by Doreen F.

I had been together with Ian for some months now and I was sure that he was the one I wanted. We had met at the dancing school. Both of us wanted to improve our skills in Latin dances. We were the only ones who didnít have a partner so we ended up dancing together. It was great. We learned a lot and the teachers were really excited and wanted us to participate in the yearly tournament. During the months of our Latin course and the preparation for the tournament we had spent a lot of time together training and had become friends. We told each other about the problems at work and sometimes we went for a drink after dancing school. I was interested in him and so was he, but I was wanted him to make the first move. This may sound old-fashioned, but I had made the experience that if a man didnít have the guts to make the first move, he was not what I wanted. So time passed by and the tournament was coming closer. I was getting a bit nervous when I thought about it, but Ian used to calm me down and teased me because of my nervously. I knew that he was as nervous, but he managed to conceal it. The day before the big day Ian invited me on a date. I saw that he had given this much thought and I agreed because that was exactly what I had wanted for weeks.

We went to a fancy Asian restaurant and had an extremely nice evening. Ian and I walked to the next bus stop and waited for our bus to come. We lived not far away from each other which was the reason why he walked me home afterwards. In front of my door we stopped and then we kissed. I had never been kissed as gently as Ian kissed me. It was the perfact ending for this great evening. I didnít want to push it any further and invite him up because I knew that both of us needed a lot of sleep to be fit for the tournament. Ian and I had agreed upon that and then he left. We had planned to meet at the place of the tournament the following day.

When I arrived there I felt really nervous, but in a positive, more excited than actually nervous. Ian was already there, so I waved at him and ran towards him. We had to do our usual warm-up and didnít have much time left because I had been a bit late. Our instructor gave us the last tips and then we had to go out and dance. It was great out there. There were so many people cheering when we came out together with the others. I saw my cousin in the audience and waved towards her and her boyfriend. Ian hadnít told me whether anyone of his family or friends was there. He didnít greet anybody, so I assumed that nobody was there. Then we had to concentrate for the big moment. When the music started it was a great relief. We were one and I had never felt like this before when we were dancing. Ian led me as if he had never done anything else and I danced like a goddess. There were five dances and I felt like dancing on air like I had never danced before, like in dirty dancing. When the last dance ended I looked at Ian and he smiled at me. We had given our best, we knew that, and if that hadnít been enough it wouldnít matter. Our trainer congratulated us and said that it had been fantastic to watch.

Then there came the time of waiting until the others had danced and the judges had decided. Eventually the time came and the asked the three best couples to come out. We were among them and this was enough to be satisfied. We didnít know much about how well the other couple had danced. Then there came the magic words "and the winner isÖÖ.. couple number 4." That was us. I couldnít believe it until they called our names. We looked at each other and smiled. Then the judges came towards us and congratulated us on our performance. After that they announced place number two and three. It was a wonderful day. Ian and I decided to celebrate with our instructor, my cousin and her boyfriend and with his brother who had come with his wife. We went to a pub and had quite many drinks, but I didnít care because I wasnít driving afterwards. The celebration took rather long and afterwards Ian invited me over to his place. It was a nice flat in walking distance from my apartment. We celebrated our victory and in the end we ended up sleeping with each other. When I woke up in the morning I didnít regret it the least bit and hoped Ian would think so too. He did and since then we were meeting each other regularly and spent most of our free time together. Ian was a really nice guy and we were really in love. Usually we spent the evenings at either his place or mine and very often the other one stayed over night. I also got to meet his friends who were really nice guys and fun to talk with. Ian was introduced to my friends and they thought that I was really lucky to have found someone like him. We were extremely happy together and after a year he asked if I wanted to move in. I did and my cousin and her boyfriend got my old apartment. Ian worked as a journalist and I worked at a radio running my own show. We had similar working times we usually came home at the same time. He was a really good cook, so we decided that whoever wanted to cook should be the chef for that day. Quite oftern we cooked together and invited our friends to come over. We still went dancing about once a week. The house where the flat was located had a garage which was spacious enough for both our cars which we needed to go to work. I usually left before Ian because the radio station was farther away and there was no bus stop near it, but at least enough parking spaces. Ian often went by bus, so one day I suggested selling one car and keeping the other because it would lower our costs and he hardly ever needed his. If he needed a car, he could take mine and Iíd go by bus and walk to the radio station. Ian gave this some thought, but then told me that he didnít want to sell the car. He said something about being emotionally related to it because it belonged to his father. His parents had both died in a plane crash not too long ago. I didnít push it any further. It was his money anyway.

After being together for a longer period of time some things about your partner start to annoy you-like the thing with the car and some others. For example I was a real movie fan. Although Ian had told me that he loved movies we hardly ever went to the cinema; nor did we watch many DVDs. That was one of the reasons why I had a movie evening per week; some of my friends came and we watched at least one DVD. Sometimes we went to the cinema. Ian hardly ever joined us and even if he did because he was interested in the film, I always had the impression he didnít enjoy it as much as I did. In comparison he met some of his friends to do some menís stuff. I donít know what exactly they did, but usually he ended up at least a bit drunk. Another thing that was strange was that we hardly ever left the city together to go hiking or whatever. It was nice to walk around in the city too, but sometimes one needs to get out and breathe fresh air next to the sea, walk on the beach and so on. Once or twice a month I could mostly convince him drive to the sea or to the hills which werenít far away at all. My parents lived there, so I was a good reason to go there. The liked Ian a lot and he did so too. When we left the city he never wanted to drive though he had been to parentsí place for many times. He said he didnít feel comfortable driving that fast. I had the impression he didnít like driving at all. I did like it very much, so it was fine with me. I drove whenever we went to some place together. Ian never complained about my driving skills which I appreciated because some of my former boyfriends had tried to turn me into ralley-driver. They hadnít succeeded. Most of the time it was fine with Ian, we never had any serious quarrels and werenít short of things to talk about. However, we didnít speak about the problems of our relationship either. After some time we got really used to each other, the excitement fell off, but we knew that we needed each other and when we went dancing I could see sparks in his eyes. We were meant to be together.

One day when I came home from work there was a call from Ian on the answering machine saying that he had had a car accident and was in hospital. I drove there immediately and they told me that he wasnít injured badly. He only had a few deep cuts and they wanted to keep him for a few tests. I went into Ianís room and gave him a gentle hug.

"Hello dear!"

"Hi honey."

"How are you? I was really worried when I got your message. What happened?"

"Iím alright, just a few cuts, nothing serious. After a few tests I can go home."

"Thatís great. Iím so glad youíre okay, but what about the accident? Was it your fault?"

"No, it wasnít. The other guy crashed into my car. He was really drunk; didnít stop at the red light and hit my car at the back on the right. Imagine if I had been a bit slower. I donít want to think about it." Ian was still shocked. "I couldnít get out of the car at the beginning because I was shocked, but when the ambulance and the police came I got out and found out that I wasnít really hurt. The other guy was in a bad condition, but heíll survive. At least thatís what the police said."

"Iím so glad youíre alright. IÖ" my voice left me and tears were rolling down my cheeks. Ian wiped them away with his finger.

"Itís okay, Iím alright."

"I know, but now I know how much I really love you."

"I love you too. And by the way I donít think that the car can be fixed. The damage is severe and itís an old car. Fixing it would cost more than that carís worth."

"But it was you dadís car, wasnít it?"

"Yes, but after todayís experience Iím not really keen on driving that car again. Maybe youíre right. One carís enough. We keep yours and save a lot of money. I donít mind going by bus, especially after today."

"Letís not decide that right now. I think itís better to talk about that later."

A nurse came in and told Ian that the tests showed that there were no other injuries and he could go home now. Ian got dressed and we went to my car. Of course, Ian didnít want to drive now. He had never been driving my car except for one day when his was being repaired and he needed a car.

At home we were really tired and went to bed after a little snack. I watched TV while Ian was reading a book, but before we switched off the light, he leaned over. "I know this isnít very romantic or anything, but thereís something I wanted to ask you. Do you want to marry me?"

I hadnít suspected anything, but since I knew that he was the one man I wanted to marry, I said "Well, youíre right about the romantic, but I really want to marry you, Iíd love to and I think we have to celebrate this tomorrow."

"Wow, Iím so glad you accepted. I donít know what Iíd have done, if you had said Ďnoí."

Then we kissed and made love and I was very gentle because of his cuts. It was a fantastic night. I was sure that I had made the right decision to marry Ian.

In the morning I got up early and prepared breakfast for the both of us. Unfortunately we didnít have too much time to eat because I had to go to work- Ian had phoned the newspaper and told them that he had had an accident and had taken the rest of the week off. I really hated to leave him, but I had to go to work. He promised to cook something special for dinner. And he did. When I came home I was surprised. Ian had tried something entirely new-a recipe which a friend of him who was living in Austria had sent him. It was great and I enjoyed it very much. We then decided to visit my parents on the weekend to tell them the news. I had already phoned my best friends and so had he. On Friday I had my movie evening and wanted to see a brand new movie with my friends. Once again I asked Ian to join us, but he declined. I had given up trying to convince him to come with me, but I still felt itíd be nice to have him sitting next to me. At six my friends phoned me and said they couldnít make it on time. They were living outside the city centre and there had been an accident on the motorway. It would have taken them hours to take another road. I was disappointed. I knew it wasnít their fault, but I had really been looking forward to seeing that movie. Ian noticed that there was something wrong and I told him that my friends couldnít come. Then he surprised me saying that heíd go with me, if I really wanted to see the movie. I was so happy I just smiled and kissed him.

We took my car to go to the cinema which was a bit further away from where we lived, but the only one which showed that film. There were many people who wanted to see this film, so we ended up sitting in the one of the front rows. I really hated sitting there; I always got a stiff neck from the strange ankle in which one had to look at the screen. Ian didnít complain. The film was great, I really enjoyed it and Ian seemed to like it too. Whenever I looked at him he seemed really focused on the screen. After the movie we went to a pub and discussed the movie. We had a similar opinion and I was surprised by the knowledge Ian had concerning actors and other details. Why on earth did he never go to the movies, if he seemed quite interested in films, I was asking myself. I asked him why he didnít like going to the movies. His answer was, as usual, that he liked it, but not that much to spend a lot of money going to the cinema, if he could watch the movie on TV some time later as well. Not that we watched so many movies at home. I thought he had his reasons and didnít want to push it until we ended up in an argument for no reason. I was really tired, so I asked Ian, if he would mind driving home. He hadnít been driving since the accident, but since I was really tired and he wasnít, Ian agreed on driving home. I fell asleep in the car after some minutes and woke up when we came home. According to the watch Ian had been driving super carefully. It had taken much longer to come to our flat, but I could understand that after the accident, he didnít feel very comfortable when driving.

On Saturday we left for my parentsí place. They were glad that we came because we hadnít been there for at least 3 weeks. When we told them that we were going to marry they seemed really happy for us. We had a nice evening and Ian and I stayed up talking until midnight. In the morning I knew that my parents had been discussing our marriage. They seemed satisfied, but after breakfast my mother wanted to talk to me in private and my dad went out into the garden with Ian.

"Iím really happy for you. You and Ian seem to be an extremely good match. Yet I want you to be sure that you want to marry him. If you have any doubts, let it be."

"Mum, I really love him. Weíve been living together for nearly two years now and Iím sure heís the one. Of course, he has some weird habits, but so have I. All in all I know I want to marry him."

"Iím glad to hear that, but make sure he doesnít lie to you and that you talk about your problems, okay?"

"I will."

"Enjoy the rest of your weekend then."

Ian had told me that he had had a similar conversation with my dad and that he had told him about my bad habits, but Ian said he didnít mind. My parents invited us for lunch to a really nice place to celebrate that we wanted to marry. My father ordered a bottle of champagne and back home he opened a bottle of his best wine. Ian didnít drink much anyway, so I thought Iíd let him drive and drink a bit more than usual. When my father refilled my empty glass again, I saw Ianís look-he was a master of raising his eyebrows-, but when I asked him, if he could drive for this once he agreed. I knew he had never been driving to or from my parents place, but I could tell him where to go anyway.

We had a really nice afternoon, but at 5 we decided to leave because both of us had to go to work on Monday. Ianís cuts didnít look that bad anymore and he said they didnít hurt much. There was only one in his face and none on his hands-so he wouldnít have a problem writing.We packed our belongings and went to my car.

I sat down on the passengerís seat while Ian adjusted the driverís seat for his size. He had to reverse the car to leave my parents house. I didnít want to complain about anything as I had a bit too much to be able to drive, but Ian reversed somewhat clumsily. He was driving more than careful at a pace I would have been fast riding a bike-at least that was my impression and I wasnít a fast driver myself. I did recall that I had never been sitting next to him when he was driving; usually I had been driving.

"Are you okay?" I asked after five minutes.

"What? Yeah, Iím fine, itís just that I have never been driving here and, you know, the lightís a bit low."

"Youíre sweating, honey. Why donít you just stop for a second?"

"Oh, okay."

Ian stopped on the side and looked at me with a forced smile. I didnít know what the matter with him was.

"Is it because if the accident? You drove home on Friday, whatís wrong?"

"No, itís not because of the accident, itís justÖ" he sighed, "I havenít been completely honest with you. From the very beginning, you know."

Now I was really curious and worried what was about to come. "What do you mean?"

"The thing is that, well, thing is that IÖitís so hard to explain it, to say it."

"You can trust me, I swear, but please tell me!"

Ian cleared his throat. "The thing it that IÖ that I need glasses, you know."

"So?" I still didnít understand what the problem was.

"I need them for driving and some other things to."

"Why donít you were them then? Why havenít you told me?"

"I was so scared you might not like me when I have glasses. I have had them since college, but I never liked wearing them or the look of me in them. I wear them at work because at the computer my eyes need them as some sort of help. Otherwise Iíd get a terrible headache and sore eyes. I also need them to watch TV or going to the cinema, you know?"

Now it was dawning to me. "But whatís so terrible about wearing glasses? You need them to see, donít you? Is it worth putting yourself through such an agony? Why didnít you tell me before? Youíve been hiding it from the beginning."

"I know, Iím such a fool, but while dancing I didnít need them. A short time after we had been dating my ophthalmologist told me that I should wear glasses full time. I didnít want that so I tried contact lenses, but my eyes felt kind of sore and it was so uncomfortable. I didnít like them, but I didnít have the guts to tell you about my vision. Iíve always wanted to tell you, but the opportune moment never came. Iíve had some bad reaction towards my glasses from my ex-girlfriends that I didnít want to be hurt again."

I felt kind of sorry for him. Ian didnít have that much self-esteem and some girls could be really mean.

"I have to admit youíve been great hiding that from me, but donít you think itíd be time to show them to me now?"

"I suppose youíre right. Otherwise weíll never get home. They have been slightly damaged by the accident-thatís why I have this cut, but I had them fixed."

Ian got out of the car and opened the trunk where his bag was. I watched him in the mirror. He put on his glasses and returned. I couldnít say anything, I was amazed at how the altered his look. To me Ian looked great and I had a strange feeling - like butterflies in my stomach.

"So? What do you say?" Ian asked adjusting his glasses in the rearview-mirror.

"I donít know what had been wrong with your ex-girlfriends, but they definitely didnít have taste. You look gorgeous, honestly", I said with a huge smile and gave him a kiss.

"Iím so relieved I donít know what to say. I was afraid youíd leave me-I was a complete fool. Iím not very self-confident about wearing glasses, you know?"

"Yes, you were a fool, but I donít care. Now I that I know about that, some things are clear to me. Like the movies and stuff like that."

"I really love going to the cinema, but sitting in the back I donít see much and canít enjoy it. On Friday it was fine because we were sitting in the front."

"Yeah, I still have a stiff neck."

"Me too, thatís the disadvantage about that."

"You drove home without glasses?"

"Yeah, thatís why it took so long. I didnít see well enough to drive much faster than I did just now."

"Letís drive home then, shall we?"

"Of course, and it wonít take that long, I promise."

Ian was a really good driver, I was surprised. While he was driving I watched him closely. I thought that glasses not improved his vision, but also made him more handsome to me. When we got home, Ian wanted to remove his glasses on our way to the flat, but I reminded him of what the ophthalmologist had said and he kept wearing them. Ian wore the glasses the entire evening only taking them off to rub his eyes. When we went to bed he admitted that his eyes felt very relaxed and I told him I didnít mind him wearing glasses whenever he was more comfortable with them. The week passed by quickly and Ian wore his glasses nearly all the time. In the evening we often watched TV or a DVD and went to the movies.

When we went dancing Ian removed his glasses, but after some time he excused himself and returned wearing glasses. He gained a lot of self-confidence and we were having a great time. His cuts had healed, but his glasses, though they had been fixed, were often a bit loose. So Ian decided to get a new pair. He also had his eyes checked and the ophthalmologist told him that heíd have needed new glasses anyway because his prescription wasnít up to date anymore. When he came home, he asked me, if I wanted to help him pick new frames. I sure did and helped him pick the perfect pair of glasses. Some days later we picked them up and apart from the fact that they looked great, Ian commented on the better vision they gave him.