Sunday, January 26, 2014

A New Short Story for There is No Easy Street


WHEN FITZ ASKED MAX, TRICKY AND JETT A VERY SERIOUS QUESTION


BY: MICHAELA ARMSTRONG-PAUL


A THERE IS NO EASY STREET SHORT STORY


Fitznathan Hamilton has done some scary and terrifying things in his life. He's base jumped in Mexico. He's swam with sharks also in Mexico. He's gone both skydiving and bungee jumping. But all of those combined doesn't terrify him to the extent that he had when he asked my three dads for permission to propose to me. As it turned out, the liar came in two days before my graduation and had lunch with Max, Tricky and Jett. 

He used the long flight from San Francisco to Kennedy to figure out just how he was going to ask three of most important men in my life if he can marry their babu girl. He went through two legal pads before he finally got it figured out. I don't really blame him for being scared. When they want to be my dads can be quite mean and scary. Our delivery guy at Jett's store has learned the hard way to not be off schedule. A sound check guy got an earful from Max for being late and blowing three speakers. And let's not get into what happens backstage at one of Tricky's shows. Needless to say, Fitz had call to be worried. 

The four men met at a cafe near the MoMA. Fitz arrived first, stopping first to have a shot of tequila for a bit of courage. It took him a moment to calm down by the time the dads arrived. He ran through his speech another time, just to get the pacing right and make sure he wouldn't stumble over any words. He looked up and saw Max, Tricky and Jett come into the cafe. He waved them over and the four stared at each other like a weird casting of Sex and the City. They sat in relative silence for a while until the waitress came by to take their orders. As nervous as Fitz was he didn't dare order anything in fear he'd spill it. He was having a hard enough time keeping his hand from shaking. 

"I want to thank you all for meeting me like this," FItz said, being the first to say something other than a drink order. "I know it probably came as a shock that I was back before what I told Ithaca and then call and only want to meet with you three."

"You better make your point quick Fitz," Max said, in his scary, yelling at techs voice. "I don't like the idea of you lying to my daughter." 

Fitz didn't think they'd call him on being in town early and not calling me. Not that I would really care. I had enough going on with graduation that he could have called and I would have figured he was still in California. 

"I have a good reason," Fitz said. He nervously looked down at the sheet of paper on his knee. "Screw it. Max, Tricky, Jett I have something I need to ask you. I'm in love with your daughter and she loves me. My parents, God rest their souls, would have loved her. Ithaca's taking a big risk coming out to California with me and with me not offering her anything of value. That's why I asked you here today. I love Ithaca and I will always love her. I will do everything I can to make her happy for as long as she's with me." Fitz stopped to take a breath and looked at my three dads. They did not wear reassuring looks on their faces. "What I want to ask you three is the scariest question I think I have ever had to ask. Max, Philip, Jett; may I have your permission to ask Ithaca to-to-to marry me?"

A stony silence awaited the love of my life. Max crossed his arms over his chest. Tricky played with his mustache. Jett crossed his legs and examined his nails. 

"No," all three said, nonchalantly, as if they were asked if they wanted dessert. "No, you can't marry Ithaca." 

The hell? was my reaction when I was told the story later. Fitz looked at my three fathers with total bewilderment. This wasn't what he thought was going to happen. He didn't have a backup plan. 

"Well why not?" Fitz asked, dazed and confused. 

"For one she's barely eighteen," Max said. 

"You don't have a steady job to support her," Tricky said. 

"And we really think she could do better," Jett added. 

The hell Dads? Not do better than Fitz? What was wrong with them. When Fitz told me later what they had said, I think I figured it out a long time before Fitz did. They were messing with him. And I loved it. 

"I can get more hours at the hospital and not apply for medical school," Fitz said, trying to come up with anything that would get them to change their minds. "I've got us a house picked out, it's great. With plenty of room for everyone when they want to come and visit us."

"I just don't think she wants to get married," Tricky said. 

Fitz couldn't believe what he was hearing. It took him a minute to realize that they were screwing with him. It was Jett that broke character first. His happy grin breaks through and he starts laughing. 

"Of course you have our permission!" Jett said, tears falling. "Do you have a ring for her yet?"

"I have something picked out that I think she'll really like," Fitz said. Fitz turned on his phone and opens a photo of a small ring from a chain store. 

"Oh no, no. That won't do at all," Jett said, shaking his head. "Come along. Excuse us gentlemen. I have an engagement to save."

Jett pushed Fitz out the door and walked down 53rd towards 5th Avenue. They turn down Fifth and get closer to every woman in New York's favorite place. The Tiffany and Company flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Jett and Oleander would bring me here all the time for breakfast. We would eat our muffins from Marian's bakery and window shop. I always said that when the time came for me to get married I wanted a set from Tiffany's. 

"Jett, hold up man," Fitz said. "I have two grand budgeted for her ring. I can't afford anything in this building."

"Fitz, don't worry about it. I've got ya, son."

They entered the store and are greeted by a fine dressed man. He kissed Jett on both cheeks and smiled warmly. "AMister Jett, welcome back. Do you need to pick out things for your new collection?"

"Not today Pierre," Jett said. "This is my future son in law, Fitz. He needs to get Ithaca's rings."

"Not Ithaca! She's a baby! Come, come this way!" He leads Jett and Fitz to a case of rings. Jett points to two rings, a solitaire and a channel set diamond band. "Oh, very pretty Mister Jett."

"Size seven," Jett said, looking over the rings. "One and a half carats in the solitaire. Wrap them up and put them on my account."

"Jett!" Fitz whispered fiercely. "That's like 25 grand right there. I can never pay you back for that."

"Will you quit worrying. It's fine. With my help, you and Ithaca will never have to worry about a thing."

It would take Fitz years to fully understand the depths my dads would go to make sure we had everything we could ever want during our time together. I of course read my father's the riot act for almost giving Fitz a heart attack. I thought it was romantic and brave of Fitz to go to them and ask permission. I'll never forget the way I felt when Fitz slipped that beautiful ring onto my finger. It was like this fog of despair and pain from the past eight years just floated away. The grief of losing Papa Howard, Ada and Oleander would always be there but in that moment it wasn't the first thing I thought of. For the first time ever, I saw a future that I wanted to be a part of. A future that was attainable. A future that I couldn't wait to start. 

For more about Ithaca, Fitz, Max, Tricky and Jett go to: http://www.amazon.com/There-Easy-Street-Michaela-Armstrong-Paul-ebook/dp/B00B17T1ZG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389517215&sr=8-1&keywords=Michaela+Armstrong-Paul to purchase a copy directly to your Amazon Kindle devices.  

Don't have a Kindle? You can also go to: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/there-is-no-easy-street-michaela-armstrong-paul/1114137477?ean=2940015956733 for purchase on your Barnes & Noble Nook devices.

Coming in January of 2015 look for the sequel to There is No Easy Street, Someday We'll Know, the continuation of Ithaca's story! 

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