Summary: Jake recalls some moments in his relationship with Joan. "Joan's sister" inspired this very short story written from Jake's POV.
Disclaimer: "What About Joan?" characters belong to their creators. No copyright infringement intended. No profit is being made. Some of the dialogue that appears in this story is not my own, but belongs to the writer of the "What About Joan? "episode "Joan's sister".
Author: Tracy Diane Miller
You know, I used to be the guy who laughed at those lovesick guys that I saw on the street or in restaurants. You know the guys I'm talking about, the ones who'd do anything regardless of how humiliating it was just to make their girlfriends happy. I also used to be the guy who couldn't commit to a woman. Now, I'm the guy who proposes marriage after just nine dates. What happened to me? I fell in love. It happened so fast, too. Imagine that. Me, a guy who makes his living planning strategy and investing other people's money ends up falling in love on the first date. Her name is Joan Gallagher and I love everything about her, including her cuddlesomeness. Joan doesn't like it that I used that word to describe her. She doesn't understand that she doesn't have to compete with any of the women from my past because she's the only woman that I've ever asked to marry me. She's the only woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with. She turned me down, but I'm not giving up. I've helped clients build sound financial futures on bigger long shots than this. I'm a man who has gambled many times before and won.
Guess what? I'm now also the guy who'll do anything regardless of how humiliating just to make the woman that he loves happy. I remember the time when Joan's older sister Annie came for a visit.
Being an only child, I really didn't understand the whole sibling thing, but Annie is Joan's hero. She told me that she came to her sister for advice, looked up to her. I never had that growing up. I never came to my parents for advice. Howard and Marie weren't exactly the nurturing type. And my father's idea of good advice is his "Philosophy of Life"; it has something to do with a carrot, a gun, and nakedness. The only thing that I ever gained from my father's lectures was migraines!
Still, Annie's visit was important to Joan and while I didn't understand why she was making such a big deal about the whole thing, I was willing to do anything to make her happy. Even if it meant allowing her to pick out the clothes that I would wear when I met her sister for the first time. I never even allowed my mother to select my clothes.
My pants passed inspection, but my shirt, well; Joan had other ideas about that. She remarked that "if Tom Brokaw and Larry King gave birth to a shirt, it would look like that." Joan has said things before that have caught me off guard, but that comment had to be right up there at the top. I briefly hesitated before I asked,"Gave birth to a shirt? Where would it come out?" Hey, don't look at me like that, it was a fair question.
I was sitting in my office reviewing a client's portfolio when my secretary came through the door. Usually, she doesn't interrupt me when I'm working on one of the firm's important accounts, but she said that it was urgent. She handed me a package marked "urgent" and told me that I had to open it immediately. I thought that maybe it was supplemental information that I needed on the client, but as soon as I opened it, I realized that I was wrong. The "urgent" was a brand new shirt that Joan had bought for me to wear tonight. My secretary didn't say a word. She just smiled and walked out of my office.
Joan didn't just buy me a shirt. She also included a three-page "note" with relevant facts about Annie to help me in conversation with her sister. I closed my client's file and began "memorizing" the information. I felt like I was cramming for a test or something. I even ended up making cheat sheets!
But that was nothing compared to the pants fiasco that happened later that night. Joan was going on and on about having two different cameras to record the occasion (when Annie and I met). I turned around and she gasped before demanding that I take my pants off. Okay, so maybe I got a little excited and missed her meaning. She told me that I had a hole in them. Next thing I knew she was catching me around the apartment with a stapler. I love Joan very much, but I wasn't about to have her use that thing on my pants and risk missing and injuring something...ah...important. I wasn't about to go to the emergency room and try to explain a staple in my package. It's not like asking the doctor to remove a splinter from your finger.
Joan told me to take my pants off and she went into the bedroom to sew them. I heard the front door open so I was ready to go into the bedroom, too, but for some reason, Joan had locked it. So there I stood standing there in my boxers just as Annie entered the apartment. I made quite a first impression. Annie gave me a look before asking whether she was interrupting something. I was embarrassed but I tried making a joke. I told her that we were very casual around here.
I helped Annie put up the extension to the table and tried small talk to ease the awkwardness of our first meeting. I asked about her daughters. I tried to be clever and refer to my cheat sheets, but Annie knew what I was doing. She said that she liked that I crammed for her.
I like Annie a lot. And loving Joan means that life will never be dull for me. My father has his "Philosophy of Life" and I have mine. Mine has something to do with getting a certain teacher to say yes to my marriage proposal. I don't see any risks in marrying Joan. Marrying her is just a very sound investment with a high rate of return.
I just need to convince Joan of that.