The thing about true love forever is that it's not always about school dances and romantic moments. Sometimes, it's about hanging out at the historical society on a beautiful day, because your boyfriend is the only employee that doesn't think gnarly waves are a valid reason to skip work. Plans for a picnic (guaranteed free of ants and poison oak) and uninterrupted time together were looking more and more remote, especially since there were two more groups gathered in the waiting area and starting to huff impatiently.
Jesse shot me a look and I sighed, because I still haven't managed to build up any kind of immunity to his puppy eyes. I settled in to wait, wishing I'd worn my normal jeans and t-shirt; it's hard to get a good slouch going when you're wearing a frilly sundress. The last time I complained about all the times I spent waiting around, though, CeeCee said that all this waiting around is good practice for when I'm a doctor's wife and he's always getting callled away, which was nowhere near as helpful as she thought it was.
One of the tourists was starting to talk about demanding their money back, and I sighed as I stood. "Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Suze, and I'll be your tour guide today."
I know what you're thinking. You'd think my having actually visited the era we were talking about would have helped, but I hadn't really seen that much. I mean, I could tell them that people would freak out at seeing girls wearing pants, but that was about it. What did help was that I'd been hanging around all summer watching Jesse give the same tour over and over again, until I pretty much had it memorized. Even the questions they asked were all the same.
By the time we closed for the day, I'd taken around five tour groups, gotten almost a hundred dollars in tips, and smacked one guy's hand for touching my butt. What I hadn't done was see Jesse at all and I was hoping that would be remedied shortly, even if we'd have to settle for fast food and some time spent parked somewhere. I might have tossed the picnic when it had been without refrigeration for long enough that I didn't trust the mayo anymore, but there's no way I was going home without some prime makeout time. I'd earned it.
Eventually I had to go looking for him, and there were going to be some words exchanged about that, because even a hottie like Jesse should be properly appreciative of his girlfriend, especially when said girlfriend was me. I found him in a spot we'd used before for makeouts and mediation - anything that required privacy, really. Unfortunately, I could tell even before I got there that kissing wasn't going to be the priority; the ghost that was haranguing my boyfriend was definitely going to interfere.
"What's the problem here?"
Both guys looked up at me, and the look of gratitude on Jesse's face was enough to make forgiveness happen a lot quicker than it should. "Querida, there's a problem with Mr. Finn's progression."
"I refuse to allow this idiotic practical joke to continue any longer," the man said. "And I find it highly insulting that so many people would participate in this assault on my belief system."
I cut my eyes at Jesse, trying to figure out what the guy's damage was, but then the guy stuck his finger in my face and that was it. In short order, I had his finger bent backward and his arm behind his back. "Listen, buddy. I don't care what you believe in, just so long as you get with the program and move on."
"This is assault! Help!" The guy wasn't even struggling, just kind of standing on his tiptoes and leaning away from me. Really, it was just kind of pathetic. "I'm going to sue you!"
"Mr. Finn, please, we are only trying to help you." Jesse's voice was cool and calm, and when he touched my shoulder I sighed in disgust and let go, leaving the ghost to stumble forward. "Surely, you must agree that the scale of what you have experienced would mean that it would be impossible for anyone to be so thorough in playing a practical joke."
He picked himself up, making a big production of straightening his clothes. "There is no afterlife. It's just part of the fairy tale people tell themselves - religion is the opiate of the masses."
Jesse started to say something, but I shook my head. "Right, Mr. Finn, so, since you're so sure and all, why don't we let you get on with whatever you're doing, and then if you decide you need to see a mediator, you can go to the mission to see Father Dominic. He's the principal of my school and Jesse's foster father, so you can also see him about those assault charges."
He looked a bit taken aback, but I just smiled as hard as I could. "If you'll excuse us, we had a date that we're going to go ahead and get to."
I ignored him, dragging Jesse along to where I'd left my new (used) car, perfect for the daily commute I'd shortly be doing between home, school, and Jesse's college. He got into a pretty good one, and I was nervous about bringing my SAT score up enough to have a shot of following him. It wasn't my fault, though - my first time through the test was interrupted by a ghost that wouldn't leave me alone.
Once we were safely in the car, I turned to him. "In case you ever doubt it, today has been absolute proof that I truly love you forever and ever."
"Querida, I have never doubted you," he said, using his knuckles to gently trace my cheek. It made my insides turn to goo. "But, if I had, surely the fact that you traveled through time itself to save me would suffice."
Shaking my head, I leaned in to kiss him, because I was still getting used to the fact that I could, and that he was really all the way there. "No, see, that was big and dramatic, but it was just a one time thing. Having our dates get sacrificed for work - that happens all the time."
"You are too good to me," he said, and I would have nodded but he pulled me in for a kiss and I forgot about everything else. Maybe someday I'll resist his kisses long enough to keep a thought in my head, but it hasn't happened yet.
Maybe that's the thing about true love forever - that it doesn't matter whether or not you're being romanced, because you have something better, something solid and real. I promised myself I'd think about it, sometime when I wasn't concentrating on the magic of Jesse's warm lips against mine.