.  Maggie is
like my own sister and I love her dearly.   With her looks, some men 
would do some rather underhanded things to try and get her into their 
bed.   Has she told you about her life yet?" 

"Not much.  Said she was going to tell me today if I wanted to hear
about it.  I know enough to know that she had some difficult times." 

"Yes she has, but I'll let it to her to tell you if she chooses.  She
has been hurt badly, more than once.   Maggie is a wonderful and very 
passionate person, Bob; and, if she loves you, then you are a very 
lucky fellow.  I don't know you, but my instincts tell me that you are 
an honest man.  Take very good care of my sister, Mr. Stone.  Now, let 
me grab a few more things that I don't need and we can go back 

As soon as we got back to the kitchen and I had deposited Lilly's little
collection, Maggie got up, took my elbow and herded me to the living 
room, telling the others that she wanted to show me some pictures.  
Once we were out of sight, she stopped in her tracks.  "What did Lilly 
say to you, Bob?" 

This was getting almost comical.  " Nothing much," I answered, chuckling
just a little.  "Just checking on my intentions, I suppose". 

"I'm sorry, she shouldn't have done that.  I'm a big girl and I can take
care of myself.  I'll talk to her, tell her not to do that again." 

"No, Maggie, let it go.  She loves you and was just looking out for you.
 I didn't mind her asking, it's not a big deal.   I'm glad that you 
have someone that cares so much about you.  What's going on with this 
storm anyway?  It doesn't seem very loud anymore, I almost forgot about 

"Ray and I poked our heads out the door while you were upstairs.  The
wind has really died down a lot and the rain is much lighter.  The 
radio said it will probably be out of the area by mid-afternoon." 

"That would be nice", I replied.   "So, what do we do for now? 

"Well, I could tell you that story I promised you; but I'd rather wait
until later, if you don't mind." 

"Maggie, you don't have to tell me at all.  At this point, it's really
none of my business.  Though I am just a tad curious," I grinned at 

"I'll bet you are", she replied. "But I really would rather wait until
later.   In the meantime, do you like chess?  I have a travel set in 
the bedroom."  An innocent little smile spread over her face, her eyes 
rolled up just a bit.  "Come on, I'll show you."  If I survived these 
next couple of days, I was definitely going to have to start working 

Sometime later that afternoon, after the most rousing game of chess that
I've ever played, and a little nap, Mags and I went back downstairs.   
The electricity had been restored, and she and Lilly set about 
preparing dinner.  Ray invited me to go outside and help him inspect 
whatever damage Hurricane Betty may have caused. 

Once outside, Ray and I quickly checked the house and opened the
downstairs storm shutters.  The sky, though still gray, was becoming 
lighter and the wind had died to little more than a pleasant breeze.  
Branches lay strewn about the property, one older tree had been snapped 
about half way up the trunk, leaving the upper half dangling 
precariously.  Thankfully, the house had received almost no damage 
whatsoever.   Two shingles had been blown off the roof.  That was it.  
We'd been lucky. 

During dinner, the conversation was lively.  Lilly and Mags were in top
form; joking and teasing with each other, giggling like little girls.  
Ray and I chimed in whenever we could find a break in their chatter, 
but mostly we just listened, sharing feigned looks of disbelief and 
astonishment at some of the more tawdry comments.  It was so 
entertaining that he and I cleared the table and washed the dishes so 
that the girls could go on with their banter. 

About the time the dishes were finished, the girls' conversation
appeared to be dying out.  Not that they seemed to be in danger of 
running out of things to talk about; more like they were actually 
getting tired from talking and laughing so much.  It was going on eight 
o'clock and Ray and Lilly decided to go in the family room to watch 
television.   Maggie and I chose to go outside for a walk, if we could 
find enough dry land to walk on. 

There was a small amount of water still covering the road that ran
beside the house and down to the beach; but the sky had cleared enough 
so that shafts of light from the setting sun shot here and there 
through the clouds, and the air was warm.   We removed our shoes, 
tossed them by the door, then walked out to the road and sloshed our 
way down to the beach.  The surf was still higher than normal, and 
debris was scattered about.  It wasn't your picture postcard type of 
beach right now, but it was good to be out of the house and very good 
to be alone with Maggie. 

We walked hand in hand, speaking little, only a few comments on the
condition in which Betty had left the beach.  I was deep in thought, 
the events of the previous night and today's conversation with Lilly 
running over and over through my mind.  Stopping suddenly, I took both 
of her hands in mine.  "Maggie, we haven't really said anything about 
last night; but it was the most incredible night of my life.   I'll 
never forget it." 

"Nobody has ever shown such caring for me as you did by coming down
here, Bob. It was a beautiful, unforgettable night.   You told me that 
you loved me, but you never would have had to say the words.   I loved 
hearing them, but I had already felt the love.  I thought that could 
only happen in romance novels.   Whatever else happens, you've given me 
a gift that I'll cherish forever." 

"Let's go back to the house now.  Lilly will probably want to talk a bit
before she goes to bed."   As darkness fell, we retraced our steps back 
to the house, where maybe I would finally hear the secrets that Mags 
had kept locked away for so long. 

Lilly did want to talk...and talk...and talk.  She and Maggie giggled
and laughed until past eleven, when finally Lilly said she was tired 
and needed to go to bed.  She and Ray checked the locks on the doors 
and headed up the stairs.  Maggie and I watched the local news on 
television; then she got up, going around the house turning out the 
lights.  She walked past the sofa where I was sitting, looked back over 
her shoulder and continued on to the stairs.  Thinking that going to 
bed with Mags seemed preferable to sitting alone in the dark, I 
followed her. 

While Maggie changed in the bathroom and did whatever it is that women
do in there for half an hour before going to bed, I undressed and got 
into bed.   Finally, she came out and slipped under the bedcovers.  I 
rolled onto my side and reached for her, but she stopped me with her 
hand on my chest, then sat up on the bed. 

"It's time, Honey.  I've put it off long enough.  You may not want to
make love to me after you hear what I have to tell you.  I should have 
told you last night but things were too perfect to take a chance on 
ruining them.   Today, I almost told you a half dozen times, but it 
felt so good being together that I decided I had to have at least one 
day with you to remember." 

"Maggie, you don't have..." a finger to my lips silenced me. 

"Yes, I do.  There are things you need to know before you get any more
involved than you already are.   Things in my past you might not like, 
might not be able to live with.  I'm not the same person that I was.  I 
did things then that I would never do now, but you need to know that I 
did them.  Other things happened, too.  Things that I had no control 
over, but even now have an affect on me, make me distrustful of people 
and cause me to shy away from relationships.  It's amazing to me that I 
feel so safe and comfortable with you; but even feeling that way, I'm 
frightened of my feelings for you.  So, just lie back and listen, 
before I lose my nerve." 

After all that, I wasn't sure that I really wanted to hear the story;
but it seemed that I didn't have much choice.   After propping the 
pillows against the headboard, I leaned against them, getting as 
comfortable as I could.   Maggie's face showed no expression, but her 
eyes held a trace of fear as she began her story. 

"When I first met you, I told you that I lost my parents when I was very
young.  I never knew my father.   He left my mother when I was a baby.  
 I have some memories of my her, a few, sketchy ones; but, I remember 
the day that the police brought the social worker to my nursery school 
very well.   I was four, almost five.  They told me that my mother had 
been killed in a car accident.   The social worker was a nice lady, I 
remember her holding me while I cried and cried.   She said that they 
were trying to locate my father, but that until they found him I would 
live with a foster family.  Then they put me in the police car, drove 
me home to get my clothes and a few of my toys, and took me to the 
foster home.  They never did find my father.  To this day I don't know 
whether he's dead or alive." 

"That was my first foster home, I'm not sure how many I was in.   Some
of them I only spent a few weeks in, others maybe a year or so.  They 
were all in North Carolina, but the one family moved to South Carolina 
while I was with them.   Eventually, I was taken from that family and 
placed with another family back in North Carolina." 

"What was the longest you ever spent with one family"? 

"Two years was the longest.  That was with Lilly's family, my last
family.  Things were really good there for awhile.  Her parents, Miss 
Sarah and Mr. Samuel, were so good to me at first, and I grew to love 
them and Lilly so much.   But then things changed." 

"I was fourteen at the time.  One day, on my way home from school I
decided to take the shortcut through the woods.  Miss Sarah always told 
me not to walk in the woods alone, but I was in a hurry and it was such 
a nice day I went in anyway.   Halfway along the path, down by the 
creek, I met two men coming the other way." 

"I didn't know them, they were probably in their twenty's, and they were
scraggly and dirty.   They started hooting and whistling at me as soon 
as they saw me.  I tried to walk around them, but one of them grabbed 
my arm.  The other guy came over and took my other arm.  I was so 
scared, I couldn't even talk.  They started saying all these dirty 
things to me.   Asking me if I wanted to go with them to their car.  
Said they had some beer, that we could have a party." 

"I tried to run, but they caught me and I couldn't get away, they were
too strong.  One of them got angry, started yelling at me to be nice or 
I was going to be sorry.   That really scared me, and I starting 
screaming as loud as I could.  That's when he hit me.  He hit me in the 
face so hard I almost passed out.  I wish I would have.  Maybe then I 
wouldn't remember what they did.   You can imagine the rest, I suppose. 
They were so angry and so strong." 

"They threw me down on the ground, tore my clothes off and then ...then
they took turns.  One of them holding me down and covering my mouth 
while the other one raped me.  It was so horrible.  I can still smell 
them.  Their filthy, stinking bodies and their foul breath.  Eventually 
they got tired, I guess, and they stopped.   They stood over me, 
sneering at me, while they put their pants back on.  One of them told 
me that if I told anyone about what happened that they would find me 
and do it to me all over again.  Then, they just walked away and left 
me lying there." 

Though her face still showed little expression, tears were flowing down
her cheeks.  I reached for her, but with a small shake of her head she 
gently pushed me back to the pillows. 

"God, Maggie, I'm so sorry.  I don't understand how people can do things
like that. Did you tell your foster parents? 

"I told them.  Miss Sarah wanted to call the police, but Mr. Samuel said
no.  He said that it would be too embarrassing for the family.  Then, 
after that, was when the real trouble began." 

"Real trouble?  What could be worse than that?" 

"Well...God, this is hard. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but this is so
hard for me to talk about.  I've never told anyone this part, Bob.  Not 
even Lilly, and you have to promise me that you won't tell her.  You 
have to promise me that." 

"Okay, sure, Maggie.  I promise.  You don't have to tell me at all, you
know.  This is none of my business." 

"I can't keep this inside forever, Honey.   Maybe it will be good for me
to talk about it.  Anyway, I want you to know these things.  Just 
remember that Lilly is never to hear a word of this." 

"So, anyway...the night after all that happened, Mr. Samuel came into
the bathroom while I was taking my bath.   He had never done that.  I 
was so embarrassed.  I was only fourteen, but I was pretty well 
developed even then.  He sat down right on the edge of the tub, while I 
tried to hide myself with my hands and the washcloth.   He looked 
really odd, almost angry.  Then he started asking me questions about 
what those men had done to me.   He said he wanted me to tell him 
exactly what they did.  I was too embarrassed to tell him, I just 
started crying." 

"He pulled me out of the tub and made me stand in front of him.  Then he
started touching me, asking me if they had touched me there.  His face 
got all red, and his hands were shaking.  I begged him to stop, but he 
just ignored me.  He told me that I was a dirty girl, that if I was 
really a good girl those men wouldn't have done what they did.   Then 
he took the towel and started drying me off, touching me everywhere 
while he did it.   Just before he finally left the bathroom, he pointed 
his finger in my face and told me that if I ever told Miss Sarah what 
he had just done that she would know that I was lying and be very angry 
with me...and that she wouldn't love me anymore." 

"My God.  You've never told anyone about this?  Did he ever do the same
things to Lilly?" 

"I don't think he ever bothered Lilly.   I hoped that would be the only
time he bothered me, but it wasn't.  A week later he came into the 
bathroom again.  There wasn't a lock on the door, I couldn't keep him 
out.  After that he came in almost every night.  He started doing more 
and more things.   Making me touch him.  Making me perform oral sex on 
him, all the while telling me that he loved me, that I was a beautiful 
girl, but a bad girl.   Every time he came in, he would tell me that 
Miss Sarah would quit loving me if I told her what he was doing.  I 
loved her so much.  I couldn't take a chance of losing her love, so I 
kept quiet.  So, it went on and on.  Almost every night he would come 
in, and every time he did I would close my eyes and pray for it to 
stop.  But it never did.  Not until the day I left." 

During all this, Maggie's voice had remained normal, but tears had
continued streaming down her face.  Again I reached for her, this time 
with no resistance.  As my arms circled her shoulders her voice finally 

"Oh ...God, Bob!  I'm sorry...I'm sorry."  Her body shook as she sobbed,
her tears dripped onto my chest as I held her head against me. 

I had no idea what to say to her.  What could anyone say?   How could
any words ever make the pain any less?  All I could do was hold her.  
Hold her as tightly as I could, for as long as she needed.  After a few 
minutes, her sobs subsided and I felt her body begin to relax.  She 
pulled away from me, wiping the tears away with her fingers. 

"I'm all right now", she said quietly, managing a small smile. 

"We can stop, Maggie.  You don't need to tell me the rest.  If there is
a rest, that is." 

"There's a rest.  It's the worst part.  I don't know what you'll think
of me after you've heard.  That's why I have to tell you.  If you are 
to be involved with me, you need to know the rest." 

"I'm already involved with you, Mags.  Nothing you can tell me is going
to change that." 

She took a deep breath, squared her shoulders and wiped the last few
tears from her eyes.  "Okay, here goes.   When I was sixteen I met 
Wayne, the man I married.  He was twenty-four and very handsome.  Wayne 
was always nice to me.  He always told me how pretty he thought I was; 
and he'd take me places. I spent as much time with him as I possibly 
could, so that I could be away from the house and Mr. Samuel." 

"Anyway, we dated for a couple of months until one night Wayne told me
that he was in love with me and wanted to marry me.  I liked him a lot 
and I desperately wanted away from Mr. Samuel, so I said yes.  I knew 
that I wasn't in love with him, but I convinced myself that I would 
grow to love him; and anything would be better than staying at home.  
Mr. Samuel, at first, said that he wouldn't give his permission; but 
Wayne had a talk with him and suddenly Mr. Samuel was all in favor of 
the marriage.   Wayne would never tell me what he said to Mr. Samuel.  
I still wonder about that sometimes." 

"We were married a week later, and I moved into Wayne's apartment. 
Everything was great for a couple of months.  I kept going to school 
and spent the rest of my time waiting hand and foot on Wayne.  One 
night after we went to bed, he asked me if I would let him take some 
polaroid pictures of me naked.  I said that would be all right, he was 
my husband after all.  A couple of weeks after that, he brought a 
photographer to the house.  Wayne said that he had shown this man the 
pictures he had taken of me, and that we could make a lot of money real 
fast if I would pose for some pictures.  He said they would just be 
bikini pictures, maybe some topless, but nothing vulgar.   He really 
wanted me to do it, and I owed him a lot for taking me away from Mr. 
Samuel, so I agreed to do the pictures." 

"The first set of pictures sold really fast, and Wayne was right.  We
did get a lot of money.  Soon, Wayne was bringing more photographers 
around and he was making phone calls to different magazines.  He gave 
up his job and spent all his time lining up photo shoots for me.   The 
longer it went on, the more and more lewd the pictures got.  I started 
doing layouts totally nude.  Wayne took half the money as his share, 
and he soon discovered that the more pornographic the pictures were, 
the more money I was paid.  Pretty soon I was making a ton of money, 
and so was Wayne, but he never seemed to have any.   He was always 
after me to give him money, or lining up sessions for me that were even 
more sleasy that what I'd done before." 

"About that same time, he started to treat me very differently than he
had before.   When I would complain about how vulgar some of the 
pictures were, he would tell me to shut the hell up, that he needed the 
money and that I owed him.  He'd ask me who I thought I was, that I was 
nothing special anyway, just another stupid blonde with a great body, 
so what did it matter?  Some of the pictures were just plain 
pornography, Bob.  I did things I never thought I'd do.  Things I was 
ashamed of, but I did them anyway." 

My eyes were locked on Maggie's, my ears strained to hear her words, she
was talking so softly.  I had no idea where this story was going and I 
wasn't sure that I wanted to know.    Maybe I should just put my hand 
to her mouth and stop her.   But she needed to tell me; and if she 
could stand telling me, I should be able to stand listening. 

"Wayne got worse and worse in the way that he treated me.  He became
very abusive.  Only verbally at first, but eventually he started to 
slap me around if I didn't do what he wanted and I grew more and more 
afraid of him.  He would make me dress up in sleazy outfits, then take 
me out to bars.   If anyone would talk to me or stare at me, he would 
accuse me of knowing them, of cheating on him, and when we got home 
he'd beat me.  Finally, one night he went into a total rage because I 
said hello to a friend at a bar we had gone to.   When we got home, he 
went crazy.  He beat me and called me all sorts of filthy names.  He 
beat me so badly that I ended up in the hospital.  I had three broken 
ribs, a broken cheekbone and half my body was bruised." 

My face must have been turning purple at this point.  There was a rage
burning inside me.  A rage that said I wasn't someone that Wayne ever 
wanted to meet up with.  Maggie could see my anger.  She took my hand, 
patting it like you would a child's. 

"It's okay, Bob.  That was when I quit modeling.  About a year after
that I divorced him.   I got everything in the divorce, sold it all and 
moved to Maryland, where I started the decorating business.  You know 
the rest." 

"A year?   Why did you wait a year?  I can't believe that you'd wait for
a day after what he did to you.   Did something else happen later?" 

"I was afraid of him.  I was petrified at that point.  You can't imagine
what it's like unless you've had it happen to you.  I knew I had to 
leave.  I just...I just had to get up the courage." 

Her eyes had never left mine the entire time she had been speaking, but
now they looked away.  Something had been left out.  I felt it, was 
almost sure of it, but I couldn't decide whether to push it.  She 
jumped in to fill the void created by my indecision. 

"I can't undo what I did.  Some of the pictures are still out there;
I've seen plenty of them on the internet.  I'm not proud of it, but 
I've anguished over it long enough and I'm not going to apologize for 
it any longer." 

"Bob...I love you, and I hope that you will still love me.  You might be
better off just walking out of here right now and never seeing me 
again.   Everyone I have ever loved has hurt me, abused me or been 
taken from me.  The thought of loving again frightens me more than I 
can tell you.  I don't know whether I'll be able to handle it." 

Her eyes were again locked on mine.  The strength was returning to her
face.  If there had been a time to push for an answer to my question, 
it was gone now.  I had heard enough anyway.  Whatever more there may 
be to this story could wait, and I wasn't sure I even wanted to know. 

Now it was my turn.  Maggie seemed surprisingly calm.  She wasn't crying
anymore, her face was a blank, her eyes alternately looking at me, then 
looking away.  What should I say?  She had been hurt so much in her 
life.  What if I was wrong about how I felt?  What if I hurt her too?  
What too if she was really so frightened by her feelings that she just 
ran away and left me? 

The pictures bothered me some.  The thought of Maggie spread naked on a
magazine centerfold, a million men leering at her and fantasizing about 
her sent a chill down my spine.  Of course, I had magazines just like 
those at home in my desk drawer.   Was the woman posing for the 
pictures any different than the man that bought them? 

I felt like I needed about a year to absorb all this, but what I had was
about a minute.  Maggie was waiting; it was time to say something. 

"I am in love with you Mags, but I'll be going home tomorrow.  Not
because of what you've told me, but because I should get back to work.  
The things you've told me are almost unbelievable, but if anything, 
they just make me love you more.   I knew that you were a strong woman, 
but I had no idea how strong.   People have been destroyed from less 
than what you went through." 

"Now I guess we'll find out how strong a man I am.   I can handle the
pictures.  I don't like thinking about other men seeing you like that, 
but I can deal with it.  Whether I'm a good enough and strong enough 
person to give you what you need and to see that you aren't hurt again 
by love, I don't know for sure.  I think I am, but I can't make you any 
guarantees at this point.  My biggest concern right now is that your 
fears will drive you away from me." 

"It's going to take a lot of work and a lot of trust from both of us to
make this a relationship that can last forever.   But, in my heart I 
believe that we have a chance for the kind of love that only comes 
along once in a lifetime.  I want that kind of love, Maggie.  I'd risk 
almost anything to have a chance at that kind of love.   I hope you 
feel the same way, and I'm asking you to take that risk with me." 

We were sitting on the bed, facing each other.  My arms reached out to
surround her, and when I pulled her to me it felt like our bodies were 
melting into one.   I clung to her, feeling her heart beat against my 
chest, until she gently eased back.  A solitary tear still clung to a 
delicate cheek.   My finger brushed it away. 

"I'm scared to death, Bob; but I'm going to try.  I've always dreamed of
loving and of being loved in a way that other people say can't be 
found.  I think this is my chance, and I don't want to throw it away.  
But, are you really sure you want to get involved with a crazy woman?" 

"I survived Hurricane Betty and Hurricane Maggie, both on the same day. 
It's going to be damn hard for things to get any crazier than that.   
I'll take my chances, Mags.  Now, before the sun comes up and I have to 
leave, don't you have something you'd like to show me again?" 


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