“Love schmove – it all starts out great, but I wouldn’t bet my future on it, not with more than 50% of marriages ending in divorce. It’s a gamble for any woman and the stakes are just too damned high, especially when you bring kids into it,” Lisa's best friend, Cynthia, said.
The doorbell rang. Lisa was glad for the interruption. She didn’t think she could take much more of Cynthia’s obvious distaste for marriage, even though she knew she was right about one thing, she did have to figure out how she was going to earn some money – and fast.
Steven, her soon-to-be ex-husband, had moved out and unbeknownst to her, stopped paying the rent. It was now 90 days late and she was facing eviction. Every day she came home from job hunting, she was afraid she’d find a yellow piece of paper stuck to the door announcing her eviction.
Lisa looked through the peephole in the front door. She recognized the friendly young office manager’s face. She opened it, her heart hammering in her chest.
“Hello Marjorie,” she said through a forced smile.
“Hello Mrs. Campbell,” the young woman responded. She lowered her eyes somewhat. “I’m sorry to have to give you this,” she said, holding up the dreaded piece of folded yellow paper.
“I understand,” Lisa said. “How long do I have?"
"The standard 10 days,” the young woman explained.
“Is your boss around?” Lisa asked, swallowing her pride, hoping she could speak with management and get more time.
“I’m afraid not,” Marjorie responded. “He left on vacation yesterday. These were prepared for me to hand out today.”
“Is there someone else in the office I can talk to?” Lisa asked, her desperation pushing her past any shame she felt. She was prepared to beg if she had to. Where were she and her daughter going to go?
“I’m afraid I’m it, Ms. Campbell,” Marjorie said, her eyes full of empathy.
“Thank you,” Lisa said, closing her front door. Tears stung the backs of her eyes. “Oh God Cynthia, what am I going to do? Where are me and Molly going to go?”
“Is that why you asked me to marry you? Because you feel sorry for me? Because you don’t think I can handle Steven?”
“No. I asked you to marry me because I want you as I’ve never wanted another woman. And as I need a wife, I find that it’s a perfect time to get married. Dealing with the likes of your soon-to-be ex-husband just happens to be something I’m more than equipped to handle.”
“Well don’t pull any punches,” she said, dumbstruck by how blatantly honest he was. There was no trace of romance.
“Were you expecting anything less than honesty?” Tristan asked.
“I … I don’t know.”
“Look Lisa, if I wanted a relationship where you have to woo and tell half-truths, I would have been married a long time ago. The kind of marriage I want is the one I’ve explained to you. I would hope you’d appreciate my clarity.”
“I do,” she said, realizing that her dreams of traditional love hadn’t worked out so well.
"There is a possibility that our marriage will work,” Tristan said. “If not, we can get a divorce. Your problems with your ex will be solved and we will have had a helluva time together because make no mistake Lisa, we will be man and wife in every sense of the word."