The Girl from the Ouachita Ch. 08

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The Girl from the Ouachita, Ch. 8

Usual disclaimers: No sex involving persons under age 18; I edit my own works, so the errors are mine alone; I provide too much detail for some, and sometimes there is too much violence for others. Shrug; Sorry.

Despite my promise from Chapter 7, this section ends after Thanksgiving because their story just got too long. The many trials and triumphs of 2020 will be chronicled in Chapter 9. Also, regarding the disturbance at the nightclub — check the Nashville papers for the period 2007-2008; it’s a shame Chris wasn’t around then.

Here’s how Chapter 7 ended.

“They gathered that night over a catered meal at the Becks’ home. After eating, they adjourned to the massive living room, where Ed Ellison reviewed the unlikely events that had resulted in Kate and Jo being saved from harm at Park City, and in Chris being in Fort Worth to save the three girls Thursday night.

Debora Alexander added the story of how Chris and Jo met, and Sandy Beck told the story of her mother and step family trying to kidnap her.

Ed Ellison listened, shaking his head repeatedly in astonishment. When Debora finished, Ellison said, “Chris, I’m not the most religious man, but there is something besides chance or good luck at play here! You are in the lives of these young ladies for a reason!”

Dan Alexander looked at his son with pride, and with a twinkle in his eyes said, “The odds, Son, the highly improbable odds! Las Vegas would laugh at the odds of all this happening!

“I’m afraid it’s fate at work here, and fate is bigger and tougher than you. It might be time to accept your fate and move things along.”

“And make me a grandmother!” Debora exclaimed.”

Chapter 8

Jo’s eyes grew wide and her face and neck turned red at Mrs. Alexander’s pronouncement. Chris sat up straight and frowned at his mother. “Mom! Jo is an 18 year old freshman in college! She’s not ready for marriage, much less a family!”

“Hmmm. Yes, I guess that is young. I mean, I was already 19 when your dad married me!” she responded. “How old were you when you and Trey got married, Sandy?”

“Oh, I was 20, but we got engaged when I was 19. Won’t you be 19 in December, Jo?”

There were smirks on every face in the room except those of Jo and Chris; they were trying to decide if they were being pranked or this was some sort of weird intervention. Chris decided to play it as a prank. “Sure, but back when y’all were young you were considered an old maid if you weren’t married by 16! In modern times, most people are between 25 and 30, or even older, before they get married, and no one has kids before 30, for god’s sake!”

Catching the grins and winks of the women and her two roommates, Jo said, “But Honey, if we wait until I’m 25, you’ll already be 32! You’ll be too old to help me with the kids!”

“Et tu, Brute?” he asked, looking down at the faux disappointment on her pretty face as she snuggled even closer. “My mother wants you going to sophomore Biology in a maternity dress, trying to find a seat with enough space to fit your watermelon belly under the desk.”

“Then you’ll have to hurry, Honey! I’m taking sophomore Biology next semester!”

He shook his head and faced his parents. “Alright, Mom, Dad — what happened to all that sage advice I got about taking my time, establishing myself in my job, finding the right girl, and taking the time to get to know her before I do something rash, like getting married?”

Debora looked thoughtful. “Take your time? Okay, you’re 25; that’s probably enough time!

“Establishing yourself in your job? I’ll defer to Trey on this one, but it kinda seems like he thinks you’ve been doing pretty well so far, right Trey?”

“Oh yes, Debora, he’s well established for sure! And when he finishes his masters next July, the sky is the limit in his profession!” Trey responded in an earnest voice, albeit with a smirk on his face.

“Okay, so another check for ‘established in job’. What’s next? Oh, yeah — finding the right girl and getting to know her… you’ll have to answer that, Darling, but it certainly seems to us onlookers like you two are pretty well matched. You are certainly protective of her, you do everything together when you are in the same state, and even when you aren’t you use all this technology to… well, to stay close! Or at least that’s what Donna says.

“Unless, of course, one or both are you are still wanting to play the field for a few more years. Is that what you want?”

Jo smirked at him and kept the pressure up. “Not me! What about you, Chris? Are you up in Colorado dating all those pretty coeds?”

“I can answer that,” interjected Trey. “The workers call him ‘the old man’ and ‘St. Chris’ because all he does is go to class, work, study, and work out. He won’t even go drink a beer with them!”

Chris was shaking his head with downcast eyes and a grin, planning his rebuttal, when Ed Ellison spoke up. “And then there kaçak iddaa is the whole ‘fate’ thing in play. So many coincidences — it’s almost like you two are already bound together, isn’t it?

“And by the way, Chris, I was 25 when I married my child bride, who was 18 at the time! What can I say? When you know, you know! I knew, and I acted before some better looking and richer man stole her away.”

Jo had slipped her arm behind him and was snuggled so close his side was getting hot. She was still looking up at him, with that devilish grin he loved so much. “Honey, aren’t you going to say something?”

“No, I think I’ll just slink away from this ambush and find a quiet place to lick my wounds. I know when I’m outnumbered.”

“Do you want me to go with you, Honey?” she asked with a lilt.

“No, you make thinking very difficult. Just stay here and explain to them why an 18 year-old girl who’s known someone for less than a year shouldn’t marry someone seven years older!”

“But Honey — I don’t know why! Maybe you should stay here and explain.”


Donna and Kate had remained silent during the ambush, for different reasons. Donna because she was Jo’s age and SHE certainly was not ready to be married! She had never seen Jo with another man, but other men almost all wanted to be with Jo, and that would be sorely tempting if it were her. She loved Jo, but she couldn’t bear the thought of her brother being hurt.

Kate remained silent because she clung to the hope they would break up and she would have a chance with Chris. She would never interfere, but if something happened…

Chris’ house was still a crime scene, but Beck Construction maintained a couple of apartments for business purposes, both of which were presently vacant. Chris and Jo and took the one-bedroom; Kate and her parents took the two. Donna and her parents stayed with the Becks.

Jo was her normal amorous self, but Chris insisted they have a talk before going to bed, and that they do it over the dining room table.

“I know ‘the ambush’ was lighthearted, and I know you joined in to give me a hard time, but you acted as if you ARE ready to… what? Settle down, get engaged, get married? Were you just helping the others give me a hard time or were you serious?”

“Both, I guess,” Jo replied, after some consideration. “I didn’t even know you until my birthday last December, but now I don’t know if I could live without you. You’ve become the center of my world — everything revolves around you! And that’s not even bringing up your penchant for showing up just in time to save me!”

“Penchant, huh? Is that from your English class?” he teased.

“No, from my writing class, Smart Alec! I could have used ‘proclivity’, but ‘penchant’ seemed more accurate.”

“Sooo, back to the question that you have not answered – are you seriously considering giving up the opportunity to meet and get to know other men, forgo being in a sorority and/or clubs and organizations, and to enjoy a typical college experience?

“I feel guilty just asking that question, because my college experience shaped who I am.”

“Chris, I can’t see myself going out with other boys or men – I just can’t! I dated a little in high school, but you are my first boyfriend, you are my first serious love, and you are my first and only lover. I know I’m not your first, and that’s fine; I do hope to be your last, though.

“So, to answer your question, am I willing to trade the college experiences of a single woman for the college experiences of an engaged woman? Certainly! Formal or not, I feel like we’re already engaged.

“For the college experiences of a married woman? Absolutely! I can still meet people, grow socially as well as academically, be in clubs and organizations, go to games with my husband instead of my boyfriend, and enjoy all the university has to offer.

“Okay, I won’t be going to parties, getting drunk or roofied, or engaging in gangbangs or orgies, but I’m not going to do those things anyway! You know what my mother put me through, and I’m not going to be like her, single, engaged, or married!”

Chris took a deep breath and let it out with a sigh. “Now for the hard question — are you sure the feelings you have for me aren’t appreciation and loyalty? I’ve been fortunate enough to be there when you needed me a few times, but those emotions are not the bases of a 50-year marriage!”

“I can’t say that I know what the bases of a 50-year marriage are; I have no experience being around such couples. Appreciation and loyalty — sure, I appreciate the many, many things you’ve done for me, my knight in shining armor, and I’m loyal enough to not allow anyone to speak badly of you or your character.

“Are those the things that make me want you? Did they make me fall in love with you? That’s silly! You yourself told me that we were made for each other. That you love the smell, the taste, the feel of me, the sound of my voice, kaçak bahis and that it felt like I had been created to excite your senses… or something like that.

“Well, Mr. Alexander, you excite every one of my senses, and make my hormones go crazy too! It’s like your body was sculpted to my exact specifications, and you are the first person I’ve ever been around whose intelligence I accept as greater than mine. You do take care of me, yes, and I appreciate it; but you also challenge me! You cause me to challenge myself to be a better me, a smarter me, like you.

“I’m a simple girl, Chris. I grew up in a less than ideal environment, and my immediate goal was to get out! Once I got out, though, I learned that my ‘family’ was an abomination, and that there really are storybook families, like yours, the Becks, Kate’s.

Most of my experiences with men were me trying to escape their clutches, but then I met you. You are the kindest, gentlest, and most caring man I can imagine… and very protective too!” she said with a grin. “Are those qualities so common that I should walk away from my ideal of a man — physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually — in order to try to find someone else just like you?

“If God made me for you and you for me, who are we to thwart his plan?”

Chris had a tear on his cheek when he replied a moment later. “I agree with most of what you said, except I doubt I’m anywhere near your intellectual equal. I wish I had recorded your answer so I could listen to it again and again. The girl I picked up in Hot Springs and the young lady I’m with tonight are two very different people, and yet the same.

“I think you know this quite well, but I fell for you before we even got to Fort Worth. You were rough, defensive, and defiant, but I thought I saw a shining star underneath the bravado, and it turned out it was a supernova.

“Now, if you are serious about what you said, we need to have another talk tomorrow and maybe go shopping.”

“Come to bed now and I’ll show you just how serious I am!” she replied with her finest devilish grin.


The police released the ‘crime scene’ back to the homeowner the next day, just in time for the arrival of the remnants of the winter storm that had inundated Colorado with snow and ice. There were arctic winds, a bit of a ‘wintry mix’, but nothing that crippled travel in Fort Worth.

Jo and Chris rode it out in their house, drinking hot chocolate, watching movies, talking, and making love. The old house held up well; it wasn’t even drafty, thanks to the renovations and energy efficiency improvements.

Chris thought of a hundred ways to ask Jo the magic question in the most romantic was possible, but in the end, he suggested they get dressed up for a romantic dinner and dance in their own living room. He wore his best suit; she wore a slinky blue dress he bought her in Colorado. He uncorked a bottle of champagne, poured a little in the wine glasses he never used, and invited her to stand in front of the fireplace.

He toasted her and his love for her, and then dropped to one knee and asked the most important question of his life, and of hers. “Jo, the love of my life, the one made for me and the one I was made to love, will you marry me?”

Maintaining her poise and dignity instead of screeching “YES!” was difficult, but she managed to respond in the same serious tone. “Chris, the love of my life and the man I was made to love, I will marry you, bear your children, and live my life as your companion, friend, and wife… for the next fifty years, or more if we are so blessed.”

The stores were closed: it was Sunday, and the weather was bad, but they were open Monday, and it didn’t take long for Jo to find the perfect ring. It wasn’t the least or most expensive, but it was exactly what she wanted, and there were matching wedding bands for her and him, so Chris bought the set.

The weather had let up enough that they could invite everyone over to eat, and to see how long it took them to spot the diamond ring on Jo’s left hand.

Chris used a recipe Roberto’s wife had given him for carne guisada. He’d never even heard of it until Roberto gave him one of the tacos Maria sent in his lunch box, but it was one of the most flavorful dishes he’d put in his mouth.

He had bought all the ingredients the recipe called for, except the fresh beef from the butcher shop, before he moved to Colorado, but this was his first effort at making the flavorful concoction.

He had also bought a box of Pioneer Mills Tortillas de Harina mix, and Jo was busy learning how to mix, knead, roll, and press the flour tortillas — with her ring off, of course!

Chris had to call Maria twice, but she was patient with the ignorance of the young gringo her husband liked so much, so the carne guisada, frijoles borrachos, and tortillas all turned out the way they hoped. They also made a huge bowl of green salad, and Chris had three bottles of illegal bahis champagne ready for after the meal.

Kate and her parents arrived first. Chris greeted them at the door, explained that Jo was upstairs dressing after all the cooking, and invited them to take a seat in the living room. The Becks and Alexanders were next; he gave them the same spiel, and Donna laughingly asked if she and Kate needed to go up and get Jo. He smiled broadly and told them, “No, I think she will be down soon enough – you know how she likes to make an entrance.”

The girls both looked at him questioningly, thinking that Jo was never one to hog the limelight; in fact, she usually let others take it, or at least share it with her.

The adults were standing, mingling and talking, and wondering about the wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen. Chris was chatting with Donna and Kate about when they would move back in, when they heard a door open upstairs.

“Finally!” Donna declared. “This food smell so good we were about to come get you so we can eat, Miss Priss!”

Jo appeared at the head of the stairs in the form-fitting black sweater dress with red and white trim – the one Chris bought her last Christmas. Even though she wore 3″ heels, she managed to look casual with her golden hair framing her classically beautiful face and wearing very light makeup. She had worked hard to achieve this look, and had practiced her descent down the stairs, with her left hand on the bannister.

She normally went up this side and came down the other side of the stairs, but she wanted to showcase they diamond on her hand against the dark wood of the bannister. As soon as he heard the door upstairs open, Chris subtly stepped back and started the video on his cell phone. He had the security videos turned on too, but he wanted to capture the memories immediately.

This was the moment to shine for the young girl from the Ouachita, and she played it perfectly. She was smiling broadly and welcoming everyone as she came slowly down the stairs, with her left hand sliding along the bannister with light from the chandelier glinting off the diamond and gold of her engagement ring.

She made it four steps from the bottom, with every eye on her, before Debora exclaimed, “OH MY GOD!” and rushed to the stairs. Donna and Kate were wondering why Jo was so dressed up and acting so regally; until Mrs. Alexander’s outburst and dash to the stairs drew their attention to Jo’s left hand. Donna shrieked and Kate echoed “OH MY GOD!” before both rushed to their friend.

Jo’s smile was beatific as she stopped on the bottom stair, elegantly raised her hand with fingers extended, and allowed her doting subjects to fawn over the most precious jewelry she’d ever received. Mrs. Ellison and Mrs. Beck were soon in the gaggle, happily examining the ring with the others, asking when it all happened and demanding details.

The three men walked over to congratulate Chris, and to remind him just how out-of-his-league his gorgeous fiancée is. He acknowledged their congratulations and admitted that he had definitely out-kicked his coverage, but kept filming his sweetheart in her finest hour. He knew she would want to relive this moment countless times, and he knew she would be properly appreciative of his thoughtfulness.

When the women finally wound down fifteen-plus minutes later, the men had the opportunity to examine the ring and offer their best wishes and teasing condolences for having to put up with Chris for a lifetime. Each got a soft kiss on his cheek, which Chris also filmed before asking everyone to please come to the kitchen for the buffet-style meal.

Chris led grace; they got plates and utensils and moved from salad to beans to flour tortillas to carne guisada. Pitchers of water and tea were already on the table and ice was in the glasses, as were hefty slices of Tres Leches cake for dessert.

They received copious praise for the delicious food, and continued expression of approval of their engagement. It was a joyous occasion, and the toasts went on and on as each person tried to express know how they felt about Jo, about Chris, and about them solidifying their future together.

They all left at 10:30, after insisting on helping clean up, wash the dishes, and put everything away. Jo got kisses from the women and the men as they left, while Chris got kisses from the women and abrazos (hugs) with handshakes from the men. They stood on the front porch of their restored Victorian mansion with their arms around each other and waved until the last car was gone.

Chris had learned that classes would resume on Thursday, so he had to leave Wednesday. The parents were also leaving on Wednesday, so Kate and Donna were moving back in that day. They were anxious to get back into the old house, but wanted the newly engaged to have as much time alone as possible.

Chris deactivated the bedroom cameras, turned off the lights downstairs, picked Jo up in a bridal carry, and took her to their bedroom. They kissed and held each other, making out and fanning the fires that burned ever higher, until Jo moaned into his mouth and started undressing her betrothed.

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