I stepped out of the minivan taxi and stepped foot on my land. My Land. Saying such a thing would be unheard of in the circles I knew–trouble-maker Antonio McPherson had his own land. Although, at the moment, my land was just that. Land.
Six years ago, when I first “graduated” out of the foster care system, I never would have thought that I could ever have enough money to pay for one of the biggest lots in Pleasantview. Of course, Pleasantview had lost some of it’s rich reputation due to many other famous and large cities popping up, so the land was cheaper than what it was in it’s glory days. I worked three full-time jobs in Downtown Pleasantview and couch crashed around town just to afford the land, and now that I’m standing on the crispy-dry, green grass, I could only gulp in anticipation. After all, I was unemployed. Again.
The land itself cost $15,500 simeolons, leaving me with only $4,500 to create a house to live on. Only a day later and I stood in the same spot yesterday, staring at a grey shack. Well, calling my new home a “shack” was being modest, but the shack was now mine and my name was on the documents to prove it. As I walked inside the newly furnished place, I could only smirk to myself. If only the boys back home could see me now–six years later.
After getting acquainted with the furniture in Casa McPherson, I quickly grabbed the newly delivered Pleasantview Times, devouring the ‘wanted’ ads as if it was a hot meal. There were only three jobs available: Law Enforcement, Military, and Athlete. I knew I didn’t want to be a pro-baller of some sort, especially since the Pleasantview Wolves were doing horrible this football season, and the Pleasantview Steam-Trains hadn’t placed in a national soccer competition since 1980. It was between Law Enforcement and the Military, and judging by the salary differences, I knew the Military would be a great respected option in the Pleasantview community–and in my wallet!
After I put the paper inside (maybe I could use it for some childish fun latter?), I decided to stop ignoring the welcome committee and talked to Darren Dreamer. He wasn’t a bad guy, or at least he seemed intelligent. The two women, I had absolutely no interest in. Besides, i’m pretty sure I’ve heard town rumors that both were taken anyway.
Other than those annoying townies who decided to venture down to my corner of town, I was visited by a stray named ‘Rover.’ He was a pretty smart dog who I quickly became close to. besides, I had no lady friends to speak of, so the next best thing was Man’s Best Friend. I gave Rover a scratch on the head before he convinced me to play fetch with him. I threw the stick back and fourth with him for a few hours before I was to tired to move my arm to throw the stick. Rover wandered off shortly after, and I was left to myself…
That is, until I met Christy Stratton. She was a peculiar women with cinnamon buns on both sides of her head, and she sported a garish purple track suit. But, she was one of the first women in Pleasantview I liked since I was a kid living in the local orphanage. When she walked past my house, I quickly came out to greet her.
Almost out of breathe, I extended my hand, “Hello, i’m a newbie here in Pleasantview. Antonio McPherson.”
She smiled and shook my hand, “Christy. I’ve heard there was someone who bought the biggest land in Pleasantview. That’s impressive.”
I could only smile at her thinly veiled compliments like a bashful child, “I’m not as rich as I seem,” I joked before rubbing my hand on the back of my neck in embarrassment. “Um, I..” I’m usually much smoother than that–a ladies man, some would say, but I epically failed in front of Christy.
Lucky for me, she had a great since of humor, and before I knew it, we were both hanging out in front of my house, sitting on the sidewalk as if we were kids who knew each other in elementary school. We talked about everything, from sports, to traveling, her and I were alike even though her looks didn’t make my heart bolt out of my chest. Christy’s personality intrigued me more than her appearance.
Nightfall quickly came and Christy and I had to part. She worked in the morning, and I would have to go into work tonight as a new recruit. It felt as if butterflies were fluttering around us as we said goodbye!
I jumped into bed to get a quick nap in before basic training. As I padded my way across my house from the door, through the living room, and into my bedroom area, the grass squished underneath my feet. When will I actually be able to afford flooring–and paint, I exclaimed to myself. I drew the covers back and sat down on my bad, swinging my legs up to slide underneath the covers. Hopefully basic training won’t be so bad? I could only hope so, and hope to see Christy again as I closed my eyes to take a quick nap before work.
Only two hours later, and I could hear the carpool honking outside my house. I quickly jumped out of bed, neglecting to remake it, and threw on my fatigues and ran to the car. The car itself was very modest. It was a certified hoopty. Maybe after a couple of promotions I would get a standard black sedan?
Well, my dreams of black sedans were crushed when I was suddenly fired. I had been a little hard on my fellow new recruit after he had been smuggling food, and I was fired for the punishment I had suggested. In a my years of working, I had never been fired! This would be something I will never forget.
I would need to find a job fast. The Pleasantview Times greeted me as I slammed the door shut on the military carpool car for the last time.
After I took a quick browse of the job prospects in the day’s paper, Christy called and asked me out. Was it a date? I couldn’t help but wonder. I told her I would meet her at FM, but the taxi took so long that she told me she left. She thought I stood her up! When the taxi came, I took it down to the club, but she was no where in site.
Dejected, I danced for a short bit and met a vampire before grabbing a taxi home.
That night, I made up my mind that I would call Christy and beg for her forgiveness. When I called her that afternoon, she actually answered my call, and happily obliged to come over.
“I can come over but only for a short time. I have work in about two hours.”
30 minutes later, and I heard a gentle knock on my door. I threw open the door and greeted her with a romantic kiss.
“I thought you would never forgive me!” My arms stayed wrapped around her.
“I can’t stay mad at you for long. Just don’t do it again!” She laughed in such a dainty way that it made my heart flutter. I got the courage to ask her some hard questions. In this day and age, “defining the relationship” is vital.
“Where are we? What do you want out of this?” I hesitated as I asked the last question.
She hesitated as well. “I…don’t want to be too forward, but in the future, you’re someone I want to marry.” We were still embraced and I could tell she wanted to pull away, but I kept my grip firmly on her.
“Then,” I started, “Is there anything you are afraid of in this relationship?”
She smirked, “Not marrying you.” The second response was quicker than the first.
Knowing that time was not on our side this time, I gave her a gentle kiss goodbye and promised to call her tomorrow.
After she left, I set to making lunch and cleaning my place to clear my mind. Was I ready to propose? Christy told me she was ready to get married, but was I?
I scrubbed the sink furiously, brows furrowed. I was getting older, to be honest. When I first bought this land, and roughly four years later I was still living in a small, lonely shack, and starting over my career. If I was going to rebuild the McPherson reputation, then surely I would need to start soon with a wife?
As I shut the water off, my mind was made up. Before I could think about it further, the carpool for my new job honked outside.
I walked outside in my plan clothes this time to a car that looked similar to when I joined the military. The driver looked forward and never acknowledged me. Maybe this was a product of the criminal profession? That day I was fired, I decided to do the opposite of the military career instead scouring the wanted ads to rejoin the military. Although the criminal profession wasn’t a noble career, it would help me keep my nose to the ground and find out information about the business side of Pleasantview.
The next morning after I got back from my night shift at work, I quickly called Christy over. Before she came over, Rover stopped by as if he knew that I was making one of the biggest decisions of my life. Looking into his blue eyes, I made another decision.
“Rover, I would like to adopt you.” I dangled a treat in the air as I asked. Rover was now a part of the McPherson household–even though I can’t even afford a pet!
Christy came walking up the sidewalk as I gave rover a pat on the head.
“You’ve adopted a dog?” I smiled and hugged her close. “He’s been a great companion, and I think he would make a great family dog.”
She smiled at Rover and nodded, “I’m sure he will. Now, what was so urgent that you asked me to ‘come quick’?”
I got down on one knee and pulled out a velvet black ring box. I had saved up the small salary that I had to buy a small engagement ring.
“Christy Stratton, when I first met you, you were the only person who I could get along with in the quiet town, and I so glad I met you!” I opened the ring box to reveal the ring. “One day, I hope to give you a ring better than this, but for now, will you accept this modest ring and join me for the rest of my life? Marry me?”
She squealed in delight, “Yes! You’ve made me so happy!” She jumped into my arms.
A few days later, Christy moved in and brought $4,000 simeolons. I was able to add on to my–our–place in order to make room for Rover and Christy (although rover preferred sleeping outside).
Another year pasted by, I was now 30, and winter had pummeled Pleasantview in over three feet of snow. Even crazier, I was able to see a real penguin on my lawn! I quickly threw on my jacket and went outside to pet the penguin.
Sighing, I patted the penguin’s head and laughed at the responding chirps. “Little penguin, I don’t have much time left and I’m so busy! Things need to change, huh?”
The penguin chirped its last response before waddling away.
I came back into the house and sat down at the table. Christy had only made lunch meat sandwiches although she was in the career path of a chef. It was safe to say that neither of us could cook very well. I took a bite of the sandwich and sat it back down on the plate. Bologna. Furrowing my brows, I cleared my throat.
“What do you think about just kind of eloping? You know, not having a wedding party? I really want to throw a party but we don’t have enough money.”
Christy took a bite of her sandwich. “Antonio, it doesn’t matter to me. You’ve already fulfilled my want–getting engaged with you. I don’t care about a party. Besides, I haven’t met your family yet and you’re still new in town!”
I sat quietly at her mentioning my parents. Maybe I should tell her i’m an orphan and that my parents died in a car crash? My chest began to ache just at the thought. I took another bite and fiercly shook my head, “My parent’s won’t be coming.”
Maybe she sensed that I didn’t want to talk about it because she didn’t push the subject. She finished her sandwich. “No party. I just want to marry you, whenever you decide. Even if that means we get married in this very room.”
I could only smile as she stood up and took her plate to the sink.
After dinner, I decided to give Rover a bath to clear my thoughts. “Rover, what do you think,” I asked him as I ran my soapy hands over his white coat. His only response was to shake the soapy water in my face. I exclaimed a woah! in shock, and laughed heartily. Ok, that means ‘just do it,’ I guess.
A few days later, I went to bed that night before Christy, still thinking about the next steps. We weren’t getting any younger, and if I wanted to continue my legacy, we would need to start having children soon. I had gotten two promotions so far, and even though being a criminal didn’t offer a huge salary, it did pay the bills.
I jumped out of bed and pulled out the ring box I had tucked in my pillow case. A few days before, I had the fellas in the carpool stop at a jewelry store before dropping me off at home. The rings were simple gold bands but I had our initials engraved on the inside. Still in my pajamas, I came out of the bedroom and spun Christy around to face me instead of the art easel.
“What about now?” I showed her the rings in the box. She smiled and stuck her hand out. I slipped the golden band on her ring finger and she did the same for me. Tomorrow, we would go to city hall to make it official, but first, we would consummate the marriage. Both of us giggled to ourselves as we pulled each other into the bedroom.