Jon Perone and Jennifer Carling have completed their track season with new running records. As they strive to build their relationship, they have to resolve conflicts caused by the dysfunctional activities of her family. Jon must repair a damaged relationship with his father and help Jen survive the craziness of her mother.
Lurking for years outside of their world, a darker force strives to take control of their lives. In one situation after another, Jon finds himself making choices that could alienate his family, place him into long-term danger, and threaten to destroy his first love with Jen.
Jon must find the guidance, the support, and the love he needs to give him the strength to meet the challenges that have come crashing into his life.
She was crying now, softly, the tears slipping down her face. I wished Dad and Mom would come back; maybe they could help. At the same time, I didn't. If I was going to be Jen's rock, now was the time to be rocky.
What can I say to keep her from sinking any further?
I thought of my family. No matter what happens, I rarely feel alone when everyone is home together. Even if you couldn't stay with us at night, we can do more things with my family during the day.
I tried it out. "Jen, you don't ever have to feel alone again. I want you to be part of my family."
If I thought Jen being a part of my family meant she could spend time with us, especially with me and do more of what we were doing, I clearly didn't convey the message well. Nothing could ever have prepared me for her response.
Jen sat up and took both my hands in hers. "Are you proposing?" she asked, her eyes glistening, almost completely filled with tears.
I watched them run down her cheeks, one after another, too surprised at her question to do anything. Her hands were full of electricity, going to and from my hands.
"If you are," she said, "I accept."
I stared into her sparkling green eyes, my heart in my throat.
If she means what I think she means, she is speaking of us... being... married.
I forced myself to stop an involuntary shudder, and felt my blood racing to all parts of my body, as if it understood the meaning much faster than my brain did. But my brain caught up. So did my imagination. So did my conscience. They all collided inside me.
"Jen," I gasped. "I'm only fourteen and you're only thirteen. But I won't take it back, ever. So, you will have to. I have dreamed of spending my life with you. It's my favorite dream."
"Then we are stuck with each other forever," she replied. "Because I won't take it back either."
My involuntary shudder overcame my freeze efforts, and I shook from head to feet, amazed at what she said to me. I had been thrilled in her comment about me not worrying what I looked like at sixty. This was way past whatever my thoughts were then. This was into us truly being an "us."