[February 5, 1964]
[Airborne from Great Falls, MT to Montreal, Canada]
Bill and Molly were finally away. The airport scene was teary for everyone concerned. But at the same time, there were smiles of happiness with promises of a summer trip by at least Phillip and Paula in Bill’s bus. It was hard for Bill to leave, but on the other hand he was looking forward to a new and exciting phase of his life.
* * *
‘I can see that Bill is sad to leave. We have talked about his college and now I agree that it is just on a temporary hold. There are good colleges and universities in Montreal and I am going to make sure he attends and gets his degree. Oh, I am so excited to be going back home now. Even more so now that I have a secret to share with my family.’
Molly took Bill’s hand and they shuffled forward in the line up to the agent’s desk at the gate. She sniffled a bit, but hid it well. It was only when she turned to see the faces of her new family that she began to weep.
* * *
“Don’t cry, Honey. We’ll be back to visit from time to time. In a way, they’re kind of used to saying goodbye because of all the moving around they’ve done. Cheer up. I love you.” He lifted her hand and kissed it.
“I think I know that, Bill, but it is still sad to have to leave my new family. That are so wonderful.”
Their flight left right on time and, to their surprise, they had a whole row to themselves. Molly felt a little queasy and when they hit a few bumps she turned a delicate shade of green. No accidents however. Basically, they were tracing their route down to Great Falls from Montreal that they took not too long ago. It bugged Bill just a little that they were right over the wing and couldn’t see much, but then they really were more interested in just talking.
“Bill, I think we should try total immersion into French. What do you think?” Asked Molly once they had reached cruising altitude.
“That’s the way I learned German. From almost day one, even my parents spoke it around the house while they were learning it. I really want to make an effort here, Molly. I want your folks to be able to say they’ve got a good son-in-law.”
She snuggled into his shoulder and kissed his neck. “They already know that, silly. When I was growing up, my dad turned away two boys he thought ‘unsuitable’ for me. He was right about the first one because he later got caught smoking marijuana. I’m still not sure about the second one though. He was a nice guy, but just couldn’t make a decision. You, on the other hand, have no troubles in that department do you?”
“Nope. I figure I should make a decision and stick to it. It might not be the best one, but it’s my decision.”
“Très bon. Maintenant, être calme et laisse-moi dormir.” Molly said.
“Right!” He answered. He was sure she had just told him to shut up so he pulled a pillow out of the seat across the aisle and handed it to her. She put it behind her neck and leaned up against the skin of the plane. ”Bons rêves, mon amour.” He said softly, stroking her arm.
“De doux rêves would be better. It means ‘sweet dreams’. ‘Good dreams’ is ok, but I like the other because it sounds nicer.”
He filed that information away. Bill thanked whatever it was that allowed languages to come easy to him or he’d never ‘get’ French. A major part of the spoken language didn’t resemble the written language at all. Lots of silent and accented letters.
Bill and Molly both slept until he sensed they were descending. He gathered up all the reading material they’d stuffed into the seatback pockets and made sure all their carry-on stuff was ready. Thirty minutes later, they were on final for Montreal International. It was a wintry day, no snow, but overcast skies. Blustery winds buffeted the aircraft. Bill sensed a crosswind because he felt the tail slipping to the right a little.
Then, they were on the ground and taxiing to the gate. Being an international flight, they had to go through customs. It seemed strange but Molly and Bill had to split up as she was using her Canadian passport (suitably amended to reflect her new name) and he was, of course, using his US passport. Neither one of them had any problems as they had nothing to declare so they exited the holding area at pretty much the same time.
* * *
‘I wonder where my parents are. Maybe they got held up somewhere. Until we get our bags, it doesn’t matter anyway. Oh! Wait! There they are!’
* * *
While they were waiting for the baggage carousel to start up, Molly’s parents, Alain and Suzette, came up behind them. Amid much hugging and kissing everyone settled down for the wait. Bill laughed to himself that he was definitely going to have to get used to being hugged and kissed in the manner of the French males. He didn’t find it distasteful, only a little different. It certainly wasn't anything he couldn't handle.
Alain and Bill were in the lead headed down the hallway when Suzette squealed delightedly. In a rapid rush of French, which Bill had no chance of deciphering, she apparently told Alain of their upcoming blessed event. Alain broke into a jaw-cracking grin, stopped, and hugged the would-be parents anew, murmuring how happy he was to hear this news.
Suzette insisted that Molly take the front seat of their station wagon – accepting no excuses from her ‘in her condition’. Molly replied that she was hardly showing, much less about to give birth on the way home. This caused a bit of levity. As they all headed home, and in some ways Bill did think of Molly’s parent’s house as ‘home’, Alain talked of everything but what Bill secretly thought he really wanted to talk about.
The gang arrived, amid much tooting of the horn. This brought out Denise who, when advised of her new status as almost aunt, jumped up and down squealing and helping her sister out of the car. Bill could see that Molly wouldn’t lack for any assistance around the house at all.
[February 5, 1964 - evening]
Later, just before dinner, Alain and Bill were alone in his home office. He poured a small brandy for each of them and they settled down in the overstuffed chairs. It was time to talk seriously.
“So, my son, can I assume you have come to a conclusion about my job offer?”
“Yes, Sir.” Alain made a halting motion with his hand.
“Please, call me either Alain or father.” He said with a grin. “I would much appreciate it, never having heard it from a son.”
Bill opted for the latter as it seemed to mean a lot to him. “Yes … Father. If you will have me, I would like very much to accept a position in your firm.”
He beamed with delight and tossed off his brandy. “Excellent! I have investigated into employment by a non-Canadian and found that work permits are easily obtained. They are only for six-month intervals, but may be renewed even by telephone.”
Bill decided to drop the big bomb right away. “Father, I fully intend to become a Canadian citizen in due course. I owe that to both Molly and to you for giving me this opportunity. I’ve thought long and hard about it and decided that you would be the first to know about it. Even Molly doesn’t know I’ve made up my mind. We’ve talked about it, but I never made a commitment.”
Alain’s eyes softened and he looked at Bill thoughtfully for quite some time. “That is not necessary, Bill. Work permits can go on almost forever.”
“Be that as it may, Alain, I do intend to become a citizen. I told my dad about it and he is disappointed, but he's resigned to it and has no objection at all. He knows it is my decision to make and fully understands.”
“Wonderful then! You are what, twenty-three now?” Bill nodded. “Then, you can use the work permits until you are over twenty-five. This way, you will not be called up into the Canadian armed forces. How does this work with the American authorities?”
“Well, when I was in school – college – I was deferred because of my grades, which were very good. Once I got married, my status changed again. Now, with a child on the way, I will be permanently deferred from serving. In any case, the draft age in the US is currently twenty-three so there is no conflict at all.”
“Twenty-three? I had thought it was lower than that.”
“It is, actually. When you turn eighteen you have to sign up for the draft, but they aren’t calling up anyone under the age of twenty-three right now. With Vietnam now picking up speed that may change.”
“Bon! Refill?” He gestured at Bill’s empty snifter.
“Perhaps just one more before dinner?”
Alain poured them both one, winking at Bill as he topped off his glass. “Suzette says I am to have just one, but this is simply a continuation of the first, no?”
“Yes. I quite agree.” Bill winked back.
Alain continued. “I have given some thought to the position I will initially place you. As you know, my company, AGG importations, does most of its business with the many Europeans who live here in the Montreal area. I have a senior buyer, Stefan Grolsch, who was out of town the last time. He is now back and is waiting to meet you. I will initially place you under his tutelage and expect that you will be making trips with him almost immediately. Of course, when Molly is nearing birth, you will be staying home.” He smiled at Bill. “I wouldn’t deny you the pleasure of that for anything. What do you say?”
Bill took a moment, sipped some brandy, and sat back in the chair. This sounded like a great job for him. “I am overwhelmed, Alain. It sounds almost too good to be true. I would love to work for Herr Grolsch and learn all that I can about the import business. Thank you.” He held out his hand and they solemnly shook on it. “I won’t let you down, father.”
“Wonderful!” Alain repeated. “Stefan has wanted an assistant for a year or so as he really wants to open his own small store. When I think you are ready, you can move into his position and I will sell Stefan one of my groceries. Bon! Très bien!”
“Oui, Père. Je vais faire de Mon mieux.” He grinned from ear to ear at that and clapped Bill on the shoulder.
“Another month and you will be speaking French like a native. Now, it is time for dinner and for you to tell everyone the good news.”
It was Bill’s turn to smile.
[February 5, 1964 - Dinnertime]
At dinner, Bill broke the news to the rest of the family. There was silence for a brief period and then everyone started talking at once.
* * *
‘So that is what Bill and my father were doing in his study. Mon Dieu, he would do that for me? But wait; what about his family and everything else? I know we have talked about it, but, goodness, hearing it out loud now has taken my breath away!’
* * *
Molly leaned towards him and whispered. “But, Bill; what about your citizenship? What about college? I am thrilled, of course, but I am also worried.”
He took her hand and squeezed it. “Not to worry, Molly. Things will work out just fine.” Then he smiled at her.
The others congratulated Bill and then both Suzette and Denise kissed his cheek. Dinner was much more animated after his announcement.
Everyone cleaned off the dishes and stacked them in the sink. Molly and Bill volunteered to wash and dry. While they did, Bill helped dispel Molly’s concerns about their future. In the end, she subsided and they finished the dishes and went upstairs.
While Molly was in the bathroom tub, Bill grabbed his book and slumped down in the bed with his back against a couple of pillows to read. He hadn’t gone more than one chapter when Molly came into the bedroom. She had a small frown on her face and was poking at her stomach.
“Oh, pooh! I think he will be a big baby. I don’t want to look ugly for you, my love.”
Bill took her hand and pulled her to the side of the bed and kissed her palm. “You’ll never look ugly to me, Molly. Right now, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world except right here in this room. You’re beautiful, and get more so every day.” He cupped his hands around her very slightly swollen belly and put his forehead against the warm skin. “Hello in there!” He intoned in a deep voice. “Your mother is a beautiful woman and you should be proud to be carried by her. Remember that!”
Molly giggled. Bill rotated his face upward and kissed her navel; adding a touch of his tongue inside it. She jumped away.
“Oooh! That made my whole stomach quiver.” She said, whacking him on the top of his head playfully.
“Well, good. I know what will really relax you…” He said suggestively, sliding his hands downwards along her hips and pulling her towards him.
Molly allowed him one slow kiss at the base of her stomach and then pulled away with a seductive smile. “Later.” She crossed the room, picked up her nightgown, and held it over her head. Bill noticed immediately that her breasts seemed ‘fuller’ than usual also. He wasn’t about to mention that to her though. She let the gown drop over her shoulders and smoothed it downwards over her body. ‘Damn,’ Bill thought. ‘She really looks great to me.’ Under the covers, he was beginning to react so he lifted his book again – reluctantly.
“Same book as before?” Molly asked.
Bill held it up to show her the cover. “Yup. C'est la science-fiction, naturellement.” Bill said hesitantly. “Did I get it right?”
”Vous avez certainement, comme pour lire ceci, pas vous?” She chided. “You certainly like to read this, don’t you?” She repeated, in English.
“I got it the first time,” Bill said quickly, smiling at her.
“Well, you go ahead and read. I have these to look at.” Molly said, giving him a mischievous smile and dropping several glossy magazines on the bed next to him. He saw that they were all in French and seemed to be fashion magazines. One of them, however, featured a very pregnant woman on the front. She was apparently boning up on fashions for later.
They both leaned back against the headboard doing our thing. Dinner was softly rumbling inside Bill however. He knew he was about to explode in a not very polite cloud of smelly gas so he hopped up and dashed across the room. He almost made it. Bwooot!
“Oh my!” was all Molly said as Bill closed the door to the bathroom.
Later, feeling much better, he resumed his position on the bed. Molly was engrossed in the maternity magazine but held out a page to Bill as he settled down. “Doesn’t this look pretty?” She asked.
He was indeed impressed by the dress she was showing him. It was a full bosom done up in blue lacy stuff and hung down from what he had heard called an ‘empire waist’; one very high on the upper hips, practically underneath the breasts. The bulge of the baby was concealed somewhat in the folds of blue cloth. “Very nice. You’d look great in it with your blonde hair and all that blue.”
She wrinkled her nose at him. “I’d probably look like a fat cow.”
“Nonsense. I would take you anywhere dressed in that – fancy ball, good restaurant – anywhere.”
She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Thank you, my love. I needed that.”
“I’ll keep doing it until we are great-grandparents.”
Bill set his book on the table and flipped his light off. “You won’t bother me if you want to read some more. I’m sleepy after the flight and that big dinner. Good night, Honey.” He kissed her gently.
* * *
‘Let me just see how sleepy he really is. I have been getting more in the mood since he buzzed me on the stomach. It is time for a payday – is that right? No. Time for a payback. Yes, that is right.’
* * *
Molly responded in kind but let her hand fall to the covers over his legs. She rubbed gently. “How very sleepy you must be. Oh. Wait. What is this?” She’d found something of great interest and began massaging it slowly. “Perhaps not quite so sleepy, n'est-ce pas?” She giggled. “Cela semble être éveillé.” She said softly, almost to herself.
“I agree, and actions speak for themselves. What shall we do about this?” Bill said; his voice low and husky.
Molly extended her legs across the bed and laid her head on Bill’s stomach looking up at him. Her fingers began toying with the sparse hairs on his chest; twining them around and tugging gently. Her big, blue eyes stared directly into his.
“Je t'aime plus que la vie elle-même.” Bill said very softly.
“Et, Je t'aime.” Molly answered just as softly. “J'ai besoin de s'occuper de vous plus souvent qu'il paraît.”
“Thank you, my love. You may attend to me at any time you wish. You bring out the best in me.”
She dimpled when she smiled at him. “You know, the doctor told me we could make love right up to the ninth month. I think that may be a bit awkward, no?”
“Yes. I think so also.” He lay back and flung his arm over his forehead. “Alas, I will be devastated not to make love for months. Oh, the agony!”
Molly grabbed a few hairs on this chest and yanked.
“Ow! You are starting torture already?”
“Oh, be serious, my darling, and make love to me.”
Bill got serious and did just that.