Rings Rings

Romantic Marriage Stories

Josh and Nikki Series
Story 6

Romantic Reminiscing

by Bill Quinn

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Did you ever sit down with your husband and reminisce on how you met and started dating? Let me tell you it can be a very romantic experience.

This whole idea came to me while I was listening to a radio station that played oldies rock-n-roll from the 50s and 60s. Now mind you, some of this was before my time, but I have learned to love many of those songs. It's some of the greatest love poetry ever written--and I love the beat!

Josh wasn't home yet, and I just sat there relaxing and listening to some great rock-n-roll music. Then this song came on--"Those Oldies but Goodies (Remind Me of You)" by Little Caeser and the Romans. Boy, what a song! Here are some of the lyrics:

Those oldies but goodies remind me of you.
The songs of the past bring back memories of you.
I'll always remember the first night we met--
The songs they were playing I never will forget.

Yeah, there really was a special song that night when I met Josh, and as I brought back those wonderful memories, it suddenly dawned on me what a romantic role music can play as couples fall in love!

But to be strictly accurate, the night I'm talking about wasn't exactly the first time I'd seen Josh. We were in the same English class our senior year at Leyden High School. But it was the first night we really "met"--I mean the first night we talked, just the two of us. And "Oh, what a night!" to quote another rock-n-roll song. It was the most wonderful, thrilling, romantic night I ever had!

I leaned my head back on the chair, closed my eyes, and thought about Josh...and that night and that special song...and how we started dating. Wow, it's been a while since I've brought all these wonderful memories back. But it's as clear as a bell, and like the song by Little Caeser, "I'll always remember that first night we met." And it was bringing tears to my eyes. Yeah, that was one special night...it's when it all began for Josh and me.

As I was reminiscing about that night, another song came to mind.

I remember that night in May
The stars were bright above...

That was the Five Satins, I think, a song called "In the Still of the Night." Well, for me it wasn't in May, but boy, do I remember that night! And Josh did mention the stars to me. That's how our special song came into it all. Under the stars that night, Josh asked me if I remembered a song by Kathy Young--"A Thousand Stars in the Sky." Yeah, I remembered it then, and I remember it now. It's our song--it's how Josh and I started dating...and falling in love.

When Josh gets home tonight, we're going to do some romantic reminiscing...together!

I planned out the whole evening. (So what else is new?) As soon as Josh got in the door, I made our hello-kiss a bit more exciting, shall we say? You know, just to get his thoughts running in the right direction. I put my arms around him and as we kissed I gently cradled the back of his head in my hand and ran my fingers through that puppy-dog hair. When we separated, I watched his eyes as he peered into mine.

"Boy, something really got you in an affectionate mood!"

That, of course, was an understatement.

"Well, something did. I do feel romantic tonight," I replied with a mischievous smile on my face.

He looked at me suspiciously, but then managed to say, "I can hardly wait for the evening to unfold!"

Josh knows my devious ways pretty well and is generally wary of my little schemes, which frequently backfire in a some embarrassing way, almost always to me! But I had very high hopes for this evening.

After dinner, we both did a few things around the house. When the time was right, though, I again steered his thoughts in a romantic direction.

"Hey Josh, you know what I'd like to do?"

"Nikki, with you I really can have no idea!" Again there was just a hint of suspicion twinkling in his eyes.

"Let's watch one of my favorite romantic videos--"American Graffite." His eyes sort of rolled upward. "Now admit it, Josh, you like it too. I know there's a romantic heart beating inside of you...sometimes." I poked my finger into his chest and added, "And I also happen to know that you think Cindy Williams is really cute!"

He laughed. "You're right--and on all accounts! Let's watch 'American Graffiti.'"

We snuggled close together on the sofa with Josh's arm around me and my hand resting on his leg. But during one of those memorable scenes where one of the couples in the movie was making out, Josh must have really gotten in the mood because he reached around and started...well...fondling...well you know where.

"Do you want to do what they're doing? How about making out right here on the sofa"?

Making out? Knowing Josh as I do, it shouldn't have surprised me, but I admit that suggesting we make out right here and now, accompanied by a very...shall we say, effective way to get me excited, absolutely took me by complete surprise. This was not in my plan! I stammered a bit in my response.

"Josh...not now...later...I mean, well, maybe later...but you're getting me all turned on, and I can't concentrate on the movie."

He laughed a little and removed his hand.

Well, the movie ended, and there had been no further attempts to make out on the sofa. But now the moment had arrived. I had to get him back into a romantic mood, but not stir up those passions in him to make love, at least not immediately. So this next move would require extreme care.

We were still sitting on the sofa, and I turned slightly to look at him, taking his hand in both of mine, caressing it gently with my finger.

"You know, earlier this afternoon I was relaxing and listening to that oldies rock-n-roll station. They played this great song--really romantic. Here are some of the words."

Those oldies but goodies remind me of you.
The songs of the past bring back memories of you.
I always remember the first night we met--
The songs they were playing I never will forget.

My eyes were getting a little misty, but I looked deeply into his.

"Josh," I whispered softly, "do you remember that special song you asked me about on that first night we really met?"

I saw his eyes soften. He reached out and touched my face softly.

"You know I do, Nikki. I'll never forget that night. I wanted to make it very romantic so you'd want to go out with me."

A few tears were running down my cheeks. "I wanted to go out with you before that night! But it was...it was the most romantic night I ever had."

We were holding hands again and I continued, "You know what I'd like to do right now? I'd like to reminisce about that Saturday night...and that following Monday in school."

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Miss Hayes was my high school English teacher in my senior year at Leyden High School. There were about thirty or thirty five of us in the class. Josh was one of them.

Yeah--I noticed him on day one of the class! He had the looks that just sort of made girls notice him. As the first couple weeks rolled by, I saw him more than once in the halls between classes walking with various girls. One time I'm almost positive I saw him holding hands with one of them, although he didn't seem to have a steady girlfriend. But I did hear talk in the girls' locker room that there weren't many Friday or Saturday nights that he didn't have a date.

After a month or so, we'd say hi to each other when we passed in the halls--if he was alone. But I was pretty sure he was just being polite because we were in English together. With me, however, it was just a little different. He was really good looking and one of the coolest guys knew. There's no getting around it: I was attracted to him.

Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't a little wallflower, and guys seemed to find me attractive too. I had my share of dates--including make out sessions--and last year I even went steady for three months with a boy I really thought might have long range possibilities. But right now I was, as they say, "foot loose and fancy free." Unfortunately, during the beginning weeks of English, Josh showed very little interest in me.

Late in the first semester Miss Hayes arranged a little field trip for us as part of our unit on American plays. She was going to take us to see a stage play in what is called "theater in the round," which means the audience surrounds the stage area. The play was going to be some romantic comedy.

The field trip was strictly on a volunteer basis, but there would be extra credit for any who would come. One day in class Miss Hayes asked for a show of hands by students who wanted to go. Having a stage in the middle of the audience sounded kind of weird, so I thought it might be fun to see how it worked. When I looked around the classroom, there were about a dozen boys, including Josh, and maybe six or seven girls who raised their hands. Miss Hayes said there'd be more information in about a week. Well, a week went by, and then she announced that all those going on the field trip should come to her classroom after school that day for a short meeting. The trip was to be Saturday evening, and a school bus would be taking us.

When we met Miss Hayes after school, I looked around and I found that I was the only girl there. I felt a little self conscious. Evidently, the other girls had changed their minds. Well, I couldn't back out now, so I'd have to grin and bear it. But Josh was there, and I guess that made the crazy thought flash into my head that maybe being the only girl might have some advantages. But I was probably just dreaming.

During this little meeting, Miss Hayes gave us all the information--when and where to meet the school bus and when we'd be getting back.

For reasons not entirely clear to me, planning for the trip on Saturday afternoon was a rather nervous though exciting time for me. What was I expecting? I had no reason to expect anything, especially anything romantic happening with Josh . But yet I spent an awfully long time getting my hair just right and deciding what to wear. I finally picked my Tartan plaid pleated skirt, not too short but yet maybe about two inches above the knees. With it I'd wear black knee socks and a black pullover sweater. It should still be warm enough outside. Just before my dad drove me to school to meet the bus, I gave myself a long, hard look in my full-length mirror. Yeah, this would do nicely. I told myself that I should really be more positive about the prospects since we were all going to be watching a romantic play!

When we got on the bus, a couple of the guys sat together, but Josh sat alone. It goes without saying that I sat alone too, slightly behind him on the other side of the bus. Miss Hayes sat up in the front of the bus, I guess in case she needed to talk with the driver.

The sun had just about set when we arrived at the theater. As we were walking from the parking lot to the door, Josh came up beside me.

"Nice clear night. I'm surprised that more of the class didn't want to come."

Those nervous, exciting feelings returned full force. His sudden appearance at my side was a real surprise.

"Yeah, a great night, and it should be a lot of fun. I don't know why so few showed up."

"Do you know anything about this play--you know, what it's about?" Josh asked.

"Not anything more than we heard from Miss Hayes. It's supposed to be a romantic comedy."

"Romantic...yeah, that's right. I remember her saying that. I wonder what that means."

"Well, it probably means that some couple falls in love, but not before a bunch of hilarious and embarrassing mishaps take place."

As we walked into the theater, Josh stayed with me, and so we ended up sitting next to each other. Was this by his design? Anyway, the theater didn't really have "seats"--it had benches--padded, yeah--but just benches. And the theater was crowded. As it filled up, we had to...well...sort of slide a little closer together, and my heart started beating faster. I wondered if Josh realized that off and on our shoulders were touching.

Well, the play was funny--with many hilariously embarrassing scenes, naturally almost always for the girl in the story! But it was romantic, and the couple did fall in love. There were many times during the romantic parts of the play that I wished I could put my arm through Josh's or that he would put his arm around me.

But that didn't happen.

When the play was over, there was the usual pandemonium to reach the various exits. That's when a shock wave went through my whole system. Josh took my hand in his and lowered his head to whisper in my ear, "Stick close, Nikki, I don't want to lose you."

What could I say to that? I tried to think of something witty, but nothing came to my poor, confused, reeling brain.

We made it to the door, still holding hands. Despite my generally bouncy, bubbly outlook on life, sometimes pessimism gets the best of me, especially when it comes to guys. So I thought surely Josh would let go of my hand when we got outside.

But he didn't.

You know, I think of myself as being a die-hard romantic, and I've always loved holding hands on a date. There's just something about it--you have physical contact, but it's not so much passion but sweet and tender. And when you're walking down the street holding hands with your boyfriend, it's sort of like...well...like telling the world that you are..."a couple." Is that what Josh and I were now? Boyfriend and girlfriend?

As we walked hand-in-hand, Josh said, "You really look pretty tonight, Nikki."

It took a second or two for what Josh said to actually register. But then it did--Josh had just told me that I looked really pretty! A sense of warm pleasure seemed to flow through me. Sure, I guess I had some kind of an idea that I was sort of cute and all, or guys wouldn't have asked me out, right? But no boy had ever told me that I was really pretty!

I looked over at Josh, and his eyes met mine. He wore a gentle smile, and his eyes seemed to have a soft glow.

"Oh, Josh...what a sweet thing to say!"

He didn't say any more, but he switched the way we were holding hands so that now our fingers were intertwined. I think my heart started beating a little faster. It was almost like he was drawing me closer to him.

Josh seemed to be deliberately walking slowly. When we got far enough from the theater to be pretty much separated from other people, he looked up at the sky.

"Beautiful night," he said. "'A Thousand Stars in the Sky.' Do you remember that song, Nikki?"

Of course I remembered that song! What girl wouldn't? One of the most romantic songs in the world, and it was sung by a girl! My brain was still reeling, and maybe my mind just wouldn't let me believe what I thought might be happening. But I knew I was getting more and more excited every second. What was Josh leading up to?

"Umm...yeah, I remember it."

"It's a very romantic song, Nikki."

And then to my utter astonishment, he quoted the words--

A thousand stars in the sky, like the stars in your eyes,
They say to me that there'll never be
No other love like you for me.

A thousand stars in the sky make me realize
You are the one love that I'll adore.
Tell me you love me,
Tell me you're mine once more.

Each night I count the stars in the sky
Hoping that you aren't telling me lies.
You're with me tonight, I'm captured by your charms.
Oh, pretty baby, won't you hold me in your arms?

I could hardly believe what was happening. Was Josh saying those incredible words to me? Here? Now? While holding my hand? Under these stars in the sky? Did he mean there'd never be other love for him like me? That I'm the one love he'll adore? What's going on? I've got to be dreaming.

But the hand that was holding mine was not a dream. Josh had turned his head to face me, and I turned to look at him...with who knows what expression on my face. I just hoped my mouth hadn't dropped open in bewilderment.

"Josh...I..."

"Nikki, you don't have to say anything. The stars in the sky tonight and being here with you just made me think of that song."

Then while still holding hands, he urged me toward our school bus. Josh let go of my hand and climbed into the bus with me following. I wondered why he didn't let me go in first, but then it became obvious. Once in the aisle, he took my hand again, and led me almost all the way back. He slipped into one of the seats, and I sat down next to him. Miss Hayes was already in the front of the bus again.

We weren't holding hands anymore, and we sat there without saying anything as the bus pulled out of the parking lot and started the somewhat lengthy ride back to Leyden High School.

I was a mass of conflicting emotions. Was he really saying that he liked me and wanted to start dating? Well, maybe...I guess. Or did he only mean that just being with a girl under a starry sky made him think of a song he had always liked? I wish I knew which it was.

After we were driving for a little while, Josh asked, "Aren't you a little cold with just that sweater on?"

But before I could answer, he put his arm around me.

Another shock wave. What could I do? What would any girl do? Yeah, right--I slid as close to him as I could get!

Well, I didn't know where all of this was going, but I decided one thing for sure. I liked it. I liked Josh. I liked holding hands with him, and I liked his arm around me. And...he's not the only one who can think of old rock-n-roll songs.

I turned and looked at him with what I hoped was my best impish expression. "Hey Josh, you remember Paul Anka? Doesn't he tell you what you're supposed to say to me in this situation?"

He turned to me with a smile. "Yeah, he does. I should tell you to put your head on my shoulder."

I waited a few seconds.

"Well?" I asked. "Are you going to tell me or not?"

He nodded his head. "Nikki, come on, put your head on my shoulder and let me breathe the scent of your hair."

"Josh, you know very well that part about my hair is not in the song." I smiled and added softly, "But it should have been."

With that I snuggled down a little so I could rest my head on his shoulder. His arm felt so good around me.

We made the rest of the trip like this without saying anything more. Once, though--and out of the clear blue--Josh reached around and softly touched my face, running his fingers gently into my hair, as I rested on his shoulder. He didn't say anything and soon took his arm back. But I could hardly believe what was happening to me. It was such a sweet, tender, romantic caress. I really hoped this bus ride would never end.

Once or twice during the trip I caught Miss Hayes looking back at us, and I wondered if she was going to say something--like behave yourselves! But she never did.

When we got back to Leyden and off the bus, Josh asked, "How are you getting home, Nikki?"

"My dad's coming to pick me up."

"Okay, I'll stay with you until he gets here."

Which Josh did. After five or ten minutes, my dad drove up. As we walked to the car, I could feel his hand lightly on my shoulder. We said goodnight to each other, and my dad and I drove away.

Naturally there had been no goodnight kiss. Too bad...I would have liked it. Really liked it.

"A new boyfriend, Nikki?" my dad asked.

That brought me out of my reverie about kissing Josh.

I wondered...is Josh my new boyfriend?

"Maybe."

I must have had a dreamy look on my face, because my dad replied, "I understand. I'll hope so too, Nikki."

I didn't get much sleep that night. All I could think about was Josh.

On Monday I made it a point to get to English class as early as I could. Josh wasn't there yet, and I took the desk I usually sit in, though Miss Hayes hadn't given assigned seats. When Josh got in, he took the desk next to me.

"Hi, Nikki."

"Hi, Josh."

What else could we say in a classroom with other students? But wow, what a torrid love greeting that was! I almost giggled a little.

When Miss Hayes started class, she announced that those who went to see the play Saturday night should meet in her room after school to discuss the play. Attendance, she said, was necessary to get the extra credit.

So at 3:30 I was again walking up to Miss Hayes' classroom. She wasn't there, and I didn't see Josh either. So I walked in and pretended to be fascinated by something on the bulletin board. When Josh arrived a few minutes later, I picked a desk in the middle of a bunch of empty ones, and again he sat down next to me. Miss Hayes came in soon after Josh. I saw her take a look at Josh and me, obviously sitting together by ourselves, but then she sat down at her desk at the front of the room to wait for the final late-comers to arrive.

When everyone who had been to the play was finally there, Miss Hayes walked to the lectern. Her eyes scanned the room, but then they settled on Josh and me.

Suddenly I felt something embarrassing was in store. Miss Hayes had a reputation for taking a keen interest in her students who had boyfriends or girlfriends. If she ever saw one of her students walking down the hall between classes holding hands with another student, she would certainly make some humorous comment about it the next time she had the hapless student in class. Heaven only knows what she will say now with both of the "romantic couple" sitting in her class!

But as much as I wanted to be believe Josh and I were a "romantic couple," maybe I was way off base. Maybe Josh wasn't interested in me at all. After all, guys just like to do those sorts of things with girls, don't they? So maybe Miss Hayes will be embarrassing me for nothing. But yet...but yet...all that Josh said and did Saturday night...Oh well, Josh was just a mystery...so far.

"Well," Miss Hayes began, "I'm so happy all of you decided to take up this extra credit project and see the play. Now as I told you before we went, the play was a romantic comedy. But I observed that one of you, at least, paid very close attention to the play and took it very much to heart."

Then her eyes bore down on Josh.

"Isn't that right, Joshua? Are you and Nikki here Leyden's newest romantic couple?"

My face must have turned several shades of red, but it didn't seem to phase Josh at all. He looked over at me and then back at Miss Hayes, his expression cool and calm.

"Maybe."

This time I think my mouth did drop open. That was just how I had answered my father's question! Surprise, excitement, and happiness must surely have come together to make a weird expression on my face. I turned to Josh, and totally oblivious to the fact that everyone--including our teacher--was watching us, I reached across and put my hand on his shoulder and squeezed. He turned to look at me.

"What did you say?"

Josh reached up and placed his hand on mine. "What I said was 'maybe.' Yeah, maybe we are the newest romantic couple at Leyden. But I really don't know yet until we all hear from you, Nikki."

That should have really put me on the spot, but I didn't feel like that at all. Suddenly, a warm sense of wonderful assurance came over me. I took his hand in mine and sitting up straight and proud, turned to look at Miss Hayes.

"Yes, Miss Hayes, Josh and I are the newest romantic couple at Leyden...and we're both in your class."

The rest of the students in the room were laughing hilariously and some even clapped.

"And that makes me very happy," replied Miss Hayes.

That's how Josh and I got together. After that Monday with Miss Hayes, we started dating regularly. Then after about a month we started going steady. Not that either of us dated anyone else during that time, but a girl wants it to be...well..."formal," right? And she wants everyone else to know she and her boyfriend are going steady. So after that first month, I was thrilled when Josh gave me his class ring...which I wore until he replaced it with an engagement ring.

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After we finished our romantic reminiscing, Josh and I just sat there on the sofa looking into each other's eyes. Mine had tears. He reached out and took my hand in both of his.

"Nikki, did all those thoughts really go through your head?"

"You bet they did."

"Maybe I waited too long to talk to you and ask you out, but when that field trip came along, I knew that was the time. I planned every step of it and wanted that night to be very romantic--to win your heart, Nikki."

"That night under the stars, Josh, and everything you did and everything you said to me--it was the most romantic experience I ever had. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think about that night."

I put my arms around Josh. "A thousand stars are still in the sky for me." I moved closer and we kissed. Not passionately, but a long, soft, tender kiss.

"I love you so much Josh, and I always will."

"And you're everything in the world to me, Nikki. I actually do think about that night--quite often, really. Yeah, the words of that song are still true--there'll never be another love like you for me and you're the one love that I'll adore."

My tears were really flowing now.

"And," he added with a grin on his face, "I can still picture you turning to Miss Hayes and proudly announcing that yes, we were the newest romantic couple at Leyden."

There was a pause while neither one of us spoke.

I started running my finger slowly and gently up and down his leg.

"After all these romantic memories, you know what I'm in the mood for?"

Josh didn't answer. Just smiled, took my hand, and led me into the bedroom.

I guess he got my drift...

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