Thanks, Val. Sorry, PB. I should have been clearer - by "later," I meant when I had time to post again.
The night of the trivial pursuit went well. Several of the guests were KJs and Marge's friend, Connie was there with her husband. Marge's chili was great (still is), and she makes a lot of mashed potatoes for a base (if wanted). And Marge is good at trivial pursuit. I'm not that good, but I was relaxed with the companionship, and felt I was one of the group.
And I had decided "faint heart" did not win the fair lady! As people left at the close of the party, I stood with Marge at the door saying farewell.
As we sat on the couch, Marge gave me the "let's go slow" speech. I remembered my Mother telling me about a guy who had been hearing about a competitor for her affections. She said that rather than getting upset or talking trash about the other guy, he just agreed that the other guy was nice.
In that spirit, I told Marge I understood what she was saying, but that I had a right to my feelings. And I felt I was falling in love with her.
In effect, we were never apart after that! Of course, Marge had to make the obligatory visit to my apartment to see how I kept house - and to see if there were signs of female residence. And she shook her head at my lack of Christmas decorations. But whether at her place or mine, we were together.
And soon, we moved my things in with hers. Over time, they have all become ours.
My first marriage lasted 21 years, and the split-up was quite painful for me. My second one lasted only about a year. We were better friends than mates. Been years since I've seen her, but I still feel we are friends.
Neither of Marge's first two marriages were very supportive of her as an individual and a woman. She pulled herself out of some unpleasant circumstances, worked, went to school, and got her RN license. And you could not find a more independent woman than Marge. As I've already said, she karaoked, and she would occasionally date what she called "boy toys."
So, even though Marge had posted the personals ad, she wasn't all that eager for any lifestyle change. She, like me, sensed a desire for a deeper relationship, but marriage was not in her future, she decided.
Nonetheless, I'm kind of a traditional guy in some ways. So during the year, I would keep asking her to make "an honest man" of me. And we had our first arguments. I learned that we could do so without it meaning that all was over. And we could still laugh and still love each other.
I can be a persistent guy! So, eventually Marge agreed to our getting married. As a matter of fact, after several proposals, I had warned her that she would have to ask me the next time. And she did.
Next time, I'll pick up with our wedding preparations.