Storms Never Last
Chapter 2

Copyright© 2010 by Jake Rivers

The next few years seemed to fly by as our love grew. We made no pretenses that we were just pals, and openly showed our affection in front of our families. We had an ongoing discussion, which years later gave me the feeling that we were more mature than we thought at that time. About six months after that first furtive kiss we talked about our relationship. We were in her barn sitting on a bale of hay, just after finishing one of our ever more progressive petting sessions. For the first time, I'd had my hand on her bare breasts—she not having a bra on certainly facilitated my being able to do that.

"Terry, I love you, you must know how much. I realize that you care just as much for me. We haven't talked about it, but I can't imagine that we won't spend our lives together."

I took the opportunity to pull her close, nuzzling my face in her hair. I can take a hint.

She continued, "We haven't said anything to our families, but I'm sure they realize that our feelings toward each other have changed. I don't want to hide our love; if they know about it, I'm sure they would feel more comfortable if we showed it naturally. Do you see what I mean?"

"Yeah, I do. My dad has always expected me to be honest with him. Do you mean that we should maybe, like hold hands and maybe even share a kiss when we see each other and when we leave?"

"That's it, Terry. I don't think we should be, well, crude, but they know we have something special, and if it's not visible, they are going to worry that more is happening than is really the case." She leaned back and hit my arm, "I know you want a lot more than what we are doing, but I don't think we should do anything more than that," she blushed furiously as she looked down at her lap, "You know, down there."

Yeah, I knew exactly what "down there" meant.

I actually did agree with her, which probably made me some kind of nut case for a sophomore to be. I pushed her hair back and looked into her eyes, "Sure, Annie, I know. I want to spend my life with you ... I can't imagine a world without you in it. There are some things we can do when we are alone." I put my hand on one of her small, but growing breasts, caressing it gently. "But I'm okay with showing our affection. Shoot, they must be okay with it, or they would have said something."

A couple of days later I followed up with mom and dad at dinner. "Unh, can I talk about Annie?"

Mom smiled and nodded.

"Well, umm, this is hard for me, but Annie and I like each other, a lot!"

Mom put her hand on mine and rubbed it, but dad faked a look of shock and said, "My God, I had no idea."

"Come on, Dad. This is important. You know how you have always talked to me about responsibility, right?" Looking more serious, he nodded. "Well, Annie, well, we talked about, you know, sex and stuff. We want you to know that ... nothing will happen until we are in college. I mean, mom, dad, you can trust us. We don't want to hide our love from you. We want to share it."

Mom stood up, and with tears welling in her eyes, and gave me a big hug."

Annie had a similar talk with her parents and after that we were gradually more open with our love. We agreed that we shouldn't do anything in front of them that would embarrass us if they did the same thing. We were somewhat surprised how easy it was. After a few months, it was nothing for Annie to come in and plop down on my lap while I was watching television with my parents.

The next several years flew by. We had a fight once in a while, but never anything serious. Sometimes I think we invented a problem just so we could have the ever sweeter make-up, make-out session.

I graduated first and started the following fall at the University of California at Davis. I entered their renowned Enology program ... I had a vague idea that I wanted to be a winemaker. I enjoyed the classes and knew that what I learned would always be valuable no matter what I did. In high school, I'd gradually started writing more seriously. In particular I had an English teacher that took an interest in me. I had two classes from her, but even when I wasn't in her classes, she bugged me to keep writing, mostly short stories and critical essays. I wrote some poetry, but when Annie kept laughing at my efforts, I quickly gave that up.

Mrs. Stewart, the English teacher, said I had talent, and over my four years of high school, I began to believe in myself. I was on the school paper—the editor my senior year—and while I enjoyed journalism, I knew that wasn't for me. It was the same with non-fiction writing in general. I had some skill, but the excitement for me was in creating an environment, a world if you will, from nothing. I always felt a strange sense of excitement as I created people, the personalities, their relationships ... everything about them out of thin air. I felt a wonderful sense of satisfaction when I got it right; and was happy even when I didn't.

My junior year, I bowed to reality and changed my major to creative writing. I'd talked it over with my dad, almost feeling like I should apologize to him.

"Terry, let me tell you how it was with me. When I got out of college the first job I was offered was with the Bank of California. I never worked anywhere else. You know, son, I came to hate it! However, with a family and a mortgage I was locked in. The more my responsibility and salary increased, the more I came to hate what I was doing. All I really wanted to do was to sit on a porch somewhere in the country, and have my family near while I smoked my pipe and sipped a glass of good wine.

"With my vast experience," he laughed at this, "I can only say, do what you enjoy. If you don't get satisfaction from your work you will certainly be unhappy. Keep in mind what I've always told you about responsibility though: do what you want, but do it in such a way you can care for yourself and your loved ones. You know you have my blessing in any case."

So I changed my major. Even though I preferred fiction, I quickly realized there was (for me) some relatively easy money to be made doing other things. The first opportunity was something I stumbled into. At a dinner party at the home of the owner of one of the local wineries I made a contact with someone from the local Santa Rosa paper. After a couple of glasses of wine and much discussion, he suggested I try writing a series of articles on tasting rooms of wineries in Sonoma County. He suggested trying the winery of our host first, an idea I liked since I knew him well.

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